Transcripts: Ravens Practice in London (10/13)


Opening Statement: "It's good to everybody. I appreciate everybody being here. [It was a] good practice [and] it's been a really good week. I really appreciate the Tottenham Hotspurs and all the people here from security all the way through to Coach Ange [Postecoglou] and everybody else that's just been outstanding. So, we are grateful, and we're ready to play. We're pointing towards Sunday, all eyes on the game, and we're looking forward to it. So, what questions do you have?"  

With the time adjustments, how do you and the rest of the players feel after being here for a week? (Jamison Hensley) "Well, I gauge it by me. If I feel good, they feel good, right? That's how I feel. We're all kind of on the same deal, so I feel great, I had good rest, and the guys are in good spirits. It really picked up yesterday, and it carried over into today, so we're in a good place." 

How was it meeting Tottenham Hotspurs' Head Coach Ange Postecoglou yesterday?"It's awesome, but I feel like, it's interesting, you talk about the world of sport, it's a big world yet the world of sport is kind of a small community. And we're talking about coaching, players, and how the staff is organized, maybe, and how you relate to your guys. It's different nuances of it, though it's still the same thing. It's still coaching and mentoring, maybe, and game-planning and all the kinds of challenges and family. We talked about family quite a bit. He has young kids, and he talked about his family moving around. Over the last 15 years, they've done a lot of moving around. So that was really interesting to hear about, so yes, I'm going to be a fan of those guys now." 

Practice was moved indoors today. Was it because of the rain? What was the thought process behind that?_ (Brian Wacker)_ "Yes, it was both. It was supposed to kind of rain today, and it did and then it got nice, of course. But then we decided to do it as a walk-through-type practice format, so that's what we did."  

It seems like the 2017 game still haunts you a bit. How are your spirits now? "It keeps getting brought up by all my people here. They asked me over there [in Baltimore], I've been asked about it in the offseason; I was asked about it during training camp; I was asked about it three weeks ago before we even thought about coming here, and then I was asked about it last week, and now I'm asked about it over here in England. So, yes, I guess it's a big deal, but it's behind us. Last week is behind us. That's really how it works. That was six years ago. No, you don't forget, you never forget anything, because it all matters, it's so important to us, and yet, we work so hard. And yet, you have to move on to the next challenge, and the next challenge is the one that's right in front of us – it's the Tennessee Titans in an amazing stadium over there. It's going to be an amazing crowd, we know we have to deal with the crowd noise, and we have to deal with our opponent, so we're trying to focus on that." 

What have you seen from RB Keaton Mitchell, and could he be in the game plan for Sunday? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, he's doing good, doing a good job, and he could be a factor. We'll see it how it goes. He was eligible possibly last week as well."  

Are there any updates on OLB Odafe Oweh? (Jamison Hensley) "He's on point. He's been working really hard. It's a process with that kind of an ankle sprain, and when he's ready to go, he'll be ready. It's kind of getting in that neighborhood now, so we'll see how he feels." 

This is the healthiest the team has been in a while. How important is that? (Brian Wacker) "It's super important. Then with that, guys getting back and playing and just jumping [in] there and playing. Sometimes you do, sometimes you jump in and have a great game and sometimes you know, you have to get a feel for it again. But all our guys are working their way back, and I'm proud of them. They've done a great job of doing everything that they can do to get back [and] be as healthy and as strong as they can be, and we're very close to full strength. So, that's a big deal, that's a plus. I'm proud of the guys that played, and they're also good, so I'm just going to throw it out there on Sunday and just try to get after it." 

Do you feel the spirits on the team are different than when the team came to London in 2017?"Yes, our [media] guys know characterizing someone's emotions is pretty presumptuous, so I don't really remember how I was, but probably had a whole gamut of emotions at that point in time because you want to put your best foot forward in every game. That was an important game six years ago, and this is an important game coming up this week. So, I'm hoping to be a lot happier after this one than we were after that last one [in 2017]."  


On how the team has adjusted to the time zone change:"For us, it's been a good decision to come [to London] early. I know the first couple of days, it's tough to kind of get your bearings. I feel like now we're starting to feel pretty good, get acclimated to the time zone, and that's not easy. So, I think guys are getting good sleep, and I think we're pretty fortunate to have come early, because it's not an easy thing to deal with." 

On how different it is compared to a game on the West Coast: "It's pretty different. Yes. I think it's easier going that way than this way, just in terms of being able to get acclimated with the time. But yes, I think it's a little bit harder coming out this way." 

On how the trip has been for the spirits of the team: "It's been awesome. [Head coach John Harbaugh] talked about it a little bit, just being all ball. It's just been incredible to be around the guys, just the bonding and experiencing London – this is my first time in London, and really out of the country other than Mexico – so I've been enjoying it [and] taking it in. The people here are awesome. It's different, so you have to be able to absorb the culture and appreciate that part of it, which I am, and I know everybody else on this team is, [too]. It's been a great trip being around the guys, and we look forward to this game. I think we're a focused group right now." 

On how it feels to be playing and practicing at Tottenham Hotspurs' facility: "It's a beautiful, beautiful facility. They're top notch here. We're thankful that they allowed us to come here, see it and practice on it. These guys are, like us, they're the best in the world at what they do, so [I have] a ton of respect for them and a lot of respect for this facility. They do it well." 

On what has stood out about the London trip so far:"I could name probably about a million things, just being at that hotel, being in that close-knit group has been awesome. But also, I went downtown to central London. Just seeing how that is, like I said, it's different. It's almost like a – I don't know how to describe it – but it's almost like a New York [or] Chicago-type vibe, but it's different. I thought it was cool. I thought the people were all extremely nice, always willing to offer help and be straight to the point. I like that part about the people here in London. I think I will remember this trip for the rest of my life." 

On if he had any aspirations to play in the English Premier League before he joined the NFL: (laughter) "Yes. I was definitely way better at playing than I was watching, but I think if I would have continued, I would have had more aspirations to go overseas. I had some buddies, from my club, that went over and did that sort of thing. I know how tough it is, and being from America, we're not nearly as good." 

On if he wants to step up and rectify the receiving corps after what happened in the Steelers game: "I know we have a focused group. [We] just kind of [have] the mindset of everybody that receives the ball right now ... We know the type of players that we have, and I think there's a hunger. There's always been that, and I know the type of guys that we have to be resilient, be persistent and just [focus] on the details because we know what we have. It's time for us to go out there and do it, put our head down and go to work. I'm excited about that." 

On if he feels like this was a good week for the London trip, coming off a bad loss:"That's like a loaded question. I think having a win under our belt in a game that we clearly should have won against a team like that, so I don't think it's ever a good time, but I think it's been nice to be around the guys, and it's been nice to be able to bond. But, like I said, you look at what Odell [Beckham Jr.] said yesterday, [I was] just watching it through the media a little bit. I think those guys have an incredible view and outlook of what we have to do and our job to be done. [It takes] all 11 guys on the field, at the same time, doing their job." 

On if there was anything out of the ordinary about the 45-minute team meeting this week: "No. The beautiful thing is, it's obviously not a good job [by us] last Sunday, but it's a long season. We have an opportunity to get back ahead and have a good game. Odell [Beckham Jr.] said it yesterday; no team won a Super Bowl [in] Week 5 or 6, or [Week] 4 or 5. So, we're going to work on getting better. We're going to be a hungry group. I'm excited to be lasered in with the guys this week." 

On what it will mean to American football now that Flag Football will be an Olympic sport in 2028:"I think you could put Tyreek [Hill] out there, and he would probably just do the job himself. That's interesting. Obviously, playing in the Pro Bowl, I had an idea of how that could work out, and that was a great time. I know those guys can fly around, and some of those guys playing flag football will be pretty special. I have a few plays in mind, from last year's Pro Bowl, which were pretty fun." 

On the explosion of popularity for the tight end position over the last few weeks: "Obviously, [there has been] a lot of buzz on social media about 'Trav' [Travis Kelce] and Taylor Swift, and that's an exciting thing. I think all the tight ends are … He's the type of guy that … He's been raising the bar for a long time." 

On what he expects from the fans and the atmosphere in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium: "I hope that [fans] go out there and just have a lot of fun [and] be loud. I know those soccer games – football games – I know they go crazy, so I'm expecting that. Even if they don't know what's really going on, if someone makes a play, just go wild [and] do your thing. I'm excited to see it. I'm excited to be in that atmosphere, be in this culture and really get a feel for it." 


On the difference between the Ravens' last trip to London in 2017 and now:"Obviously, we got here a little bit earlier in the week. I would say it's actually been a big difference. We really got to see a lot more [of] London. [We're] at this awesome facility [which] is pretty cool. We got to see the weight room and everything. We got to see the real football over here. It's been nice to early in the week get to see London and later in the week focus on football, so it's been a really good mix of the two, to where I think … Whether you come on Monday or Friday, the guys want to see London, so it's better, I think, to get it out of the way early." 

On if he feels more adjusted on sleep and the time zone difference now than in 2017: "That was my rookie season, so everything was pretty exciting for me. I think for most of the guys … Earlier in the week, everyone was like, 'Man, the flight,' but now everyone's waking up pretty normal now, so I would say for the team, everyone just feels a little better sleep-wise adjusted." 

On if he has a specific strategy to dealing with jet lag: "I did a … We've had a lot of different options for us. Last night, we had a breathwork sleep thing – it was on Zoom – and then you kind of just fell asleep, so that worked pretty well. There have been a lot of different things with our nutritionist and different planning to kind of … If you still have jet lag … I think it's just about all done with now, but [there were] kind of recommended plans for what you should do, and I think most of the guys kind of abided by [that]." 

On how important it is to make a statement on Sunday: "Yes, it's big. Every time I tell the London story, it's always ended with bad, so that's been the biggest thing. You come all the way this far [and] got some fans that might have never seen the game before. [There are] so many exciting things going on, and it's all cool, but the biggest thing for us is you want to win. It sucks to come this far, [be] in front of great fans, and then lose. So, we're … I know, for me … I'm like the old guy, so a lot of guys weren't on the team in 2017, but me and the guys that were [on the team], we're just like, 'Let's just win this one, and that flight home will be a lot more fun.'" 

On what he anticipates from the crowd on Sunday: "I anticipate a lot of different jerseys; I think that's what I remember from last [time]. Talking to some [fans], maybe Tuesday, he said [that] Odell [Beckham Jr.] inspired him to go to a field and try football out for one day – from that one-handed catch. So, I think it will be pretty exciting. I'm not sure who will know what's going on and different things, but I'm really excited to play in front of them. I think any time you can bring American football to another country, it's really exciting. And I know the game is starting to grow a little more, so, hopefully, we get a lot of Ravens fans [at] our performance Sunday." 

On where he feels like he's at physically relative to where he wants to be: "I'm working to get to where I want to be. Obviously … It was weird; it seems like … Man, it was a lot – just not being able to play for a while – so I think they know me pretty well, [and] they knew [that] as soon as I could practice, I was going to try to play. I'm getting there; it's a work in progress. But we've been doing a pretty good pitch count – how many plays I get – getting back into the groove of things, and I think it's working pretty well. So, as the weeks go on, I think it'll just get better and better, [and I'll] get used to how I feel [and] different things. But once you get out there, you've just got to put everything to the side and just play." 

On what sticks out to him about ILB Roquan Smith's ability to communicate and connect with people: "I think Roquan [Smith] is probably … Out of all the guys I've ever been around, he's probably one of the best communicators of them all – whether it's on the field but off the field, as well. It didn't take him long to know everybody in the building's name really quick, and he has a unique ability to be able to critique without guys feeling attacked, and I think that's really key when it comes to a leader. There are a lot of tough conversations you've got to have, but it takes a really top-dog leader to be able to do that. So, that's something I hadn't seen, really since Terrell Suggs left – on this team – as far as guys that can grab whoever [and] tell them, 'Hey, let's get this right.' Even today, I went to say something to a rookie; I was like, 'Yo, Ro [Roquan Smith], blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,' and [it kind of shows that] our defense runs through 'Ro,' and so, he leads us really well." 

On how special K Justin Tucker is to this team: "Yes, [Justin Tucker] is legit. We were talking about, 'Could the footballers kick like him?' And he was like, 'It would take some time,' but he thinks they could do it. But he's as funny as it gets. If there was a mic in our team meetings, I think everyone would get a good laugh. He's always got his jokes. He does a thing every week with a certain joke, so he keeps everybody laughing. If you ever ask him about kicking field goals, he'll tell you a story and [give an] answer so long [that] you'll kind of lose interest, because there is so much that goes into his thought process. But that's a great teammate to have. [He's] obviously one of the best kickers in the league, so any time he goes out there, we kind of think the job is already done. But [he's] a great teammate to have." 

On if he's now a Tottenham Hotspur fan: "Yes, I am, I am. I've got to watch more soccer now. I feel like, since I've been here, this has got to be my squad, and I will be watching more 'football' in the future. So, [I'm] excited for that." 

On how well DB Brandon Stephens has played: "So, when I was watching the first four games, I really … Even until now, I feel like Brandon Stephens is playing at a Pro Bowl level. For the years in the past, we all knew the ability he had, and it was showing in practice, but [it] wasn't always showing in the games, and I think this year, he's really kind of taking off and just kind of … To some, it might be a surprise, but to the people internally, he was always coached in that fashion. He was always talked about in high regards, so it's really good to kind of see that showing up on the field day in and day out. As I was … For the first four weeks, [with me] not playing, I'm just like … I almost felt like I was a coach slash fan on the sideline, and I'm just like, 'Man, Brandon Stephens is playing really high-level football.' And I think that's just a testament to [him] just continuing to work. Even when the results don't always show up on the field, if you continue to work, it will eventually show up." 

On what he's learned about S Marcus Williams playing with a pec injury and working his way back to reaching his expected level of production: "Yes, that's a weird question, because with Marcus [Williams], 'A.D.' [Ar'Darius Washington], 'D-Worl' [Daryl Worley], I kind of started thinking, I'm like a baby. These guys are playing through this. After I tore my [pec in 2021], I was like, 'I'm not going back in the game.' So, man, it's obviously … You see [Marcus Williams] working out all the time. It's obviously something really tough to play with – being a safety – but kind of similar to me, as the weeks go on, he'll just get better and better [at] dealing with something that severe, but [also] being able to play with it. So, I know it's really tough on him, but he doesn't really complain; he kind of just goes about his work."

Related Content