BALTIMORE RAVENS TRAINING CAMP (8/27) TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Good to see everybody. Appreciate you guys being here. As you know, Jaleel Scott was put on IR, and we added Rob [Robertson] Daniel. He'll be here. For this week, he'll be playing safety. What do you have? … That was quick!" (laughter)
Defensive Coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale talked last week about CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste as a guy who is sort of stepping up to his opportunity, and then, he obviously had the interception on Saturday. What possibility do you see for him, especially with CB Jimmy Smith out? (Childs Walker) "I'm not speculating on any of that, because you don't know. Anything can happen. A lot of things can happen. Everything is fluid at this time. Although, I think Stan has played very well. I would say more the last three or four weeks he's been really good in practice. He's played well in the games. He's improved tremendously from the offseason especially, so he's done a great job, and I'm really pleased with him. He's definitely in the hunt. There's no doubt about it. He's got a chance, a really good chance." (Reporter: "Yes, when I said possibility, I didn't so much mean roster.") "Yes, but I don't rank it. I don't give percentages. I don't sit up here and [ask], 'What do you think? How much?' I don't do that. You'll know the team when we know the team, and we don't know the team yet. There's still a lot to be played out, and to sit here and say one guy is going to make it, I'm saying another guy is not going to make it. And even if I did know, I wouldn't say it, because it wouldn't be fair."
With RB Alex Collins, I think he's had about three carries this preseason. Is that just to keep him fresh for the regular season? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, it's just like everything else. We do what we need to do to get our guys ready to play, whatever is best for them. We don't do anything because we think it's going to make him worse or make our team worse. We do it because it's going to make him better, because it's going to get him most ready to play and our team most ready to play. So, any decision we make, anybody [who] plays a certain amount, it's all what's best for the team and gives us the best chance to be our best when the real football starts."
Last week you talked about guys, 'Hey, you want to make the team? Make a catch. You want to make the team? Make a tackle.' WR Jordan Lasley made some plays. WR Tim White made some plays. How satisfying was it to see some of these young kids kind of answer the call a little bit? (Keith Mills) "It was. I thought those two guys in particular, Tim and Jordan, did very well, and not just those two guys. Really, if you watch that game, the thing I guess I was most proud of was the way guys stepped up. You had so many guys step up and play such good football. Our team wanted to be there. Our team wanted to play in the second half. A bunch of young guys wanted to make the team, and they responded in a way to give themselves a chance to make the team, which is, kind of to your point, it's what is going to make these decisions so difficult, because we have a bunch of guys stepping up and earning spots on the team, and you can't keep everybody. So, I was really proud of those guys for that."
What were you thinking during the game on Saturday when you looked to your left and Dolphins LB Kiko Alonso was standing there next to you? (Garrett Downing) (laughter) "I don't know. Obviously, I knew more than he did about it! He was just standing there like he belonged there! (laughter) Some of our guys think he did it on purpose. I don't think so. He seemed a little out of it. I guess he got spun around, tipped upside down, turned over twice and didn't know which side he was on. It was pretty funny, and it was kind of a fun moment."
What have you seen from C Bradley Bozeman? We even saw him switch with G/C Matt Skura at one point in the first half, got him some reps at center. What has his development looked like? Clearly, a pretty distinguished career at Alabama. (Luke Jones) "Bradley has had a really good camp, and he's a very steady player. [He] knows what he's doing. He's still a rookie, makes his fair share of mistakes, but he's in there. He's more of a center than a guard, but he can play guard, so he's a swing guy, and he's competing for a spot on the team. He's not competing for the starting job, like some speculated, but he is competing for a spot on the team, and this next Thursday is going to be big for him also just like the other guys."
You said that it felt like QB Lamar Jackson kind of broke through on Saturday night. What does he have to do to build on that, and what are the challenges to have him continue to grow while you start giving the first-team reps to QB Joe Flacco during the regular season? (Aaron Kasinitz) "What I said was that basically, I said he was breaking out in a game, I think is how I said it. Which might sound a little weird, but what I was trying to say was all the things that we've seen in practice, we saw in a game for the first time. Everybody got to see it, and that's what he's been doing in practice, so to see him carry it over to the game, that's a big step, especially at that position. Sometimes practice is practice and taking the next step and carrying things to the game is a big challenge. To see him take that step and do it, he's gotten better every single game, but that was a big jump, I thought. We'll see. He has to just go to practice, he has to practice hard and continue to do it when he gets a shot in the game: make plays, and do things right, and be calm, and all the things that you have to do to play in that kind of world-class type of environment. He'll keep practicing. He'll keep studying. He'll keep trying to improve himself a little bit every day, and when he gets his chance, I'm very confident that he'll make plays."
In the determination of a roster, obviously General Manager & Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome makes final decisions, consults with coaches. How much do you rely, if at all, on player input? Veteran players, what they think about guys as it pertains to that? (Mark Viviano) "Very little, in all honestly. I'll listen, and I'm always interested, and guys will tell me what they think, but in the end, it's a decision that's made at that level that you're talking about, and it's what's best for the team and the organization. That's it, really."
To have T Ronnie Stanley and G/T James Hurst back, getting a little healthier on the offensive line, fair to say, they're not really going to see a lot of time on Thursday? Is it good to at least get healthier on the offensive line today? (Shawn Stepner) "I'm not following that question. I think you want to ask a question a little more directly, but you know you're not supposed to, right? It's pretty obvious." (laughter) (Reporter: "What did you see from them today in terms of getting healthy on the offensive line?") "It's great to get healthy on the offensive line. It's great to see those guys out there practicing. Just as I mentioned last week, they were short-term-type injuries, and that's fortunately what they turned out to be."
How would you assess the two guys, LB Patrick Onwuasor and LB Kenny Young, who are battling for that last inside linebacker spot? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I think they're both playing very well. Both have their plusses, and more and more plusses, I'd say, than minuses, for sure. Both of those guys are playing at a really high level. They're both at a different place. Patrick is in his third year, Kenny is in his first year, so you see that a little bit. But I have all the confidence in the world that both those guys will go out there and play really well for us, both on defense and special teams, and they'll be doing both of those."
What ended up happening to WR Jaleel Scott? (Jeff Zrebiec) "He got put on IR. He had a hamstring. Is that what you're asking? What was his injury? It was a really serious hamstring."
S Tony Jefferson
Opening statement: "What's going on, guys? Very hot day today. Got some good work in. Excited for the upcoming season. Glad to be back out there with my teammates. I was in the training room for a little while. It sucks in there, but it was a joy to be out there with my teammates last, what day was that, Saturday? It was good to get back out there, get my feet wet. Big ups to our training staff, [head athletic trainer] Ron [Medlin] and them, for getting me right, dealing with my impatience. I wanted to be out in practice so many times, but they held me back, so I want to thank them for that."
On if he's fully recovered from his injury: "Oh, yes. I'm ready to go, full-go. The hamstrings, you want to be extra cautious with those, and obviously you want to be proactive rather than reactive, so just staying on top of it even though it's feeling good, feeling great. You want to stay on top of those soft-tissue-type injuries."
On the younger players stepping up: "Yes, it's a joy to see, primarily because you're the older guy so you kind of feel like, 'Hey, we kind of taught these guys the right way,' and these guys are just coming on along. Obviously, from the first year to the second year is a huge jump. I think we've all seen that throughout the years of the NFL's history. We're excited about the young guys that we have, like you said, the depth especially. I can speak for the defensive side of the ball: We have a bunch of depth, a bunch of young guys who stepped up and played well in critical situations, and that's how you build a championship team. You have guys who are bought in and guys who follow their leaders."
On the progression in his communication with S Eric Weddle in their second year together: "Light years, man. Last year was our first year together, and we're just building. We're building each day. I'm learning more and more every day, obviously being with a guy like Weddle with what he's done, picking his brain. He's making me a complete football player, and I'll always appreciate that."
On if there was a greater adjustment factor last season than he anticipated: "Yes, like you said, I'm not a guy who's going to give excuses or [wonder] why things happen, because at the end of the day, this is my job, and you have to get the job done. Obviously, it was different from what I was used to, scheme-wise and all of that. But, it's football. I'm a professional. I adapt to anything, and like I said, just building chemistry with not just Eric but with everybody else on defense."
On the key to the defense's low third down conversion rate: "What percent? 29? It probably would be a little lower if I don't give up that third-and-one playing six yards off on cover-zero. But, that's been a real stress this whole offseason. Let's get off the field on third down, let's get three-and-outs, let's get our offense going. Our offense is moving right now. Offense is doing a great job. Defensively, we just have to keep stacking. We want to be the best defense in the NFL, and getting off the field on third down is going to get us to our goal."
On possibilities he sees for CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste: "'Bap?' … I like 'Bap.' He's one of the guys that has kind of grown on me a little bit. It kind of took him a second last year coming in on the [practice] squad and kind of learning the system, but he has all the intangibles that you look for in a corner – he's long, strong, can run – and he's really come along. He had his second pick of the preseason, and he's showing he wants to be a guy that makes this team."
On his emotions after some games last season, and if his first season with the Ravens didn't play out as he would have liked: "It was obviously … I think you're talking, emotionally, from Cincinnati, the last game. Personally, I just felt like … First off, we didn't go to the playoffs, so that hurt more than anything, because you never want to really worry about individual when it comes to that point. We're worried about getting to the Super Bowl. That's our goal. And, I felt like I didn't play how I know I can play and I didn't play how I should have been playing. The good thing about it is, I'm here another year, and I have another opportunity and there are no excuses. Go out there and make plays and be a baller."
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste
On what he told himself to stay positive as he moved from team to team: "I would just tell myself to just control what I can control, on and off the field. Everything will fall into place when it needs to."
On why things have clicked for him with the Ravens: "Other training camps were going well, just like how it is right now. It's just [there's] more opportunities with the Ravens. At the same time, it's just I'm getting more playing time. We have more vets on this side of the ball – the defensive side of the ball – [so] it's a lot of rest time for them. So, that means I get on the field more."
On if it's an odd dynamic that CB Jimmy Smith's suspension might create an opportunity for him: "I don't know what they're going to do with Jimmy's suspension. The opportunity with me is going to come, as I said, on the field – finishing strong for this last preseason game and hopefully they make a decision upstairs."
On if this preseason has been the most comfortable he has felt out on the field: "Yeah, I mean, I'm pretty comfortable wherever I go. But [the] Ravens … Yes, like you said, it feels more at home. It's more like a family over here."
On if he is a better player now compared to when he was drafted: "Yes, I think I'm a better player. It's more as in … Not on the field, but just knowing how everything goes, just knowing how the system is and knowing how to control what I can control."
On the importance of preseason games to a guy fighting for a roster spot: "Every game is important – even if it's preseason. Going out there every day, putting out good film for all the 31 teams to see – that's important. You can't go out there and put out bad film, because that's the last thing they're going to think about you."
On what serves as motivation after getting cut from a team: "The confidence is already there. To bounce back … It's just football. You're doing something you love. It won't go away like that – that easy."
On if teams passing over him has served as motivation: "The chip [on my shoulder] is always there. At the same time, whatever ball club I'm playing for I'm going to give them my all. But if I do play against a team that cut me – yes, it's going to be a little personal."
On if getting cut from the Saints was the hardest because there was a lot of excitement around drafting him: "Yeah, going into New Orleans, I was a rookie [and] I didn't really know much. Like the question before, I just tried to control things that I couldn't control. But at the same time, I learned from my mistakes."
On if thinking about making the team or not was part of the things he said he couldn't control: "Are you talking about here?" (Reporter: "Well, anywhere. Yes, here too.") "I mean, yes. Every day I'm just coming out, just trying to compete, just going to practice then going to the game, and at the end of the day just letting the chips fall where they fall."
On what he will do with his free time Friday and Saturday while waiting for the call to find out if he made the team: "I don't know. (laughter) I don't know – probably go home." (Reporter: "It's got to be a nerve-racking time?") "It is, but it's not anything new now. So, it's just waiting for a phone call. If not, then be ready to go and practice."
On if he could describe the best version of himself as a player: "Are you talking about this year or overall?" (Reporter: "Just overall.") "I think I can be one of the best in the league. When I get my opportunity, I'm going to show it. But at the same time, until then I'm just going to keep working on my craft and just keep fighting for my way on the field."