Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to have you guys here – we appreciate it. [We] just finished up. In a sense, we marked the end of training camp. It's the last camp practice. Everything else will be directed toward the regular season. Tomorrow is a walk-through for Atlanta, but guys did a great job. [If a] team works as hard as this team works, as a coach, you can't help but be very proud. We cut practice down a little bit today just for that reason – to get them off their feet a little bit. They've just done a great job. I know coming out of training camp, we're the best team we can possibly be right now. The other part of that is just like thinking about our own emotions – as coaches and players – as you go through this. You put so much effort into the first game – the buildup and the hype – because that seems to be the pinnacle. That's what you're working toward, but then you realize, what is the first game after all? It's the first game. That's just the beginning of where we're going. We'll try to keep that in mind and know that we'll be improving and getting better every game after that. We're excited about where we're at, and I can't wait to see what we do when the games are for real."
**When it comes to the first game, is it a clearer picture [about] who's going to be there and who won't? *(Joe Platania) *"I think there's a pretty clear picture of who's going to be here and who's not. Of course, the last couple spots are still up in the air, and it'll be interesting to see how it plays out. And the other thing is, guys are battling for practice squad spots, and they're not just battling with each other. They're battling, really, [players] all around the league for some of those spots. It's a very competitive thing to make an NFL team or an NFL practice squad."
Coach, DT Carl Davis looks like a guy who's going to play, and he cares about his development from, I guess, the start of when he got here to now and his readiness to kind of take on, maybe, a pretty significant role. (Cliff Brown) "I agree with that. Carl [Davis has] done a great job. He's still a rookie, but I look where he was when he first came here … And in Iowa, they do a great job of developing players – so he was about as far along as you can be as a college player in a lot of ways – but he's still young and physically young even for a big man – a big, young man. [He is] just understanding the game [from a] young [perspective]. [Defensive line coach] Clarence [Brooks] has done a great job with him, and he has, really, put himself into position where he's ready to compete at this level and play very well."
**DE Kapron Lewis-Moore has, thankfully, had his first full training camp. Can you evaluate how he has looked in a full camp now? *(Ryan Mink) *"Kapron [Lewis-Moore] has done a good job. He has looked good. It's interesting, I think he really had to shake off two years of not playing. He didn't play football for two full years [while] rehabbing injuries. And the other part of it is just the balance, body control and having confidence that it was all going to hold up. He's through all that now, and this is a big game for him. He played well last week, so it's going to be fun to see how he does. But, he has done a great job, especially for a guy that has come back from so far [behind]."
With it being the last training camp practice, who came out on top in the scoring system – offense or defense? (Garrett Downing) "The defense came up on top. I think they won by two days and – I'm going to say off the top of my head – about 35 points. They got the lead early, and they kept the lead. That's the idea, right?"
John, do you expect the same general plan that you've subscribed to in the past with the way you play starters in this final preseason game? (Jeff Zrebiec) "There will be no starters playing in this game. We counted [the number of players that will be available to play]. We did. I gave you a number and – we have the exact number – there will be 43 guys that will be prepared to play in this game. That's what we're looking at right now."
John, we knew it was coming, but you placed TE Dennis Pitta on PUP [Physically Unable to Perform list] officially today. From your perspective, how has he handled all this? He has been through a lot the last couple of years. (Luke Jones) "[Dennis Pitta] handled it great. How do you handle something like that? There's no textbook on it, but he has handled it great. He's working really hard in the training room. He's working hard. He's in every meeting. We'll see where it goes from there. As far as I'm concerned as a coach, I think you plan for the worst, and you hope for the best. I'm planning on him not being back. That would be the plan from a football standpoint, and I think he's planning on being back. It'll just come down to whether it's a smart thing to do, and whether it's what he wants to do, and really, what his family wants to do. He and his wife have to make that decision for themselves. And he's going to get more information – I'm sure – and just try to do the right thing. But, I can tell you this: I don't think I'm speaking out of turn if I say that he really wants to play. He really wants to have a career, and he wants to have a legacy as a player. And that's more important than anything – money or anything else – the statement he's able to make about his football career. That's something from a football perspective, but the other part of it is his life – quality of life – that he has to mix into that consideration, and that's what he's trying to figure out right now."
John, what have you seen out of the development of ILB Arthur Brown? I know you wanted to see more out of him over the past couple years, but what have you seen out of him this summer? (Jamison Hensley)"Arthur [Brown] has really come on. We played him a lot. We played him with the 'ones' a lot, we played him with the 'twos' a lot, and he has flashed a number of times [with his] athletic ability. And as hard as he worked in camp, really, he'll play faster in the regular season, because he is just so quick, so explosive of a player. He's in a tough spot. He's sitting there behind two really good linebackers. Daryl Smith is the most underrated linebacker in football, without question, and I'll stand on that all day long. And C.J. Mosley, obviously, we all know that he's one of the best young linebackers in football, if not the best young linebacker in football. That's where Arthur is at. And of course, Albert [McClellan] has a role, and Zach [Orr] has a role, and they do such a great job on special teams. But, Arthur is in that mix, too. He has done really well, and I expect him to have a really good year."
A lot of people were – not on the team – were expecting that ILB Arthur Brown might be a bubble player, and in your mind, he is not? (Jamison Hensley)"I can't say right now. Nothing is written in stone. You look at the numbers – you do the count – and you're going to go, 'OK, what is it going to be?' That's for us to decide at the end. And obviously, [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] and [assistant general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and those guys are laying all that out right now. But I know one thing: [Arthur Brown is] certainly good enough to be on our team and contribute for us."
Can you just comment to the expanded practice squad rosters? I'm assuming that you're a fan. (Ryan Mink)"I'm a big fan – big fan, yes. I think it's a great idea. The one thing I'd like to see happen – and this is something that may never happen – but … One of the opportunities you have to make a difference, because … When you get into a situation where if you win games and you have to draft late, you're at an inherent disadvantage. Plus, every player you pick up, you pick up late. So, you can flip fortunes really quickly, but where is the reward for finding players – young players – and developing young players if you can't get them on your 53- [man roster], and boom, they're gone? We've done some work on that, and we've found that, basically, it is not in the best interest of the player to be bouncing from team to team in their first year early in their career. If there was the ability to protect a few players that you bring in and pay them what a rookie would make – it's all salary cap, anyway, so you've got to fit it into your salary cap – and protect a couple of young players that can't quite make your 53- [man roster] at this point in time – because you don't want to push a veteran out the door, yet – and hold them in there where they can be a part [of the team, then] they have a home, they can continue with the player development at their team. I think it would be a win-win for everybody. It's just an idea, and maybe they can look at that at some point."
Has that been an idea that you've heard bounced around, or is this something just, maybe, you've been thinking about? (Jamison Hensley)"I think we've talked about it. It has just bounced around. It's not something that has ever been brought to the table before. You just brought it up, and I just thought to mention it. There might be some things about it that won't work that I haven't thought about, but it's just ..." *(Reporter: "Are you saying 'we' as in the Ravens have talked about it?") *"Yes and amongst other coaches and things like that. I think we all, as coaches, we love the idea of developing players. You bring them in, and you [have] young guys that you like. You don't really want to just see them bounce [around the NFL], and you're not that thrilled about bringing guys in from other teams, because it's such a … You [have to] start over. When you have five months … And we're supposed to develop these guys, and we do the player development, and we put them through the programs – like [director of player engagement] Harry [Swayne] does – and we put them through the media programs that [senior vice president of public and community relations] Kevin [Byrne] and [vice president of public relations] Chad [Steele] and these guys do – and you bring them to a point, and they just leave … It's like, 'Gosh, we have so much invested.' And they don't want to go all the time, but they have to for financial reasons or the way the rules are. Maybe it's something that could be looked at. I'm just speaking as a coach here. You want to hold on to guys."
John, there are some talented players – with you guys, too – but players from around the league, well-known players, that were put on the waiver wire. How active do you expect to be over these next four or five days, not just making your own decisions, but analyzing what's out there? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I think we'll be very active, in the sense that we'll be looking at all those options. Whether we'll actually do anything or not with it, I don't know. It just depends on the circumstances. We'll look at it. I'm sure we'll do whatever is best for our team in the end, but we'll be doing the due diligence, for sure. We'll be hard at work at that."
TE Maxx Williams has been – for over the week – has been wearing the red [non-contact] jersey. Is that something injury-related? (Jamison Hensley)"Yes, [Maxx Williams has] an issue that we just can't get him banged around with. He's practicing, so he should be there for Denver, but we just want to protect him from a bump. We've done that in the past with guys."
Across town tonight, the Orioles are celebrating the anniversary of Cal Ripken's consecutive-games streak. You have your own ironman with QB Joe Flacco not missing a game. Just how valuable is that for you knowing – now with training camp in the books – he's going to be ready to go for Week 1? (Matt Pierson)"That's a huge thing. To compare [Joe Flacco] to Cal Ripken is pretty awesome. Congratulations to the Orioles organization to be able to celebrate someone like Cal Ripken. I got to know Cal a little bit. He's just an unbelievably great guy and a pretty good golfer, too. He's not as good as you'd think he'd be in some ways, but he can pound that thing. (laughter) He crushes the ball. But for Joe to be talked about in that same way going into his eighth year is pretty incredible. He has a long way to go to match Cal, but we're pretty proud of him."
Speaking of anniversaries, it was this day in 1996 that this organization played its first regular season game. (Joe Platania)"Wow." *(Reporter: "Where were you at the time? Do you have any memories of Baltimore reentering the league?") *"1996, yes. I was at the University of Cincinnati coaching, and I was a Cleveland Browns fan. How about that? All my life. But ironically enough, these are the Cleveland Browns, aren't they? If you look at the history of it, [the Ravens are] the old Art Modell Browns. Of course, [owner] Steve [Bisciotti] is now taking on the tradition. [I am] pretty proud of that."
Coach, just as a clarification from Saturday with the halftime interview. Did you grab the photographer's camera who was shooting the interview and hold it down? (Paul McGrew)"No, that was two weeks ago, just for clarification." *(laughter) (Reporter: "What was your thought process?") *"I was just having a private conversation with somebody there, with Brent [Harris]. We were talking about some stuff, and I just felt like it was private, so [I thought], 'Why are we still shooting this?'"