Transcripts: Ravens Practice Availability (8/24)


Opening Statement: "OK, [it's] great to see everybody. I appreciate you being here. [We had a] good practice. We're going to kind of get pointed toward Tampa here, in a quick turnaround, so that's going to be our focus going forward. But we're really happy with the last two days of practice – execution and timing practices. I thought the guys did a really good job. The other thing is Terrell Suggs will be inducted into the [Ravens'] Ring of Honor. So, I want to congratulate Terrell and his family – 'Sizz.' We've still got a defense called 'Sizz.' Did you know that? Yes, it's a pass rush, of course. (laughter)I had a chance to text with him today, and [I] couldn't be more happy for him. Nobody is more deserving. Obviously, that was a no brainer, right? And what he meant to this organization and to our team and to our defense … I'm just personally very grateful for Terrell Suggs and what he's done for the Ravens. What questions do you have?" 

DE Jadeveon Clowney just said that the reason he came here was that he always thought it would be fun to play for you. When he came to visit, did you find it easy to strike up a rapport with him? Did you have a sense that he would fit not just as a player, but culturally? (Childs Walker)"I would say yes to all those. It was a really easy conversation when we first met. We may have shaken hands after games and when [Jadeveon Clowney] was getting drafted, maybe, but I doubt it, because we weren't drafting nearly high enough probably to even talk to him – if I remember right. But it was easy, because we had so many shared experiences on the other side of the field, right? And we [got] a chance to talk about that stuff, and it was kind of a big smile from both of us and a hug, and we were just rolling and talking about family and about football. It did feel like a perfect fit. It felt like a perfect fit football-wise, before we even got a chance to talk. Then when we talked to him, and he kind of expressed what he's looking for and what he wants to accomplish, and we kind of explained what we were looking for and what the need was, it just was over, as far as I was concerned. He took a couple of days; they figured it out, and he's here. He's practicing really well, and it's been nothing but a joy to be around him every single day." 

You've talked about the versatility of DE Jadeveon Clowney, OLB Odafe Oweh and OLB David Ojabo. Do you see those guys as all interchangeable parts? (Ryan Mink)"One hundred percent; I think that's what they'll be. They all bring … They play the same positions, but they all do it [in a] slightly different way, but they're all explosive in the same kind of way. I really just … I'm excited to see those guys working together, and I'll put the rest of the group in there, too. But those three guys are the obvious guys right now, and they're going to be out there rolling. I can't wait to see them work." 

When it comes to the last preseason game, how important is it when it comes to the bubble roster guys? Do you kind of have an idea going into the game? How much stock do you put into the last preseason game? (Cordell Woodland) "That's a great question. It just depends on the situation. It kind of goes both ways sometimes. Sometimes it doesn't mean a lot because you pretty much know where you're at. Other times, you know, it can put somebody over the top. I don't think it's ever really going to hurt anybody. Anybody that's ever put themselves in the position to make the team now, I don't see anything they did in the game that they would jeopardize him at all. But I think it could take somebody to the next level, possibly, if you see something you've been looking for." 

S Ar'Darius Washington made a leaping interception today in practice. Some people talk about his size and him being undersized. What does he do well that allows him to play bigger than his size? (Bo Smolka) "He does play bigger than his size. One of the things he does well is he jumps really well. I mean, he's really explosive. He's found where his vertical jumps his, but I've seen him go way higher to get a football. The play he made in the game against [the] Washington [Commanders] – on that zero blitz where he threw the ball up in the air, and you got the ball out – that's as good a play you're going to see. He has a knack for exploding, covering ground to go make a play. So, he's done really well. I'm really happy for him. He's taken a lot of steps as a player, and I'm excited for his future."  

How do you think C Sam Mustipher has performed this summer? Do you think he can handle the backup job behind C Tyler Linderbaum? (Luke Jones) "[That's a] great question, and the answer is affirmative to all of that. Sam [Mustipher] has played very well. He's picked up the offense very well, but he's a guy that has started numerous games, so he's been there. He understands the concepts. He's held up really well from a base and an anchor standpoint. And he's moved his feet well in reach blocks and things like that's. [He has] very few mistakes. He's definitely put himself in the position to be a contributor for us. He definitely has." 

What have you seen from CB Ronald Darby in the practices so far and do you want to see him in game like situations to close out the preseason? (Gerry Sandusky) "That's a good question. Yes, I want to. I'd love to. I'd love to see everybody in a game situation to close out the preseason. What have I seen from [Ronald] Darby? Ronald has done well. He looks like a starting corner. You know, he's been there. He's very talented. He knows how to play. He's a great addition to our team."  

Have you guys made any decisions on whether guys like CB Rock Ya-Sin, CB Jalyn Armour-Davis, and CB Arthur Maulet will be available to play in Saturday's preseason game? (Jonas Shaffer) "We have made some decisions. Some of it will come down to medical. We want to make sure they're really healthy enough to go. Another thing is you want to have enough guys because the guys that are playing can be overburdened and pressed into too many plays, and that's something we have to weigh out." 


What have been your impressions on rookie ILB Trenton Simpson?_ (Kyle Barber)_ "[Trenton Simpson]'s been developing very well. He's a hard-working kid. [He's a] great athlete. You can see the physical talent of why we wanted him. He had an unfortunate little injury at the beginning of camp that kind of slowed him down, but he was participating in meetings. He's developing well. He's got some really good game action. It was his first real live action that he's got all camp, and we expect him to keep getting better. He has the right mindset – which is important – to continue to get better, and he obviously has the skillset. We're excited [with] where he's at right now. He's only going to continue to get a lot better, so we're excited [with] where he's at right now." 

In the mistakes that he did make in the preseason game, did they strike you as normal rookie mistakes?_ (Childs Walker)_ "Oh, yes. For sure. The thing about it that a lot of people have to understand is the jump from college to the NFL – I don't care what level of college you played at – it's a big jump. Mistakes are normal mistakes that you make throughout the course of the football game, but the thing that I liked that he did is he bounced back from the mistake after the touchdown and ran the guy over for a sack fumble, which was a big play in that two-minute drive. That just kind of shows you the makeup that he has, that he can move on from one play to the next play. But it's just normal game mistakes. The biggest jump we always say is from game one to game two. [I] expect him to be a lot better this game coming up." 

Where have you seen ILB Patrick Queen make the biggest advancements in his game this summer? (Ryan Mink) "I would say, honestly, everywhere. 'PQ,' Patrick Queen, I'm so excited about him. This is probably the most focused I've seen him since being around him, and he's always been a focused guy, but this year, he kind of has a different look in his eyes. I'm excited and happy about it. He's improved everywhere. We've talked after the season, and he wanted to get better in all aspects. I think that's great that a player doesn't pinpoint one aspect of his game he wants to improve. He wants to improve everywhere, and I think he's done that. So, he's ready to be unleashed, and I'm excited to see him when he gets out there Week One." 

Along those lines, ILB Patrick Queen has even talked about the business side with his fifth-year option. How impressed have you been with everything you just said about him on the field, and how he's handled himself and not allowed it to be a distraction going into this year? _(Luke Jones) _"It just shows [Patrick Queen's] maturity. I've been very impressed with him. Obviously, the business side is something we don't shy away from. I know it. We know it as coaches, and we want these guys to do what's best for them and their career. But he understands, at the end of the day, to get what he wants and to get where he wants to be at, he has to come out here and perform, and the best way to do that is be focused [and] locked in every single day. And he's done that. He's taken the right approach about it, a great approach about it. He's not complaining [and] not whining about anything like that. He understands the business side of it. I think 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh] and [general manager and executive vice president] Eric [DeCosta] have done a great job with the conversations they've had with him. He's doing well. He's handling it really well. I'm excited. I think it's going to be very beneficial for him the way he's been handling it." 

The Ravens announced today that OLB Terrell Suggs is going to be inducted into the Ring of Honor, and you played with him. What stands out to you about him as a teammate? _(Garrett Downing) _"Yes. Man, first and foremost, congrats to [Terrell] Suggs, 'T-Sizzle,' 'LeTron James' or whatever you want to call him, whatever he calls himself. Congrats, bro. [It's] well deserved, much deserved. But what stood out to [me about] him was just not only was [he] a great player, but one of the best players to ever put on a helmet in the National Football League. Obviously, [he] was one of the best players to put a helmet on in this organization, but he's a great dude. I remember just me being an undrafted rookie free agent, [and I] hadn't made the team yet. He talked to us like he talked to Haloti [Ngata]. He made everyone feel welcome [and made] everybody feel like a family. You could go to him about anything. He would joke and kid around with you, as well. He's just a great human being. What stood out to me on the field was just his work ethic. When I got here, you kind of always hear about how hard guys work and everything like that. He was the hardest worker on the field when he was here. It's no surprise he's accomplished what he's accomplished dang-near for two decades in this league, getting enshrined into the Ring of Honor here, and I think he's a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. He should be, but if not, I'll be disappointed. He's well deserving of that. He's a great dude. Everything he's getting is deserved, so congrats [to] Suggs." 

You mentioned that you were an undrafted rookie. There are a lot of guys trying to make this team as an undrafted rookie, and their last preseason game is coming up. What do you remember from your experience and what do you say to those guys coming into this game? (Bo Smolka) "Man, I remember we were about to play in New Orleans [in the final preseason game], and all I remember is, 'Hey. This is the last opportunity, so I'm going to cut it loose.' So, that's just what I tell these guys. Cut it loose, man. You have nothing to be worried about from the standpoint of you can only control what you can control, and what you can control is going out there in this last game for the last 60 minutes and just going balls to the wall, giving everything you've got. Block out the noise, block out the distractions, and just cut it loose. All of these guys have been playing football for quite a while, and they've all played football at high levels, at the college level, so you have nothing to worry about. It's just a football game. Cut it loose, go play hard and let the chips fall where they may." 

This is the first season for ILB Roquan Smith that he has the green dot. How has he taken to that role? Do you feel like you're putting more stuff on the linebackers than just the green dot than previous years because of how comfortable they are and how well they fit in this defense? (Jonas Shaffer) "I think that they've very comfortable in this defense now that we have 'Ro' [Roquan Smith] here for a full offseason. Last year, it was funny, man. He picked up the defense pretty well, but you couldn't really give him all of the nuggets and everything that he needed to know because it would have been too much. He got here midseason, but him getting here this offseason, getting comfortable in this system and the defense, 'PQ' [Patrick Queen] being here for the second year in this defense which he already has familiarity with, those guys building that chemistry, I think it's very important, so we are putting a lot on [their] plates. Those are two of our best players, not [only] on defense, but on the team, and I think that they are two of the best players in the league. So, we're going to ask them to do a lot for us, and we need them to perform well. I think that they're up to it with the way they've been working. So, yes, we do put a lot on those guys' plates." 


On how the first few days with the team have been:"It's been great. I've been a fan of John Harbaugh since I came to the league. I just felt like watching him on TV, he was all about his players – asking them, 'What do you all want to do, what do you all want to do?' So, I want to be a part of it. [I've] come over here, [and] it's been great so far – a great team, great atmosphere, great practices. The sun doesn't get too hot. It's not Houston weather. So, it's been great." 

On what led to his decision to sign with the Ravens: "I felt like they had a winning team – a team [that] could go to the playoffs and have a chance to win it. So, it felt like if I come help and do my part, hopefully we can win it. That's what I was thinking when I came to visit." 

On what stood out during his visit with the Ravens:"They were just so about the players here when I came. They were caring about the players and how they felt and asking them. I felt like that's what I need to be a part of. When I walked in, I felt like I was already a part of the team. Everybody showed me love and said what's up – even the players. I was like, 'I need to be here and come play here.'" 

On what he needs to show at this point in his career and what he can do physically this year: "I feel great. I think I'm going to play very well. [I'm] just ready to show it. I don't want to talk about it. I'm going to put my pads on and show up and play every game, week in and week out. My goal is to play 17 games this year. That's the only goal I'm shooting for right now. [I'm] just trying to do that [and] start with that." 

On what he was doing to stay ready while not being on a team: "Oh, for sure. I came in Week One. I came in training camp. I've even done a little bit of everything. I just think training in the offseason. I work extremely hard in the offseason [to] stay in shape. When I got out here, these guys were like, 'Man, you look like you're in pretty good shape.' I said, 'I train a lot.' I just try and make sure when that phone does ring or whenever I do decide to play, I'm in shape, and I'm physically ready to go when I get there. So, that was my whole goal until I was able to come out here and compete at a high level." 

On his impressions of OLBs Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo and the potential they have paired with him:"I think they're great players. They were all chosen high [in the NFL Draft]. They can rush off the ball. They can rush inside and outside, and that's a good thing about being in a group like this one. Everybody can play in different positions. You don't know where they're coming from, and that's going to be the coaches' job to figure out where to line us up at and how to do it. I'm just ready to see how it looks come Sunday." 

On if he has had any conversations with the coaching staff about what his role might be: "Kind of. [They told me to] just come and get my snaps up [and] take my time. They said they're going to take their time with me and see how it goes, but once the season gets rolling, you never know. Your role changes very quick when you're playing, so we'll see." 

On if his versatility is an asset in figuring out what his role can be in the defense:"Yes, I can do a lot of things, especially when I'm healthy. I can do a lot of things. I'm healthy right now, so I want to stay in this situation and just let them know I'm available to do just about anything up front. But, I think they know that. They put me in a lot of situations already, [even though] I just got here. I think they know that, so they just want me ready and in shape for the season." 

On Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Anthony Weaver being instrumental in his decision to sign with the Ravens and how much he talked with him in the process:"That's my guy. I talk to 'Weav' [assistant head coach/defensive line Anthony Weaver] a lot. I've been talking to 'Weav' since the Houston [Texans] situation since I left Houston and just staying in touch with him – not necessarily to play for him just seeing how it's going. He was a good coach back then, and an opportunity came back around for me to play with him. He called. We talked to each other. He said, 'We can get you out here. It's a great place to visit.' I said, 'Alright. I'll come check it out,' and he was right, and I was like, 'Alright, I can probably see myself playing out here.' Look at me now." 

On what he sees in QB Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' offense after having played against them in the past:"I just glad I don't have to chase the guy [Lamar Jackson] anymore right now. I got a year off from chasing the quickest, fastest quarterback in the league, which is great. But I think [the offense has] a lot of potential with the receiving corps that they have. Their guys have been catching the ball all over the field. J.K. Dobbins, the running back, [is] running pretty good – just came back. [The] offensive line [is] physical, big. It's going to be a good season to watch those guys compete and just hopefully win a lot of games. Like I said, that's the goal." 

On what it will be like facing his former team the Cleveland Browns twice in the AFC North:"I didn't care where I stayed. I don't care about anything that [the Browns] have going on. I'm here now. It's going to be great to go against them twice, I guess. [I'm] just looking forward to playing 17 games. No matter who's on the schedule, I want to be out there. So, [I'm] just trying to do that this year." 

On if he takes his career year-by-year at this point:"My career has been … It's been an up and down career. I came in the league in 2014, [and] I got hurt my first game of my career. [I] had one of the worst injuries you could have – a microfracture – and I battled back nine years straight, and it's been a ride. I'm telling you all – nobody knows how much pain I've been in or what I've been through, but I do and my family. I'm just trying to win on the backend right now and keep playing at a high level. I have a lot left in me. I just want to keep showing that." 

On if he wants to play in the final preseason game against Tampa Bay on Saturday: "I'm not the coach. It's the preseason. I told the coaches the same thing: 'It's up to you.' I'm physically ready. I'm mentally ready, 'Just let me know ahead of time what you have planned for me, and I'll make sure I'm ready to go.'" 

On why he chose No. 24 as his jersey number: "It was either [No. 24] or 50 right now, and I didn't pick 50 because Justin Houston wore it last year here. I just picked 24 just to switch it up – I don't know. I just was like, 'Yes, let me try 24 on.' We'll see what happens when training camp [is] over or when they make cuts. I might switch my number again. So, we'll see." 

On what makes the Ravens such a great fit for him:"I think it's the guys they bring in. That locker room like fit me. It's that type of group of guys listening to Acid Savage. They don't really care about what anybody thinks. We just want to be physical and hit. That's all I want to do anyways – be physical and hit. I think that's what I bring to this team – a physical asset that they know I'm going to be very physical out there and play at a high level. [I want to] play fast and have a good time. So, that's what I've been bringing so far. They're loving the energy – I'm trying to keep my energy up for six months [and] see how this goes."

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