Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys coming out. Second day of practice this week, the guys are working hard, and they did a nice job coming back in shape and ready to go. We had a much larger group of guys out there. I think we're well over 80, as far as the number of guys practicing, which is an excellent number for this time of year. We're pleased with that. I love the effort, love the energy and love the atmosphere in the meetings – the desire to learn. We're picking things up very quickly as a team, across the board. We just need to get good at what we're doing. We just need to really take care of our business, get our act together and get good at what we're doing. That's what we're focusing on."
John, you have a crowded group of running backs and a lot of them have different skill sets. Does RB Javorius "Buck" Allen's versatility give him an edge? (Joe Platania) "I don't really think about that right now so much. It's just more about getting good at what we're doing and coaching every guy in whatever area they need to improve on and building on the good stuff. The competition is for later. Who wins the job will be based on what they do. So edges, no edges, it's going to be based on how they play. That will be the guys that earn those spots."
Could you see a difference with the first-year players, as far as things slowing down and them getting more acclimated? (Todd Karpovich) "The rookies? Yes, the rookies are getting the hang of it. They work really hard. They're here a full day's work. They come early. They get in here early in the morning, and they put a full day's work in. They do a heck of a job, and they should be getting better. It's work. It's a job. It's a full-time job now. The classes are football classes, and they've been very diligent. I think we have a bunch of studious, hard-working guys and some guys that are going to help us play this year."
**John, talk about the transition for QB Ryan Mallett from being a late-season pick-up to coming into camp where he's the main guy right now. *(Don Markus) *"I haven't even thought about that. I just watch him and see how he plays each play, how he carries himself in the huddle, how he communicates at the line of scrimmage and how he goes through his read progressions. It's really about how he plays. That other part of it, I think that's for [quarterbacks coach] Marty [Mornhinweg] and for [offensive coordinator] Marc [Trestman] and for Ryan himself to take care of. He's a pro. This is not a kid. This is not a guy who I think is at a stage of his life where we have to be putting our arm around him and working any kind of psychology or anything like that. He knows he's the starting quarterback, and these reps are valuable, valuable reps for him. His goal is to make the most of them."
John, I know we've asked about it a lot, but how is QB Joe Flacco progressing? Is he still on track to be ready for the start of training camp? (Luke Jones) "He's ahead of schedule, just as he has been. He'll be here for training camp. The big thing is no setbacks. He was running out here. He's been running. I saw him running. I'm like, 'Man, you're running!' I didn't know he was doing what he was doing. I hadn't seen him run, really, and he was running more than I thought, so it looked good. That [progress evaluation is] with the training room and the strength and conditioning coaches, and I feel like it's going well."
*John, what was the experience like when Muhammad Ali came to visit four years ago? *(Brett Hollander) *"Peter King called and asked that same question, and I think he wrote this. I had a tough time explaining it; maybe I can do better. It was just – what word can you use? It was a lifetime experience moment. It was one of those moments you remember for the rest of your life. I was surprised at how big he was still. Obviously, he had been fighting Parkinson's for 30 years, and the effects of it were clear. You guys have seen the pictures. Yet, he was still – you could tell if he stood up straight, you wouldn't want to stand in front of him. That was the physical part of it. Then the presence part of it was the thing that struck me the most. He had a presence that is hard to describe, but it was a giant presence, kind of like a king. He had that kind of a presence where you just respected not just who he was, but how he carried himself. You could tell he carried himself kind of like a warrior, kind of like a king, kind of like a guy who had climbed those types of mountains – who had won those kinds of battles. Boxing is kind of unique that way, because it's such a one-on-one type of a sport and it's just you and your opponent in the ring. He didn't have to say anything. Everything he needed to say was being communicated by how he carried himself. The thing that struck me the most was, because of that warrior-type of – for lack of a better term – that presence he had, he was great with our players, our coaches and us. He was great with us! He put his arm around you. He was great with you. Still, there was kind of that man-to-man thing where he was The Man; you felt that. But then when the kids came around that was completely broken down. [Senior offensive assistant] Craig Ver Steeg's son, Ian … First one, [Ali] goes like this *(signals with finger for Ian to come forward), 'Come over here.' Ian came over, and [Ali] kind of patted the seat and Ian sat down. He put his arm around him and he put Ian's head right on his cheek. Then the players ran into the building and got their kids. He did that with every single kid that was here that day. It was just like, 'Wow!' I think if you read the history about Muhammad Ali, that's how he was with kids his whole life. That's what I remember."
**Coach, on T Ronnie Stanley working both tackle and guard, I know a lot of linemen play a lot of spots. How is he progressing at both spots? *(Cliff Brown) *"Did you see him working at guard today? I don't know. I'm not really into who is playing what and all of that. Does it even matter? It's OTAs. I would say what he's doing, he's doing just fine. He's going to be a good player. The ball is in his court. He has to earn it, but he's the sixth pick in the draft. I expect him to start. That's his job to come out here and start. If he's not good enough to do it or somebody is better than him – if somebody beats him out or he can't beat somebody out – then that's how it's going to go. But it's competitive. You want to start for this team? Then go out there and be the best guy, and you'll start. It's about football. It's not about anything else other than football for us. You do what you do. You say what you say. You are who you are. We've always been about that here. You want to play? Right out there. Go out there and be the best and you'll be on the field playing."
Is DE Bronson Kaufusi still dealing with the back issues from rookie camp? (Luke Jones) "Yes he is. I don't think he'll probably practice, and they told us that when it happened, it was going to be a deal. He kind of, I would say, wrenched his back, for lack of a better term."
*So, he won't be back for training camp? *(Luke Jones) "He will definitely be back in training camp. He'll be training hard here between now and then."
With WR/RS Keenan Reynolds back, how have you seen him pick up that transition? (Garrett Downing) "[He's] doing fine. I'm not going to get all excited about it. He has a long way to go. He's shown he can catch the ball. He runs routes well. He's really smart and all of that. You guys watched it today; he caught a couple passes. I would tell him, 'How about we catch it and stay on our feet and keep running after we catch it?' Something as simple as that, when has he ever done that before? He's never done that. He's been a quarterback. But I've watched him run as a quarterback, so I know he can do it. I just think once he figures it out and does it a few times, he'll be fine. That's just going to be a big question mark in terms of how fast he can pick it up, and it will be fun to watch. We drafted him because we believe he can do it. He has to do it now."
John, on DT Brandon Williams, how much hard work did it take for a person to go from Division II to now at this point in his career? (Jamison Hensley) "I just think so much is made of that. How much work did it take to get a body that looks like that? (laughter) Some of it was no work; he was born like that. You could work all day, Jamison… (laughter) I think you should probably think about starting to work out a little more. Think how great you would look if you trained like him. *(laughter) *He does, he trains really hard. He's in great shape. He's 343 pounds, which is fighting shape for him. He's in fighting shape right now. For a big guy to say that at this stage of the season is pretty remarkable. He's out there – you can't block him [because] you have no pads on, but he's not getting moved, I can tell you that. I'm just very impressed with him and expect him to play really well. The Division II thing? The only thing about that was the tape was really grainy and the camera shook a little more than you wanted it to, so you had to look a little harder to see it. But it was out there. It was on the tape, so it was good."
What do you see form OLB Za'Darius Smith in Year Two? What do you want to see him improve on to step up in his sophomore year? (Ryan Mink) "I just think he needs to be more consistent. He's played really well. He's shown he can be an explosive past rusher last year, and of course, now he's looking really good. He's another guy that's in phenomenal shape. Our team is in really great shape and has done a great job. What I would say to him is this: 'I remember last year you lined up offside once.' Didn't he cost us a situation? He came out here today and lined up offside, and cost us a situation. We should learn from that. And he does, and he cares. I had a bet with him last week – maybe that's against the rules to have a bet with a guy – but it was only a dollar, so I have to read the CBA and see what the rule is on that. (laughter) I bet him that he was in the neutral zone early. [We] went back and watched the tape frame-by-frame, and he was not in the neutral zone. He was right on time, and actually, one of the linemen had even flinched. I have to pay him a dollar, but I'm going to wait until I check my side letter on that."
(Harbaugh continues:) "What about the Michigan camp? You guys don't care about that?"
The one with your brother, Jim Harbaugh? I saw a photo of you guys out to eat. (Luke Jones) "It went great!"
Not Cracker Barrel? (Jamison Hensley) "It wasn't. It was a crab house place down there in Canton. I don't know the name of it. So [Jim] tweets it and he goes, 'Watch this,' and within a minute there were 30 re-tweets and over 60 'thumbs ups.' He didn't mention how many 'thumbs downs' there were; probably a few of those. (laughter) I couldn't believe how fast people respond to those. Pretty incredible."
Why does he tweet and you don't? Have you ever had that conversation about you tweeting? (Nestor Aparicio) "With Jim?"
Yeah, he's good at it. (Nestor Aparicio) "Maybe that's why." (laughter)
**Have you ever thought about joining the Twitter world? *(Jamison Hensley) *"I have. What would I say? What would I tweet about? *(laughter) *Going out to dinner? Take a picture?"
*Injury updates? *(Luke Jones) "Injury updates! Yeah." (laughter)
(Kevin Byrne, Senior Vice President of Public and Community Relations): "Media irritated me again."
(Harbaugh): "No, everybody's great. You guys are great. There's a tweet. Maybe one day it would be fun. I guess it's growing on me, because the ability to communicate that way is pretty interesting. I think college is a bigger deal, because of the recruiting thing. It's really probably important for them. In our level, I don't know how much value it has. Pete [Carroll] and some of those guys do it, so I'll probably have to see what they say. I'd probably get myself in trouble; say something controversial. But the cool thing about the camp was the fact that – I guess I would tweet this, and I'll get a little controversial here: You go out to that camp, and [some people] make a criticism about those camps. I see you shaking you're head; you were out there. There were 500 kids out there, and it wasn't just football. They had a cheer camp. They had a lacrosse camp, boys and girls. They had a band camp. All for free, all the University of Michigan paying for it. 'Oh, they're going to get recruits out of it!' Really? How many recruits do you think it will make a difference on? In Baltimore, [with] 43 other locations? They're recruiting the cream of the crop. They're recruiting the best players all across the country. There might be a publicity thing to it, which is kind of cool and kind of neat. But I saw a [Michigan] football staff and a Maryland football staff out there killing themselves in the hot sun from 8 in the morning until 9 at night, coaching high school football players up, the vast majority of whom will never ever see… A lot of them won't ever play in college, let alone at that level in college, and they're working just like they're coaching their own guys. Because that's what coaches do. That's what coaches did when Jim and I were coming up; that's what coaches always did. You coach guys. You go out there and coach guys in football drills. They have a memory now. Those Baltimore City football players have a memory that they will have for the rest of their life. I can remember every camp I went to as a kid, football, basketball or whatever. I bet you can, too. Those are things you remember for the rest of your life. I guess if you want to criticize that while you're sitting at home doing nothing, then you can do that. But get out there and make a difference. Get out there like Michigan and Maryland are doing. Make a difference in young people's lives. To me, that's part of what football is all about. I was just happy to get a chance to be able to do it, to be able to be included in the whole thing and be a part of it. Truth is, we probably need to do more of it ourselves. It was a pretty neat deal. I think it was great for Baltimore. The Police Commissioner was there [and] a bunch of policemen were out there. How about that? Rallying the police and the Baltimore youth together. You have to dig pretty darn deep to find a criticism on that one. Would that be a worthy tweet? (laughter) That's why I probably can't do it. I talk too much."
RB Javorius "Buck" Allen
On the competition at running back and his early impressions of RB Trent Richardson: "It's great to have Trent Richardson, a guy that's been around the league for a while. It's great to have competition and great to have numbers. All of us are going to compete. All of us are going to make each other better at the end of the day, no matter what the situation is. We're all going to push each other to be great. One running back may see something different than the other one. [We're] just there to help each other be great and be better every day."
On if he did anything differently in the offseason: "Yes, I did. From your rookie year, you're going straight into training, straight into getting ready for the Combine, getting ready for pro day. So, I took a couple of months off and got to it. [I was] down in Florida in the hot heat, in the humidity. I feel like if I can survive there and work out there, I can play anywhere. I stayed true to myself, had a great training down there in Tampa and grinded it out."
On what he took from his rookie season: "That I played early. I got my number called early – got out there to get in the mix and experience some things. I learned that you've always got to be prepared, no matter what the situation is. You never know when your number is going to get called – third-string, second-string – no matter what. It's always an injury away. So, being prepared is the best way to be."
On where he wants to take the next step in his game: "Being explosive, being great, being that guy that they can throw out there no matter what the situation is – third down, fourth down, fourth-and-goal. Just going out there and being a playmaker [is my goal]."
On how much more comfortable he feels compared to a year ago: "[My] confidence is at a higher level; it's high. That's a great point. After going through your first year, seeing how fast the game is, seeing how a different team plays, you're going to come back next year with confidence and more comfortable with the playbook. I feel like I'm in a great place right now."
On if he felt like he was close to breaking a lot of big runs last year: "Definitely. I actually looked back at that [on film] two weeks ago, and a couple games, I could have broke it, but a little shoestring tackle brought me down. This year, that's not going to happen. Me personally, that's something I worked on. [Running backs] coach Thomas [Hammock] pointed it out to me. It's something I worked on, and I'm ready for it."
On if he worked on anything to prevent fumbling: "You've just got to take care of the ball. You don't want anyone else to have it. You've just got to take care of it, and don't turn it over. If you want to stay on the field, you can't be a guy that turns the ball over."
On if his breakout performance against the Miami Dolphins was a turning point for him: "It was just a great game plan. Coach [Marc Trestman] put me in the right position to make plays – called the right plays for me to be a playmaker. Of course I was in Florida; you know I love the state of Florida. My family got to come down, and it was great to put on a show for them."
TE Crockett Gillmore
On his road to recovery: "It's been a long road – a lot of learning. I've had this similar injury before, so it's nothing new. But at the same time, you're always adapting and learning. It's something that I've had to learn from and hopefully can keep this from happening again."
On if he thought about getting surgery on both shoulders: "We talked based on what I've had in the past, and what I have now is something that I can deal with. I felt comfortable making that decision. At the end of the day, it is my decision. They gave me the information, and we talked it over. I think we're going to be ready."
On if he has to do any different post-practice stretching:"No. (laughter). A lot of it is just taking care of yourself – those situations where you kind of get an odd situation – you might have to move your hand a little differently. It's really a lot of technique for me, things I can control."
On if the injury didn't allow him to lift as much in the offseason: "The injury didn't really affect my lifting. I got after it pretty hard as soon as the surgery was done. We've been on top of everything. I don't feel like there's any issue with my body. I feel like I'm in great shape. I'm running around doing everything I can do right now, and we've still got a little bit of time before the season. What I weigh now, and what I come in at – it's really up to me. I could play now. Weight-wise, I feel great. It hasn't really affected it."
On the talent at the Ravens' tight end group: "This is the best group in the NFL. I'm not afraid to say it. It's hands down [the best group]. There are guys that unfortunately won't be here with the numbers. You can't keep that many guys. There are going to be some really good, talented guys that can do everything [who will] not be here. There's just not a group of guys that works like these guys are working. I'm really impressed by the way Dennis [Pitta] and Ben [Watson] and 'Juice' [Kyle Juszczyk] … Those vets are leading the room. Those guys are doing everything they can do. Coach [Rich] Angulo has done a great job with us [with] attention to detail. We're not a group that's going to make a whole lot of noise, but they're definitely taking care of their job."
On his early impressions of new TE Benjamin Watson: "He's done a great job. For me, the biggest thing is getting to know the guy. As I've gotten to know him, he's just a great guy – someone you want to be around, someone you want to build with, [build] a team with or a business with. I'm very interested to continue to work with him. We're early in the stages of our relationship, but once we are able to get next to each other, I'm really excited for what we can do."
On if he's seen TW Benjamin Watson come in as a leader: "Absolutely. He carries himself that way, all day. It doesn't matter what we are doing. He knows a lot about everything, and we talk. I'm always interested to hear what he has to say."
On what he takes away from what TE Dennis Pitta has done to get back to football: "I have no excuses – after the injuries he's had – to be able to come back and step on the field at all. I think he's going to contribute and do what Dennis Pitta does. At the end of the day, that's all we can ask him to do."
T Ronnie Stanley
On how OTAs are going so far: "I think it's going really well. I'm getting the plays down. I have good chemistry with all of the players on the offense, and everything is really starting to click."
On if he is further along than he expected to be at this point: "It is a little bit better than I expected. I am getting the plays down better than I thought I would and a lot faster than I thought I would."
On to whom he goes for guidance on the field: "Mainly, it's John Urschel; he's the guy right next to me. Everyone on the line helps me out a lot – Rick [Wagner], Jeremy [Zuttah], Ryan [Jensen], all of those guys. I ask them questions all of the time, and they've all been very helpful."
On how important it is to be the starting guy heading into training camp: "It's very important, but that's not really my main focus. I'm just trying to get better as a player and really just trying to help this team be the best it can be."
On if there is a dramatic difference in speed on the next level: "I think the speed is there. It's going to be a lot more physical with pads, but I definitely think the speed is there."
On the toughest teammate to block: "[Timmy] Jernigan is always really tough to block. He's very shifty."
On what he still wants to improve on at this point: "Just really being more consistent with my technique and really locking down on everything [offensive line] coach [Juan] Castillo wants me to do."
On what he thinks when he hears head coach John Harbaugh's high expectations of him as the sixth-overall pick: "He's just a real man. He keeps it real. That's what I expect of myself, too. If I was a coach, I'd expect the same thing. If you're not ready, you're not going to play. If you are [ready], you're going to play. The bottom line is, he wants to win games, and that's what I want to do, too."
On if he has had contact with T Eugene Monroe: "Yeah, we've talked. We've talked a lot."
On if he has spoken to Monroe via text: "We've talked in the locker room as well and text. He's been very helpful and nothing but good."
C Jeremy Zuttah
On how he feels: "Good. It's been … Before OTAs started, it was a while – longest I've ever been probably without playing football. So [I'm] getting back out there, trying to knock the dust off. I feel good and am on my way back."
On if his shoulder is getting back to normal: "It's all good. It's been all good for probably two, three months now. So, it's all just getting that strength all the way back, getting a little bit of the size all the way back, and [I'm] good to go.
On his thoughts on rookie T Ronnie Stanley: "[Ronnie] Stanley is good. He's a very natural athlete; you can see it out there. As soon as he gets to the point where he doesn't have to think about anything, he's going to take it to the next level and just keep progressing."
On if there is extra motivation coming off an injury to put last year behind him and get ready for 2016: "Last year is already behind me. From the second the season ended, all I was thinking about was next year and getting ready for next year. Unfortunately for me, part of that was recovering from a surgery, but now I'm at a point where I think that's behind me, too. I'm just getting worried about getting better and [to] keep progressing as a football player."
On his expectations on the offensive line group: "We have a talented group. Even without Marshal [Yanda] here – obviously, he'll get here when he gets here – you can see that at every position we have talent. It's just about being able to put it all together. Obviously, we lost a great player up front [in Kelechi Osemele]. It's going to be a little bit of a void, and everybody is going to have to kind of step up to replace it. It's not going to be one guy to take up all that slack."
On what he would attribute to some of the struggles last year, specifically in the running game: "Two years ago, a lot of the plays were small plays in the beginning, and then all of a sudden, we started breaking big plays. As an offense, we just have to be able to stay on the field and keep converting third downs, so we get more chances to run the ball, and then eventually some of them will pop more."
On if he has to block differently for different running backs: "I don't know if they run different plays. We just block whatever play is called. I don't know who is back there while which play is called. I'm not keeping track of that."
On if the Ravens have the talent to replace former Ravens G Kelechi Osemele: "Yes. Obviously, John [Urschel] has played in a lot of quality plays in games. 'Big Red' [Ryan Jensen] has played a lot, and Alex [Lewis], the rookie, physically, he is as well put together as anybody else I've seen at that position. As far as if he can pick it up mentally, he can be a guy that does it, too."