Transcripts: Ravens First OTA

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "[It's] great to see everybody. I appreciate everybody being with us here. It was nice to see you guys out at practice over there. That means we're back to football, I guess. So, we're excited about that. It was good to be on the field. Players are enthusiastic. We've been working really hard the last two days – hard [and] smart. I feel like the guys have been great in terms of doing it the way it's supposed to be done in terms of the mental part of it, [the] technique part of it and avoiding any physical contests or anything like that. They've done a great job with that, so I really feel good about all of it. We try to get better every day. That's our goal – get a little bit better every day and see where it takes us. So, what questions do you have?"

During these camps, what are you hoping that QB Lamar Jackson can … Is there a focus for QB Lamar Jackson during these camps because this is something he didn't have last year? (Jamison Hensley) "I think the focus for Lamar [Jackson], really like everybody – it depends on your position – is to improve in terms of the fundamentals of the game. Quarterback, there's a lot to that. There's the actual just taking the snap, the footwork on the ball handling, the footwork on the various dropbacks, play-action dropback passes, movement passes, the mechanics of throwing the ball, the reads, the checks, it's just endless at that position. So, you work all the way across the board on that stuff and try to have the best day you can and try to improve 1%, we say, every single day. That's a metaphor, obviously, but that's the goal – to keep getting better, but that goes for every single position. So, we really can't pinpoint one thing; there are numerous things that you have to be working on all at the same time."

Just wondering if you could share the attendance numbers for this week? I know they're voluntary. What are your thoughts on your attendance? Are you happy with that? Or does it leave some to be desired? (Shawn Stepner) "I appreciate the question. I don't know the numbers today, I haven't heard. I'm sure I will. We keep track for organizational purposes, and the testing on the COVID stuff, [the] meals and everything else and organizing our weightlifting and stuff. So, I'll know what they are, but it's up around 80 somewhere, I think, just to give you a ballpark figure, give or take a few guys. [I'm] happy with the guys, happy with the work. Coaches are excited to coach. Players are excited to prepare and get better. It's been great. It's been a lot of fun."

I just have a little follow-up on that one. Last month, through the NFLPA statement, it maybe looked like that wasn't going to happen. Were there any conversations you had to have to convince guys to show up? Or is there anything that's happening differently now with OTAs because of the pandemic to get more guys in-house? Or nothing? (Morgan Adsit) "Really nothing. There's nothing that I had any conversations, or any of our coaches did. It's a voluntary camp. I think the guys understand … I can't speculate on different guys' thinking. The guys that aren't here, I really wouldn't expect to be here – veteran guys, especially 'D-linemen.' Those guys, there's not that much for them to do at this camp. So, I understand it if they're not here. The fact that the guys are here, that's great. There really was not much conversation. One thing we have talked a lot about is the vaccination stuff. Not in terms of trying to influence anybody, but in terms of understanding what will be required if you're vaccinated or not vaccinated. Those were kind of the biggest conversations we've had along those lines."

As far as the timing of the practice, I guess it was pre-determined, but did you like the fact that it was in the middle of the day and 95 [degrees] and these guys that aren't in shape found out real quickly? (Jerry Coleman) "[It's] just not my nature to put the negative spin on it like it is yours, but that's OK. It was great in the sense that it was noon. I don't think we had anybody not in shape, honestly. I felt like our guys really did a great job. They got through it really well. They pushed through it. They practiced fast. They stayed out of the collisions. They just did a really good job. I was happy with it. Now football-wise, there are so many things we can get better at, we need to get better at and we have to keep working on. From that standpoint, yes – there is a callus thing that goes on. There is a football shape, and you really can only get into football shape by being out there doing football movements. I think in the long run, that's how you stay safe; you callus up the football movements, the change of direction, leaning on each other a little bit, we build up into camp [and] eventually, we put the pads on, all of those things. Eventually, we have live games in preseason. So, that's all part of the process, and this is a great part of the process."

Two things – we saw WR Rashod Bateman out there, is everything OK with him? FB/DL Patrick Ricard was out there. How is he progressing? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Patrick [Ricard] is doing well and should be back out there in the individuals very soon. Rashod [Bateman], it was kind of precautionary; he was here all last week with the rookies. There's some soreness, some muscle soreness, things like that. We want to make sure we have recovery. I think just from a standpoint of we're going to be very precautionary at this time and make sure we get the guys the recovery they need and not too many reps. So, that was the idea there. There's no injury, but we want to make sure it stays that way with the muscle stuff [and] soft tissue stuff."

Obviously, your offensive linemen are kind of bouncing around, getting work at different spots. With G/C Bradley Bozeman at center, what do you like with him being there? What have you noticed so far with him there? Do you plan to get him a lot of reps over OTAs just to get him back into that kind of college mode where he played? (Ryan Mink) "Yes, he's looking really good. Two days in, he looks good. I don't think it's really anything … It doesn't seem hard for him. He's very comfortable in there. He's making the calls. He's moving very naturally as a center. He's snapping the ball very well. I think that's where we're at – that'll be our starting point. Moving forward, he'll be the center, and then we'll let guys compete from there. He's our starting center today. We'll see where it goes, but I have a lot of confidence in Bradley [Bozeman]. I think he's doing a great job, and I'm very excited about it, honestly. I'm looking forward to seeing how this offensive line shapes up."

Is there an extra emphasis on the Year Two rising sophomore, if you will, players, given that last year, they didn't have the chance to get after these camps? (Bobby Trosset) "That's a great point. Those guys didn't have any rookie minicamp, they had no OTAs [and] no minicamp. They had a very short training camp. Gosh, it's so much for these guys. I'll tell you; they're excited. I mean, you see those guys out there like [James] Proche [II] and … Even [Miles] Boykin, the third-year guys, those guys are excited about it, who missed out last year. That first and second year now with the second- and third-year guys not having it, I think those guys … I really expect those guys to make progress. I expect those guys to be a lot better at the end of these sessions than they are going in, and they feel the same way. It sure seems like it by the way they're working."

I saw you talking to TE Nick Boyle at one point during practice. How's he progressing? How valuable is it just having him there when you have a pretty big group of young tight ends that are trying to compete for a roster spot? (Luke Jones) "Nick [Boyle], he was joking with me yesterday. He said he wouldn't rather be anywhere else. He didn't have to be out there, but he was out there. Today, he was kind of leaning on the ball and I tried to somewhat gently kick it out of his grasp. He laughed at me and said, 'You're going to have to kick it a lot harder than that.' He was showing me how strong he is, he said. Man, he looks good. I really can't wait to see him out there practicing. I don't know when it's going to be. I'll probably keep him out of these sessions, but he seems like he's chomping at the bit."

QB Lamar Jackson

How do you feel your offseason went, away from the building? And how did you feel out there getting back on the field? (Ryan Mink) "It went well. I'm just happy to be back in the building finally – get to see my teammates and stuff. We get to bond and grind how we're supposed to – not like last season, when we couldn't be around each other. We had to put work in outside of the building. So, it's great to be back – great feeling."

This is our first chance to talk to you since the end of the season last year. Just how difficult was the loss, of course, but just going out injured? How difficult was it to move past that and kind of turn the page toward the offseason? (Luke Jones) "It's always difficult to get to the playoffs, get to one game before the big dance – well, one of the big dances – and go out how we went out. We wouldn't like that, but that's why it's next season. [We have] the offseason to prepare to get back in that same spot and excel, and that's pretty much what we've been focusing on now. [You] can't dwell on the past – like I always say. We've just got to move forward."

A lot of people are interested in when you're going to get your new deal. How have the contract talks been, and do you have a feeling of when that deal might get done? (Jamison Hensley) "I spoke with 'Mr. EDC' [executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta] probably like a month or two ago. I would love to be here forever. I love Baltimore. I love the whole organization. I love everybody in the building. But hopefully we'll be making something happen pretty soon or whenever."

Obviously, the Ravens made some significant additions to the offense over the offseason, especially the wide receiver room. What did you make of those moves? (Childs Walker) "I felt great about the moves. We got a lot of young guys; we got some vets on the O-line. I just can't wait to put the pads on and we're going against other opponents to show off our skills and stuff like that, because right now, everyone is rolling, everyone is happy to get back, and the new guys, they're happy to be here. So, we're just going to see."

How do you go about setting the tone for where you want this team to go and what you want to accomplish this season? (Garrett Downing) "Yes, just lead by example. I'm going to try to be more of a vocal leader. I always say that, but I've got to start presenting it how it should, [how] the guys are wanting me to sometimes. But lead by example, work hard. We're trying not to make mistakes. If we do make a mistake, we're going to repeat it until it's right. We're trying to perfect our craft. We're trying to be perfect out there, even though some things are not going to be perfect – but we're trying to make it happen. So, that's about it – just lead by example."

Is it important to you that a contract gets done before the season starts, or does that not matter to you? (Jerry Coleman) "Being honest, I'm really focused on the season. I'm focused on trying to win. I'm not really worried about if it gets done this year or next year. I'm just trying to build and stack, and we're going to see. We don't know yet."

Are you representing yourself? (Jerry Coleman) "Maybe, maybe. I told you, we'll see." (laughter)

S Chuck Clark

Back on April 17, 2021, the [NFL Players'] Union put out a statement saying you guys weren't going to do voluntary workouts. What changed? And with so many guys being there – what's your perspective of what's been going on? (Mark Viviano) "I just think it's a lot of guys that love the game of football, and honestly, they just want to be here to get better and perfect their craft and make the most of their career, honestly."

Just wondering your thoughts – obviously, you guys had some losses in free agency with [Patriots] OLB Matthew Judon and [Raiders] OLB Yannick Ngakoue and some other guys on defense. But a lot of additions and some new rookies. What are your thoughts on the newcomers that they've brought in? (Ryan Mink) "We're excited to get them out here, get them going in this phase where they can learn the game and slow it down for them. So, we're just excited to have them and hopefully they can make plays for us here down the road, for real."

How different has this offseason been for you so far, not having to worry about COVID-[19] as much, and being able to come here? And Number Two – when you see QB Lamar Jackson and guys doing workouts on their own even before they got here, how does that make you feel as a teammate knowing that guys who are leaders of the team are, even on their own, trying to get ready for next year? (Cliff Brown) "This is a very different offseason from last year, for sure. Like I said earlier, it feels good to be here with the guys and build that camaraderie and chemistry [with] just being here. Everybody … You can't single out just a couple of guys. Everybody is out there getting their own work in. You know that your teammates are in there putting in work for the good of the whole team, for the one common goal at the end of the season."

I don't know if you had the chance to be around him or not, but what are your early impressions of S Ar'Darius Washington? [He's] a little undersized, but he seems to be around the ball a lot. (Todd Karpovich) "Yes, I watched the rookie minicamp [tape]. And like you just said, he's around the ball a lot – making a few breaks on the ball, [he's] looking good."

I just wanted to follow up on something – you watched the practice tape from rookie minicamp? (Ryan Mink) "Yes – like I said, there's guys coming in who you want to see, who's out there, who knows a little bit about the game, how they move around and whatnot. So, yes, I watched it."

How were the dynamics and physicality in this weather today here in Baltimore? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "Yes, today was a hot day. Our first hot day; getting back out there and feeling how it's going to feel in training camp. So, I think that was good for all of us – the players, the coaches, everybody out there, the trainers. Just getting back used to that element, because that's how it is pretty much the beginning half of the season – you're playing in warm weather. So, getting used to that was good for us."

WR Marquise Brown

It's the first time a lot of people had a chance to see you wear No. 5. How did it feel, first of all, being out there, and what about just waiting one more year and not having to pay a dime to the NFL to get those jerseys back? Did you think about that? (Jerry Coleman) "It felt good being out there with my teammates. And I was excited when I heard I had the opportunity to get No. 5. So, I was like, 'You don't know what could happen next year, so let's just get it done now.'"

This summer, were you able to accomplish all that you needed to do in the offseason to prepare for the upcoming season? (Kevin Richardson) "The offseason is still going, so we're still getting better, we're still learning, and there's still a lot of improvement we can make now until September. So, that's what we're going to keep chasing each and every day."

What are your thoughts on your two new position coaches – wide receivers coach Tee Martin and pass game specialist Keith Williams? It seems like they have a lot of very applicable advice for you guys and are giving you constant feedback. (Ryan Mink) "Yes, those guys are amazing, and they're pushing us to get the best out of us each and every day on the field, in the classroom. So, I'm just excited to keep building and connecting with those guys and continue to learn."

In Year Three of your career, other than obviously winning a Super Bowl, do you have any specific goals for yourself? (Cliff Brown) "The No. 1 goal is the Super Bowl, and there's no other goal you could really think of, so that's really what we're chasing. When we're outside, that's all we talk about all the time. Just chilling, we're talking about Super Bowl, Super Bowl, and that's what we really want. Everything that comes with it can come with it; and everything that doesn't come with it, we don't want it."

What about you and QB Lamar Jackson working out together? How often do you guys get together in the offseason – three, four, five times a week? How much do you think that helps your chemistry? (Cliff Brown) "Yes, whenever we can, we're out there, and I think it helps out a lot – just to know what each other is thinking and what he's thinking and just getting timing. Timing – where he doesn't have to know if I'm going to beat the guy. He'll throw it to a spot; I get to the spot. If I don't get to the spot, then it's my fault. So, just those types of things that we've been working on this season."

In terms of you and QB Lamar Jackson hanging out, who has the better basketball shot inside of Dick's Sporting Goods? (Garrett Downing) (laughter) "Hey, he made more shots than me that day – I'm not going to lie. I was over there buying stuff, and I heard basketball playing back there, so I was like, 'Let me get involved.' So, he was back there warming up before I got a chance to really get my shot right."

What do you think of your new teammates WRs Rashod Bateman, Sammy Watkins? I know you're getting a chance to get to know these guys. What do you think of some of the new guys and how you guys will gel? (Garrett Downing) "Oh, man, we've been gelling good so far. I got with Sammy [Watkins] out in Arizona and out here. [Rashod] Bateman, [Tylan] Wallace – those guys came in, and we're all pushing each other. We're all excited to work with each other, and we're just going to try to complement each other the best we can, go out here and win a Super Bowl."

In the offseason, before the draft, executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta said that the wide receiver room was a little bit insulted by all this talk of the passing game needing to be better. And head coach John Harbaugh said that part of the passing game being better is the scheme. So, can you talk to me about the wide receiver room and what we don't know about you yet? And scheme-wise, are you introducing new things yet? Do you have any expectations of how the passing game will change besides just you guys? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "Me personally, I let the outside be the outside, and they talk. We're the Ravens. If it's the scheme, if it's the players, that's on us. We're going to get it right, and that's why we're out here right now – is to get it right. So, whatever it is, we're going to address it, and we're going to get it right."

A lot of the talk around town is QB Lamar Jackson and the possibility of him getting a new deal sometime soon. Is that something that is ever brought up amongst you guys, even if it's just joking about it? (Jamison Hensley) "Not often. I think the most we talk about is Super Bowl. (laughter) I'm pretty sure Lamar [Jackson] wants to stay here, the Ravens want him here, but we want a Super Bowl. So, if we win the Super Bowl, everybody gets to stay here." (laughter)

It was great seeing you on the field today. I was wondering how excited you are about opening up the season in Las Vegas? (Donna Jean Rumbley) "Oh, I'm very excited. It seems like a fun place. I've never been to 'Vegas,' so just to go out there and play a game, it should be fun. The west coast is always fun. I haven't' been there since I played in junior college, so I'm excited."

I think when we talked to you at the end of last season, you mentioned that you found some stuff you really like doing with your strength and conditioning toward the end of last year. Can you share whether you've kept up with that and how it's helped you transition into this third year? (Jonas Shaffer) "Yes, it's just growing and learning – that everybody who works real jobs, 9 to 5, that's just how we've got to treat football, and that's what I've been doing. Every day, 24/7, it's football in some way. I do whatever I can do to make sure I'm available for my teammates and that I'm playing my best game. So, I continued doing that since last year, and I feel good out there, I'm moving around really good. So, I'm excited."

With you feeling so good and these new weapons and the scheme and all that stuff, what are the expectations for the passing offense heading into this year? (Ryan Mink) "Our expectation is to score a lot of points – however we do that. If that's with the least amount of pass attempts, if that's with the most pass attempts – we want to take advantage of everything we get and score the most points we possibly can each and every game."

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