RAVENS ROOKIE CAMP TRANSCRIPTS: MAY 4
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Good seeing you guys; I really appreciate you being here. We're finishing up the second day of the rookie minicamp, and it's been really good. The guys have been on it. It's a very smart group, very football-oriented. We've thrown a lot at them. and they've picked it up very quickly; they've had very few mistakes. Guys are catching the ball, throwing the ball well. [They have] good fundamentals and [were] a bunch of well-schooled football players coming in to start with, so I love it. There's going to be some real competition to make this team, and a lot of these guys are going to be in the hunt to do that. So, it's a good start."
How instrumental has it been to bring in quality undrafted free agents to help build the roster? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"It's really important to do that. It's extra draft picks when you can get undrafted players to make your team – that's just bonus picks. One thing about the Ravens and how we do it here with our program is the best players play. The best players make the team. So, to me, it's simple. But that's the way it should be. Once they get here, we're not too worried about where they got drafted, whether they got drafted, what school they're from or any of that. We're just interested in how they play and what kind of people they are. It'll be highly-competitive, and that's one of the reasons why guys want to come here, is because they know they have a legitimate chance to make the football team."
When you talk to the undrafted players and try to close the deal on bringing them to Baltimore, do you sense your track record for players making the team helps them decide to come here? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"I do think that helps us. I don't think it helps us enough. A lot of times it boils down to the money – imagine that – and the other part of it is they look at how many guys you drafted at that position or how deep you are at that position, which is certainly understandable. But in the end, we tell them, 'Don't count numbers. If you're good enough, you'll make this team. And if for some reason the numbers 'X' you out here, you'll make somebody else's team.' Hopefully they look past some of those other things, but sometimes, like this year, in some of those positions, everything worked in our favor, and we've got a good group out here."
You have had particular success with inside linebackers coming in as undrafted free agents. What do you look for in those guys? (Aaron Kasinitz) _"Just good football players. We look for guys who can run, guys who make a lot of tackles. I don't know, maybe Stan [White] could vouch for this – he left us though, he went to get more workout time in _(laughter) – but linebackers make tackles. So, if you find a linebacker in college that makes tackles, generally that carries over into the NFL."
We know WR Marquise Brown isn't ready to practice just yet, and generally there is a learning curve for receivers jumping from college to the NFL. Is there anything to do with him in the meantime, or anything outside the box maybe that can help bring him up to speed? _(Luke Jones) _"We utilize every teaching tool that we're aware of, and we try to tailor it to the individual student as much as we can, to teach him as much as we can. There's nothing like doing, but the more he can do on his foot, the more he'll be able to do out there in terms of walk-throughs and then different things. Right now, he's not available to practice at all, so it's all in the meeting room at this point."
Has anything about tryout WR Joe Horn Jr. stood out in the first two days? (Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, Joe Horn Jr. looked really good. I'll tell you, all the receivers looked really good. I don't know how many passes were dropped out here, but it wasn't very many. They all ran good routes. It's a really good group. We've got a guy [Taivon Jacobs] from Maryland here; he looked really good. Where else are my tryout guys from? I'm trying to get their schools right. I can tell you their numbers. Louisville, we signed him [Jaylen Smith]; he looked really good. So, Joe Horn Jr. is one of those guys, and I guess the thing that struck me about him was he looked like Joe Horn. Joe Horn looked like Joe Horn." _(Reporter: "He didn't pull out the cell phone though?")"No, but that's one of the all-time great celebrations ever! It was worth it! I'm glad he did it! (laughter)But, his son looks like him – quick, fast, real good hands [and strong] in and out of breaks. You can tell he's worked with his dad a lot on technique. I thought he just looked excellent."
I know he's not a rookie, but how is DT Willie Henry doing? I know last year was kind of a lost season for him, but the year before he came on quite a bit from an interior line standpoint. How is he progressing, and how is he looking this spring? _(Luke Jones) _"He's healthy; he's 100-percent healthy. He's been in the program from Day One. He was in-shape coming in. He's in the weight room getting really strong. His weight is probably under what it should be, he's in such good shape. So, yes, he's doing really well, and I expect big things from Willie Henry."
How did QB Trace McSorley look today? (Aaron Kasinitz) _"Well, you guys saw him. I thought he looked good. What did you think?" _(Reporter: "I thought he looked pretty good.")"Yeah, he looked good. He gets the ball out, for the most part, on time. It's not like a live practice at all, so you don't get to see a lot of the other skills, scrambling and stuff, but he operated. How many mistakes did we have, guys jumping offsides or formations not right, or cadence issues? Really, I don't know if we had one this afternoon. We had a couple yesterday. So, the quarterbacks are doing a good job of handling that, and Trace is obviously doing a good job of that."
John, is it good to see P/K Kaare Vedvik back out here? (Jonas Shafer) _"Yes. _(laughter)Is there a follow-up question?" (Reporter: "Just with everything he went through last year?")"Yes, it is. It's funny, he made a bunch of kicks yesterday, and then he missed that one today for all you guys to see, but he came back and made the next one. So, he's done really well, and it's good to see him back. He's been here every day; he's been training. He's allowed to be in this camp per the rules, so it was good to see him out here kicking. But yes, we're kind of way past that now. He's been here training every day, and he's doing a good job."
WR Marquise Brown
On his impressions of his first few days of rookie camp, even though he is unable to practice:"I've been loving it, being around these guys, watching these guys work. They all love football, so we have a lot coming."
On if it is tough to be patient while he recovers:"It is what it is, but I'm making the most of it. I've been out since January, so I've just been gaining knowledge in all the other areas."
On if he is preparing more of the mental side of the game than the physical side while he recovers:"Yes, of course. Studying the playbook and getting those mental reps is very key."
On his relationship with WR Miles Boykin:"We've been helping each other with the playbook, quizzing each other. We trained in Florida together, so just to see him out here doing well [is great]. We just help each other out."
On what he envisions the Ravens' offense will be like:"You guys will have to wait and see. I envision we'd be very explosive."
On what has impressed him most about WR Miles Boykin:"Just his physicality. He attacks the ball as good as anybody I saw."
On if it is difficult to sit out, this being the longest that he has had to miss football:"Yes, this is the longest I've gone. It's tough, but at the same time I have fun taking those mental reps, because I kind of have an advantage getting back and being able to watch."
RB Justice Hill
On the first few days of rookie camp:"It's been fun. It's different, and it's fun just coming out here and learning, learning a new system. It's fun. Everybody is having fun, making plays. So, it's been a good time."
On what he means by saying that camp is different:"It's just more advanced and at another level. Every level gets a little bit more difficult, and the playbook is a lot larger, so you just have to study. But, it's something that we all can handle – and we have – to be able to come out here and play fast."
On how much emphasis he puts on showing he can be a weapon in other facets of the offense:"I just want to be as versatile as I can be and be able to contribute in whatever way I can. So if that's catching balls, doing whatever, running the ball, I just want to be able to contribute. Here at practice, whenever I get the opportunity to, I'm going to catch balls and do everything I can."
On the challenges of being a good pass-blocker:"The first thing is first – you just have to know who you're blocking. Once you know that, you have to have your technique down. That's what we go over on the field, just making sure all our technique is sound. If your technique is sound, pretty much everything takes care of itself."
On his impressions of WR Marquise Brown after playing him in college:"He's just a playmaker, man. Whenever the ball is in the air, and the ball is in his hands, he can make a play, no matter if it's a screen play or a go ball. No matter what it is, he's going to make a play, so it's going to be fun to be on the same field with him."
On what he remembers from WR Marquise Brown during the 2017 matchup at Oklahoma:"I just remember him in the end zone a lot, running the ball. It was a fun game, don't get me wrong, but I wish he had a little bit of a quieter game. But, it was fun. It was fun."
On what he thinks the Ravens' offense will look like:"It's limitless. We can do whatever. No matter what it is – run the ball, pass the ball, just making plays – I feel like we can be one of the most dynamic offenses in this league. So, it's definitely going to be fun, just being out there with everybody."