Transcripts: Ravens Practice Week 4 (9/27)


Opening statement: "[I] appreciate everybody being out here. [It's a] beautiful day for football, and our guys practiced well. With that, [I] just wanted to make a mention of [Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and longtime Baltimore Orioles third baseman] Brooks Robinson [and] express our condolences as a family and also as an organization – [our] team, players and everybody else to the Robinson family for the passing of this great man. I remember our very first year in Baltimore – where we live is a neighborhood over. You know how the neighborhoods are. You get into the neighborhood where the houses are, and you can get to more houses. [My daughter] Alison was trick or treating. She was six years old – that just tells you how long ago it was – and we were going house to house. We come up to a house and ring the doorbell, and the door opens, and it's Brooks Robinson. I'm a baseball fan – I know who Brooks Robinson is. I was just stunned. You talk about not being able to say anything, and he had the biggest smile on his face and welcomed us. We talked for a few minutes, and that was how I got to meet Brooks Robinson. Since then – here and there and over time – we'd run into each other. [He was] the most gracious man I think I've ever met in my life – just a prince of a person. Rest in peace, Brooks Robinson, forever.  

"As far as injuries – I'm going to get ahead of that. [I] really don't have any updates on that to add – no announcements, no comments on it. It just isn't really something that we have really too much to say that I can really help you with anyway. Anything that I would say might not be accurate or it might not be something I want to put out there. That's where we're at with that. What questions do you have?" 

Is it a positive sign that four players that did not play on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts were back out at practice? (Jamison Hensley) "That's a positive – absolutely. Yes, of course. You know what I'm saying. We're happy with the guys. As they get back, we're going to be thrilled. These guys are really good players. These guys have been working really hard to get back. They want to be back. As guys come back, we're going to be very excited for them to get back and play. Some of that will happen this week and then going forward the next few weeks." 

Can you say that RB Gus Edwards is still in concussion protocol? (Jonas Shaffer) "I don't have a definition on that, no. He wouldn't have been able to practice today if he was actually in the concussion protocol. The fact that we haven't talked about that, I would say no, but just bear with me in the fact that I haven't had that specific conversation with the doctors." 

What do you like about OLB Kyle Van Noy who was signed just yesterday? (Bo Smolka) "I always have liked Kyle Van Noy as a player. You go back to the [New England] Patriots-Ravens games – him being out there, playing the way he played in that style and that manner. He's just a ferocious player – smart player, tough player. I know he's in shape, and he's ready to go. If needed, he'll be out there helping us." 

Do you see a particular area where the Cleveland Browns' defense has taken even more of a step up this year from last year? (Childs Walker) "I think the defense for Cleveland is playing great. They're the No. 1-ranked defense in the league. They're giving up 164 yards [per game] and 10.3 points a game. That's about as good as you can get. That's something that we have to take into account. We've studied them. We know the players. We understand the scheme as best we can from being outside as an opponent. We're just going to have to go out there and play our best football and move the ball, score points and try to win the game." 

Is the Cleveland Browns' defense doing something different stylistically with new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, or are they doing similar things from the past? (Childs Walker) "Coach [Jim] Schwartz has his system. It's the [former NFL defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams system. They've been in that system before with Gregg Williams, obviously. Jim does it how he does it. He's a decorated, veteran defensive coordinator in this league. [He] does a great job – always has. He's put his stamp on it for sure." 

What sticks out to you about how the Cleveland Browns' defense is able to defend the run game so well on early downs despite having more aggressive posture putting their edge rushers in wide nine techniques? (Jonas Shaffer) "That posture is also built to stop the run. It's not just a posture that's not built to stop the run. They have a way of playing the run, and that's how they do it. We played that way in Philadelphia with [defensive coordinator] Jim Johnson over the years. That defense's type of style has been around for quite a long time. They're very good at it. As you said, they have excellent players, and they're playing really hard and well, and we respect them." 

How difficult is it going up against perennial Pro Bowl DE Myles Garrett every year? (Jamison Hensley) "It hasn't changed. It's the same challenge. He's the same player. There's certainly no drop-off in his game. He's a guy that you have to account for every single play." 

What is the spirit of the Browns vs. Ravens rivalry when more recently the Ravens' rivals have been the Bengals/Steelers and people haven't acknowledged the significance of the games against the Browns? (Kyle Barber) "These games – the Browns-Ravens rivalry has been ... In my mind it's just been a very heated, tough, physical, hard-fought rivalry. Just go back and watch the games – I think that's all you have to do. I know our fans know that. I probably don't agree with your premise that they don't understand that. I believe our fans do know that. It's a tough stadium to play in. It's very loud. They pipe music in off the sideline right behind you – it makes it even tougher for you. It's just the way it is. It's a tough place to play. It's a tough team, and we respect them very much." 

With all the changes at running back, how does that affect your gameplan, or does it? (Mike Preston) "Offensively, you always try to – and [offensive coordinator] Todd [Monken] does a great job with the coaches of scheming towards guys' strengths and try to do the things that they do well – put them in position to do things well, but it's all within the structure of the offense. The offense is built to what you do well against what they don't do well and their scheme, and that's the way they work it out." 

How well has OLB Jadeveon Clowney fit into the defense and the style which you want to play? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Jadeveon Clowney has played great. It's a great point and question. He's done a great job. We've always thought the world of him as a player, playing against him, and when you have to scheme against him – the point that you are all making – it's really tough. When you face guys like that, and then you have a chance for them to play for you, you're excited about that. He's played really well. He's fits what we're doing well and plays hard. I'm glad he's here." 

How have you seen WR Zay Flowers bounce back from the loss to the Indianapolis Colts and his mistakes? How is he making adjustments? (Giana Han) "Zay [Flowers] just is a very competitive guy. He's always in high spirits. He's always full of energy, and he had a great couple of days. He and I talked yesterday – actually Monday – for quite a while just one on one. It was a great conversation. I talked to a lot of guys – it wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but he's ready to roll. He's going to go try to play his best game on Sunday." 


On the vibe of the team going into another big divisional game:"[It's] just bounce back. Obviously, [it's] a big divisional game away. [We're] just being focused, taking it week by week, learning from our mistakes of last week, growing as a team and just giving it all [our] effort. We know what kind of game it's going to be." 

On if the speed of their defense is something they noticed on the tape"Yes. They fly around. Obviously, [they have a] good secondary [and] good safeties. [That] linebacker group, they are shifty, so we're going to have to bring it. We're going to have to be prepared. Just the vibe and the focus of this week has been focused and ready to go. We're excited about the guys and our team for this week." 

On the challenges the Browns' defense poses up front:"[It's a] physical [challenge], man. You don't see a team like this very often, so for us as a group, we're going to have to be ready to go [and] have our mindset right, which we will." 

On what it's like in the offensive room to reset after a tough loss: "[We're] just calming down, not listening to too much of the outside noise and knowing who we are and that we have to grow. We have to grow from week to week, and the teams that are able to do that ... It's a long season, so if we can continue to go to where we need to be. Obviously, last game we were close. It wasn't where we needed to be to win the game, but we're excited about moving forward." 

On if he would describe the new offensive system with a new offensive coordinator as a work in progress because you don't know exactly what it is yet:"I think that's fair. As an offense, we know what we can be and should be, so that's the exciting part. We haven't reached our full potential yet. We're still working on that. It's going to be a dangerous group, and we never lose sight of that." 

On what it's like chip blocking someone like DE Myles Garrett:"You always have to bring it. He's such a special athlete and specimen. He's so good at what he does, so this is one of those weeks where you have to be ready to go, or guys like him and other guys on that defense are going to make you pay." 

On if he embraces playing on the road in tough environments and in physical rivalries: "Yes. This is one of the games that you look forward to. Obviously, being 2-1, being able to stack another win against this divisional team would be huge for us." 

On why he believes there weren't as many down-field opportunities in the Colts game: "It just happens sort of that way. All 11 guys – everybody that was on the field or touched the field – there were things that we could have done differently, so it's [about] taking advantage of those opportunities."


On if there is any extra motivation going against the Cleveland Browns:"I don't think I really necessarily need any extra motivation. It's a division game. I've got a lot of respect for a lot of the guys over there. [I have] a lot of friends over there – [people] I still consider as friends – good teammates [that] I played with for two years. I hope the best [for them], but not against us. They're in our division. You definitely want to win these games. You need these games; they help down the road. So, it's just good to get it going this early in the season." 

On what he thinks about the Browns' defense:"I haven't watched their defense. I don't really watch anybody's defense but ours. But from hearing [about it], it's always going to be the D-line that's going to make a difference. They revamped their defensive line this year [and] got some guys on the interior, I do know. But we've just got to come to play four quarters of football; we can't play three. We've got to play complementary football on both sides of the ball. That's how we're going to come away with a win." 

On what advice he would give the Ravens' offensive line about blocking DE Myles Garrett:"Put a lot of guys on [Myles Garrett] – several." (laughter) "[He's] a great player, man. He's a great player. I played a lot of time – over two years – with the guy. Like I said, I've got a lot of respect for Myles. I think he's one of the best defensive linemen in the National Football League that we have seen in a while. The way he gets off the ball, the way he bends, the way he plays the game is kind of great to watch. So, I'm happy for him. But my team, we've got to come to play." 

On what he's looking forward to against the Cleveland Browns' offense:"Hopefully, I can come in and do the same thing – get to the quarterback, put a lot of pressure on him. Like I said, that's a unit thing out there up front. It's not one guy doing it; it's a lot of us up there. [Pass] rush and coverage work together, so it's going to be a whole total defense getting back there." 

On the Browns:"They rank No. 1 in just about every [defensive] category. You've got to give some props for that. They've got a lot of good players. You know, they've got … Who [don't] they have? They've got a lot of good players over there. [Number] 21 [Denzel Ward] is playing good. I'm a big fan of Denzel; I've always been a fan of him. I played with the other corner last year – [Martin] Emerson [Jr.]. I think Emerson was a great rookie pickup. [He] plays physical, [can] come up and challenge guys. The offensive line plays well together. They have a great running game. The quarterback, Deshaun [Watson], plays well. We've just got to play our … We've just got to play Baltimore Ravens football – our style of ball – and go in there and compete for four quarters." 

On being on the other side of this divisional matchup:"I expect for us to go out there and be physical – flying around like we have for the past three games. This [Ravens] defense is definitely one that likes to fly around and hit people, and I expect that out of us, with our linebackers leading the way and us, everybody, continuing to play at a high level like we've been playing for the last three weeks." 

On the situation with Cleveland at the end of last year:"I don't think I made [anything] clear. I didn't talk to anybody. Somebody made it clear for themself to sum up the way they felt. I never talked to anybody. I left [Cleveland on a] high; I played well my last game. I talked to the media that day and said I was talking about the game I played against the Washington [Commanders] – that was the last team I played – and that's all I was thinking about. I didn't talk to [anyone or] sum up anything that happened there [with my] teammates or coaching staff – nothing. It was locker room talk that got out, obviously. I never did this with anybody over there – sat in front of them and talked. So, I'm onto a new year right now. I don't care about what happened last year. I'm playing for the Baltimore Ravens now." 

On if he has any bad blood for the Browns:"Not from me, I don't think so. Like I said, I've got a lot of respect for them. If I had any bad blood, I don't think I would have signed to go back there for two years in a row. For everybody that thinks there was some bad blood, I would never sign and go back. I'm just in the category of … Everybody wants to win, [and] they want a big year for [the team] and to have their year. We weren't winning a lot of games, and a lot of people were pointing fingers. There were a lot of fingers pointed that year, and I ended up on the wrong side of the fence, I guess. But I'm looking forward to this year. Like I said, I'm here now. I don't play for them. There's no reason to be talking about what happened there last year; that's behind me. Let's talk about this year. I'm just focused on winning games here and being the best Jadeveon Clowney I can be for the Baltimore Ravens." 

On if he had this game circled on his calendar:"I think I circled the whole … I circled the whole [calendar]. [I circled] all of them – all 17." 

On if there is a chip on his shoulder going into this game:"Of course, of course. This is a division game. It's a division game, and it counts twice. And to go to the playoffs and to win the division, we've got to go through this team, in Cleveland, and then [so on]. Coming off the loss we just had, we need to play well this week. We need to play our style of football and come out there and play top [notch]. We need to go out there and play good ball, play defense, get stops, and we'll see how it looks in the end." 


On what it's like playing against a guy like DE Myles Garrett:"He's a great, great pass rusher. [He's] a great defender. I've been seeing him around since college – since my freshman year of college – so I'm used to playing against him, I would say. He's a great defender [and] all-around defensive lineman." 

On if it's hard to find weaknesses when watching Cleveland's defense on film: "I believe every defense is going to have its strengths and weaknesses, but for right now, those guys are flying around. All phases of the defense are flying around to the ball [and] playing great defense." 

On how much more difficult it is when DE Myles Garrett moves around on the line:"I'm not [an offensive] lineman, so I don't really think it will be difficult for me. I'm not the one blocking him. I'm going to have to just read the defense and dish the ball out." 

On what his biggest takeaway was from watching the Indianapolis game tape: "Like I said, we had plenty of opportunities to win that game. We were driving the ball down the field, and we had mishaps. We have to just catch the ball, throw the ball and do what we do best and put points on the board. Going into Cleveland, [we have to] do the same thing but better." 

On if he's still trying to get on the same page with some of his receivers: "Absolutely. It's September. One of our guys just got there that week, not even a month [ago]. He hasn't been around [a long time]. We're just trying to figure each other out right now. We didn't really play [in] the preseason, so we're trying to figure it out. We just had one great game against Cincinnati. [We tried to] piggyback off that when we played the Colts, and we just had little mishaps. That happens. Every game is not perfect, but if we clean it up in Cleveland, I feel like the sky is the limit for us, like I always say." 

On how getting key players back on the practice field lifts the spirits of the team:"[It's an] eye raiser. It's just [great seeing] our guys back out there on the field. We were looking forward to it. [Patrick] Mekari and Sam [Mustipher] did a great job while those guys were out, but hopefully [Ronnie Stanley and Tyler Linderbaum are] back up this week, and we just hit the ground running like we always do." 

On what he's seen from QB Deshaun Watson and the Browns' offense:"To be honest, I haven't been watching those guys. But like you said, we've been going back and forth since 2016, that shootout in Death Valley [at Clemson]. I haven't been watching those guys this season, but they're playing pretty [well] from what I've heard." 

On if there's any characteristics of the Browns' defense that makes them particularly formidable:"I would say their corners and … Just their all-around defense, their corners, safeties [and] the defensive line. Like I said, those guys have been flying around on tape." 

On what comes to mind when he sees another NFL offense score 70 points in one game and if it makes him think of a bar that he wants the Ravens' offense to get to:"To be honest, no. I believe our offense can do the same thing. We just have to dial in, stay locked in within the game and put points on the board because, like I said, I feel like we stopped ourselves against the Colts [with] turnovers and little mishaps. We weren't putting points on the board, but I believe we could've." 

On if there's anything he can point to in order to explain some of his fumbles this year:"They were in the pocket. Most of them [happened when I was] in the pocket. I had that one against the Texans when I was trying to make a guy miss, but most of them have been in the pocket [while I'm] trying to throw the ball. The ball was loose [when] I was throwing it, and it's been hit, but I have to do a better job at [protecting] it. It affects the game." 

On if he has adopted a certain attitude when playing road divisional games with hostile environments: "I go into those games playing like [they are] any other game, but it's different because they are in the division. So, like you said, it's a little extra motivation, I would say. It's like a rivalry, and it's physical games, very physical." 

On if he hears the crowd and anything they are saying:"No. I don't pay attention to the crowd. I'm trying to win. I really don't care."  


On if there is anything about playing in Cleveland compared to playing in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh: "I would just say from the last year or so, we haven't had the best run defense when we went there. They ran well when they were here, too, but I wouldn't say so. Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, they're all kind of the same to me especially in the trenches. We've been playing against Nick Chubb there and how great he is, so it's just really just take-a-punch, throw-a-punch. It's been that way with Pittsburgh especially when they had Le'Veon Bell and those guys and [former Steelers C Maurkice] Pouncey. I would relate it to that, just another hard-hitting fun game to play in if you're in the trenches." 

On if there's anything that fuels or motivates the defense going into away games:"It's satisfying when you take the life out of that crowd, and it goes silent. I've been a part some really good defenses here, and we've done that on a few occasions. So, that's what you strive for, and if you can get to a point, probably third or fourth quarter where they don't have any momentum, and that crowd is really silent, that really feels really good." 

On how exciting it is to get S Marcus Williams back on the practice field: "He's one of our leaders, so anytime he can just be around and be out here, no matter the capacity, it always makes you feel good. Anytime you get any of your guys back … We'll get Marlon [Humphrey] back at some point and those guys that are working to get healthy, Tyus [Bowser] as well. So, anytime you can get a guy like Marcus [Williams] back who changes the game in a blink of an eye, that's always good just to have that energy back and have those guys who you can really rely on back, so that's awesome." 

On how much more determined they are this week on stopping the run:"We had a misalignment on the first play of the game, and we had some misfits. So, it's really hard to disseminate to the public how much one person being out of place or lining up wrong really makes a difference. But I can't stress to you all enough – that's super, super important. So, when I say, 'Oh, we didn't line up right,' that's a big, big deal, and you can really see it if you watch film how that affects the defense. So obviously that's on us, getting the calls and lining up right and then executing the calls when we do have those missteps. Me and 'Brody' [Broderick Washington] were talking about it earlier, just every play somebody may make a misstep or may miss an assignment, but it's about those other 10 guys who can cover that up and then keep going."  

On if he has had to change his technique and how he approaches the game with the trend of offenses to use shorter passes and getting the ball out quicker, particularly on a passing downs:"Yes, I would say also, I wasn't out there a lot, initially, but they called on me to do that this year. Yes, you definitely see a lot of different short passes and then just RPOs [run pass options] in general. So those are intended to slow guys like me down especially the bigger guys who have to get themselves moving, play the run first and then go out vice versa from the ends. So, it definitely changes my approach, it also changes the way you kind of attack things. So, [defensive coordinator] Mike Macdonald does a great job of mixing different calls to get us moving, even though they might have a different scenario depending on the down and distance." 


On what will be challenging about facing this Brown's offense:"Obviously, they're down arguably their best player in [Nick] Chubb – [I have] a lot of respect for him. [He's] a guy I played with in college and whatnot, so definitely thinking about him. But despite that, knowing that they're going to come out and try to do what they have to do to get the job done. I think [with] [Deshaun] Watson at the helm, they're still going to try run the ball, and that's hats off to their head coach, and I think that's something that he wants to do; run the ball. So, that's our main priority, stopping the run and then I think they're going to try and give the ball to No. 2 [Amari] Cooper and then put [No.] 8 [Elijah Moore] in a lot of situations as well, and then obviously their tight ends come alive as well, so I don't think it'll be anything different, minus Chubb, but I still think they're going to try and run the ball." 

On if QB Deshaun Watson is capable of being the same caliber player as his 2019 and 2020 form:"Yes, absolutely. Anything a man done once, I'm sure the likelihood is they can do it again. It's very possible. I have a lot of respect for the guy playing the position, one of the toughest positions in the league to play, in my opinion. So, we're just going to have to come out and do what we have to do, whatever it takes to get the job done. If we do that, I feel like we'll be in good standings."  

On if there's a sense of pride going against a team with a really good defense just like this team:"I think this is Week 4. You're not defined by being the best defense in the league [based] off of Week 4, period. It's a 17-game season, so it's what you're going to do late in the season. But hats off to those guys. I haven't watched them, so I'm not really sure. I know they have some good players over there and whatnot, but I haven't really watched them. I don't really care too much if I'm being perfectly honest. I'm just more focused on our defense and what we're going to do to make sure we come out victorious in this game." 

On if there's any value for him to pay attention to what other defenses are doing: "I'm trying to see like what I can actually gain from watching them. I don't think, personally, I can gain anything from watching their defense. From what I hear – just based off of team meetings – they play a completely different style of defense, but hats off to those guys for what they've done thus far in this season. I look forward to Sunday, and [if] we do what we have to do and play our style offensively and defensively, then we'll come out victorious." 

On how he would describe the intensity of playing in Cleveland or in any away division rival game: "You go in there as the enemy to go take over and that's our plan to actually go take over. I think they call it the dog pound, [and] I consider myself a dog, so I'm right at home in that place. So, I'm excited to get back in there. I know they're a physical football team, but so are we. At the end of the day, it's going to be the most physical football team that comes out of there, and whoever is the most physical football team in that game, that's who is going to come out victorious. And your question about the division, my opinion is that it's the best division in football, without a doubt, if you look at it from top to bottom."  

On how much he embraces this stretch of three divisional games on the road: "Honestly, I love it. I love a challenge. At the end of the day, I love looking something square in the face and saying, 'Bring it on,' whatever it is. 'Chin up, Chest out,' I live by that. 'Sun sets, no regrets.' So, I'm looking forward to it, and I can't wait."  

On if embraces playing the villain role when going to away games: "I definitely think about that, but at the end of the day, you're considered the bad guy because you're going into essentially another man's house, and you're trying to take over. His wife, kids, [and] everyone is there to watch them. So, we're going over there to beat their tails in front of their wife and kids. So, when you think about it from that perspective, any man is going to fight till the death at that point. I know if that's me in that case, I know I would. So, I think about it from that standpoint. I'm just going in just like I prepared for any other game – play till [you hear] the whistle, play physical and hit anything that moves." (Reporter: Is that how you approach playing Connect Four?)"Oh, I'm a competitor, a fierce competitor. So, I approach it trying to win each and every game. Ask some of your peers, co-workers, how good I am." (Laughter) 

On what he thinks about the addition of OLB Kyle Van Noy to the team:"I have a lot of respect for 'K.V.' [Kyle Van Noy] and the way he even came in today, and the way he's been approaching things since I first met him. His leadership, as well, is ... [To see] just how smart the guy is [and] how quickly he picks up on things – already out here today, [he's] calling out things, so when a guy comes in like that … A well-seasoned veteran [whose] been in a lot of different schemes, so he knows exactly what we expect of him. And I'm just excited to welcome him to the team and I think he's going to be a great addition for us."  

On how great it is to get guys back from injury on the practice field: "It's always good to somebody who maybe went down with something and just back out on the practice field. You always love to have your brothers back out there in the line of duty, and it doesn't get any better than that when you just have good players that return, but whoever's out there, I know we're going to be prepared through and through. Whoever's out there is going to give everything they have, and till the whistle blows, we're going 100 miles an hour."

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