RAVENS TRAINING CAMP: DAY TWO
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Good to see everybody – appreciate you being here. Another beautiful day. Second day in, second day of non-padded practicing. I thought the guys were a lot better today, in terms of handling the speed of practice and getting through the practice – probably because the first day you have a little nervous energy and all that and they burn it up pretty quick. But today they were good – good tempo and it was very positive." (laughter)
Start off with an injury, possibly – TE Hayden Hurst? _(Jamison Hensley) _"We had a couple soft tissue, minor things yesterday. Like I said, first practice and all that. Nothing serious from anybody that you didn't see today, and you saw a couple guys back today, too. So that was good."
What are your thoughts on the latest developments on the national anthem policy? (Sam Fortier)"What are they?" (Reporter: "They'll temporarily freeze the anthem rules.")"OK. That's good that they're having dialogue. I'm happy about that – it's positive. We have football practice. I haven't thought too much about it."
How has CB Jimmy Smith looked? How pleased are you that he's out there this early in training camp coming back from an Achilles injury? (Luke Jones)"Very positive! Jimmy is coming off an Achilles during the season, a tough injury, and did a great job rehabbing it. He looks pretty darn good out there. We're still going to take our time, but boy, it's very good to see – positive development."
Are all the new receivers and tight ends an extra challenge for QB Joe Flacco? _(Matthew Pencek) _"Well, I think it's just good. It's good to have a lot of good players, and we're getting a lot of individual work. This extra time has given us a lot of one-on-one time, one-on-one routes. We've done a lot of that with our guys – a positive. So, we'll throw to whoever's out there. His focus is going to be on the top veteran guys who he knows are going to be here, and then sees who works his way into his vision."
S Eric Weddle was talking about easing into camp, and he mentioned that it'll start getting intense in the next week. Is there a timetable for when pads will come on? (Jerry Coleman) "The pads come on tomorrow. It's always the third practice of training camp. We'll be in the stadium tomorrow. I'm very excited about that! [We] hope for a big crowd – even if it rains. We're going to go practice there even if it does rain. It'll be good for us [to] practice in the rain. But we'll have the pads on for the first time. And you know for the veteran guys, for a guy like Eric [Weddle], yes – it's more of what you talked about, because he's not going to practice like that until next week. But those other guys will be practicing tomorrow with the pads on."
For a little bit, you had G/T James Hurst playing right guard and T Orlando Brown Jr. playing right tackle. What was the emphasis for that and how do you see that competition taking place? _(Aaron Kasinitz) _"Marshal [Yanda] is not practicing, so you have to be flexible. It is kind of a good preparation for the season, because guys have to play multiple positions. There's your blessing in disguise – guys get the chance to work in some different spots."
Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt
Where have you seen CB Marlon Humphrey take strides?_ (Ryan Mink)_"Him just growing as a pro. It's a great thing for him in a situation that we're in right now with Jimmy [Smith], Brandon Carr and Eric Weddle. He's being able to learn from those guys – knowing how to practice, knowing how to prepare. Those are the things that he's made the biggest jump in. And just being able to settle down and go play football. He's still a young guy, still learning. One thing that I can say about him is he's got every attribute that you need to be a top corner in this league. I don't expect anything less from him but to be a top corner."
How does CB Tavon Young look?_ (Kevin Richardson)_ "Tavon is coming right back to where he was. He's getting his quickness back. One thing about Tavon is he has always been a top competitor. One of the things we always talk about in our room is having top competitors. He's one of those guys that he's the energy bus that we were missing last year in that slot."
What have you seen from S Chuck Clark and how is he developing? (Bo Smolka)"The thing about it is with our young guys, I see those guys as future starters or as starters right now. I have no problem if any one of our starters, being 'T.J.' [Tony Jefferson] and Eric [Weddle], that Chuck could step right in there and continue to keep on doing that job. Chuck is extremely smart. He can line everybody up, he can manage the defense, and on top of that, he's a great athlete. So, he has every attribute to become a great player in this league as well, and to me, he's a third starter."
QB Joe Flacco
On if he's ready for a "record" season: "Always am, man. That's what the goal is every year – to come out here and play my best, so that we can win football games and get to the Super Bowl."
On where he feels like his relationships with the receivers are, even while facing no defense: "Sometimes when you go out and you're running routes versus air at practice, you have to fight against going through the motions and things like that, because it's always right before team periods, and you're kind of getting yourself amped up for those. But you can't really stress enough how important just doing that with guys is and just getting repetitions over and over again and developing that trust. And in this league, there are a lot of times when you're going to have guys open, and it's going to be all good, and the fact that you're off a tick might not matter. But when it really matters, you're going to need to be right on it. I think the more reps you get, the more likely chance you have to feel comfortable in those times of high stress and [the] end of the game, things like that, of really making it work to your advantage."
On if this training camp feels different than others, especially in relation to QB Lamar Jackson: "Well, hey, I think every year there's a little bit of a different feeling towards training camps. Maybe not so much the last few years, but I think you're always either dealing with something. Like I've dealt with something the last couple years – I came back from a knee injury, I wasn't super healthy last year at the beginning of training camp. Then you think back when you are a rookie, and you can kind of see it with Lamar, [that] there's always [something] different, there's always something new about every training camp that you've been a part of. They're very unique. Every season's unique. I think once you get past a certain point, there is a … There is some continuity between each year. It kind of passes on each year, but there's always something each year that's going to change things and make the experience a little bit different."
On if his experience "betting" on himself from 2012 helps his with the scrutiny of this season:"In order to make it in this league, period, you have to be able to tune out some things and believe in yourself and go play, so I don't know if this situation is any really different than just making it in this league. That's what it's all about, is being able to believe in yourself and go out there and play and rely on other guys and have that trust."
On how challenging it was for him to miss training camp last season, and how much he values preparation this season:"I always value being on the field. It's fun. This is what I love to do, so any chance you get out there to get better and work with your guys, that's huge. I really missed it last year. You're not going to be able to tell from my reactions and my facial expressions, but I don't like not being out there. That's not something that I'm very used to, and … I kind of forget the rest of the question there. (laughter)
"Hey, I wish we went out there last year and made the playoffs and won more games and wouldn't have to deal with it. I wouldn't have to deal with answering stuff, questions like that, about making excuses and not getting that part of camp. That's all in hindsight and it wasn't … It's not the most ideal situation, but we should have made it work."
On formations with himself and rookie QB Lamar Jackson on the field together: "It can go a couple ways. Right now when we do it, I think it's like a big red flag to the defense, like, 'Hey, they're probably doing something.' But Lamar is a heck of an athlete, and he can throw the football, so the opportunities are definitely endless."
On his long touchdown run and long catch as a rookie in 2008, and if he's still capable of that:"I'm definitely capable, I think if you asked our strength coaches and things like that. I'm not running too much different than I've always run, and that's never been great, so that's not that high of a feat. (laughter) But I don't think I'm going to be doing those things, but I'm capable."
On how comfortable he is with RPOs: "RPOs, I think that's honestly all good stuff. It puts stress on the defense. I think it opens up lanes for the running backs, so I think those are definitely good things when you pick to do them in the right spots."
On his thoughts on getting veteran receivers together to throw last week:"For sure, it's always fun. I think we were coming back here so early … I was going to be back a little bit earlier than we had to be, and a couple guys were willing to come to town and get some work in, and I think that's always good. I think even more so than the throwing … I mean, we have plenty of time to get out here and throw, and those reps are really important, as I stated earlier, but just developing that bond and that trust, I think that's really important."
On if his reported "newfound passion" is linked to new receivers or the fact that the team drafted QB Lamar Jackson:"I don't know. Does it matter what I say? I think you guys will probably link it to Lamar anyway. (laughter) It's interesting. I'd like to know who it comes from. If it comes from the new guys, they don't know me, so I think maybe if you're talking to Willie [Snead IV] or Mike [Michael Crabtree] or something like that – I think a lot of times, people who come in here have this … They probably haven't thought about me a day in their life. But all of the sudden when they say, 'Oh, OK, this is my quarterback,' they probably – what do you think of when you think of my name? You probably don't think of somebody that's very exciting.(laughter) You probably try to pin my personality down to something that, I probably believe, it's really not it. I think a lot of people might be surprised. I think a lot of players are a little bit surprised when they [actually meet me], because they probably come in here with a little bit of a view of what my personality is, and then when they actually interact with me they say, 'OK, this is a little bit different than I thought.' So I'd like to … It'd be interesting to see who that's coming from a little bit, because I do think if it's coming from some of the new guys, they just didn't really have a realistic view of what I'm really like."
On the importance of starting fast and winning games that people aren't anticipating the Ravens to win:"Are people not anticipating us winning these early games? Shoot. Listen, the name of the game is getting to the playoffs and giving yourself a chance to win. That's what we're all here to do, and we don't really care how it's done, but that's what we're here to do. So, if you fall behind the ball a little bit early in the season, the odds obviously turn against you a little bit. And especially with the environment of us not making it the last few years, it doesn't matter that we were this close (motions), this close, this close. I don't care if you're in the AFC Championship game, one game away, one play away from the Super Bowl. 'This close' is not good enough. And from my experiences, to be honest with you, losing in the AFC Championship almost puts more pressure on you than not even making the playoffs. But we haven't done it for a few years now, and that's not acceptable around here. We definitely want to get off to a good start, and we want to have a really good season. And having a really good season, I think getting off to a good start is usually an integral part of that."
On if he feels more of a sense of urgency this season: "Honestly, it's just part of what I just talked about. I think as soon as you're done playing your first season in this league – and for me, I was I think it was a good thing, [because] I was fortunate enough to get to the AFC Championship game; not fortunate to lose it, but we lost it – you realize right then and there [that] there's part of that that kind of feels like, 'Oh man, we can do this every year.' But at the same time, I went through that. I realized how hard that was to accomplish what we accomplished that year, so I think right away that puts that sense of urgency in you for the rest of your career, because you know how quick those moments pass you by. If you don't grab on to them, you might never see them again. I think when we lost in the AFC Championship game, in my fourth year, we were so close to that Super Bowl. That was one of the toughest losses, because you realize – I've been in it for four years – you realize how tough it is to get to that point. There was such a point of emphasis on doing it right then that when it goes away, man, you fight your tail off to get back to it. But you don't know. So, I think that urgency has always been there, and I think it'll continue to be there. I don't expect this to be my last year; I want to play for a long time. But that urgency will always be there, for sure."
On his first thoughts when QB Lamar Jackson was drafted: "I think everybody has thoughts and feelings when that initially happens, and then when all that goes down and what that really means. As far as me going out on the field and the things that actually matter, I'm taking it as I always take it. I'm working hard. I come into this building and I work, and I try to push the other guys and I try to make relationships with them and really do everything I can to make this team better. And I'm not changing that in any way. But obviously, I think everybody, whether they felt good or bad about it, when Lamar got drafted, there was a certain feeling. Can't hide that."
On if persisting questions about QB Lamar Jackson this season will get annoying: "No, I don't [believe they will], because I think we're going to win, and we're not going to hear about it."
On the NFL's agreement with the NFLPA on the national anthem: "Honestly, I wish I could answer this question honestly and say that I haven't heard anything about it, because I haven't until a couple of minutes ago. But I think it's good that both sides are talking, and we'll figure something out."
On if the national anthem discussion reminds him of another time in his career:"Off the top of my head, not really. It's just one of those things that it's just tough on both sides, and I think we're working our way through it. Nobody has ever had to deal with it before, and we're working our way through it as it goes."
On if this is the best collection of receivers he's had around in his career:"I feel really good about where these guys are. I really do, and I feel really good about how they work. We haven't played a game, though, so we've got to go out there. You don't really know what you and your guys are made of until you go out there and really line it up and go against the defense for real."
On if he has a benchmark age to stop playing: "No, I don't really have a specific benchmark. I'm one of those guys where I'm probably not going to bow out at any point, so they're probably going to be kicking me out of some building at some point."
CB Marlon Humphrey
On the NFL and NFLPA's agreement concerning the National Anthem: "I kind of just heard about it before practice, so I guess to me, it's good that the NFL and NFLPA are talking and trying to discuss things out."
On what he would like to see the Ravens do: "Whatever we do, I guess the upstairs will talk about it, then they'd let us know and then everybody would know at one time."
On if he's thought about kneeling for the anthem: "The only thing I'm thinking about right now is training camp and working with my teammates to hopefully have a successful season."
On the competition for a starting cornerback job: "I just kind of do what I can. Like I said earlier this year, however many reps I get – whether it's full game, half a game, a few reps – I think you can make an impact, whether it's one rep or 10. So, however many reps come my way, I'll be happy – glad to take whatever."
On if he wants the starting job: "I think everybody wants to start, but I do know there's a time for everything. Jimmy [Smith] and Brandon Carr have done this for a long time, so I'm just trying to soak up as much knowledge as I can from them."
On if he feels a sense of urgency to win a championship with the longer-tenured veteran players: "Definitely. Those guys have played at such a high level for a long time. Joe's [Flacco] got one [Super Bowl], but [Eric] Weddle hasn't, so I know Weddle's trying to do everything he can to have our unit, the last line of defense, ready. I definitely see a sense of urgency, so I think this year will be a little bit different."
On if he also feels this urgency himself as a two-year veteran: "I'm just still kind of learning the ropes. I'm a lot more comfortable now kind of knowing what's going to come, how camp works and everything. But, the sooner the better when it comes to championships. I know they're very hard to come by, so trying to do everything and figure out how to be a winning team."
On differences coming into his second training camp: "For me, it's just a little bit more comfortable. You have Year One, and you don't really know how it's going to be. People tell you, 'You're going to hit the rookie wall, you're going to do this, you're going to do that.' But you don't really know how it's going to feel. One of the things I noticed last year [was] a lot of the guys had a routine, whether it was after the game [or] during the week. So, you kind of see what they do, try some things out, but now you kind of go into Year Two having that routine, knowing how your body's going to feel this week, knowing what you need to do to get ready for the season. So, for me it's just knowing what I'm going to do and just being prepared and knowing what's going to happen."
On how impressed he is with CB Jimmy Smith returning from injury so quickly: "He definitely came back really quick towards the end of minicamp. Just doing the DB drills we were doing, it was very good to see him coming back so early and still looking about himself. So, they're taking him really slow, but so far with the few reps he's been getting, he looks really good."
On being aggressive in one-on-one defensive situations under defensive coordinator Don Martindale: "That's one of the things you've got to know is going to happen in corner. You're definitely going to be out there alone a lot of times, with no safety help, so it's one of the things the corner is going to have to step up to the challenge to. I like the aggressiveness Coach 'Wink' has been [bringing] with the defense and how he … I feel like he really trusts us, to not only he can make the calls on the sidelines, but we can also adjust some things out there. So, I really like the trust and the bend he's been giving us within the defense. "
On specific things he does in his routine since last season: "It's mainly just my recovery and going into the games. I used to leave, not necessarily late, but it seemed that no matter how late I ever left, [Eric] Weddle was still in the building, [Terrell] Suggs was still in the building. All those guys that are Pro Bowl guys, a player that I want to be, were still in the building, whether it was doing some type of recovery or doing some film. So, for me, it was just studying a little bit more and recovering a lot more."
On being part of a good NFL cornerback class and if he wants to be viewed as one of the best in the class: "I definitely do – Marshawn [Lattimore] and [Tre'Davious] White, Adoree' [Jackson] – I felt like a lot of rookie cornerbacks had a really good year. So, I kind of want to go down in history, and people are looking 10 years from now and we're still in the league and they're like, 'Man, we can't even figure out who's the best corner in that class.' So, definitely, I'm trying to raise the bar and get up there like those guys."
On the depth of the secondary: "I definitely think we've got a really big depth. I know as it gets closer to that time it'll be a tough decision to make to see who makes the team and who doesn't. Adding Anthony [Averett], and some of the other undrafted guys, DeShon [Elliott], definitely got a lot of guys competing. It's going to be definitely fun. The more you can do, the better you can do."
On how CB Anthony Averett is doing, and if they've raced: "He's doing good. It's been good to see another 'Bama guy, a guy I played with, out there. No, we haven't raced, but we wear these little catapult things and he hasn't been faster than me, so I'm not saying much else. But, it is what it is."
On his thoughts on some of the new offensive teammates: "[Michael] Crabtree, we got a little taste of him in Oakland. He was definitely a guy that … A really strong, powerful guy, you can tell just guarding him in practice. You can tell he's very seasoned, does a lot of things. You can definitely tell he's been in the league for a while. And [Willie] Snead, doesn't seem like he drops anything, I don't think. And then 'Smoke' [John Brown], that speed guy that can take it off the top. So, I've definitely been seeing as those guys come up. I've seen Joe [Flacco] even ... He knows what these guys can do and he trusts in these guys, and it looks like it's a bad pass but for Crabtree, that's a good pass to him. So, Joe, he can throw the ball I feel like a little more accurately with a guy like … With all those new weapons we got. I'm definitely liking the additions, I think it'll add a lot more firepower to our offense."
S Eric Weddle
On how he feels the defense is coming along with defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale's changes:"I think we had a great spring, and [this] offseason [we were] really trying to take it to the next level. Obviously, we made strides last year and improved on some areas we weren't so good at over the last couple years. But we weren't good enough, and that's everyone – coaches, players. [We needed to] look at each other, look at ourselves first and really take it upon ourselves to get better individually and collectively. That's what 'Wink' has done, and all of us really worked hard on the scheme and expanding our roles within our defense and really just finishing and winning those games at the end of the year to get us in the playoffs."
On the new national anthem policy and where the Ravens stand:"Obviously, it's a good sign that the owners and the players' association are having dialogue and can come to a solution – whatever the case may be – and move forward. I know here, it's about winning ball games and winning championships and about the team. Everyone puts your selfish desires aside and put the team first, and that's what we're about. Hopefully something comes up. I'm just worried about my job on this team. Whatever they decide, they decide, and we'll follow."
On what he would like to see the Ravens do if the NFL implemented a policy: "It doesn't really matter what I want, or my desire. It's whatever our organization and our team decide. We've had discussions and meetings between the organization and us. When our owner decides that he wants to say something – he'll say something. But that's between us and what we decide as Ravens."
On when they will know when they made enough adjustments to the defense:"When we're in the playoffs and got a shot at the Super Bowl. It's bottom-line business, and everyone knows it. We know it, older guys know it. You only have so many cracks at a chance at a Super Bowl. You just want to do whatever you can to get there. We've had chances and we haven't capitalized on those opportunities. It's been a great offseason. We're ecstatic. We know we have to go out and prove ourselves, but there's a lot of positive energy within our building, starting with our head coach. The way he's grown in his leadership, his accountability really resonates through our entire team, and just can't wait to hit the field."
On when he spoke during workouts about how he felt it was a long offseason and how now it feels so long ago: "It feels like a long time ago, and it's funny how your body and your mind – you just hit certain points of the year and it's time for ball. I went back home, and it was nice to be in San Diego, enjoying our house and family and friends. But you get to a certain point when it's time to get back to the journey and the focus and the determination. The motivation is inside me more than ever. I know I just appreciate the little things. I appreciate what it takes to be successful in this league, and to try to be the best it takes a lot of work. Knowing I don't have many years left, I'm giving it all I've got, helping the young guys. We need everyone. It doesn't matter how good I play, I need all 11 on the field; I need all 22 on offense, defense and special teams; I need the coaches. It doesn't matter how great I see something. If I don't resonate and explain it to the other guys and the coaches what I'm seeing – it means nothing. I feel great. My mind is there, and I can't wait. It's going to be a fun year."
On having an extended training camp: "It's obviously the first time I've experienced this with the Hall of Fame game. But leadership met with 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] in the offseason, and he came up with this plan for select guys. And obviously, the older guys have taken this first week to getting our bodies acclimated, not getting us stale with training camp. We've been here a lot of years. We come in meetings, we get our work done, we go into our conditioning, our workout, rehab, and then he lets us go. It's nice, because we feel like we're in camp, but we're not so much here all day grinding away. Then once we get into a normal training camp week, then we'll be back at it. The schedule's been great for us; just to ease us into it and not get us looking so far ahead. We can just stick to a daily routine and get better."
On if he's concerned OLB Terrell Suggs will injure someone driving owner Steve Bisciotti's golf cart:"Yeah, he's been trying to get me on that thing. I'm like, 'Man, nah. I need another year of good ball before I even think about stepping on that.'(laughter)He's been here a long time so … I don't know. I'll probably still never ride on that thing."
On if the veterans feel it's now or never to make the playoffs:"Well, I would hope everyone treats it like that. You don't know what tomorrow brings, right? You try to live each day to your fullest with no regrets. You guys know me: I'm outspoken, I'm honest. I get the most out of now. I don't know what tomorrow's going to bring. I don't know how many more years I can play. I feel great, but you never know. You don't know what can happen. I could go down tomorrow – hopefully not – but you don't know. I'm going to go give it all I've got and give it my best foot forward. I think the more the older guys can express that to the younger guys and let them know it doesn't happen often … If you have a chance at the Super Bowl … It doesn't happen year after year after year. It's very rare. I went [to the playoffs] my first three years in the league, and I thought I was going to be back, then I took a five-year hiatus, then went once and haven't been back since. So hopefully the streak ends, and we get back to it. It helps with the older guys – they set the tone. We push each other and we know that tomorrow is not guaranteed, so let's make the most of it now."
On if he's seen QB Joe Flacco throwing to the new receivers: "I've been seeing them all offseason. I love everything about Joe. We have to be better for him. He'll say it to them that he needs to be better. But having a healthy offseason for him and getting the new additions and then working every day in the offseason and the break that they had time off, and they worked and then seeing them now … I expect Joe to have a career year this year and him to lead our team to the playoffs. With the additions that we have and our defense coming back, we all get a little bit better. There you go. We're in there and making noise. I love this team. I love the organization. I love the coaches. You have everyone pulling together – it's a good recipe for success."