Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
What have you seen from some of the candidates to return kicks, including WR DeAndre Carter? (Aaron Wilson)"Asa Jackson has done it, as you know, and DeAndre is in the mix. As you know, we have other guys on our team that have done it in preseason. What we do, always in preseason, is everybody is getting reps, and we are doing that right now. Fitzgerald Toussaint is getting reps. Steve Smith [Sr.] is back there catching balls. Lardarius Webb will be back there catching balls. I think we'll limit it to keeping the offensive linemen out of there. (laugher) We're not going to let any of those guys go out there, but we are going to have a long line when it comes to that time. So, we'll find out who does it best in those camp situations and go from there, and then divvy up the reps for the preseason games with the guys we think are doing the best in practice. And then we will make a decision based on how they do in preseason. It's a lot like all the other positions. I like to see guys in games. Practice is practice. It's really valuable, it is important, you see what skills guys have, you watch them play and you get a feel for them. Having said that, there's nothing like game reps – handling a crowd, handling a game situation is really important. So, we'll make the decision based on who is best in preseason."
**Jerry, how did you react to the new extra point rule as far as moving it back to the 15-yard line? *(Luke Jones) *"It is one of those things where I don't have any control over it, so there's really not much a guy can do. So, I just react by getting ready for the first PAT from the 15-yard line. That's pretty much the limit of my reaction, I guess, is deal with it."
Does it certainly help having a Pro Bowl kicker who in his career has been very good from even that distance? (Luke Jones) "Certainly. I think it helps to have good players at all those positions. If you are trying to be a championship team – which we are all trying to be – that's really important to have good players, and our operation has been solid. We need to continue to be so. It will be interesting to watch, though. I think there are going to be more plays as a result of this rule change than perhaps people realize – especially down the stretch and the playoffs and weather conditions and field conditions [change]. I just think there is going to be a big play as a result. I hope we are on the positive end of it if it's in our game."
Going back to returners, for guys like WR Steve Smith Sr. and Lardarius Webb who are veteran players, starters on both sides of the ball, how much do you balance their role on offense or defense, or are you saying, "I want this guy back there." Seeing them in the preseason and all those things? (Garrett Downing) "You hit it exactly right, it is a balance. They have both done it and both done it successfully. And when you are trying to win games, you'll do whatever it takes to win games. Having said that, when you've got a starting corner and a starting wide receiver, you'd rather not have those guys do it on an every down basis, because you've got to divvy up the work. We need a guy to come through for us so that doesn't happen. That's my view."
WR Jacoby Jones did both kicks and punts. Do you want somebody to do both kicks and punts, or does that not matter? (Garrett Downing) "You'd like to see a return specialist do both, and also contribute on offense or defense. My personal philosophy is I don't want just a return specialist. That's not enough value to the roster. It doesn't help the team enough. Whatever way we work out with the roster – whether it is one guy doing one and playing on offense and another guy doing another and playing on defense – as long as they are doing everything they can in a multiple number of ways to help our team, then I'll be just fine with it."
You mentioned having the whole system with K Justin Tucker, P Sam Koch and LS Morgan Cox, too. How is Morgan coming along in terms of his injury last year? Expecting him to be ready? (Jon Meoli) *"Again, I'm not the doctor, but he has been out here every day snapping, and everything is going well." *
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
**What have you seen from OLB Courtney Upshaw this spring and is he going to be big on third down possibly this year? *(Aaron Wilson) *"Possibly. He's having a good camp here every day. He has always been a smart football player – that certainly hasn't changed at all – and I think he has worked a lot here in the offseason, and I can see him being a part of our pass rush, no doubt."
How important is this time for a guy like ILB Arthur Brown – who has been behind good players the past couple of years – to see him on the field now and see if there will be role for him that works when the fall rolls around? (Garrett Downing)"Well, it's really important for all of them, not only Arthur, it's all of them. We have tremendous competition right now on this defense, more than I've ever seen across the board at a lot of different spots. There is always kind of … I think in years past [there has] been some kind of givens with certain guys that that's going to be it. There's a lot of competition, which is making camp a lot more fun, a lot more competitive. And with Arthur, I think he's having an outstanding camp. I think he's getting around, knowing what we really want to do on defense. It's his third time or so around of knowing the defense and knowing the calls, and I've seen a tremendous improvement."
Dean, with the defensive line, [there are] a lot of young guys and a couple guys like DE Brent Urban who weren't healthy last year. Do you feel that even though losing a player like DT Haloti Ngata, it could be a strength of the team if these young guys come around? (Cliff Brown) "Yes, I think there's a lot of depth there, and there's a lot of equality. There's not a big disparity between the top guy or the bottom guy. I can't even tell you who the top guy is and who the bottom guy is. I think they're all just competing for a lot of different spots. The other thing I like about the group is they all are multiple position guys. Guys can play more than just one spot – they're not just nose tackles, they're not just three technique. [Defensive line coach] 'C.B.' [Clarence Brooks] is training those guys [so that] all of the noses have to be able to play threes, the threes have to play nose, some of the threes have to know how to play five technique. Again, I think there's going to be some depth there that I think is going to allow us to roll some people, keep people fresh. And, obviously, as you can tell, we're a lot younger."
How are you feeling about your cornerback depth? Not just guys coming back from injury, but CB Tray Walker, CB Kyle Arrington. How would you asses that group as far as numbers at this point? (Luke Jones) "I love it. You can't have enough [players] for camp with all the legs and all the running that we do, and seven-on-seven and that kind of stuff. Those guys … It's the same way, it's just a tremendous amount of competition there at corner, and they all want a spot. They all want a shot. They're all hungry for it, and I think it's just making everybody better. I think the addition of Kyle [Arrington], the addition of Kendrick [Lewis], Tray [Walker] … But the guys that have been here, too, I really think they're stepping up a little bit, too, because I think they feel like they have to, to compete. I really am pleased so far with the way camp is going. I know sometimes you look out there, and if a guy gets beat deep, he gets beat deep. But on all those balls that are kind of thrown up there that are competitive, I don't get too worried about those, because the DB [defensive back] has to back off so we don't have collisions. I don't consider that getting beat. I think we've had less big balls thrown on us on this camp than in a lot of camps."
Dean, can you give your evaluation of some of your rookies so far – OLB Za'Darius Smith, DT Carl Davis and CB Tray Walker? Can you just give your take on how they look? (Ryan Mink) "You know what, I'd put them, Ryan, all in kind of the same boat. They all are doing very, very well. They're all what we thought they were when we drafted them. We are not disappointed in anybody. We think we had a great draft class, and I still feel that way. What you find now going into the third week here of OTAs – like stuff we did out there today – John [Harbaugh] had us just playing football, OK? When you have specific periods like it's a run period, well, I don't have to be a rocket scientist to know if I'm a defensive linemen it's [a] run [play]. And if it's a pass period, it's [a] pass [play]. Well, now that you start mixing it and you mix the situations and you do all of that stuff … I was throwing all the installations for the last eight days, I threw at them today. I called calls that I haven't called since Day One, and you can see the wheels spinning. And we did it on purpose to try to make them realize you have to be on top of it every day, and just because we're going onto a new installation doesn't mean we're forgetting the old one. So, I think they're all that way. I think they all can go in there and tell you what they're supposed to do. They're all working really hard. What they have to do is just keep saying it over and over. And I'd really, I would clump them all in the same group. I think they're all doing equally well."
*I know general manager & executive vice president Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh have talked a lot about wanting to see more from S Matt Elam this year. What have you seen from him? (Luke Jones) *"Best camp he has had – bar none, not even close. I expect big things out of Matt, I really do. I know there are some critics out there, but I'm just telling you, I think No. 26 is going to be a good football player. I think he's having a great camp."
**How have you seen S Matt Elam improve specifically? *(Luke Jones) *"Communication-wise, running to the ball wise and every aspect. Now, the thing that we can't tell right now is tackling, from anybody. So, it wouldn't be just him, it would be anybody. We don't know that. But as far as just communication, knowing the defense, being in the right spot, doing all [of] those things, best camp he has had."
Coach, DT Carl Davis, he has lined up at multiple spots on the line. Can you talk a little bit about what you saw in him and what made you want to allow him to play multiple spots? (Turron Davenport) "He's a big-body guy that can play a nose tackle or play a three technique like I was talking about before. It's almost not so much what we saw in him from Iowa, it's what we need him to be. We need those guys to always know [how] to play more than one spot. Same thing with the defensive backs – guys have to play nickel, have to play corner. I tell them the very first day, 'The more you can do, the better chance you have of making the team and getting playing time.' And I hate standing on [the sideline] – in my case sitting in the booth – looking at a good player on the sideline that's better than a player out there, but the guy can't play because he doesn't know the position. That never made any sense to me as a coach. So, if I have a good safety that's the fifth best defensive back, well, when one of those guys goes down he ought to be in the game, not that he can't play something else. Same thing with the D-line. That's why these guys all learn multiple positions. Every guy on this team knows more than one spot. [The media] has seen it all here; we've gone through years where Ray [Lewis] was out for 10 games, [Terrell] Suggs was out for these games, Ed [Reed] was out for these games, we have a bunch of guys out [and] somebody has to step in and play. And we've been lucky enough that guys like Albert McClellan have gone in there and played for us at inside backer – that's what he's playing now – and he has played outside backer. The more those guys can do, the better we're going to be as a football team. So, Carl is no different. We try to train those guys right away as rookies."
Dean, what's your take on your secondary? Like you said, they can't really contest passes at this point, but do you feel like that group is poised to take a step forward from last year? (Ryan Mink) "I don't think there's going to be any doubt, Ryan, that we're going to be so much better than we were last year. I just really feel like there's a lot of depth back there, and what's really, I think, going to make it good is the competition. I don't think anybody has a spot locked up, and I think everybody has to compete, and they have to compete at the highest level, and I think they will. I'm really expecting good things out of them."
DE Brent Urban, can you talk about where he was before he went out last year and what you see from him now. It looks like he's 100 percent. (Cliff Brown) "Well, he's a big man. When you see him out there, it's not hard to find him. I really think he was poised to be in a position last year when he got hurt to … I'll never say start, because I don't know. Chris Canty was the starter. But I know he was going to play a lot and be in that rotation and have an opportunity to play, and I really see him in the same situation now. I think he has really fought his way back, and I really expect that barring anything else happening, that he's going to be a contender for a starting job."
Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman
Opening statement: "I could probably just start by saying I really want to commend our coaches for the job that they've done in the transition and the teaching process that has gone on. They have really done a terrific job and that really transcends to the players. We've got a lot of veterans who have been in the offense, who have been here, and they are really helping the young guys as well to provide learning material for them in teaching them this offense as well. I'll leave it open to questions."
How much of your offensive philosophy can you trace back to your days at Minnesota with Tom Moore? (Chris Miller) "Tom was certainly influential as a college player. Tony Dungy and myself were there, and the one thing that Tom taught us was that we want to coach guys to be better than they think they can be. Tom has done that throughout his career with the people that he has coached, and Tony learned that lesson – and I did as well – that we are here to help them try to be better than even they think they can be each and every day."
Personality-wise, any other quarterback you've had that is similar to QB Joe Flacco? (Mike Preston) "I wouldn't want to make comparisons. Joe has a personality that is unique to him. There is a quiet confidence. There's a calmness. A quiet confidence, I guess, that he has. And I've certainly enjoyed the process of getting to know him and still it's a learning process as we move forward."
Do you have that same quiet confidence, would you say? (Ryan Mink) "I don't know. I'm just trying to get better every day just like we're trying to get our players to get better."
What has the transition been like for you? (Ryan Mink)"It has been awesome. [I have had] great support from [head coach] John [Harbaugh], the guys on our staff, the people in the building. It has been a very easy transition. We've got a terrific mix of coaches, some really outstanding young coaches who understand the game really well, and we've got the experience as well on the offensive side. And there's time to talk to the other guys – to [defensive coordinator] Dean [Pees] and the defensive guys, to [special teams coordinator/associate head coach] Jerry [Rosburg] – to get to understand how things are done here. It has been very easy because of the help that has been provided me by everybody in the building."
**Marc, have you always been that emotional? When that pass was caught down the sideline, you run down there? Is that something you exhibited as a head coach or is that more just something because you're a coordinator now? *(Mike Preston) *"I've always been pretty active coaching on the field in a positive way. [I am] very passionate, outwardly emotional at the right time. [I] just kind of let it happen the way it does during practice and in games. But more in practice where you have a chance to move around a little bit more, be a little bit more verbal with the players, because there is time to do that, and to coach on the run. So, that's all part of it."
How do you find a balance of trying to incorporate what you want to see out there on the field as opposed to what was working for this team last year? (Chris Miller) "I think what I want to see is what was working. We want to continue to get better. We want to continue to work on our running game and continue to get better at that and get our players better individually, which is going to allow us to get better. There's a lot that goes into running the football. There's not just the internal side or Justin [Forsett], but it's the perimeter and all the things that go into it. We've got some new players involved, some younger players [and] they have to learn. Every year it is different, because if there is one new player, it is going to be different and there is going to be new guys in there, as you see. I think that's just all part of it. In the passing game-wise, it's just continue to grow and get to do what these guys do best. That's what we want to do, is what these guys can do best. And that's part of the daily process of throwing so much at them, is to find out what's best for this group of guys."
What kind of look has TE Maxx Williams given you so far and what do you hope for, for him this year? (Aaron Wilson) "I think that we're all looking for them just to get better every day and not trying to go in with super high expectations. I think we all do – we have high expectations of all the guys that they are going to be able to contribute, that we want them to be able to contribute. But it's really just the learning process each and every day of getting better fundamentally, technique-wise and getting to understand not only what they do, but what's going on around them."
*Specifically, what do you feel like TE Maxx Williams brings to the table? (Aaron Wilson) *"What we saw on tape was a guy who would be in the right place, do the right things [and] make a play when he had the opportunity to make a play. That's what we saw in Maxx, and that's a lot of the reason why he is here. He was able to make the right plays at the right time during the course of his short career, really, in college, and that's what we would expect to see here. And that just goes in the learning – the fundamentals, the techniques, the way [tight ends coach] Richard [Angulo] and we are teaching him – and then moving forward each and every day to get better."
Marc, how important is it to have some of these key, veteran offensive guys here every day along the way? (Jerry Coleman) "That always helps to have the guys here, and that has certainly helped us."
*Does that surprise you? Is that something you emphasize? It's obviously voluntary. *(Jerry Coleman) **"I think that's just a credit to … The guys that are here want to be here, the guys who aren't here have a reason why they're not here – nobody is holding it against them – and we are making the most of the guys that are with us. They are having the opportunity to get better and to learn some of the things that we are doing that are new within the framework of last year's offense."
What's your evaluation of how far the offense has come along in this transition? (Ryan Mink)"I really don't look at it that way. I just come out here and just try to get them better every day and work on the new things that we're doing and improve on the things we have been working on since the day we got out here."
WR Darren Waller seemed to have a number of nice catches today. Is he a guy – as a sixth round pick, as a young guy – that you can see having a role in this offense as a rookie? (Garrett Downing) "I don't think there is anybody right now that we see that can't have a role, [and] with the guys that we brought in in our draft class, certainly. And we are hoping that we can find something for everybody to be a part of what we are doing, but we're not looking at that right now as being the focus. The focus is just trying to get these guys better each and every day and working, again, within the framework of the offense and what we are trying to accomplish as it grows. Because it continues to grow every day, because we throw more at them."
**What have you learned about WR Breshad Perriman from the draft process until now, having him on the field for a few weeks? *(Luke Jones) *"What we saw on tape is what we are getting. We really liked what we saw on tape, obviously. And what we're getting is a guy who is continually improving. He has a good understanding of the game. He's not just a fast guy, he's a smart guy. He is going to learn how to be technique and use patience and use other aspects of playing the position – his size, his hand speed – to get off the line of scrimmage. So, that's really awesome to see that he's a quick learner, and he's catching the ball and making plays just like we saw him do on tape."
Marc, have you made a decision on calling plays on the sideline versus the booth? Is there much difference between the two? (Cliff Brown) "There really isn't. I've done both. Recently, I've been on the field. I've been on the field for most of my career doing it, but I've been up in the box as well. It's whatever is best for our football team. Whatever [head coach] John [Harbaugh] thinks is best, that's what we'll do."
WR Kamar Aiken
On the confidence he has built up since last season:"I'm more comfortable for a couple reasons: No. 1, it's pretty much the same offense, so I didn't have to learn a whole new offense, and they just put me in the right spots to make me feel comfortable. Just being around the guys, being here and going through the program again, I'm settling in."
On whether his performance late last year helped build his confidence:"I was always confident. Last year, it did build, but I was already confident. So, I'd say yes, it did."
On what it means to him getting a chance to be a factor in the offense:"It's a different approach that you get to take in the offseason as far as how you train. You don't have to really worry about all the little stuff, and you can just really go out there and focus on just playing football and not the business side of it so much."
On rebuilding the wide receiver corps following the departure of WR Torrey Smith, and where he feels the group is:"I feel like we've got a good group. They probably said the same thing when Torrey came in and they had other guys here before Torrey and [other new receivers] got here. So, that's just the league. There are always going to be new guys coming in. Our group is pretty good and pretty talented, so I think we'll pick up where we left off from, if not better."
On whether it has been fun having another Central Florida wide receiver join the team in WR Breshad Perriman:"Yes, that's always good to have another Central Florida guy. It's very rare that we have receivers like that in the league, but to be on the same team, that's good."
On his personal expectations for the season:"Getting wherever I fit in, to be honest. Whatever they need me to do, I'll just do my job – if that's special teams, if that's being a starter, if that's being the third receiver, second receiver. Whatever it is, I'm going to do my job the best I can."
On what he has seen from TE Maxx Williams:"He has come in from Day One and just worked. I haven't seen anything that says anything other than him just coming in and working. He has been focused, just trying to learn and soak in everything from all the vets. So, I see a lot of great things from him."
On this offense allowing receivers to make plays over the middle and how that matches his abilities:"I like going across the middle, so I've never feared a route going across the middle. I feel like that's where you make your money at. But [the coaches] do a lot of good things as far as mix-and-matching, just putting us in different areas [where we are] able to run different routes. So, just everything they do, it correlates and it keeps DBs [defensive backs] on the edge."
On how much he feels not having to worry about off-field matters helps him become a better player:"It makes you a lot better. I feel like just training-wise, you're not thinking and you don't have that in the back of your head where, 'I have to worry about this. I have to worry about that.' It's just more so, 'How can I better my craft?' So, I feel like that just gives you the edge to just go in and work on bettering your craft."
TE Maxx Williams
On learning the offensive system and transitioning onto the team:"The transition has been good. With the football schools we had leading up to OTAs and having all the vets who help you every day, it's going smoothly. Yes, there are always things you can pick up and improve on every day, but I just take it one step at a time right now. We finished OTAs today, and now I'm going to go watch the film – see what I did wrong, see what I did well, improve on it, go into tomorrow full speed and try to make the improvements."
On whether he is learning from veteran players like TE Dennis Pitta: "Definitely. It's all the vets in the tight end room, even with [Dennis] Pitta, Crockett [Gillmore], Allen [Reisner], Konrad [Reuland]. All the guys who have been in the league now really have those little pointers, just like, 'Hey, do this just a little bit different, it'll help you out. Run your route like this, it's going to help you out.' So, it's really kind of a collective thing; everyone is helping out everyone just trying to improve right now."
On ESPN.com's Mel Kiper, Jr. writing that he has a chance to become Offensive Rookie of the Year, and what his personal goals are for the season:"For me, my goals are just go out there and play. And, really, whatever [the media is] saying about that, really, I can't affect that. All I can do is do what I do, and that's go out there every day and try to improve, try to earn my spot on the team and go out there and try to make plays."
On whether he feels ready to make the jump to the NFL and make an impact as a rookie:"Hopefully I'm ready to make the jump, because I did declare early. But for me, it's just going out here and just trying to improve every day knowing that I do have to make that next step never [having] been in the NFL yet. So, it is taking it one step at a time – learning the playbook as much as I can, learning how to watch film. Learning how to just play football is really what it comes down to, and every day that's what I'm striving to do."
On how different the Ravens offense is compared to Minnesota:"It's just a whole different scheme. In Minnesota, we were going to run power all day and just run play action. That's all we did unless we had a drop back. For me, it's really just kind of learning a brand new playbook, so it is starting off fresh where I don't really have any old habits. So, it's just learning the technique and trying to run with it."
On whether the transition to the NFL has been easier or more difficult than he thought it would be: "I don't think you really can expect anything coming into the NFL until you actually experience it. So, for me, I came in with an open mind knowing that it was going to be much different than college. So, really, I came in from Day One and just tried to put a smile on and go out there and have fun and learn as I go."
On what he has learned from veteran QBs like Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub:"They are going to make the throws in traffic, and it's going to hit you, so you better be ready to catch it. They're great leaders, they go out there every day [and] they work as hard as they can. They know what they're doing, obviously. They have been in the league [for] how long, winning Super Bowls and being in the playoffs? So, really, I try to listen to what they have to say, try to meet with them when I can just to learn the plays. Really, you have to be on one page, and that's with the starting quarterback during game day. So, you listen to the quarterback, learn what you want from them, be on the same page with them, and you go out there and try to make plays and win on Sunday."
On declaring for the draft early and if it feels like a big jump to the NFL because of his young age:"I wouldn't say that, because I got drafted – they said – for a reason, and, I mean, they felt that I could come out here and do it. I'm trying to prove to them that they did draft me for a good reason and coming out here and proving, trying to be with everyone, even the guys who have been in the league for what, 10 or 15 years? You have Steve Smith [Sr.], he has been out here how many years? Just watching guys like that, seeing what they do, what works for them and trying to apply that to my game."
On what advice he has received from his father in the early stages of his career:"My dad has told me one thing since the beginning of college, beginning of high school and now in the pros: It's, 'Take it one step at a time, day-by-day.' Because, really, I can't affect what's going to happen tomorrow. I had my stuff today, and now I have to apply what I had today and go into tomorrow and try to improve. But for now, it's what happens today. I'm going to improve on that, and when tomorrow comes around, I'll work on things then."
On the Ravens' running game and how excited he is to tackle someone:"I'm just excited to be here. So, really, my first opportunity to get out there and play, everything is going to be new for me, and I'm just going to go out there and have fun."