Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"It has been really great here the past couple days. Oh, you guys are here today? It is great having you here, too! *(laughter) *It has been a good week. We have had a really good week of work. That is the first of the OTA practices, Phase Three, and our guys adapted really well in terms of how to practice and those things. I am just really proud of them for that, just going about their business and trying to improve every day – get 1 percent better, build on the day before, stack up a good practice, a good meeting, a good rep and try to make the guys next to you better. That is what the great ones do, right? [They] make everyone around them better, and that is what our guys are trying to do. On another note, [we extend] our prayers and sympathies from the whole organization and on behalf of the players out to the [bombing] situation in [Manchester] and to the families of those were injured and lost their lives, especially kids and daughters. We have a daughter of our own about that age, who goes to concerts, and that really hit home for us. It is despicable, and it is just something that I wanted to speak about, because you are talking about women and girls and having a good time and expressing themselves and growing up. And dads taking them, I can really relate to that. I want to speak out about that and make sure we all keep that in our hearts."
I do not know if things change when we get to these OTAs as far as what you are looking for and if it is too early to evaluate or if you are just checking what kind of shape they are in. What do you pay attention to? (Jerry Coleman)"We pay attention to execution, to doing everything we can and to being a little better at everything we do. We are installing all three of our phases: offense, defense and special teams. You install them piece-by-piece; there is a method to it. There is a progression, and the good thing is when you have a progression, it is good to have all your pieces there taking part and participating in that. You move forward with less drag; you are not being held back by the fact the guys are not here. We really have everybody here that can practice. The only two guys that are not practicing, unless I missed somebody, are Marshal [Yanda], who is coming off a shoulder [injury] and Terrell Suggs, who probably could practice, but I am holding him out. He is in here training every single day and killing himself and doing a great job on the conditioning part of it. Our guys are in great shape. I give our players credit and our strength and conditioning staff credit for the job they have done. Our guys came out here and they practiced really fast and really sharp, and they get after it. I think we have made the most of our three practices. But, there is a progression to it, and we try to improve every single day at what we are doing."
You have a full offseason with Marty Mornhinweg at offensive coordinator; you have Greg Roman as well. When you look at your offense this year, is it a significantly different philosophy? Is it a little bit different philosophy? Or is there no change at all? (Gerry Sandusky)"I want to be the one responsible for the philosophy. I am accountable for everything that we do on the football team. How we play and those kinds of things – the philosophy has been in place. We have not accomplished that vision too often in the last few years. That is what we are shooting for. So yeah, heck yeah, it better look a lot different. That is what we are shooting for in terms of how we play the game, how our offense, defense and special teams play together, how we try to beat people and how we are going to try to do it in terms of playing field position football, playing a strong turnover game, making the most of our opportunities with big plays and scoring points in the red zone – all of those things to try to choke the life out of your opponent. That is the football we have played here for many years. It is always the vision, but we need to do it better than we have the last couple years. That is what we are building toward. I see Marty [Mornhinweg] and [senior offensive assistant and tight ends coach] Greg [Roman] and all the coaches have done a tremendous job. I am in every meeting. I am putting my two cents in there everywhere I can as well. They hear me, and I think they appreciate it. At least they say they do – you know, when I'm around. *(laughter) *But, we have a bunch of guys asking a lot of great questions. Our offensive linemen are smart guys; they ask a lot of good questions – tough questions – because they want to know. We want to be on the same page. We want to be aligned. We want to be right. We want to be physical. We want to be tough. We want to be efficient. That is what we are working for."
I know you are in a lot of meetings and you have been that way throughout your time here. Are you in more meetings maybe this year than previous years? (Jamison Hensley)"Well, maybe not really, because I am in as many meetings as I can be in. I am one person; the meetings are going on at the same time. But, I pick my spots – where I need to be. That is one good thing about the way we do it here. The way that we are set up or the way that I am set up is I am involved in all three phases, so I can pick where I think I need to be just to lend an emphasis. You can talk to Marlon Humphrey about the way he is playing a technique, and I can run over and talk to Ryan Jensen about the way he is snapping the ball if I feel I am empowered to do it, and I know what I am talking about. I would like to think I am not going to say anything I do not know. Or I will ask a question; sometimes I need to learn. [I will ask], 'How do we adjust to that route?' I'll let the player describe it. I might go ask the coach, 'OK, are we on the same page here?' I think you pick your spots and do the best you can, as far as leaving your fingerprints on the whole operation."
What are your early impressions of S Tony Jefferson, not just as a player, but as a personality and blending in with the group? (Childs Walker)"I would say, Tony Jefferson, my impressions would be A-plus in every area. I see him in the weight room, I see him in the conditioning, and I see him in the meeting room. I see his knowledge of the defense already; I see how he and Eric [Weddle] interact back there. We are doing a great job of disguising our looks, and we are causing the offense a lot of trouble. It is Day 3 of OTAs, and we are making very few mistakes. I think those two safeties back there have a big impact on that, and Eric has done a great job and Tony has done a great job."
What are your impressions of the rookies, mainly the edge rushers? It is one thing to play rookie minicamp, rookies against rookies. It is another thing to play rookies against veterans. How have they looked in the first few days? (Bo Smolka)"That is a good point, and they look good. Tyus [Bowser] has looked good. Timmy [Williams] has looked good. I would put those guys more in the pass rusher category. Chris Wormley can rush the passer, but he is more of a five-technique, three-technique defensive lineman. He is a good inside guy; he looks good. That is another step, and they have looked good. They have beaten tackles – veteran guys – they have done fine. But, the next step will be training camp, and then it will be games. We will see how they do when the pads are on. Now, it is not quite as competitive. It is not competitive at all in that sense, it is more technique."
You have been consistent in saying that you are going to play your five best offensive linemen? You need to sort all of that out, but would you still say it is more likely that G/T Alex Lewis stays at left guard? Or is it still too early for that? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I would say that it is still too early for that, but I can tell you that he is taking the reps at left guard. When you start seeing him take reps at right tackle, then you will know that is probably becoming more of a consideration. But, he looks good at left guard, and that is where we are at right now."
What do you like about G/C Ryan Jensen at center? He has been in your program for a few years now, and he has played a little bit here and there, but what do you like about Ryan Jensen? (Luke Jones)"I like Ryan Jensen as a player. I think that at center, his skill set is probably … It is at its best in terms of the type of player he is. He is sitting there between the two guards. He is smart, he can go in both directions. He is a tone-setter, and he really has gotten big and strong. When you go talk to him in the locker room, you are going to see a 320-plus pound guy that has less than 20 percent body fat. That is really impressive. I think he deserves a lot of credit for that. I think John [Urschel], he is not quite as big right now, but he is a little bit younger. He has done a similar job in terms of becoming what we want to see inside with our centers."
How has T James Hurst looked at right tackle? What have you seen out of James that gives you the confidence to give him the reps with the first team at right tackle? (Ryan Mink)"The first thing is, what he did in the offseason, we were watching during our football schools, and James really stood out in terms of knowing what he was doing [with his] technique, and he looked really good physically. He is another guy that has bulked up quite a bit. He is over 320 [pounds] right now; I would say 318 or something like that. He still has room to go in his legs. We are on him all the time about it, and he is working really hard at it. I expect him to be a more physical player, but he has always been smart, he has always been a good athlete. He has played in big games for us. He deserves that opportunity."
How encouraging is it to see WR Breshad Perriman come up with some big plays like what we saw from him out here today?* (Garrett Downing)"You [baltimoreravens.com] saw him the last two days, too. You guys [other media members] did not get to see him. Did you put some of that stuff out? Did you guys see the video of that stuff?" *(BaltimoreRavens.com reporter: "We put some of it out.") "Was that approved? I think Breshad has had a really good three days. He has had a really good five weeks. He looks very healthy; he looks very fast. Jimmy Smith … He [Perriman] beat Jimmy one time, and I asked Jimmy about it and he said, 'Hey man, I think I would have pulled my hamstring if I had chased him right there.' It is early; Jimmy is a veteran guy. You know, he [Perriman] eats up a lot of ground, and he is running routes very well, and he is catching the ball very well. But, again, to your point, we have to keep building – keep stacking."
What do you think about the NFL changing the celebration rule out of nowhere? Did that catch you by surprise? (Jerry Coleman)"It was not out of nowhere. It is something that we have been talking about all through the offseason. It was something that we had vigorous discussions on in the owners' meetings, which I was forced to express my opinion a couple times. Because, you know me, I like to lay back and not say anything. (laughter) *Jason Garrett and I, we both … I thought we made a really strong case for what got passed, so I am kind of excited about that. It makes a lot of sense. Some of these decisions are really tough that the decision makers in the NFL have to make, and they are close calls. This was not one of them. This was an easy one, and I think they did the right thing. It is a family game. We are a PG league in terms of what the fans should see. You should be able to take your 8-year-old to the game or watch it on TV and feel really good about what you see. It is a tough sport. I'm sure there is a lot of stuff going on in the huddles – and maybe keep the microphones out of that – because it is a rough, tough game. But, where they drew the lines in terms of the sexually explicit, the violence and the taunting, to me it is the right place. Also on the field of play, you can't delay the game by spiking the ball or doing something like that. But, you know what? The ball … Or I do not know what they did with the orange things [pylons]. You probably can't move those, I'm guessing. The pylons, whatever they call those things. *(laughter) Yes, you cannot move those, I do not think. So they just don't want the game delayed. Other than that, let's have some fun. Let's enjoy it. I really like it when our guys celebrate. I like it when our guys score touchdowns. I want to score a lot of touchdowns. I want to see a lot of celebrations. I want our guys to have fun, and I want our fans to have fun. And do it in a way that when you are a parent – which a lot of our guys are – that you are going to feel good about what your son or daughter sees when they are watching NFL football."
We saw him out there not participating. How is TE Maxx Williams' progress since having knee surgery?* (Jeff Zrebiec)*"I am happy to report it is a success so far. He had a surgery that they have never used for a football player before. I could not describe it to you, maybe Maxx could, or if you want to talk to [head certified athletic trainer] Mark [Smith] about it, you can. It has to do with his meniscus cartilage and things like that. But, it is one of those deals that they have not done before, and so far, so good. It has really held up really well, and it looks like we are going to have him full speed in training camp. I am counting on that."
A lot of teams league wide have gone away from using a fullback at different points in time. You guys lost a Pro Bowl fullback. How do you replace Kyle Juszczyk, and do you definitely want to have a fullback on this roster, or do you think guys at other positions can kind of morph into that guy? (Jeff Zrebiec)"That is a great question. First of all, Kyle Juszczyk was a guy that we drafted in the fourth round who I loved – we loved. He fulfilled and exceeded expectations here. [I'm] just really happy for him to go … For his family to earn that kind of a contract, he deserves it, and he will do a great job in San Francisco for Kyle [Shanahan] and those guys. I am just really proud of what he did. That position can be filled by football players. Whether you call a guy a fullback, whether you call him a tight end, whether you call him a wide receiver getting in there and doing some things, if we have a fullback that is one of the best 53 that plays the fullback in terms of the roster spot, we will do it that way. But the job – the lead blocking and the cutoff blocking … Kyle was very versatile. He ran the routes, he did a lot of things that tight ends would do, even that wide receivers would do. It is going to have to be someone as versatile as Kyle, that kind of a player. I do believe we have that person on the roster. Maybe it is a combination of guys, and we will see. But this [Ricky] Ortiz – young guy – he is doing a good job. We will see how he does, too."
What do you like about your new offensive line coach, Joe D'Alessandris? (Luke Jones)"Yes, 'Joe D,' he has done a great job. I just love him. He is a guy that sticks to the nuts and bolts of teaching guys how to play technique and work hard. Our offensive line coaches over the years – they have all been that way. I really love that about our guys. I really think he is the type of coach that the young guys are going to get a lot better from, in terms of his style. He is a great person, and I can see that the guys really relate to him. He is doing a great job."
Did CB Carlos Davis get hurt? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Yes. He had a boot on. He should be back for training camp. He got tangled up a little bit and had a little crack on the non-bearing weight bone there. He should be fine soon."
Was LB C.J. Mosley out there today? (Jerry Coleman) "C.J. is not practicing right now; that is a good point. C.J. is doing all the conditioning, he has been at all the walk-throughs and all the meetings. But, he had the shoulder surgery, so he is out."
On Memorial Day:"Should I do a speech on Memorial Day? Have at it? Memorial Day! I told the guys – the veterans are out of here after today – I told the guys go home and enjoy your families. Celebrate the most … It may be the most important holiday of the year. Do we all enjoy getting in a car and driving where we want, doing what we want? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. My daughter was writing a paper about the American Revolution, just the last couple weeks. It is pretty fun when you go back and start looking at that stuff. Memorial Day, for all of the people that have sacrificed to give us the chance to live the way that we do in this country, is something that we should all be very grateful for. I said [to the players], 'Hey, you can go crack a beer – crack two. Go enjoy yourselves – just do not do it after midnight! Let's keep it before midnight, and it will all be fine.' Happy Memorial Day."
S Tony Jefferson
On his thoughts about his first few months being a Raven:"Beautiful, man. It's everything I thought it would be. [I'm] surrounded by great people, great coaches [and a] great organization. The facilities are beautiful, the city is beautiful, and I'm having a great time with my family here. I'm looking forward to what's more to come."
On if he feels like he is already building chemistry with his teammates on the back side of the defense:"It's not just building chemistry with the defense; this is a team game. Offensively, special teams, anywhere, I'm building chemistry with everybody. Like I said, defense is good, too, but everybody has to be on one accord, and that's what I'm trying to do, get good chemistry with everybody."
On if he is impressed with the player turnout at OTAs:"Oh, yeah. I've always been around a culture that's kind of built like this, where guys are excited and ready to play. It's always good to have everybody here competing, and like I said, you can feel the energy here and guys wanting to be great."
On if he is happy S Eric Weddle came out here as early as possible as well:"Well, you know Eric is going to be here. Eric comes here at 5 in the morning. I'm not there yet, [but] I'm getting there. So, I'm excited to be surrounded by guys like that."
G/T Alex Lewis
On how he is feeling now out on the field:"I'm feeling great. The O-line is coming together and communicating really well, and we're enjoying the process. It's only Day Three, so we've got seven more practices of OTAs to look forward to before minicamp comes."
On how much of a difference this year is in Year Two as opposed to this time last year as a rookie:"The game has slowed down. I'm still learning the new playbook, you could say, with new coaches coming in and a new technique, but I'm trying to make strides every day and just keep stacking them."
On if playing left guard is his preference or if he has a preference of where to play on the line:"Yeah, starting. *(laughter) *No, I just play O-line. So, no matter where it's at, hopefully I'm on the field."
On what he likes about the new offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris:"Coach 'Joe D,' he's awesome. I don't know if you guys know this, but he coached my pops back in the day, so it's pretty cool to share the experience with my dad. But he's coming in and he's taking over the room. He's doing a good job, communicating really well, installing the new schemes well, and we're looking forward to having him."
On if the group feels motivated to prove that the solutions to the offensive line are already in the building after losing two starters from last year's team:"Absolutely. As an offensive line, it's the team within the team, and we're just building camaraderie. We want to come out and be the best group, prove a lot of people wrong, and we're excited to put our hand in the dirt and get rolling. Twist in this new scheme, run the rock a little bit and then keep Joe [Flacco] clean and upright, and we're going to be a solid group, and we're ready to rock."
On what it is that he really likes about playing left guard:"You get to pull, hit people and you're always helping out, whether it's Ronnie [Stanley] or the center. It's a lot of fun at guard, pulling around the front side, pulling around to the outside, and there is a lot of versatility at guard, and it's right there in your face. It's you against me."
On what challenges are presented when he has to move outside and play tackle:"Not to give up a sack or a hit."
On if tackle is a little bit more difficult because you're more on an island with one-on-one matchups:"Yes, tackle is a little bit different; you have a lot more space to work with compared to guard. Guard is right up in your face. It's a lot quicker at guard, and things happen quicker. But at tackle, guys are faster, there's a lot more space to work with, and most of the time you are going to be on an island."
WR Breshad Perriman
On changing to jersey No. 11:"It's just my college number. It's one of my favorite numbers, and I did big things with this number, so I just wanted to get back in it."
On how much fun he is having right now and how good he feels out on the field:"I feel great, and as far as being out there with my teammates, [we're] just grinding. I feel great, and I'm just really going out there and having fun."
On if he feels like he can play more freely with some injuries and off-field things behind him:"Yes, most definitely. I feel like my concentration level is at a pretty high level right now – an all-time high. And right now, I'm just going out there, and when I'm on the field I'm not thinking about anything but football."
On how much he takes it as a vote of confidence that the team didn't draft or sign a free agent wide receiver:"I take great confidence in it. It's big just for them to not get anybody in the draft or on the free agent market. It just shows that they have confidence in what we have here, and so does everyone here. We've got some good receivers on this team, and we know that we can get the job done." * *
On where his chemistry is with QB Joe Flacco and how much it has improved:"I feel like it has improved tremendously. I feel like we're on a great pace right now. Of course, it can always be better, but right now we feel like we're in a great place."
On saying before he wanted to improve his route-running and if he feels like he has done that:"Yes, most definitely. I feel like I've been working hard on my routes – intermediary routes, not just deep balls and stuff. But I feel like it's actually coming along; it's actually showing that I've been working on it, and I'm just continuing to get better and better at it every day."
On what he has to do to earn his quarterback's trust at this level:"Make plays and be in the right spot."
On when the last time was that he thought about his knee injury:"I don't know, to be honest with you. It's been a long time though. I feel great, and nothing is really hindering me, so everything is all positive right now."
On if he thinks his speed is back to where it was before the knee injury:"Yes, most definitely."
TE Dennis Pitta
On if he feels different this year compared to last year:"Yes, it feels very different. I am not getting as many questions about my hip; that is one [difference]. I feel good. I got to have a full offseason of just normal preparation. It feels good – feeling healthy."
On how important it was to stay with the Ravens and taking a pay cut in order to do so:"Yes, I think my money went to Brandon Williams. He owes me something." (laughter)
On if he has talked to DT Brandon Williams about Williams owing him money:"Yes, we will work it out on the side. *(laughter) *But, this is an organization that I wanted to be a part of, obviously. So, it was important for me to stay here. We have been here eight years, and have some deep roots here. I love playing for this team, for this organization, obviously for this city. It was important for me to stay."
On what he thinks of the NFL's new rule involving touchdown celebrations:"I know my celebrations won't change much. That, I am sure of. I would anticipate seeing a lot more group celebrations, I'm sure, because I think that is legal now. There will be some creativity, I am sure, by people around the league. It will be fun to watch."
On if the offense is motivated to show that it has improved, even without lots of additions:"Yes, I think this league is all about development. You draft players every year; you bring in new guys every year. You have to prepare them and develop them and let them play. I think that is what we have done a great job at over the years. That is what we will have to do at a lot of our skill positions offensively. We have receivers and skill position players that we feel like are good players. They will continue to develop and finally get their opportunity to really be the guy this year. Hopefully that works out, and I think it will."
On what he has seen from WR Breshad Perriman, WR Chris Moore and WR/RS Keenan Reynolds and what gives him confidence they can show improvement:"I think they are all ready to make that jump. You look at Breshad out here, and nobody I think is having a better camp than him so far. He is making big plays everywhere, catching everything thrown his way. I think that we have the pieces in place; it is just about continuing to grow as an offense and continuing to grow with Joe [Flacco] – getting comfortable and developing that trust."
On the difference in having a full offseason with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg:"Consistency at the offensive coordinator spot certainly helps. We have not had a lot of that over the years. I was one that was a little bit vocal last year in saying that we needed consistency. I am happy that that is what we got, and that we can continue to build off of what we did last year. We brought in some new pieces like Greg Roman, who is obviously great in the run game and has introduced some new concepts there. We are continuing to build on what we had last year."
On if he can tell that WR Breshad Perriman feels more confident and comfortable:"I think so. I think so. He understands that he has a big job, a big role to fill this year. He is focused, and he is working hard, and he has been stepping up. You cannot have anything but confidence in the way he has looked so far."