FRIDAY (8/17) TRAINING CAMP TRANSCRIPT
Head Coach John Harbaugh
How was going against the Colts today? "I thought it was a good day. The weather was … The field was a little soft and slick, which is good for you. The rain came down pretty hard at the end, which is good for you. I told the guys the heavy stuff is not coming down for a quite a while yet – but it was good for ball-handling. We had a couple balls knocked out there at the end, so to have our guys have that for emphasis was good. I thought the Colts were great. The hospitality has been amazing – great coaching staff, great team. We got work done as professionals. There was nothing that wasn't about getting better for both of our football teams, and we appreciate that."
Obviously, you'd like a nice, sunny day. Is there some benefit to practicing in this kind of weather knowing that you never know what you're going to get on gameday? (Garrett Downing) "There is. You have to play in the North Atlantic. If you want to fight in the North Atlantic, you have to practice in the North Atlantic. This is a good thing for us to have. We really haven't had a rain day yet. It was pouring so hard back in Baltimore, we had to go inside the one or two times with the lightening. To get this kind of a day is good for us."
We've asked you a lot about WR John Brown over the course of the summer. He came up with another big play today. Is it good to see him make that play against another defense? (Garrett Downing) "It is. It's like [what] Steve Smith [Sr.] always said: 'Any player…' And the thing he always did was strive to make one big play every day, because if you don't they start forgetting about you. That's the thing we've tried to talk to our guys about, and John has done that all through training camp."
What do you want to get accomplished over these two days with the Colts? "Our job is to come in here and get better. We want to take advantage of every opportunity to get better. They run a different defense than we see, a lot more movement up front. That's good for us to see, and not to see it from a practice squad or a card, but to see it from a team that actually does it. So, anything that they do that's different than we do, that we get a chance to see a really good NFL team do, is beneficial to us. Really, that's why we're here."
Do you hold back anything or do anything different because you guys are playing each other on Monday? "I don't think you hold back the concepts. The concepts are all the same. I'm sure each team will run the plays from different formations. You never want to show an NFL team the exact same play twice in a row. They pick up things pretty quickly. But the concepts are all the same. Both teams will be running their standard stuff, I'm sure, and the idea is to get better."
I have to ask you about WR Willie Snead IV – a big Ball State star. What can you tell me about him and what he's been able to do so far? "We love Willie Snead. Willie has been nothing but a pleasure, nothing but a professional, works harder than most guys you'll ever see. I think his background is … His dad's a coach. Being in the MAC – I'm kind of partial to those Mid-American Conference guys – he always has a little chip on his shoulder, he always feels like he has something to prove. Those are the kinds of guys that make it in this league. [He's] very talented, great hands, a chain-mover for us. That's what we're hoping for."
I noticed WR John Brown made at least one nice catch. I heard that he had a good training camp. Can you talk about his big-play ability, hoping that may be a part of what he brings to the table? (Cliff Brown) "That's something that … Big-play ability for any player is something that, as you know, is really important. John Brown has shown that pretty much every practice so far. He likes to make a big play every day. If he can do that, at least one … We'd like even more, but to see him come out and do that against a really good defense in this kind of a setting is a big plus, too."
I know he has a big-play reputation, but what have you seen from WR John Brown's hands?_ (Cliff Brown)_ "Right, to your point, I don't think John is a one-trick pony. He runs routes, he runs crossing routes, he runs comebacks, he runs deep in-routes, he runs all the routes. He runs them very well. This is a complete receiver who has the ability to get downfield. So, I expect a really big year from John Brown."
Early thoughts on Colts QB Andrew Luck and how he looks? "That's a good question, because I was on our offensive field, so I didn't see Andrew today. I talked to him beforehand, and he looked good. Was the mustache gone today? I was kind of happy to see that, to be honest with you.(laughter)But we had a couple laughs, and our families are very close with Jim [Harbaugh] and his time at Stanford and my parents and his parents, and it's just a great relationship. We love the guy, and it's good to see him back."
John, very different physical setting, this training camp compared to yours. Is that a good change of pace for guys in a long summer practice? "A different physical setting?" (Reporter: "Yes, because it looks so different. It's all spread out.") "Yes, it's good. It's good to be in a different environment. As much as the setting – which is good, it kind of gives you a change of pace, sure – [it's] the different team. The different guys lining up on the other side are really good for us. It gets your attention. This is a long week. This would have been a hard week to keep the guys really focused from Thursday until Monday night, so to have these couple days is really good for us."
TE Darren Waller seemed to pop a little bit at practice today. How has he looked so far in the time he's been back?"He's been getting better. He looks good. He's made a couple plays. He has to continue to work on the fundamentals, all the stuff – he hasn't played for a while – securing the football, things like that. But, he's made some plays. His speed showed up. His athleticism showed up. I'll tell you the best thing: He knows what he's doing, which is no small feat, just coming into camp a few days ago."
John, overall on your tight ends, you've got a bunch of new faces there. How do you see that all coming together, especially with TE Hayden Hurst and his progression?"[We're] very pleased with the tight end group. We have a deep group. There are four that everybody talks about, then there are a couple more guys. Vince Mayle has had a tremendous camp. We've talked about Darren Waller coming on. We have a young guy, the Keizer kid [Nick Keizer], from a Division II school in Michigan. [He] has really done a good job, so we're just pretty impressed with the whole group."
We'll be doubling back on this, but what are you looking to get out of Saturday, kind of Day Two, something to add to the mix here? "One of the things is the ability to adjust from one practice to the next. We saw some things from the Colts that we're not used to seeing, that we don't see from our team. So, take those things, and now, go to work on them in the film room and the laboratory and come back out and actually get a little better. One thing would be their line movement. They're a big line-movement team up front. We don't see that from our team as much, so we want to see that in the film room tonight and try to improve it for tomorrow."
What's more important out of this trip, these two practices or the game on Monday? "It's all important. I would say the whole thing goes together, because it's, what, a four- or five-day trip for us. We want to take the thing in total and improve. Our goal, when we get back on the plane and we get back to Baltimore on Tuesday, [is] that we're a much better team than we were when we got on the plane to come out here. So, every day is important."
John, I'm assuming you already have been asked, and I'm sorry, but what is your impression of what you've seen out of Colts QB Andrew Luck, a guy who played a handful of snaps in 19 months? "As I said, I haven't watched Andrew yet. When I see the tape, and I get a chance to watch him tonight on tape, I could probably answer more tomorrow in terms of what he looked like. But, just the type of guy he is, and how impressive that he is, and the fact that I know that he was just hurting … You miss that much football, you start questioning everything, I'm sure, and for him to be back out here, it has to be a joy for him. And, he's close to our family, so we're really happy to see it."
We saw CB Maurice Canady left early. Did you get out of this relatively healthy? "We did. I think he had some kind of a strain of some sort, so we'll just have to see how that responds. I don't know exactly what happened, but that's the only one we had. It's not a serious injury. It's a muscle strain of some kind, so we'll see what we have."
Coach, how important is it to get around just different opponents and see different schemes other than going against yourselves? "It is important, because you see things that you don't see from your team. It might be the way a route combination is run. It might be the speed from a receiver. It might just be the way the quarterback drops, your chance to time your drops. So, any little thing that you see different than your own team, especially in a practice setting, is really valuable."
Coach, have you ever had to practice with a grain silo in the background?"(laughter)I'm sure! I coached at Morehead State University, so I'm sure we did. I'm sure we had ... I think we had some coal mines in the background, too. This is an unbelievable facility. I heard the story about the farmer family over here in that yellow house that was holding out to use the facility, sell the facility for the right thing. I think they used it wisely. This is great for families, and it's an amazing place out here."