RAVENS ROOKIE MINICAMP MEDIA AVAILABILITY: DAY 2
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody. It's really good to be back. It's good to see [the media] back out here on this patio and to see our guys out there practicing. We have well over 40 players out here practicing – all rookies, draft picks, undrafted free agents and tryout guys – and they've all done a really good job. I just told them we really appreciate how much progress they've made – as far as what we're asking them to do football-wise – because they're really a good group. They learn quickly, but also [they are] just learning how to practice like pros – learning how to practice fast, but not get all involved in one another, not knocking anybody to the ground, not falling to the ground. That's not an easy thing to do. And this group of guys is very talented, so they've picked it up really well. [They have] good football IQ. We're really happy with them. We'll have to confirm an injury from yesterday, Julian Wilson – a young corner for us – who was really doing a nice job. [He] fell awkwardly on a route he was covering there and broke his lower leg, so he'll be out for the year, and he'll move on from that. He'll still be with us and be a part of us, but he has a lot of potential as a player, so it was disappointing in that sense."
I know it's early, but as far as return guys, you didn't draft one. Is there potential that one of these guys could get a chance to maybe step up and play? (Jamison Hensley) "There is. There were guys out there returning punts yesterday. Coach [Jerry] Rosburg had about seven guys out there catching punts, and a few of them looked good. They all look good. A few of them looked good enough to catch it at this level, so that's a foot in the door for some of these young guys."
**Along those same lines, I wanted to ask [about] DeAndre Carter. He's slight [in] stature, but you look at his college production – even at a small school – really productive player. I know it's early, but impressions of how he looked? *(Luke Jones) *"DeAndre has done a good job. I hate to single anybody out too much just because they're all in here doing a good job and learning. But since you brought him up, he has done a really nice job as a receiver, and he has looked good as a punt returner. He has had some experience doing that in college – and I think in a bowl game – so that's a plus."
John, what's it like to work with a receiver that has the specs of WR Darren Waller? (Aaron Wilson) "You have to look up really high – like that (motions head up) – when you talk to him. (laughter) He has good catch radius. The thing about Darren, and you see it … We saw it on tape, we saw it in the workout, but now to see it here on our field is the confirmation [of] how well he moves for a big man. Now, he doesn't move like a 5-foot-9 receiver. He's long, he's fast, he gets in and out of breaks exceptionally well, and he has catch radius, he can snatch the ball. So, we'll see where it goes from here, but so far so good."
**How are you in terms of learning everybody's name and getting familiar with everyone? You have a mass amount of people out here. *(Jerry Coleman) *"[I'm] getting there. Sometimes I have to have them turn around [to] look at the back of their jersey to make sure I know who I'm talking to, but we're getting there. It is a bunch of guys, but they're all giving great effort. They're all running to the football on every play. [I'm] really, really impressed with the group. Credit our coaches and our scouts for the job they did with this class. Can't wait to see where they go five years from now when we look back, but I think a lot of these guys are going to have great careers."
John, this is probably an off-the-beaten-path question, but have you made a decision logistically on staying on the West Coast for the back-to-back games and also joint practices? (Jeff Zrebiec) "We have not made a final decision on staying out there. We're leaning in that direction, especially the first week. We'll see about the second week; it's a little bit of a longer trip. We have a couple of sleep study doctors and time zone doctors and things like that who we're talking to. So, we just want to do the smartest thing, whatever it is. We'll probably have a decision on that within two weeks, I'd say. As far as the other part, was what?" (Reporter: "Joint practices.") "Joint practices, yes. We're going to practice with the Eagles. We're going to go up there three days before we play them in the second preseason game. Coach [Chip] Kelly and I are working on the practice schedules right now, so we're excited about that. We're looking forward to it."
Was Chip Kelly someone you've had a relationship with before? Obviously, he wasn't somebody who was in Philly when you were there, but how well do you guys know each other? (Garrett Downing) "I don't know Chip very well. Jim [Harbaugh] has always spoke really highly of him, and obviously, I have great respect for him. We were talking at the owners' meetings and kind of wondering why we don't play each other more in the preseason and [wanted to] see if we could work something out, and it looks like we're going to be able to do that."
When you look back at free agents that have been successful here, do you spot them quickly? Do they all of a sudden, the ones that have been successful … You don't have to name names, but do they show themselves really quickly at a camp like this? (Stan White) "I'd agree with that. I think they do. You see the guys right away who are going to have a chance to play at this level, because you see the athleticism, the ability to pick things up quickly. [It] doesn't take long to spot a guy that has a chance. [I] appreciate you not asking the follow-up question as to who those guys are going to be. (laughter) You guys watched today. I bet, Stan, you have a pretty good idea already."
**Coach, RB Javorius "Buck" Allen, I know he's a guy that caught a lot of passes in college. With a back when you look at pass catching, would you rather see a guy who has done it, or a lot of times you find out more about that once they get to this level whether they can catch? *(Clifton Brown) *"It's probably both, but I'd rather see a guy who has done it. It's like anything else. We've seen 'Buck' catch passes, we've seen 'Buck' pass protect, so we know he can do it. Now, you like to see it when you come out here also. All of a sudden, you don't want to see a guy that you're disappointed in, but he has done it out here for three practices and looks very smooth doing it. He's running the ball well. We haven't had any surprises. There hasn't been anybody that has been disappointing where we've looked at [him] and gone, 'This guy is not quite what we thought he was.' That's a credit probably to our process. We're very thorough. So, everybody has been exactly what we thought, maybe even a little bit better. The [other] thing [is] they've also been in great shape, and we practice really hard, really fast and really long. You guys saw that today, right? This is our third practice. Yesterday was really hot. Nobody fell out, everybody finished, everybody went fast the whole practice. It was tough, but these guys came in shape, which tells me that they really love football and they're prepared."
John, I know your roster … You're always looking to make some change, upgrade. How difficult are some of the decisions after this when you have a bunch of tryout guys come in. I understand you have a little roster space, I think. (Jeff Zrebiec) "It is a challenge, even to set a 90-man roster right now, because you want to give everybody a chance, and these are close decisions. Even some of the tryout guys or a number of the tryout guys … Every one of the tryout guys, I don't think there's a guy here that can't play in a training camp in the National Football League. Every single guy we have here could have a really good training camp in the National Football League and make a run at a career in this league. So, these are going to be fine decisions, and some of it will come down to numbers, too – what positions we need and where we need a little more depth."
What do you tell them at the end of this when you know they're going to be on a field with vets soon enough, that it's not just rookies in a couple of weeks? (Garrett Downing) "What do I tell them? I tell them soon enough they're going to be the field with vets [and] it's not going to be just rookies, just as you said. (laughter) I haven't thought about that yet. Whatever comes to mind. But we'll tell them … One thing we'll tell them – and to your point, Garrett – is, 'Don't be intimidated. It's still football.' We told them today, 'We're not going to be splitting any atoms out here, and we're not going to be putting any rockets on the moon. We're just going to be playing football, OK? You know football, and you'll find when these guys get here, it's still going to be football, and it'll be fine. Just don't get tangled up with anybody.' That's probably the main thing."
Coach, any reaction to the Ted Wells report? (Jerry Coleman) "It's out. The Wells report is out." (Reporter: "Have you read it?") "246 pages? No, I've been a little busier than that." (Reporter: "The CliffsNotes version?") "I've heard about it." (Reporter: "Reaction?") "Not that I would share, but thanks for asking." (Reporter: "I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't.") "Absolutely right. Our business is right here. This is our business right here in Baltimore. We'll take care of our business. Thanks."