SUNDAY (8/12) TRAINING CAMP TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Good to see everybody! We had quite a day – obviously, a tough practice in pads. I felt like our guys did a very good job. It was long practice, it was a challenging practice, and we got better. We have the kids here everywhere. They're great – they just got done signing autographs; that was much fun. And of course, we topped it all off with the ice cream truck – so what could be better? A summer day with the ice cream truck."
What's your favorite ice cream? (Luke Jones) "Chocolate. I like vanilla, too. I'm kind of a vanilla bean guy with a little chocolate sauce on top. That's probably my favorite. Simple, keep it simple."
Is there some value in doing a couple fun things here and there? You have this long stretch, you're deep into camp._ (Luke Jones) "Yes, everybody likes ice cream. We had pizza yesterday. We didn't have enough. I didn't get mine either. We got it from a great place – Palio. Am I allowed to say that?" _(Reporter: "I heard there might have been some hoarding of the pizza.") "You put 50 boxes of pizza [in there], you have close to 100 players in the locker room, and some of the guys weren't in the locker room. Those pizzas aren't going to make it. It's not like it's going to be, 'Yeah, I'll save a piece for my buddy.' It was gone. I thought, 'I got the pizza!' You know? Someone save me a slice? Didn't happen."(Reporter: "How many boxes?") "It was 50, but they really weren't that big. So it's going to 150 next time. Pizza was amazing though."
What have you seen from G Nico Siragusa's progress given how difficult the injury was?_ (Jeff Zrebiec) _"To me, Nico has just come a long way. He had a long way to go. He hasn't played any football in a year. Obviously, the knee was a big knee injury. He did a great job of getting himself healthy, ready to practice. Technique-wise, he has some ways to go yet, but he has come a long way. I'd say he's on schedule, but he has a lot of work to do."
I know WR/RS Janarion Grant had limited reps at returner on Thursday, but how do you think he fared?_ (Ed Lee)_ "I thought he did well. One return he took it outside when he should've just gotten north. He's done that twice now. But the other two returns he got them upfield and did very well – made some people miss, caught the ball well. [It] seemed like he did well."
Are you running more odd fronts compared to last season and why? (Mike Preston) "I think we're in an odd front probably more in our sub-packages, our nickel packages. more than the pass. Not more … Probably in it less in our base package that we still have it. We're actually running some 46 or some Bear defense in the base-package. But the sub-package we're probably more out, and the reason would be is it causes problems for protections. A completely different identification system, whether it's an even front or an odd front. The first thing an offensive line has to do is come up and determine whether they're going to treat the front as an event front or an odd front. So if we can make that a little tougher for them to do, or at least force them to take that step, that should help us." (Reporter: "Does that allow you to get more one-on-ones?") "It could. The goal is to try and get some free runners. You can get a one-on-one with the center there pretty well if they want to fan it and handle your edge pass rushers. If they want to slide it, then you have a chance to get a mismatch on the running back with an edge pass rusher."
G/C Matt Skura entered training camp looking to earn that starting center job. He has been taking first-team reps. How is he progressing?_ (Garrett Downing)_"Matt had a really good game. He's had two really good practices since the game, so I think since the game, and then the last two practices, he's really starting to accelerate his progress."
What have you seen from DT Zach Sieler? He's from a small school, so how has his transition been? (Luke Jones) "He's starting to flash. I would say that Zach is definitely starting to flash. He's got power; he's an explosive guy. That sack on the right side where he powered through the guard, [he] got on the edge and just snatched the quarterback. It was very … It was an NFL-style play. He's put himself in the running."
Any serious injury with OLB Tyus Bowser? He hasn't been out here._ (Jamison Hensley)_ "Tyus has had a little groin thing. It just doesn't feel like he's at 100 percent right now. But he needs to get back out there. The competition is starting to heat up."
Has WR John Brown been even better than you've hoped?_ (Childs Walker)_ "I would agree with that. He has been better than we expected. Obviously, we've had high hopes for him, but [he's] better than advertised – probably even better than what the tape showed, I would say. He's been a complete receiver for us."
When G Marshal Yanda is in there, you've moved G/T James Hurst to right tackle. How do you see that shaking out? (Aaron Kasinitz)"It's going to be a battle. James has the inside track, certainly, as the incumbent or the veteran guy, but Orlando [Brown Jr.] gets better every day. I think that's going to be a really good battle, a good problem to have. That's the kind of problem that you want to have."
Running Backs Coach Thomas Hammock
Opening statement:"I just want to start – just what a great group of kids I get the opportunity to work with every year. These guys work hard. They're dedicated professionals, and they're doing a nice job so far."
It's RB Alex Collins' second year back here. [He's] looking just as good as last year. (Jim Forner) "He's actually looking better. He's working harder. He's definitely determined, and I think he wants to make sure people understand that he's not just a one-hit wonder."
The follow up is, they ranked RB Alex Collins as some crazy number, like 26th, best running back in the NFL. That is not 26 out there. _(Jim Forner) _"I definitely use that to my advantage. I think I work a lot better when we have guys that have chips on their shoulders, and I think Alex Collins definitely had that chip on his shoulder."
How much value was there to the fact that – mentioning how well RB Alex Collins played last year, but he came in so late – he came in at the start of the regular season. Having him through a whole offseason, a whole spring, a whole summer, how much value and how much do you think that will impact him, now being here a second year? _(Luke Jones) _"I think he's just more comfortable. He understands the job. When he first got here, he was just trying to learn the plays, so it took him a few weeks to learn the plays. And then, he let his ability take over after that."
What do you think RB Alex Collins' potential is with a full season under his belt, rather than coming in late like he did last year? (Ed Lee)"I think it's hard to say. The one thing I told Alex is, the harder you work, the more things are going to happen for you in a positive nature. He's certainly going out there every day working hard, as hard as he can work, and all you can do is hope for the best when the season starts."
One of the things that developed late in the season was the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Is that something that you guys recognized immediately, or is that something that took some time to develop? (Ed Lee)"It's been developing, and he's doing a much better job this year as well, understanding how to run routes, how to win one-on-one situations, and finishing with catching the ball."
We've seen a lot of RB Gus Edwards. What's he kind of done to separate himself from the other guys?*_(Aaron Kasinitz) _*"All of the guys are competing. The one thing about all of the guys is, in the recruiting process, you recruit your problems. These guys are certainly … They've come here and worked hard and have done everything asked of them. They all have their strengths. They all have their weaknesses. The great thing about it is we have five preseason games where those guys can have every opportunity to show what they can do."
I know he's been banged up off and on, but what have you seen from RB Kenneth Dixon, especially coming back from the knee injury last year? _(Luke Jones) _"Kenneth Dixon can play. I don't think that's ever been a question. He just has to make sure he stays healthy and gets his body right where he can go out there and perform at a high level."
RB Kenneth Dixon has been limited in practices recently because of the hamstring injury. How much has that set him back in any way? (Ed Lee)"Dixon is one of those guys. He can roll out of bed and be ready to play. So, I've never been concerned with that part of it. It's just a matter of getting him the reps where he can go out there and execute in the games."
Going back to RB Alex Collins' ability to catch passes out of the backfield, is that something that he has embraced as another way to get out in the open? _(Ed Lee) _"I think as a back, you want to be able to help the offense in every phase, whether it's running, catching or pass-protecting. I think he's embraced that opportunity to stay on the field longer, and he can have more opportunities to make plays."
I know you said you like to use the fact that RB Alex Collins is ranked pretty low as motivation for him. Do you get a sense that he has visions of being a Top 5 back in the NFL? (Ed Lee) "All that stuff, to me, is so subjective. I can say somebody is a Top 5 back, and it's just somebody's opinion. All I know is, if you go out there, and you produce at a high level, people will have no choice but to respect you."
Is RB Buck Allen any good? _(Jim Forner) _"Oh yes. The one thing about Buck is, I tell Buck, I think his career is just starting. And, he's gotten better every year. And the thing about Buck, he's a second-half player. He gets stronger as the year goes along, but he certainly started that process a lot earlier this year."
CB Maurice Canady
On the ice cream truck visiting practice:"We had pizza come by yesterday, and [head coach John] Harbaugh blessed us with this gourmet ice [cream]. I'm excited, man."
On if he feels more comfortable in the slot or on the outside: "I wouldn't put my finger on which one I'm more comfortable with. I'm comfortable with both. My natural skillset would obviously fit outside with my size and speed. I'm excited to get back outside."
On the value of his versatility: "It's a huge deal to me to display my versatility on a daily basis. It really projects the player that I envision myself to be. I'm very excited about that."
On the depth of the secondary:"The depth, like you said, we have the potential to be very special. We've got guys coming back – we all coming back, really – locked and loaded. I'm very excited. I can't wait to get this thing jumping."
On his interception against the Rams:"It felt good. I've been catching all these interceptions out here, but nobody else sees it. It was just good for me to display my talent for the world to see."
On if it hit him that the last time he played a home game was against the Bengals in December:"No, it didn't hit me. Everything is a day-by-day thing. If you dwell on the past, you have no future. Yeah, that didn't cross my mind at all."
On how practicing against the new wide receivers has helped his development: "It definitely upped my game going against guys like [Michael] Crabtree, Chris Moore, 'Smokey' [John] Brown, Willie Snead [IV]. It's definitely good to have new, different receivers so you can't get too comfortable. You can't get complacent, because every day is going to be a challenge."
On how he feels now that training camp is almost over: "I'm feeling good. Like I said before, [it's a] day-by-day type of thing. I only worry about tomorrow; I'm not worried about anything in the future. I'm just worried about what I've got to do next. So yeah – just a day-by-day thing."
FB/DL Patrick Ricard
On if he goes to offensive or defensive meetings:"Right now, I'm meeting mostly with the defense, so I just go with the defense, the D-Line. And then, I'll meet with 'G-Ro' [Greg Roman] and Andy [Bischoff] on the side to go over fullback and offensive plays."
On if there are any moments of confusion for him at practice:"They give us the offensive scripts before practice, so I already know what plays I have. I'll just go to the offensive coaches every period and just be like, 'Alright, what plays do I have?' Then, I go to my defensive coaches, like 'I have play 1, 2 and 7 this period.' And then I just have to just talk with them and get in when I can."
On if, in the heat of the moment, he gets confused:"Not really, just because it's so organized. We've been doing it for last year and this year, so [I'm] getting used to it."
On if it's easy to put on the pinny that he wears during offensive drills:"I don't know. [Someone] helps me a lot. He'll come to me in the huddle. He'll have it out, so I can just put my arms in and put it on real quick. I have to do it, because one practice, coach [John] Harbaugh saw that there were 12 guys on defense, because I was wearing the defensive jersey. I have to do it, so it is what it is."
On if it's strange to be blocking for the running back and also going against the running back on other plays: "I know. Defensive guys will call me 'traitor,' just because I'm hitting them versus playing with them. But, it's all love. They all know that I have to do what I have to do."
On if he describes himself as offense or defense first: "When I first came into the league, I was a D-lineman. At this point, I kind of just say both. Sometimes, I'll say fullback first. Sometimes, I'll say D-lineman first. I really just value myself at both positions, because I think I do both pretty well."
On if he played both positions in college: "No. College, I only played D-line. High school, I played linebacker. I played fullback. I played tight end. The last time I played offense was in high school, so I came here and it was all new to me."
On whose idea it was for him to play offense: "It was last OTAs, when I first got here. It was probably a week in. It was Greg Roman, because he just had gotten here as the run-game coordinator, so he wanted to try me at fullback a couple plays. The rest is history at that point."
On if he'll be involved in any more wheel routes, like he ran in last Thursday's game: "I know, I was surprised, too, when the play was called. (laughter) I'm like, 'Alright, let's do it!' And then the ball was in the air. I don't know. We'll see what happens in practices."
On if he hears anything from other teams during games about him playing on both sides of the ball: "Sometimes after games, some guys will say that it's impressive, what I'm doing. But in games? Not really, no."
On confusion to coaches going from one side to the other in practice: "That's something I have to communicate with them, because they have to have someone in. That's the thing that happens sometimes. Some periods, we have to just call it, so I don't even know if I'm going in. So, those are the periods where I'm kind of like, 'Alright, I have to stay ready on offense, so you guys have to stay ready, because I might have to go in. You might have to put somebody on defense.' It is cool, though. It is fun."
On being able to fill many roles on the field: "It's almost like playing in high school again, because in high school, I never came off the field. I was playing both ways. It's just a way higher level, and I have to know way more. It's way faster, but it's awesome. It's a lot of fun."
On if he focused on getting bigger in the offseason: "Yes, because last year, I was playing mostly fullback. I probably had 40 snaps the whole season on defense, so I wanted to be in the rotation more on the defensive line. I figured I had to gain a little more weight, so I could take those double teams and just play more stout at the point of attack. I gained the weight to where I think I can still move well enough to play fullback, and I feel pretty good right now, the weight I'm at."
On how much weight he gained: "I probably gained about 10 pounds – 10 to 15."
On how he gained the weight: "In March, I went to Indianapolis. I stayed with my agent, and I trained at St. Vincent Sports Performance, [the] same place I trained before my pro day. Just working with those guys, I gained a lot of size there. I was eating Chipotle every day, just all the burritos, and just making sure I really gained a lot of weight. And then, I came here and just continued my progress."