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Transcripts: Ravens Thursday Podium Transcripts


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening Statement: "I want to thank everybody for being here. We had a great day. It was cool. The players sure appreciated that. We had a very energetic practice to cap off a very energetic offseason. I'm really appreciative of the players – to the effort they put in – and the coaches. We got a lot done, and it showed up in the way we practiced every day. We got better every single practice in every area. [We have] a conscientious group of players, a conscientious group of coaches, and I'm really excited to get back once training camps starts and have all this be for real. That's where we stand."

I know you don't like comparisons, but how far has QB Lamar Jackson come since college?_ (Dave Ginsburg)_"He's a much better player than he was a year ago, for sure, just like anybody you would expect. And he'll be a much better player at the end of training camp than he is right now. One percent better every single day – we try to find that, work for that. It's hard to achieve, especially the better you get. We have a lot of room to grow, though, because as we build this offense, we're building it out new. If everybody gets a little bit better every day, we get a lot better as a group. He's definitely doing his part."

What is the message to QB Lamar Jackson over the next five weeks? (Shawn Stepner) "To keep working, just like all the guys. I told him, 'Everybody has something they need to do, or a number of things they need to do.' But, it's all different for each player or each coach to be ready once we come back. Once we come back, we're 100-percent going forward. So, his specific things, which are quarterback-related, are the things that he needs to work on. I know he will."

When a franchise identifies a quarterback they want to build around, how does that affect team-building? What impact does that have?_ (Adam Kilgore)_"It impacts all of it. I think it's a great point. You build around your players, and nobody more so than your quarterback. You identify who your quarterback is going to be, which we've done. We need to build everything around what he can do. Offense, defense, and even special teams are built with that in mind: 'What kind of a team are we going to be based on the skillset of the quarterback?' That's what we're trying to do."

Does QB Lamar Jackson plan to work with the same coach he worked with previously this offseason? Do you know anything about his plans for the next five weeks? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I have an idea. You could ask him for the specifics of it. I don't know the specifics of when and where, but I know he plans on working with all of his people, including that coach. It's very valuable work."

How important is the ball security drill for QB Lamar Jackson, as far as priorities for him to improve on? (Jamison Hensley)"There are a lot of areas, for any position, especially at quarterback, to work on. All of those areas are vitally important. I don't think you could really rank them. They're all important because any of them can hurt you, and they can help you in a game. Ball handling is going to be big for us, because we're a ball-handling team. It's a big part of our offense. It starts with the snap. The snap needs to be in the right spot – for the passing game, certainly, but especially for the running game. A lot of our running game is timing-based. It's a little tougher to do it than when you're under center running some of those plays. So, the ball handling, the passing, the reads, running the offense, operating the mental part of it [are all important]. Hey, just being in great shape. All of those things are important."

Do you have any updates on WR Marquise Brown's progress? Is the expectation still for him to practice in training camp? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It is. My expectation is the opening of training camp. I don't think you can say that for certain, because you just don't know how things are going to progress and where he's going to be. But, from what I'm told, there have been no setbacks. He did not practice … Per your report, he did not practice in individual drills yesterday. Did you put that out?"

I didn't say he did not participate in drills. I just showed a video of him. (Jamison Hensley) "The headline writer got us again. The old headline writer."

I just showed a video of him. (Jamison Hensley)"So, the person who wrote the story messed it up? They looked at yours and misinterpreted it. OK. He wasn't cleared for individual [drills]. That's the state of our media. That's why they call it fake news, because nobody wants to get anything right and do the research. Not you, but whoever took your piece and then expanded upon it. (laughter) Not that it's a big deal, because we really don't care. Actually, it's good subterfuge for us. But, now the cat's out of the bag. I guess I gave it away.(laughter) But, he hasn't been cleared to practice yet. But, we're hopeful for training camp. I want to make that clear."

Is WR Marquise Brown running full-speed? (Jeff Zrebiec) "He's not running full-speed, no. Not on the ground."

How has G/T Alex Lewis progressed after injury last season? Do you think he'll be ready to play at the start of the season? (Luke Jones)"I think he's progressing well. We hadn't seen him until two days ago, so I really can't answer that. I think it would be a good question for Alex. He's been in charge of his own rehab. He'll be in the locker room. I'm sure you could ask him."

How comfortable is S Earl Thomas III with the defense? (Jordan Schatz) "He has never looked 'comfortable.' I would not put 'comfortable' and 'Earl Thomas' in the same sentence. He has looked determined. He looks like he understands the defense, which I think is what you're alluding to. He looks crisp and sharp. He has been moving really well. He looks really good to me. I'm really excited about him – him and Tony [Jefferson] back there together. The whole secondary the looks good."

How comfortable has RB Mark Ingram II looked with the offense? (Kirk McEwen) "[The] same. Mark Ingram looks really good, too. He has picked up the offense. These guys are pros. They know what they're doing. They bring their own little twist to it, which the great players always do, and you appreciate that. It adds a lot."

CB Terrell Bonds has been making some plays out there and is in a very deep room. What do you say to that kind of player? (Kirk McEwen) "'Keep making plays.' That's what you say. You shouldn't count numbers. 'Wink' [Don Martindale] tells us, 'Sometimes it's good to count numbers. You get a grasp on reality.' But, a guy like that, he makes a play every day. He's made himself relevant. It's a tough room, like you said. It's going to be very competitive. It's going to be fun to see how it shakes out."

Defensive coordinator Don Martindale said there has been some uncertainty about the inside linebacker position, outside of ILB Patrick Onwuasor. At the same time, we've been hearing positive comments about LB Chris Board. Have you shared in any excitement in Chris Board? _(Childs Walker) _"I have. I think Chris Board is playing like a starter. I also think Kenny Young is playing like a starter. Those guys are playing really, really fast. Peanut [Patrick Onwuasor] has more experience, and he's playing the same way. He is a starter. I would be anticipating us to play with a three-man rotation in there, with Peanut taking all the reps and those other two guys playing packages with Anthony Levine. I should say a four-man rotation, because he's a part of the sub-packages in there. So, we'll be playing all four of those guys."

QB Lamar Jackson is a perfectionist. Because this offense is in stages of evolution, how important is it to give Jackson room to fail, knowing that he can bounce back even stronger? (Jonas Shaffer) "I think you have to give everybody room to fail. No success is ever achieved without some degree of failure. Abe Lincoln, and is it Howard Schultz? Is that the Starbucks guy? Is he running for President? He backed out? OK. But, he runs a great coffee company. And it took him 234 'Nos' on loans before he got a 'Yes.' So, yes. (laughter) You have to give him room for failure. (laughter)We actually talked about that to the guys. That's what made me think of it."

Do you want to give G/T Jermaine Eluemunor reps after seeing G/T James Hurst there? Or do you envision Hurst in one of those swing tackle spots? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Both. I don't think we know yet. James Hurst has proven he can play in there, and he'll get reps in there. We did want to give Eluemunor a number of reps in there, because he has looked pretty good. Part of his deal is going to be getting himself in the kind of shape he wants to be in in the next four or five weeks to practice like he needs to practice and play, which I know he's determined to do. But, he has looked good in there. Ben [Powers], obviously, is a part of it. [Patrick] Mekari, who hasn't been out here the last two days – he had a little back thing – but he'll be back in training camp. I don't want to forget people. But, that's a competitive spot. Probably by, let's say two weeks into training camp, after the first preseason game, we'll probably have a real feel for who we think is going to be the leader in the clubhouse there. But, I would say, for now, we don't have a leader. It would be James, if there's anybody. But, that's an open position."

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman mentioned the unique opportunity the coaches had to re-tool the offense. How has the staff responded to the changes? (Adam Kilgore)"To me, you should be doing that every year. It doesn't mean that you actually re-build everything. They don't change the iPhone, but they add another number on it, and they fix something. We probably did that, from the offense, ground-up. We're probably doing iPhone 1 now. We have a whole new idea. It's not that there is anything new in there, concept-wise, that has never been done in football before. But, the way we put it together, to me, is unique and different. With that, we felt like we needed to re-vamp the terminology. We weren't going to use old terminology or old parts to put this new thing together. We decided to put the new parts in place. That's how you communicate. Say it how you want to teach the techniques and all that and how it all fits together. Now, we're seeing how we want to blend it. That will probably be a process over years, even, certainly over weeks, seeing how we blend it together and what aspects of it we use. We have a big playbook right now. That's good, but we also have to be good at what we do. That's the most important part."

Was it bittersweet seeing former special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg walk off the field for the last time today? (Stan White) "Jerry Rosburg is retiring. This was his last practice out here. Jerry is anti- … Jerry is like Douglas MacArthur philosophy. 'Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.' He thought he was going to slip out of the building. We tried to get him to do the media, but that was a resounding, 'No.' (laughter) But, we brought his wife, Sherry, in yesterday for a team celebration. I don't know if any of that is going to leak out or not, publicly, but the things that Sherry said and then what Jerry said were just amazing. So, it would be more bittersweet, except for the fact that Jerry's so happy about it. (laughter)He has no regrets. He's gone. He's out the door. (laughter) That's an over-statement, but he feels good about where he's going, and he's looking forward to the next stage. He can't wait. His kids are all doing things. They're adults, but they're doing stuff – playing hockey, playing volleyball, in the working world – and he wants to be a part of all that."

Executive vice president of public & community relations Kevin [Byrne] said former special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg was crying yesterday. (Stan White) "Kevin was crying? Yes, Kevin was crying. Jerry was not crying. (laughter) And I will say … I haven't seen Jerry cry, but we had a little wager. There were a number of people, including Kevin, and Johnny Shelton [team chaplain], that thought Jerry, when he saw Sherry, was going to emotionally … We've seen all the videos of all the guys when they retire. He had one moment when his voice rose a little bit, and then he pulled it right back together. That's the Jerry Rosburg that we all know and love. We'll miss him. We love him."

QB Lamar Jackson

On his impressions of working with S Earl Thomas III:"Earl is pretty good. Man, he's a great player. Watching his highlights growing up as a kid and stuff like that, and to actually perform against him is tremendous. I can see why he's going to be in the Hall of Fame."

On his performances in minicamp:"I feel like they were pretty good. I've just been working hard, trying to perfect my craft. I'm trying to be the best that I can be to help my team win games, get in great situations. I feel I was very productive."

On if there was a miscommunication when he said that he did not know about the Ravens' new offense:"Yes, yes. Like I said, I told you guys, 'Yeah, the playbook was thrown at me,' but I was just saying that in the way of, 'It's new to me,' because I had a whole other system last year with [former offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg]. We have 'G-Ro' [Greg Roman] now giving us a whole other system, but it came along pretty good, definitely."

On if he thinks today was his best day of minicamp:"I would say three days were the best day! (laughter) I feel like they were pretty good today – just working, trying to be the best that I can be. But today was pretty outstanding, yes."

On what he likes about the new offensive system:"Everything. Everything." (Reporter: "What do you think really fits what your skillset is?") "Our play-action scheme, I would just say the whole thing. 'G-Ro' [Greg Roman] did a great job, he and the whole coaching staff, putting that playbook in, and we've just been working, trying to get better, and we have. We came a long way from OTAs."

On what in this offense is tailored to him:"I don't know. You're going to have to be in the game to see, watching the game to see, 'Oh, he did this good,' stuff like that. I don't really try to critique myself right now. Game time, we'll go from there."

On if he enjoys testing himself against the Ravens' secondary:"Definitely. We have the No. 1 defense in the NFL. Our defense is running around to the ball, full speed, all 11 to the ball. They're trying to just … Each and every day, whether it's going through our checkdowns, trying to make a big play, it's hard to get big plays on our defense."

On what he plans to focus on prior to training camp, and if he will work with his personal quarterback coach:"I'll just try to keep bettering myself. I'll probably try to work with Coach Josh Harris, but I'm working with my guys, too. July, we're going to get together here or in Florida. We're just going to try to get better, keep it going." (Reporter: "What do you mean by 'guys?'") "My receiving corps. Running backs, too." (Reporter: "How do you organize something like that?") "Just group text. (laughter) Group text." (Reporter: "But it's you? You're the one?") "Yes, all of us. We just – me, Willie [Snead IV], Chris [Moore], 'Q' [Ouincy Adeboyejo], all of us, Jordan [Lasley]."

On if his chemistry with WR Jordan Lasley is based on them training together in the offseason:"That, and we were together our whole entire rookie season. I didn't start, so definitely."

On what the difference has been for him from last season, and how much he has grown:"Last year, I'd say I was kind of startled just being in the league, growing up hearing all the things about, when you go to the league, this and that is going to happen, or the game is totally different, it's a lot faster than all of you playing youth football, high school, stuff like that. Right now, it's pretty calm to me, just playing in those seven games and being around my teammates, it's been pretty good fun for me."

On his ability to connect with TE Mark Andrews:"Mark is a dog. He gets open, he runs his routes, he can block. Man, he's an all-around tight end, him, Hayden [Hurst], Nick [Boyle], too. They're different. But Mark, I don't know. I don't even have words for him. I don't know."

On the importance of ball security:"Very important. Nine times out of 10, if you win the game, it starts with the turnover battle. Keeping the ball in our hands, that was the biggest thing for me going into this year." (Reporter: "How difficult do you think that is going to be?") "It won't be difficult. Just hold on to the ball. That's all."

On if the fundamentals he worked on over the offseason held up during minicamp, and if there's anything else he needs to work on:"I got better with my fundamentals, but I'm not perfect, so I'm going to keep working on it always. You're never too great, so I have to keep going."

On if he'll work with Tom House during his time off: "Yes, I might. I might. Don't quote me on that. I might." (laughter) (Reporter: "I'm going to quote you on that with the word 'might' in there.") "I might." (laughter) "Bet."

On his impressions of the Browns' lofty expectations:"We play Miami first. I'm worried about Miami first. I don't really worry about the Browns. We have other teams to worry about. Miami is first."

OLB Matthew Judon

On how it felt to practice during minicamp:"Good. I was happy to get back out here, see the young guys, see the rookies, and see the guys that we think are going to help us win a lot of games, so it was good."

On if he feels like he has more responsibility to be a leader:"I get asked this every year, man." (Reporter: "There were some changes.") "No, I do not. I'm going to be me. I'm going to laugh, joke, smile, have fun, and if guys lean on me to lead them, I will lead, but I'm not going to force anything. I'm going to be me."

On if going into a contract year feels different to him:"You know what's different about this year? I don't have braces on. Yes, I had braces this last year. But no, man, contract, no contract, there's no guarantee I play one game this season, so I'm going to go out every single game like it's my last, and I'm going to enjoy it while I'm here, because I have no clue what the future holds. Hopefully, I'll be here forever and ever. But, like this offseason, we never know. So, I'm going to attack this season, this practice, this game, whatever I have to do, the next rep, like it's my last."

On how he was able to keep in shape over the offseason:"It's what I do. That's what I do. This is our job. This is our life. I have a daughter, wife, have to take care of them. This is what I do. I get up in the morning, get on my Peloton [bike] – if you don't have it, it's amazing – then, I go lift weights, and then I do some other stuff that helps with my conditioning and my cardio."

On how much he paid attention to contracts for free-agent pass rushers in the offseason:"None. I congratulated those guys, the guys I knew, but besides that, that's not my contract. Hopefully, I get Russell Wilson's money. (laughter) But no, man, it's not my job. I'm not upstairs all the time, so I congratulated those guys, but I kept being me."

On his impressions of S Earl Thomas III:"He's good, man. Earl is good. He's fast. He's learning the defense quick, and even though I wasn't here, I was watching him. I have my iPad, so I was still watching practice, and still staying around. I would come around, but I didn't want to see you guys. That's really what it was. But, he's going to be a good player for us."

On his expectations for himself this season:"What do I say every year? Come on, guys! What do I say every year? (Reporter: "You want to lead the league in sacks?") "Yes, and then after that, it would be the best Matthew Judon. We don't know how they're going to block me. We don't know if it rains every game. Hopefully, it doesn't. Come on, Maryland. But, if it does, I want to be the best edge setter. I want to lead the league in sacks. I want to do all that stuff, but I have to be the best me first and for this team and play within the calls."

On if he knows of any pre-contract talks with his agent and the Ravens:"Yes, they said they were going to pay me what they pay you." (laughter)

On his impressions of QB Lamar Jackson this season:"Lamar is a winner, and he's taking the steps and doing the right things that it's going to take for us to win a lot of games. I think Lamar works hard. I think he's improved well, and I don't really know too much about quarterbacks besides that I'm glad he's ours, and the stuff that he's doing is going to be hard to defend."

On what about the Ravens organization makes it a place he wants to stay:"I feel at home. I feel at home. I don't know how other organizations are, because I was drafted here, but here I feel home. It's comfortable out here. I almost drive to work with my eyes closed, and I love the people here, the culture here. Everybody that we bring here is to improve our organization, whether that's staff, that's you guys or that's players. So, they do it right around here, and then they do it right by us. They take care of us, and my friends are here, obviously, but, man, I enjoy coming to work. That's why hopefully I stay around here for a long time, but I have to finish this season."

S Earl Thomas III

On what has stood out about the Ravens in the time he has spent with the team so far:"The culture. What stood out to me was just a bunch of young guys that are hungry. It's good to be around that. I fit right in with the group, especially in the DB room."

On his excitement about the potential of the secondary: "I'm very excited. I just want a chance, and I definitely have a chance with this group. [Defensive backs coach] Chris [Hewitt] is doing a great job with us. Even the young guys are showing up. I think we had six turnovers yesterday. Today we did a great job, as well, to end camp. I'm excited. I'm just ready to get back and to get back with the guys in about five weeks."

On how he feels physically after breaking his leg last season: "I have my days. But, for the most part, like today, you never want to get off the field when you're feeling good. I didn't want to come out. Usually, I'll take three reps a period, four reps, but I didn't want to come out today. I felt really good. I'm just taking it day by day. [Head strength & conditioning coach] Steve [Saunders] and the strength staff is doing a great job with me. [Head certified athletic trainer] Ron [Medlin] and the training room, they're doing a great job. I feel like I'm in the right spot."

On if he feels any issues with the leg that he broke last season:"No. I'm very confident. It's all about just knowing the defense, understanding my tools and using them."

On if he thinks his teammates understand how he operates: "I'm not that intense, like everybody says. I'm not that intense. But, in the locker room, guys … They're starting to understand me and vice versa. These guys … These are my type of guys. This is the locker room that I want to be a part of. God just worked it out for me."

On if the Ravens are what he thought they were going to be: "The culture is the dog mentality. Those are my type of players."

On how big of a transition coming to the Ravens has been for him:"It's football, still, at the end of the day. Right now, it's just the terminology in the defense. This defense is very complex compared to what we were doing in Seattle. We were just running cover-three all the time. But now, we're making calls on the fly. That's the biggest part. That's the biggest adjustment for me. But, just being around these guys, that brings it all in. They're helping me. That's what brothers do."

On if he has enjoyed the complexity of the defense:"I haven't really enjoyed it that much, to be totally honest. (laughter) But, I know it's going to pay off, because we're going to make it very hard on quarterbacks."

On if he has noticed that the defense talks a lot in the film room:"Yes, we definitely talk. Even if you're wrong, somebody is going to correct you, so that's my take on that. But, Chris [Hewitt] does a great job, [assistant defensive backs coach] Jesse [Minter] does a great job, of just simplifying everything and breaking it down on the board. The best teacher to me is just visualization, what you're doing in practice. When you mess up in practice, it's easy to see, and Coach gives you a coaching point and you take it, you write it down, and you don't make that same mistake."

On if he feels like it's a natural fit playing with S Tony Jefferson:"Yes, very natural. Tony brings that energy. The first day he came out, he was colliding with people, no shoulder pads. So, that's my type of guy. We're going to play really well together. We're already building that chemistry right now."

On what he thought about the Thomas Jefferson image of him and S Tony Jefferson:"The $2 bill? That was cool. That was cool. I posted it on my Instagram." (laughter)

On his impressions of QB Lamar Jackson:"Very fast, that's what I saw. Like today, I'm chasing him around, he's running zig-zag, he juked me a little bit, cut back. He can throw it on the run. He's a very funny guy. I don't know if you guys know that. He's very funny. My locker is right next to him, so I see him every day. We laugh, we joke. He's a star in the making. Box office."

On his impressions of S DeShon Elliott:"He's been making plays left and right. I think it's a Texas thing, but he's been making plays. He's really been standing out in camp."

G Marshal Yanda

On if he was ever close to retiring this offseason:"Just with the injuries that I have had, last year was a wait-and-see kind of deal, one week at a time, one game at a time, and I just didn't know how my body was going to hold up. So, I was prepared, if I was going to end the season on Injured Reserve, then I was probably going to hang it up, just because, like I said, you don't want to keep pushing your body too far. But the good thing is, I made it through unscathed, and I'm healthy, and I feel really good, so I'm, like I said, I'm grateful. But yes, there was definitely … I was prepared, for sure." (Reporter: "But coming out of the season?") "No, at the end of the season, no. At the end of the season, I knew I wanted to come back and play. The deal was just making it through the season healthy."

On the reasoning for his contract extension:"Whatever happens, we just wanted to make sure I could finish it here, and that's important to me, just being able to play my entire career here and just taking care of me. That was the whole deal there."

On if he went to EVP/GM Eric DeCosta and said he wanted an extension:"I'm not going to get into my contract details. Let's just say, I wanted to be here. Eric wanted me to be here, and that was the main goal, what was accomplished. So, I'm really happy to be able to get to finish it here."

On if his approach to retirement will be the same at the end of this season:"Yes, but things change so fast in the NFL. You just take it one day at a time. Like I said, I'm healthy, I'm feeling really good about playing this fall, and I don't look any further down the road. I'm worried about playing this fall and playing good football, and the best thing is that I didn't have to recover from an offseason surgery, so I didn't have to rehab this offseason. I could lift, and I could do some shoulder maintenance, but I didn't have to get any range of motion back. I didn't have to do rehab, so that was a big offseason for me of not having to do that. I could get stronger and feel good about it."

On his early impressions of the revamped offense:"We have a lot of young guys that are hungry and that are working hard, and Greg [Roman] definitely has the entire playbook up, everything. It's an exciting time, and guys are working really hard, and we're just putting our best foot forward. We don't know how good we're going to be, and I'm not in to making lofty expectations of what we're going to do. We're just going to work hard every single day, but we have a lot of young guys that need to take the next step, and we're definitely doing that. Everybody is working hard, and we have goals. Like I said, we're excited."

On G/T Jermaine Eluemunor:"I think he's doing some good things out there. I think that he needs to continue to grow every single day, as most young guys do. He's getting a heck of an opportunity to make some progress there, so I think he's doing a good job. It's early yet. We don't know yet. We don't have the pads on yet. Playing offensive line in minicamp and stuff with no pads on is, it's a little bit of a double-edged sword, as far as what really happens, and there's really no bull-rushing. So, it's a lot different. But he's doing a good job. He has an opportunity."

On his impressions of QB Lamar Jackson in minicamp:"He's definitely commanding the huddle with more confidence from last year, just calling the plays. And, you can see he's settling in a little bit, which you should be in your second year, and he's definitely done that. He has a long way to go, just like all young guys do, but he's definitely shown growth, and he's shown … Like I said, confidence in the huddle is where I'd say he's definitely taken those steps forward."

On if he has spoken to G/T Alex Lewis about recovering from injuries:"Yes, I try to talk to all the young guys about injuries and just say that injuries are 100 percent part of this game, and that sooner or later, guys are fighting through them every single season. Some guys make it five years without an injury, but more than likely, you're going to have to deal with them pretty regularly. So, attacking your rehab 110 percent … This is our life. This is what we do. You have to come back at least 95 percent from your injury. When you have an injury, you can't come back at 90 percent. You have to attack this thing like it can end your career. It needs to be of the utmost importance.

"I try to talk to all the young guys about that stuff, and just how this game is just … Injuries are part of it. There are highs and lows, and there are a lot of great things about it, but injuries are definitely the worst thing that you have to deal with. But it is something that you have to attack. It's more important than practice. It's more important than anything when you're injured, is to make sure you're doing your rehab so you come back fully. And then the only thing is, though, some peoples' bodies don't heal like you want them to. Sometimes, they don't respond like you want them to, but you have to take care of your end of controlling everything you can control."

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