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Transcripts: Ravens Practice (9/6)


Opening Statement: "[I] appreciate everyone being here. [It was a] good practice. [The] guys came out and took care of the business. So, we're one step closer [and we're] trying to take it one day at a time [and] focus on our preparation and get ready to play a very good football team. What questions do you have?" 

The offensive linemen had extended time inside. Are there any other adjustments just because of the extreme heat today? (Jamison Hensley) "We did. We had a couple things with water breaks and things like that. Everyone did a good job and felt good about they worked, and we got the day in."  

You have a lot of excitement and energy and maybe some anxiety. How do you as a coach channel this into positive energy? (Kyle Barber) "Well, it's funny that you mention that because that's exactly what we talked about today in the team meeting. That's the excitement of the first game that's there. Just like the fans are excited, players and coaches are excited. Sometimes you have to take a deep breath and just kind of settle yourself a little bit and take care of what's right in front of you. And today, what was right in front of us was meetings, taking care of themselves physically and having a good practice. Now, it will be a set of meetings and then taking care of their bodies again. So, one step at a time, one revolution at a time and then get ready to play for Sunday." 

How did TE Mark Andrews look out there? (Jonas Shaffer) "He looked good. He looked fine." 

You have a good record against rookie quarterbacks. What's the challenge or ease of facing rookie quarterbacks? How much do you weigh that? _(Brian Wacker) _"That's a good question. It's not really something you do weigh too much, because we have to focus on what we do and their scheme and what they do. We know C.J. Stroud is extremely talented. I watched him play a lot, and [I] have the upmost respect for him, his ability, for their offense, for the system they run [and] for the players they have. They have great skilled players. They have a great run game; a downhill run game. They had that last year, too, in terms of running the zone scheme, [having a] fullback on the field. All of those things that we're going to have to be ready for, but we're just going to have to do what we do [and] try to do our best [that] we can and let the chips fall." 

There's a lot of new players on this team. Is there anybody that you're anxious to see on Sunday? (Cordell Woodland) "I'm anxious to see everyone. Honestly, I'm anxious to see the team. That's the anybody I'm anxious to see is the team and all the parts of the team. They're going to be out there playing, trying to do their best. Everyone wants to play very well. And we're going to try and do our best." 

This will be WR Odell Beckham Jr.'s first game back in about a year. Are there any talks about a snap count for him for the first game? _(Jamison Hensley) _"No. We haven't had that conversation. It's going to be part and parcel of the gameplan and the personnel groups that go on the field, but he's ready to go." 

WR Odell Beckham Jr. shared in an interview that he texted you that 'You run a world class organization.' I know you're not fishing for compliments, but what does that mean to get that type of acknowledgment from a player of his caliber? (Mark Viviano) "It would be a lie to say it doesn't mean something, right? It means something because there's a guy that ... He's been around, he knows what he's talking about, and you have so much respect for him. The thing that you respect when it comes from someone who works so hard every day at his craft. But yes, it was meaningful. It was appreciated, but yes, we're not fishing for compliments. I like that."  

Do you have a sense of what WR Odell Beckham Jr. had to overcome in the last year and a half?_ (Noah Trister)_ "I do. I just talked to [Odell Beckham Jr.] coming off the field. You guys saw that. He'll probably tell you, that's kind of what he's talking about. That's what he's thinking about. He's very aware of the fact that he hasn't played in a long time and how important it is and how excited he is and how much he's put in to get himself ack to this point. When you commit so much, you make so many sacrifices, [and] you work so hard, those are investments are made with your time, your energy, and your effort and your emotions and everything else. And I know he's looking for that to pay off. He's hoping that's going to pay off, and he's going to go out there playing just as hard as he can because of it." 

OC Todd Monken is known for having success instilling confidence into the quarterbacks he works with. How do you think that is going to affect QB Lamar Jackson when he approaches this game? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Lamar [Jackson] is his own man. Lamar is a confident guy, and he's confident because he's another guy that works so hard at it. Lamar has put everything into it. He has been out here. He's been studying day and night. He's been working on all of his fundamentals, and he's ready to go. And like we said last week, he's ready to be on point with everything he does. So, Todd [Monken] and he – they get along great. They have to be like that. They are like that. They talk a lot, and we'll see what happens. And it's not just one game either. We're talking about a whole season in front of us."  

Do you see QB Lamar Jackson attempting more passes this season? Do you see him maybe setting passing attempt season highs and how can that influence your offense? (Kyle Goon) "Probably the answer is going to be we're going to do whatever we feel like we need to do to win because that's always the answer. It was never not throwing the ball or not running or whatever. It was never that. Just by virtue of the personality of the team, it's pretty fair assumption that we're going to throw the ball more. No question about that. I'm excited about that. Again, game to game, series to series, whatever needs to be done, that's what our guys are up for."  

Defensively, I don't know if there was a corner, other than Ar'Darius Washington that was on the practice field the entire time during training camp. How much do you have to rely on versatility and matchups especially in the beginning of the season where some of the corners have to find their footing and kind of get back to form? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I trust those players. I trust those players to go out there – corners, safeties, linebackers, the whole defense – the whole team really – to go out there and play well. We have guys on our team for a reason. It's because they're very good players. So that's not really a road I need to travel down in terms of concern, because know those guys are going to out there and play their hearts out. They're excellent players, and the floor is high, and I'm very certain that they're going to play well." 

What's your sense on WR Zay Flowers on how he's going to make that transition from what he's done in the summer to the real stage? _(Childs Walker) _"The pundits and prognosticators, to quote Jack Harbaugh, I'm not either one of those. So, I don't have a prediction in terms of how he's going to fare. I think he's going to fare really well, because he's a really good player, and he works really hard, and guys like that tend to do very well. He has talent. So, I think he's going to do great, but how he's going to transition and all that, I don't know. I just think he's going to come out and play really good football for us and win games for us, and that's all we really ask. To make it more than that, it's kind of like, 'What are talking about here?'" 


On what he is anticipating the offense to look like and if he is eager to see it in action against another team: "For one, I'm anticipating us going out there and playing against someone, actually – first offense, we haven't been going against anybody but our guys. I'm just ready to get the ball rolling right now. Lots of hype." 

On WR Zay Flowers' performance in the rookie talent show:"That was nice – performing Kodak [Black]. He was nice. I thought he was Kodak a little bit." 

On if he has ever played with a receiver group this talented before in his football career:"I feel like I had guys who were able to contribute to the team every year, but these guys, obviously it's different. Everyone brings something different to the table. So, it's different. I'll say that – it's different." 

On how comfortable he feels with offensive coordinator Todd Monken's offense: "I feel very comfortable. I feel great actually – just the explosiveness, getting the ball out [of] my hands faster, getting guys open. [I] just can't wait to see it in a regular game now so we can actually talk about it more in depth." 

On if he thinks there will be situations in a game where there are play calls that offensive coordinator Todd Monken will trust him with:"Absolutely. He's been showing it during practice – just trusting me, being able to make plays at the line [of scrimmage] going against the Ones [first-team] defense, stuff like that. That's all I need. I know it's going to transition over to the game, so [we're] just going to see." 

On the reasons that allow him to play so consistently well in Week 1 games: "Just missing the game, I'd say – just not being out there on the field in a real game, just the physicality out there that goes on, making the fans happy. I don't know. I love every game, though, not just Week 1." 

On how pleased he is with how everything came together in the offseason and if this is how he envisioned it would work out:"I don't know. My vision is hoping to be playing in February, but just to have the great group of guys doing a great job of keeping guys here and bringing in new guys and just building – helping our offense build [and] defense build. That's just hats off to them, and we're just going to see when the game comes how it all plays out." 

On if the biggest impression he has made of WR Odell Beckham Jr. is his speed now that he has spent a full training camp with him:"Not just his speed, but his route running is very smooth, and actually being on the same team as him and not watching him do it on the opposing sideline. Just to be on his team and him doing what Odell [Beckham Jr.] does is crazy." 

On if he has a sense of what it means to have WR Odell Beckham Jr. Back playing after not playing last season due to injury:"Oh, absolutely. I know he's passionate about the game, and he just can't wait to show people and the world what he's still able to do." 

On if he thinks there is someone under the radar primed for a breakout season on the team:"I'm actually trying to keep them under the radar, but I feel like we have a great group of guys." 

On what he remembers about his first NFL start, a win over the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018, since he is going up against a rookie quarterback in the Houston Texans' C.J. Stroud: "I think we played Cincinnati my first start. I remember going into the game [feeling] nervous. I had butterflies until actually my first snap. Like you said, we got the 'dub,' but after the first snap, I think the nervousness went away, and I was just ready to go – hit the ground running." 

On the significance of the Ravens having an all-black quarterback room and what it means for him to be a part of it:"It's awesome for people to see. [It's] just a new era in the league all across the board [at] every level – collegiate level, NFL – and it's great for me to be a part of it. [There's a] first time for everything." 

On if he believes things are set up to show people that he is the kind of quarterback he has always seen himself as:"I believe so, but I also believe there'll always be doubters no matter what you're showing people. It's all about proving yourself right, not everyone else. So, I'm just going to go out there and do what I do, and we're going to see." 

On if it is more challenging to prepare against a team with a new coaching staff like the Houston Texans:"It depends. Like you said, [they have a] different coach [and] different players but the system is sort of similar to other teams who we've played in the past and from watching film – watching [the San Francisco] 49ers' defense and [their] coach comes from the 49ers – [they have] similar defenses." 

On what has stood out to him about offensive coordinator Todd Monken:"Being outspoken. I think I said that before – just being outspoken and being loud in the meeting rooms. I'm like, 'It's early.' He has his blood flowing. I feel like that's what stood out for me the most." 

On if he anticipates feeling any different come Sunday's game since it has been a while he has played because of his injury last season:"I'd say I'm a little bit anxious, but Coach [John] Harbaugh said in a meeting, 'Don't peak too soon.' So, I'm not trying to peak too soon. I was lifting [weights] earlier with [strength and conditioning coordinator] Scott [Elliott], and I was telling him, 'I feel like I'm ready' because I was running around in walk-through earlier, too. I'm just pumped to be honest. [I] can't wait to get out there." 

On why he feels more anxious:"I haven't played since December, November – one of them. (laughter) It's a long time, so I'm just pumped. That's a long time, so I'm ready to get out there on the field." 

On if he has ever gone back and watched the play he was injured on last season:"I don't want to watch it. I don't like being hurt, so I definitely don't want to watch it, but I've seen it. I'm back. [I] feel like I'm better – 100%. So, I'm ready to show it." 

On how he would describe the team chemistry and how it compares to teams he has been on before:"Around here – this organization – our chemistry is always going to be joined together. We're always going to be close with one another. This year, I feel like we're older now, so I feel like the chemistry is even better." 


On how he approaches going against a rookie quarterback since there is no film to watch:"Honestly, [I approach it] just like any other quarterback in the NFL. He's playing, so he's out there for a reason. I'm sure they have a lot of faith in him. [They] drafted him very high, so I have a lot of respect for him as well. But when he comes out there, I'm going to treat him like any other quarterback. [I'm] going to prepare like [I would for] any other quarterback, so we'll be ready." 

On if he's anxious to be able to hit somebody for real since it's only been two-handle touch up to this point:"I'm very excited to get out there and hit somebody for real. Only a couple of times against some nice studs, but they have a really good running back in [No.] 31 [Dameon Pierce], so I have a lot of respect for him. I played against him last year, so I know he runs very hard, but I love great challenges and I'm always up for it." 

On what Week One means to him with the Ravens: "Week One means a lot to me with the Ravens. [It will be] my first game of the season starting out here. [I'm] very excited about that, opening up at M&T Bank [Stadium]. [I'm] ready to see the fans out there, so I'm just excited to get out there, experience the atmosphere and bring back the 'dub,' but we have to prepare like any other week." 

On what his expectation is for the defense:"The standard is very high, and the standard is the standard. We plan to come out and be the best defense in the league. That's going to take [working] week-in and week-out, not letting complacency slide in and just doing our job each and every play. Every guy just has to do their 1/11. We feel if we do that, we'll match up well against anyone." 

On if he's noticed that over the years, rookie quarterbacks are coming into the league more NFL-ready or is that not the case:"I have a great deal of respect [for C.J. Stroud]. He went very high [in the draft], but every guy that goes high … It doesn't mean that he's going to be a star power right away, but the guy has a lot of talent, and he can do a lot of great things with the ball. So, I'm just excited to get out there [on] opening day, and I would love to put our talents out there and show them exactly what we can do, and it will be his 'Welcome to the League.'" 

On how he would describe the home field advantage when playing at M&T Bank Stadium:"Man, the home field advantage here is pretty in sane. I can tell you, when I first got here, just hearing the fans – and it was midseason, cold and all – you could just look up and see the fans, [steam] coming from their mouth and just the excitement they have week-in and week-out for us, paying their hard-earned money to come out and watch us play. [I] have a great deal of respect for that, so we definitely have to pay them back in the utmost manner and go out and give them everything that we have." 

On if there's any alignment the defense can do to make a rookie quarterback think a little bit more: "Absolutely. A young quarterback, obviously, hasn't seen as much as a veteran quarterback, like an [Aaron] Rodgers or like a guy coming from that tree. So, obviously changing the picture [or] making them see things post-snap is definitely going to create a hassle for most quarterbacks anyway, and a rookie is going to be … Coming to the NFL, it's a little different speed than college, so I think it will be great. We're looking forward to the opportunity, and I think it's going to be great for our defense." 

On if he's been impressed with WR Odell Beckham Jr. coming in and earning the respect in the locker room similar to your situation last year:"Yes, absolutely. I have a great deal of respect for 'OB' [Odell Beckham Jr. and] the way he's been going about his business. I think the guy is a pro, comes in each and every day [and] busts his tail. I see him out there on the field or in the film room talking to Lamar [Jackson], getting on the same page and little things like that. So, I'm just excited to see those guys' connection week-in and week-out. [We] had a great day of practice today preparing, so I'm just looking forward to seeing it week-in and week-out throughout the season." 

On how he's feeling about wearing the green dot:"The green dot is amazing. I love the responsibility. It's not my first time doing it, so I love just being able to lead the guys with guys knowing that I'm going to make sure I get the call out on time and get it going throughout the defense. It's a great responsibility to have, and I'm just excited to be leading a great group of guys." 


On if Week 1 will be emotional for him:"I think so. It's like over 450 days and counting. I don't know the exact days, but it's been a long time. It's been a long time in my mind; it's been a long time in reality. And I've just been trying to pretend like it's not here for the whole training camp and just go about it and be grateful to be back out there, but I'm excited. I don't know what emotions will be running through me. I know I'll be excited to play football again. I'm just ready to get there. I'm trying to take it a day at a time and ease my way into it." 

On trying to keep his emotions in check in Week 1, given all that's occurred:"I don't know if there is a manual for it – just one day at a time. Like Coach [John Harbaugh] always talks about, one meeting at time, one practice, one play at a time. [I'm] just trying to keep that mindset, and that will keep me never too high, never too low. But I can tell you this, I'm excited. I'm excited to be back on the field. It's truly a blessing. God really gave me another opportunity to play, the Ravens game another opportunity to play, and I don't take it for granted." 

On what has stood out to him about this Ravens team and organization:"It's just world class. I can see it from the way meetings go and the things that we focus on. And the little things that are actually important to the game that you don't really harp on and give much detail to, [Coach Harbaugh] goes over that. And then you see it come up in the game, and you just know exactly why he's doing it. So, it's that, it's the way that they run things around here – practice, the weight room, training room. It's just world class. I was kind of blown away by coming here – you never know what to expect anywhere you go – and it's just been great. It's been a great fit. I'm doing my best that I can to be the very best me that I could possibly be for the guys around me, for myself and for this team." 

On what he remembers from his first-career game after being a first-round pick and experiencing everything that went into the season:"I haven't told [Zay Flowers] anything yet, but I'm like, 'Listen, you know who you are.' And he's got a lot of confidence in himself. I don't really know if there's going to be much that needs to be said. Maybe I need to give him a little bump, get him hyped or tell him to calm down – either way. I don't know how much advice I can give him, because I'm going to be right there with him, as far as excitement. I feel like this is my first game. So, I feel like we're both going to be excited, and he has every capability in the world. There's a reason he was as high of a draft pick as he was; there's a reason people are raving about him – no pun [intended]. But there's a reason he's here. So, I don't know exactly what I'm going to tell him, but I know he's going to be ready." 

On if this feels like it's kind of like his first-ever game:"It really does. The whole thing feels like a reset for me. There have been a lot of déjà vu moments of little things that have happened that just kind of feel reminiscent of my rookie year in a sense – just the feeling of the excitement that I have to play football and just a new opportunity, a new life. So, I don't know what to expect, but I'm excited." 

On the veteran traits and presence he's seen from QB Lamar Jackson:"I just think anybody who has those traits is one who's followed, and we all follow [No.] 8. We go as [Lamar Jackson] goes. So, every quarterback anybody has had is probably different, and he's definitely different than any other quarterback I've had. But the leadership comes from the smile on his face, the confidence he puts within us. As far as making a throw – whether that coverage is tight coverage, or whether you're wide open – it's a connection that you have, and he gives me the confidence to go out there and know that, 'You do what you've got to do and get open; I'm going to throw you the ball. And if you didn't get open, I'll throw you the ball anyway [and] make the play.' So, I don't know the exact traits, but it's just … He's a leader, and we follow him." 

On what he thinks people will say about offensive coordinator Todd Monken's offense after Week 1:"We've got to see. I don't really have an answer for that. I never put out any expectations, but the goal is to score points. I don't have any numbers for you or anything like that, but the goal is to score points – score more points than the other team – and make plays and be explosive. We've got a lot of guys that need the ball in their hands, and there's only one ball, so we've just got to find a way for everyone to eat and be efficient in their job and [with] what they're capable of doing. So, I don't know, I'll let you write up what they 

 expect about [offensive coordinator Todd Monken's] offense after Week 1." 

On if he's ever played with a receiving group this good:"I don't want to look back to other groups, but I'll just focus on this group specifically. I don't want to compare or do any of that because I've played with a lot of great guys. But I look around, and Rashod Bateman was a first-round [draft pick]. 'Nelly' [Nelson Agholor] was a first-round [pick]. I was a first-round [pick]. Zay [Flowers] was a first-round [pick]. And even the other guys that we have out there – 'Tread' [Laquon Treadwell] was a first-round [pick]. 'Duv' [Devin Duvernay], 'Ty' [Tylan Wallace], even 'Young Shizz' [Sean Ryan] – we have a bunch of guys that can make plays. So, we have a pretty selfless demeanor in that room, and we know whoever's in has got to be the one that has to make plays, and if they need to come out, whoever comes in is going to make plays. That's the mentality we carry in that room is, 'We're going to make plays.' So, I'm just excited to be a part of this. This is the best group I've played with right now in this moment." 

On how much of a motivation is there for you to think to yourself that you can be the same receiver that you were: "I don't know. That's just how I carry myself. I feel good. It's been a lot of hard work to get to this point. I know who I am. It's just time to let your hair down [and] have fun. So, I'm excited. I'm not giving out any numbers or expectations. I feel good and ready to play football again." 

On if he's given WR Rashod Bateman any words of wisdom and how has his relationship with him has evolved: "Yes. I give him all the wisdom in the … I talk to him, though. And anytime that he needs to talk about anything, [but] I never like to put people's business out as far as that goes. There's definitely been those conversations about, 'How do you keep your mind right' and all of those things. Each person's experience is their own. So, what I've gone through is never what the next person has gone through, even if we had the exact same injury. It's a different experience. [There's] different things that go on in our life; different family styles [and] different lifestyles, all of those things. But I just try to encourage him to ... If he ever needs help with anything … there's going to be days where he needs me, and there's going to be days where I need him. Like I said, that's the mentality that we have in this room. So, I'm always there for him, just trying to encourage him that he's capable of doing anything that he wants to do. Just to see him back out there, I know that he's excited. It's been a little rough journey for him, too, so I just try to give him whatever words that I can." 

On if there's someone on this team flying under the radar or who's set up for a breakout season: "I don't know. All of us. We're all ready to break out. Zay [Flowers] … I just look around, and there's so much talent on offense. I'll let the defense talk about the defense. But on the offense, you have [Isaiah] Likely, Mark Andrews [and] all the receivers we have. You have three running backs, a quarterback, and the offensive line is great. I don't see too many missing pieces. So hopefully, all of us break out and we all do our jobs to the best of our abilities, and we'll see what happens from there."

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