RAVENS SECOND DAY MINICAMP MEDIA AVAILABILITY
*Head Coach John Harbaugh, DE Chris Canty, T Eugene Monroe, G/T Kelechi Osemele and CB/RS Lardarius Webb
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody. Second day of practice, it was good that it cooled off a little bit. Our guys pushed through it really well. We were practicing fast at the end. I feel like we're in really good shape as a football team. So, we're getting a lot of work done very quickly. It's a really fast tempo out there. [It's] all positive, and we're excited about going back out tomorrow. What do you have? See, I was just up here yesterday. That's what I figured; there wouldn't be any questions today." (laughter)
John, with WR Breshad Perriman, a lot of guys have been talking about the drops and everything, but I saw a lot of good catches out there. Do you think there's too much attention paid to the negative, and have you been impressed with some of the catches he has made? (David Ginsburg) "You're right. There's always going to be scrutiny – especially on the first-round pick – but he has made a bunch of catches out here, really phenomenal catches, made a lot of plays. That nine-route today that you saw that he went and chased down was really a great play. That's one of the great things about the way we practice – and the way we want to challenge these guys – is we try to do everything as much as we can game speed or faster. We want to build in. We want to build our execution into the tempo of the practice. There are going to be things where it's just overwhelming. There are going to be times when they get tired. I think with Darren Waller today about the early, second part of practice where he just got tired and had a couple drops there. If that wasn't happening, then we wouldn't be pushing them hard. So, we want to challenge them as much as we can and push the envelope."
On the other side of those guys, are the guys covering them? Of course [the secondary] has gotten a lot of scrutiny the last season. How are they handling things? (Joe Platania) "It's the same thing. I think they're having a lot of good plays. They're having plays where they're being challenged by the speed and by the route combinations and those kinds of things. But, they're getting their hands as much as they can – within the rules – on people, trying to shadow as tight as they can. The rules don't favor the defensive backs in this camp, but that makes it tough on them. It's like we say, 'Put your ankle weights on. It's OK, and work through it.' I'm pleased. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but [I am] pretty excited about our secondary right now."
John, S Kendrick Lewis is a guy who has been in the league, but hasn't been here. How is he adjusting to your scheme, and what do you see from him as far as how he's playing? (Cliff Brown) "Kendrick has done a really good job. He's a football player. He's quiet, he doesn't say much, but he comes out and takes care of his business. He really understands the game, makes plays. [He is] always in the right place. It'll be fun to see when the pads come on how he plays, but he has done a really nice job."
I see your brother [Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh] is doing camps across the country. What are your thoughts on that? (Ryan Mink) "My thoughts on my brother's camps across the country? I like that question. I think he's spot-on. I think he's right on, you know? It's America. Isn't that what he said today? 'In our America, we're allowed to cross state lines.' But think about it; what you're talking about … What are we arguing against – an opportunity for young athletes to take a look at colleges from other parts of the country, especially those that aren't in [a] socioeconomic kind of situation where they can travel all over the country with their parents and looks at schools? It's great. I can take my daughter to any school in the country and look at the campus and talk to the coaches and get some exposure for her. How many people get a chance to do that? So, if we're arguing against that, we're arguing against America." (laughter)
Coach, CB/RS Lardarius Webb looked very good out there. He's moving very well, flowing. Tell me about his process during the offseason coming to camp. (Barry Barnes) "'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] looks good. All I know is what I see right now. He came out and he looks, to me, like he's in shape. His feet look really good. He's moving his feet, he's changing direction. [He was] better today than yesterday, which is to be expected. He hasn't been in the OTAs, so the football movement stuff is going to be new for him. But [it is] as good as could be expected, and he looks good, so it's a plus."
John, I know nothing is set in stone, but how important is it to have continuity along the offensive line with not just the starters, but also a couple guys that played a lot of big snaps for you last year, too? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It's pretty unusual, I guess, in today's football to have your whole offensive line back, plus your backups. And we have some competition for the spots to make the team, and they're all good players. It's a big-time blessing. It's something that should help us be a really good football team. It's unusual."
John, you said a couple months ago you thought this would be a big year for WR Marlon Brown. Is that a matter of the work you've seen from him, or is it a matter of the opportunity he'll have, or both? (Childs Walker) "Both. I would say the work – as you put it – and the opportunity. It's a matter of both those things. It's also a matter of his talent and ability. He's just a really gifted player. Like I said, I have high hopes for him. I really want to see him breakout. He and I had a conversation about that just today. It's time for him to step up and become what he's capable of doing. He's very determined to do that."
DE Chris Canty
On what it's like to be back with the team after being released in February: "After being shown the door? (laughter) You know what? It actually feels good having a chance to be around the guys for the first time this offseason. It has been really good. I've had an opportunity to get two really good work days in. I feel really, really good about my training and where I'm at physically. [I am] just continuing to stack days, build this thing. Being out here for these couple of days for this week kind of gives me some insight into some things that I want to work on by continuing the training process – get my body ready for training camp and ready for the season."
On the process he went through to determine whether he would play this season: "Well, it was an opportunity just to take a step back from the game. You're beat up during the season and during the postseason, so you don't want those thoughts to kind of enter into your mindset as far as decision-making for your future. I just really took some time after the season – after I was able to get away from it for a while – [to] decide, 'What direction do I really want to go in?' My heart was telling me that I still wanted to play football, and importantly, my body said that I could still play football. Once I came to that realization, it was an easy decision."
On his impressions of DE Brent Urban and DE Kapron Lewis-Moore: "They look good. They look good. I've been watching them on tape throughout all the OTAs and the little sessions. I've been seeing the films of practices and just watching their development. They're really taking the next step. [There are] still things that they have to work on; they understand those things. [Defensive line] coach [Clarence] Brooks is doing a great job of getting those guys coached up, helping them to continue to improve, but I'm excited about the direction that they're going. I'm excited about all the young guys who are on defensive line. [It is a] tremendous collection of talent, a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things. I think they complement each other very well, so [I am] really excited to see what this group is capable of."
On how much pride he takes in mentoring younger players: "To be honest with you, they're all leaders in that room. Those guys, they have championship pedigree. Those guys have had a lot of success earlier in their careers – as far as the different stages of football they've been playing in – so they have that mindset coming in here. We always talk about being 'built like a Raven,' and those guys definitely exemplify that. I just try to teach them how to be a pro. More so than anything else, teaching them not only what to do as far as [how to] carry yourself in this building and what you're supposed to do in your profession, but off-the-field stuff as well. I just try to provide that guidance for them. But those guys are really excited. They love football, and they really attack every day with the intent in mind to get better. I'm excited to be a part of that group."
On how different the defense is without DT Haloti Ngata: "That's really tough. That's really tough, especially [with] the big fella [Haloti Ngata] not being around. I had an opportunity to see him a couple times this offseason. You can't replace a guy like that – a future Hall of Famer, one of the best to ever do it at that position. And beyond that, [he is] just a good friend. It's going to be tough having him not be a part of our group, not be a part of our defensive unit, not be a part of our football team, but we have to move on. We understand the nature of the NFL. It's a great game; sometimes it can be an ugly business. It's just what it is. We still love him, and sometimes we miss not having him in our room, but we wish him the best."
On how he stays fresh at this point in his career: "You know what? It's really about the training and taking care of my body – doing the things I need to do consistently, being disciplined with what I put in my body, being discipline in how I train, the things that I do. You have to find ways to be creative and make sure you get your work, but you don't beat your body down. The last couple years, I've tinkered with a little regimen that I've been doing, and it's working out. I feel really, really good. This is the strongest I've ever been as far as being a pro football player. I'm excited to see what I'm going to be able to do going into training camp and going into the season."
On the role he envisions taking within the team: "I'm here in whatever capacity that the team needs me. I've been a starter in this league for a decade. I don't really see that changing. That's being consistent, playing that position on the defensive front. That's what I foresee. Things change. It's a very fluid situation, business, what have you, but that's what I have in mind as my role being on this football team on our defensive unit."
On being proud of being on winning teams and how much coming back to the team felt like "unfinished business": "This team has been close in the past in terms of competing for a championship, and so I definitely feel like we're in position to be able to put in that kind of work and give ourselves an opportunity. That's what you fight for, is just the opportunity. You don't know which way it's going to bounce, but you want to at least have the opportunity to compete for [a championship], and I think that if this team continues to work the way we've been working, continues to figure things out and put it together, we'll have an opportunity to do that."
On what it is about football that he loves so much that makes him want to continue to play: "That's a great question, actually. At the crux of it, it's the opportunity to impose your will on another man. There are very few places in this world where you can do that and not go to jail. But the physical nature of the game is something that I enjoy. Again, [it's about] the opportunity to be a part of a brotherhood, to be a part of a team and have 50-plus guys coming together for one common goal. It's something special that happens. I can't really describe it. I can't put it in words, but you know it when you're around it and you feel it. I would definitely say those are the things that just keep you coming back. It's almost like a drug."
On the most effective lesson he has learned from football: "Discipline. It's something that permeates throughout your life. The discipline that it takes to be a part of the National Football League, to be a pro, to compete at this level, that's something that I'll be able to carry with me throughout the rest of my life and anything I do in the future. [It's about] understanding that you have to commit yourself to something and go about your business every single day in order to put yourself where you want to be. That's definitely something that I carry with me."
T Eugene Monroe
On if he did anything differently this offseason in terms of training to get ready: "This offseason was probably most similar for me to the time period when we had the lockout. We didn't have any organized team things to do, and I have my own trainer, so we developed a program pretty much based on everything I need, working from examining the past season. And I feel like, at this point, it's been working out great."
On if a goal of his this year is to stay healthy: "Absolutely. In terms of staying healthy, the most you can do is get your body to a point where you've done everything under the sun to ensure that you're strong enough to prevent whatever injury may occur. And sometimes it just happens, like last year. But that's last year, and no one wants to get hurt, but the main objective for an athlete, for a football player, of training is injury prevention. And obviously, you get the benefit of improving your strength, speed and all those things. So yes, you just knock out every stone in the pillar."
On how tough that was for him last year, knowing how hard he trained last offseason: "Injuries just happen. They are just things that happen. I got rolled up [on] and that was it. There was no training that could prevent that, but you just grind as hard as you can and position yourself for success."
On if his weight is lighter than it was last year: "Weight is about the same right now, but [I'm] just trying to carry less body fat. It improves stamina, and that's major, especially down the stretch of a season that's really long. So, I'm on a roll right now with that."
On if it makes him feel lighter on his feet: "Absolutely – lighter, and really the main kicker is being able to sustain when it's third-and-long and the [defensive] end is thinking, 'Oh, I got him. He's tired.' No, there's no fatiguing."
On how much comfort the offensive line takes in everybody coming back if they're all healthy: "We have a great group. We have everyone back, which is fortunate, so we're just looking to build and be better than we were last year. And I think we have the guys with the right attitude, the right work ethic [and] the right commitment to being great."
On the Ravens' offensive line getting a lot of offseason recognition as being one of the best units in the NFL: "News to me. It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is winning games. That's the most important thing, so I couldn't care less what accolades are given to us. It really doesn't matter. It doesn't change our performance on Sundays. What's important is winning games."
G/T Kelechi Osemele
On how continuity gives the offensive line confidence: "Continuity, obviously, is important when you're working as an offensive line, because everybody kind of has to move as one piece, and I feel like we're definitely going to have that with everybody coming back. So, Jeremy [Zuttah] has been looking strong already. He's been doing ladders and running every day, so we're excited to get him back. We've been having him for the walk-throughs and stuff. And [John] Urschel has been playing well and stepping up while he's been out, and – as you know – Urschel last year stepped up for me when I was out for those two games. So, I really feel like we have a tight knit group right now, and everybody is kind of working with each other. I'm looking forward to building on that into the future."
On whether it feels "weird" to have stability on the offensive line opposed to rotating positions: "I wouldn't say that it feels 'weird,' but – I mean – I definitely, I'm definitely liking it, the stability. We had a lot of guys shuffle around when I was in college, and I feel like when I got here, there wasn't as much of that going on. So, it does feel good to have everybody kind of in the same place and nobody going off to different teams or anything like that. So it's good."
On how he is feeling this season in relation to past injuries: "I feel great. I've been doing a lot more mobility work and stuff that I need to work on. Instead of just focusing on strength building, I'm kind of at the point in my career where I'm probably as strong as I'm going to get, so right now I'm just focusing on my weaknesses and working on my agility and mobility. And I feel like it's been working for me. Coming out here, I feel fluid, I feel fast and I'm just ready to go."
On how he feels about what he has established and shown to the Ravens and other NFL teams heading into the final year of his contract: "I feel really good about what I've shown. Obviously, it helps to come in here and win a Super Bowl. That's always a good thing, but on top of that, I've had great teammates and a great coaching staff behind me. Coach [Juan] Castillo has been helping me every day, working on my craft. I came in here in the league as a raw player, and right now I'm feeling like I'm becoming more of a technician. So, I'm feeling really good about that. I'll let my agent handle the contract, and I kind of just focus on my part."
On how his mom is liking her new house: "Oh, she's loving it, man. My nieces are already fighting over rooms right now."
On how excited he is to block for the running backs this year: "I'm really excited. [Justin] Forsett is coming out here like he's trying to earn another contract. He's flying around and he's finishing and running downhill and looking really good. And our young guys are stepping up and learning from him, as far as what it takes to be one of the premier backs in the league. As you know, he led the league in explosive plays, so I think he's just really trying to build on that, and all the young guys are kind of just following suit. It's just great leadership on his part."
On what he's seen from FB Kyle Juszczyk as he progresses into a starter and fits into offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's system: "[Kyle] Juszczyk is just one of those solid guys. Pretty much any system you put him in, he's going to be successful. He's a really smart guy, he picks things up fast and, he's just been doing what he does best. He's a strong guy; he's been lifting. He's always in the weight room. He's always trying to be cutting edge as far as his training methods. He's book smart and he studies the plays. So, he's just going to be one of those guys for years to come that's going to be a great player for us."
On the communication inside the huddle with rookies taking reps: "I would say [they handle it] similarly, with those guys that came in. Ozzie [Newsome] did a good job. They're just really smart guys. [John] Urschel is just, he's just a really fast learner; he's a smart guy. As far as the calls in the huddle, they haven't been any slower with him in there. So, [it's] been good."
On the transition from Gary Kubiak to Marc Trestman: "It's been seamless. I would say that the only thing that's changed really is the terminology, maybe. There are different things for the receivers and stuff. There are a lot of different concepts, but for an offensive line that's kind of young, things are pretty much the same. There are a lot of calls that are different; there are a few wrinkles here and there that we're going to throw in there to kind of throw the opposition off. But as far as everybody being on the same page right now with [Marc] Trestman coming in, I feel like everybody is firing on all cylinders. We have a long way to go, but I feel like right now, we're on the right path."
On whether everything – such as continuity on the offensive line, health and familiarity with teammates – is setting up for him to have a Pro Bowl season: "I feel like right now, as far as having everybody back, that right there is a big confidence boost. Obviously, the knee and being further removed from the injury and just feeling as good as I do right now, I definitely feel like I'm definitely in a really good position to pull that off. But right now I'm just focused on being the best player I can be and coming out here every day and trying to perfect my craft to get better. I'm kind of just letting the cards fall where they may after the season."
CB/RS Lardarius Webb
On what it's like to work in an environment like the one the Ravens have: "It's awesome, man. It's the main reason I wanted to come back, because it's a nice atmosphere, nice coaches, nice organization, and the teammates are just off the charts. I just love it here."
On whether rookie WR Breshad Perriman has impressed him in these first few days and if he reminds him of former Ravens WR Torrey Smith at all: "With the dreads, he reminds me of Torrey. He's a hard worker, great draft pick. Yesterday, he had a couple of dropped passes, and he came back today and made big plays. It just shows his character, shows how he can bounce back. He didn't fall down on himself from yesterday after some passes, but today he came back strong. So, that's what we like to see in our young players."
On how he is feeling this year: "I'm feeling awesome. I wasn't here during the OTAs and I'm back now, getting my feet acclimated out with the boys. I kind of missed them a little bit. So, I'm just having fun, getting the defense back and getting the secondary back where we're supposed to be."
On how much he is chomping at the bit to get back to playing healthy this season: "Yes, it feels good just to be able to run around and [not] have any pain. But right now, we're just working on the secondary – just putting the work in to get us back to where we're supposed to be. The organization did a great job of bringing in a lot of great pieces around us. We get Jimmy [Smith] back and he's healthy, he's looking good, right on time. Bringing in [Kendrick] Lewis; we've got Will Hill; Matt Elam is looking awesome. So, we've got the pieces around us; it's just how far we can go."
On how much last year's ending with the secondary is fueling them this year: "Oh, it's fueling all of us. Thinking about last year, [Rashaan] Melvin, he's a big piece, too, and he probably had a rough game [in the Divisional Playoff] against the Patriots. But man, you just see how he's playing, how he's practicing. He's taken a big step from when we got him off another [practice] squad, and he's supposed to be like a 'practice squad' guy. He's taken tremendous steps, and he's going to be a big piece for us, too."
On his expectations for the secondary this year: "Oh, man, like Top 5 in everything, turnovers. We want turnovers. If we can just get some turnovers, be Top 5 in turnovers, then we can go a long way. We just need to get some takeaways."
On if that is something the group is talking a lot about: "Yes, that's our thing. Let's get the ball. Let's get the ball back to Joe Flacco and let him do his thing. You know Joe's got all the pieces around him. Joe is an awesome quarterback, so if we can just give him extra possessions, it's going to be a big year."
On if he did anything different as far as preparation coming into this season, and what the exchange was between him and WR Marlon Brown on the practice field today: "Me and Marlon, I kind of mess with all the wide receivers. I have to do a little talking. Not really trash talking, but we're just talking and messing around. But me, man, I just went to get training one-on-one. [I have] worked on my weaknesses, worked on the things I needed to work on to get my body back in shape, and that's what I was doing during the OTA time."
On if he takes pride in not shying away from the big, fast marquee wide receivers he goes against: "Yes, it's all about competition. You've got to compete. I try to tell all the short-challenged DBs that we have – me, Asa Jackson, [Quinton] Pointer – we've got some guys that we're just not six-feet [tall], but you've got to play with heart. It's all about competing at the line, competing down the field, and they're doing a great job at it."
On if S Matt Elam has improved and what he sees that has improved about him: "I see he's getting that position down. He always practices at 110 [percent]. He always plays at 110 [percent], but now he's getting this defense down. He's learning how to play NFL safety, and if you just watch him you can see the improvement, on and off the field. In the meeting room, in the locker room, you can just see the change in him, in his attitude, in his confidence. He wants to improve, he wants to be better than he has, and all of us have been through that. I can just see where he's trying to go."
On what he perceives his role to be in the return game now that he's healthy: "I really like the return game. That was something that kind of set me apart whenever I came out [of college], so hey, I want it. I want it."
On if he wants to return punts: "I would love to, man, yeah. I would love to. But I don't know if they're going to just let me get it like that, but yeah, I'm going to be out there challenging for it. I want it. I want to be that playmaker to help the team out and get some points and make some big plays. But it's up to them how much they're going to let me do it."
On if he feels like he has to lobby coach Harbaugh to earn that return job: *"No, not really. I just need to go out and practice it, catch it and be smart back there. I think they'll make a good decision. If not, then I'll just train the next young guy so he can be good at it." (laughter)
Transcripts: Ravens Second Day Minicamp Media Availability
RAVENS SECOND DAY MINICAMP MEDIA AVAILABILITY