RAVENS THURSDAY (5/23) ORGANIZED TEAM ACTIVITY
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"OK, good to see everybody, really appreciate you guys being here. We try to control everything, and you saw the thunder coming in right in our eyes, right as we finished, so perfect timing."
How do you remember everybody's name? (Steve Ash) "I don't. I don't. I told the rookies that they don't get a name until maybe midway through training camp, and it's only if they start making plays. Otherwise, they have a number." (laughter)
This has to be the most challenging … In terms of a new group of guys, you have a lot of raw talent here. (Steve Ash)"We do. We have a lot of good players. I'm very excited about the depth. The competition is going to be at a really high level. I think there's going to be a lot of competition to make the team, start, practice squad, all those things."
What have been your early impressions of OLB Pernell McPhee coming back and OLB Shane Ray? Clearly, some competition was added to that group of outside linebackers. (Luke Jones) "Great competition. That's one example. It's not just that position. It's a lot of positions where we have good competition, but that certainly made it more interesting over there, and those two guys are both in really good shape. They both came in, and obviously, they were preparing and training for when their opportunity would come. You get in a situation like that, and you don't always know when it's going to come, and not everybody does a good job of that. They did a good job of that. They were out there today; you saw them competing. So, they looked good."
Starting this weekend, it was the first time in three months you got to see QB Lamar Jackson on the field. I know you said he worked in the offseason. How has he looked? (Jamison Hensley)"He's looked good. What you saw today is what he's looked like. I think all the quarterbacks are doing a really good job. One thing that we have had … We're putting in a … We've rebuilt the offense. I think we've talked about that many times already. We didn't get the extra two weeks like a new staff would with a new offense, so there's been a lot of work on all the little things that go into it, from cadence, from huddle, from terminology, just installing the offense, then working on air in Phase 2, and going now with the defense out there in Phase 3. That's part of it. It's a process, so we're not exactly clicking on all cylinders yet, but I'm really happy with the progress and where we're going."
As far as TE Hayden Hurst, last year in training camp he had the injury. At the end of the season … How much do you think that helps as far as momentum, finishing the season strong? (Jamison Hensley) "I'm sure it helps a lot. It's confidence as much as anything. It's nice to know you can do it, that you can get out there and compete, and to go from there rather than having that unknown if you've never played before. Other than that, he's done a great job. He came back in phenomenal shape. He's worked hard every day. [We're] really happy with the whole tight end room; those guys have done a nice job."
We talked to ILB Patrick Onwuasor a couple weeks ago, and he said he was taking on more responsibility with calling plays and things like that. How comfortable does he look? _(Aaron Kasinitz) _"I would agree with that. Yes, I agree with that. I He's done a great job with that. He's taking charge. We always say, 'A good defense is a loud defense.' We want to communicate on the highest possible level, even to a much-exaggerated level, because we want to make sure we're on the same page. Our whole defense has done that as an A, A-plus type of grade."
We obviously don't get to see WR Marquise Brown on the field yet, but how have you seen his approach behind the scenes, in the classroom? (Garrett Downing) "He's been good. He's been rehabbing and training, trying to learn the offense. Other than that, that's all I've seen. We haven't seen much, but he has a great attitude. He's always in good spirits, just a good dude. [Miles] Boykin had a good rookie minicamp, which you guys saw. He had the hamstring, but we're anxious to get him back out there, too."
This is always an interesting time of year, especially with the veterans. It's voluntary, so you don't have all of the veterans here. Is it interesting for you to see some which young guys maybe even surprise you by stepping up on the field, in meetings and other places?*_(Luke Jones)_* "It's very interesting. It's amazing to me the narrative from 'you all,' but not specifically, just as an estate, the fourth estate … I guess if a guy has never played in the National Football League, he's a bad player. That's the exciting part, to your point. It's really fun to see what the next generation is going to do and who they're going to be and who's going to make a name for themselves. Really, one of the things you do as a coaching staff and a scouting staff is build competition in there. Give yourself as many options as you possibly can, and the cream will rise to the top. These guys, it's their dream to play in the National Football League; now they have to go do it. I'm confident with the competition. We have a lot of speed. We have a lot of good players who are very dedicated and love ball, so let's see who rises."
One of those players, DT Zach Sieler, seems like he has a good opportunity, as he was making plays on the practice field. What have you seen from him? (Ryan Mink)"I've seen just that. He's another guy that played last year a little bit, so he really had some confidence. He came back again in phenomenal shape. He's like a brick house. He's really been training hard. [He is a] very strong guy, moving well, runs to the ball every play, as fast as he possibly can. That's probably true for the whole defense. Our defense is running to the ball, so all those guys are doing a good job. It's going to be interesting to see how he does."
I know you mentioned WR Miles Boykin had a hamstring injury. Are there any other major injuries? (Jamison Hensley) "I don't know. I didn't bring my list out. You'll have to ask me about guys, I guess. [Tony] Jefferson had surgery in the offseason on his ankle. That's why he's not out there." (Reporter: "Kenneth Dixon?") "He was here the last few days. Where was he today? I don't know. They don't have to tell us. There's no rule."
CB Marlon Humphrey
On how the new No. 44 feels:"The 44 feels good. I had to find myself on film a few times already, but it feels good."
On how important it was for him to earn his college degree this offseason:"It was very important. I definitely didn't think that would be something I would do so close to going into the league from when I left [college], but it definitely felt really good to walk across the stage and hug my mom, who is a trustee at Alabama. So, it definitely felt really good to get that – something I started and finished. Now it's back to football."
On if he sees himself taking on more of a leadership role with a lot of veteran players moving on this offseason:"We've definitely lost a lot of key guys, and guys that kind of led the team last year. There are a lot of stories you've seen about new faces on the Ravens, but you guys see a lot of new faces, and I see a lot of new opportunities. A lot of guys, especially in my draft class and the class last year, are stepping into bigger roles – including myself – so, I look forward to that as an opportunity and for new guys to make plays and make names for themselves, to become those household names that guys like C.J. Mosley and [Eric] Weddle [are] and those guys who have left. So, a lot of opportunity, and I'm just excited to see guys emerge into these new players and new leaders."
On if he thinks opposing offenses will game-plan for him more this season:"I think so. I think last year, I don't think maybe many people thought much about me. I made a few more plays than I did my rookie year, so I think that teams will study me, and Jimmy [Smith] and [Brandon] Carr and whoever else is out there, a little more as to our weaknesses and strengths, and try to of course go against our strengths and pick at our weaknesses. So, anytime you make a few more plays than the year previous, I think teams start to game-plan more and more. Offensive coordinators are really smart, so they always have something up their sleeve for you."
On what goals he set for himself going into this season:"Anything that ends with a 'Bowl,' whether that's Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, any of those things are always big goals. Just making big plays; big plays lead to Pro Bowls, Pro Bowl players lead to playoff teams and then playoff teams can have a chance to win the Super Bowl. So, whatever way you can help your team win. I think the best way to help your team win is to try to play your best ball that you can play."
On trying to remain as the NFL's top defense this upcoming season:"It's definitely a goal, and the thing I love about the NFL is every year is different. There are a lot of good players that played well last year, but every year is a whole new year. Nothing ever really gets carried over. So, we finished No. 1 last year and that felt really good to get that and end up being a playoff team, but [defensive coordinator Don Martindale] 'Wink' has already started saying, 'No team is the same. Every team is different. Different guys make different plays. Different scenarios happen in games.' So, that's always the goal to be the No. 1 defense, and we were able to do it last year. With some new faces, we'll be able to work and try to be able to do it again."
On what it means to him that the Ravens have invested so much in players in the secondary:"It definitely feels good for Tavon [Young] to get that extension. I was looking on the Ravens [Instagram] page wondering, 'Who's the guy? Who's the guy?' when they hinted at it. So, I was happy to see that. Of course, we talked about it, and I'm happy to have that guy who any Sunday you know who you're going to get. Anytime you can sign a player like that and keep him playing next to [him] is always good."
RB Mark Ingram II
On his first impressions from getting out on the field with the team:"It's been awesome. We're grinding, getting to work. How about my two running backs in my room? Gus [Edwards] and De'Lance [Turner] got two red zone [touchdowns] today. [Running backs] coach [Matt] Weiss is getting us right, getting us ready to go. We've got a good room, good team, good competition going on offense and defense, so we've been getting better."
On the new offense being implemented this offseason:"We're just trying to be the best. We're trying to be the best we can be. We're trying to get out here and execute, play the way we're going to play, run our offense and do everything we can to execute and not beat ourselves. So, we've just been focusing on getting better, getting the offense down and everybody getting into their own."
On his thoughts about QB Lamar Jackson after seeing him in person on the field:"He's a real big competitor. He wants to be great. You can tell how he works, his demeanor in the huddle. You can tell guys respect him and guys want to do well for him. Guys want to be where they need to be for him, and everybody is rooting for him. I'm glad he's the quarterback of our team, and we're all behind him."
On how different his offense is from the one's he's played in before and how it has been trying to pick it up this offseason:"I was more in a traditional passing offense – we threw some things in here and there – but Drew [Brees] kind of made the thing go. The offense is a lot different. Some of the terminology is different, but football is football. A lot of the plays are the same, you just have to erase the language and learn a new language. So, I've just been learning the offense and getting comfortable in the huddle, listening to the play calls, breaking the huddle, knowing what I'm doing and where I'm supposed to be at. [There's] still a lot of room for improvement, and I'm looking forward to getting better."
On how QB Lamar Jackson is developing as a passer:"He can throw it. I've seen him make a lot of tight throws in tight windows. I've seen him make some deep throws. I've seen him go through his progressions and make checkdowns to hit guys in second windows and zones. So, he's making his reads and getting better. Of course, there are going to be times where he might throw something that he wants to have back, but that's a part of growing, that's a part of maturing as a young quarterback and as a team. I played with Drew Brees for eight years, and there are throws he wishes he had back. So, that's just part of the process and part of growing and improving every single day. You can tell that he wants to be great and that he wants to be the best, and we're all behind him and supporting him. We want him to be the best as well."
On building chemistry with the offensive line during offseason practices:"It's kind of rough, but guys need to take care of each other, and I think our offensive line and defensive line have been doing a good job of that. The important thing is for the offensive line to know where they need to be, who they need to block, if they need to double-team up to a linebacker, making sure they are communicating with their calls. Once you have that execution and once you have that foundation as an offense, when the pads come on, you just click. That's what we're shooting for."
On how he is adjusting to run-play options with the offense:"I love it. I love the big guys up front. Lamar has been doing a great job of knowing when to give it, knowing when to pull it and pass it [or] knowing when to pull it and run it himself. It's just going to take time. It's the first week of OTAs, and we've done some good things. There are some things we wish we could do better on and we'll improve on next week, and the things we haven't been doing good on we have to keep getting better at. It's been a great week, and the offensive line has made some big creases for us to run through at times. Other times it's a little difficult, because nobody is trying to push each other off the ball and dump each other. We're all trying to take care of each other and make sure each other is healthy. So, I think the run game has been efficient, and I'm looking forward to it."
On if the type of offense the Ravens run is sustainable:"People say a lot of stuff. People are always talking – people who don't really know much, I would say. Always saying something, always throwing their opinion out there, but I'm excited to be a part of this offense. I'm excited to be running next to Lamar [Jackson], running behind this offensive line and watching this defense play when we're on the sideline and being a part of a championship organization. I'm excited about it, and I believe in us. I think we're going to do great things. So people can say what they want, but we're coming."
On his impressions of RB Justice Hill:"Yes, he's definitely a hard worker. He's smart, [and is] picking up the offense. He can run the ball from what I see so far, and he can come out of the backfield. He's made some catches on some wheel routes, some catches for a touchdown like a day or two ago. Definitely, coming out of the backfield you can see that he's fast and elusive, can catch the ball well, and you can tell he has good eyes and vision running the ball. I'm sure he'll keep developing and improving as we get through these OTAs and into training camp."
QB Lamar Jackson
On how he feels:"I'm feeling wonderful, yes sir."
On OTAs have been what he thought they would be:"It's been pretty cool. It's been up and down. [We] just got a new system. Guys are working, but we're working hard, working fast, so it's been pretty good."
On how hard he has been working:(laughs) "Yeah, I'm trying. I'm trying to learn as fast as I can, just trying to be better in every aspect I can."
On how different the new offense is:"We have plays here and there that are totally different. We have new reads we have to go through, different drops, but it's been pretty unique. It's different, and we're doing alright for now."
On if he knows everyone's name yet:"Know everyone's name? Not all the rookies, not all the rookies, but hopefully I will get it, sooner or later."
On if it is important to him, as the quarterback, to take advantage of time now to form relationships:"Definitely, but every time we're here, we're working so we really don't have time to sit and chitty-chat. It's a family-oriented system over here in the organization, so it would be best for me to learn all the rookies' names."
On how his offseason work has translated to OTAs:"Watching film and stuff like that, I see my hip isn't firing sometimes. That's what coach always wants me to do: fire my hip, fire my hip and keep a wide base. That's been showing up a lot of film. But, I have to get my spiral tighter. That's been crazy; it's been everywhere. We can talk about that later." (laughter)(Reporter: "What are the keys to throwing a tight spiral?") "I would say my hand placement. I feel like my hand is a little too high on the football sometimes, and that makes the ball go out of whack sometimes. A lot – not sometimes – a lot."
On if his offseason focus was on his mechanics or the new offense: "Yes, both. Coming in, I didn't know we would have a totally different offense, but I started off with just my fundamental footwork and stuff like that, my mechanics. When I got here, coach was like, 'We have a totally new system. We're going to have to go through this and that.' It's been getting to me a little bit."
On if he worked on the same things in both offseasons, given the Ravens' new offense:"I worked the same things I did last year with them this year. It's been the same thing. Like you said, different system, and that's about it."
On how he evaluates his passing in the first week of OTAs:"I would say my first day, I sucked. (laughter) Second day, I did better. Third day, we had AACT, but today was all right, but it could have been better. I'm always trying to be perfect in practice. It was alright for the first week."
On if any of the young offensive players stuck out to him:"Yes, our receiving corps, we have 'J-Las' stepping up, Jordan Lasley. Jaleel Scott, he's been stepping up. We have a lot of rookies. I wish I knew their names. I don't want to just say jersey numbers and be like, 'Yeah, No. 84, No. 88,' stuff like that, but our tight ends have been doing well. People have just been stepping up and doing great so far."
On which parts of his passing game he feels confident in and which he wants to work on:"I want to focus on everything. I don't feel like I have everything down pat. I'm not really comforted in just saying, 'Oh yeah, I'm good at this, bad at that.' I'm bad at everything right now until we're where we should be."
On if he was excited about the Ravens drafting WRs Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin, and the opportunity to develop as players with them:"I wish I was on stage with him, with Marquise [Brown]. It was a fun moment. We have new guys coming in. Miles [Boykin], I don't even know what I was doing when he got drafted, but when I saw it, I was like, 'Yeah, another target,' and I was just happy we have new guys coming in. [They're] part of the family."
On his relationship with WR Marquise Brown and if he had spent a lot of time with him in the past:"It's been pretty cool. No, I really haven't. I really haven't. He's from my county, Broward County, but we really didn't know each other throughout college. But, just hearing about him, I followed him on Instagram and stuff like that. We'll DM each other here and there. It was pretty cool."
On if he hoped the Ravens would draft WR Marquise Brown:"I was hoping we got whoever came in, but I was happy when they named him. (laughter) When I saw 'Marquise Brown,' I was like, 'OK, yeah, speed.'"
On his new look:"My look? It's just doing something with my hair instead of just coming out with a 'nappy fro' sometimes. I'll probably bring it back next week, but for now, I'm just going to leave it like this."
On if he is excited about the speed on offense:"Yes, definitely. I feel like we needed that a little more. We had a lot of guys [who could make] possession catches, physical with their bodies who can catch the ball, but we need yards after catch now. So, we're going to have a lot of that this year, I would say."