THURSDAY (7/26) TRAINING CAMP TRANSCRIPTS
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
How much does the coaching staff look for a response out of the young players to a bad practice? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"It's a really interesting question. I think the other thing we look at beyond how you respond to a less than satisfactory practice, is how you respond to less than satisfactory play, because it's really in the same realm. One of the skills that all high-level athletes have in all sports is the strength mentally to overcome those kinds of things. We're all humans; everybody makes mistakes – coaches included. The most important play is the next play. We say that quite frequently with our specialists, the most important kick is the next kick. Whether it's a successful play or successful kick or utter failure, you have to put it behind you and move on to the next play. That's a skill that the veteran players probably understand, per your question, better than younger players. It's something that, perhaps, experience is the best teacher in that regard. We'll keep coaching it; we'll keep teaching it. We're trying to make practices as competitive as we can, so we have the opportunities to gain that which you speak of."
It seems LB Albert McClellan has dropped some weight to probably better suit himself to today's kickoff rules. Do you feel like he is better suited now in the way that he's playing that he can have a big role, despite the rule changes? _(Ryan Mink) _"Albert looks great. He talked to me the other day when he was out here for the first time with shoulder pads on. He said, 'It's been a long time.' He was preparing for this moment for 12 months. He looks great. With regard to his body composition, he has always been a highly trained individual. I don't think it was directly correlated to the new rules on kickoff or anything, but he's playing a different position. As you know, previously he was an outside linebacker, he was an edge rusher, he was playing some RUSH, he was rotating in at MIKE. He was a man for all seasons. Now, he's an inside linebacker purely, and he's prepared himself in the last 12 months to play that. He looks lean and mean and he demonstrates in every practice that his skills are high-caliber."
I noticed the other day when the returners were dropping a lot of balls that LB Albert McClellan walked over there and told them to pick it up. John Harbaugh was already over there, and I'm sure he was saying plenty. How much does it help when you have those types of players involved? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I've said this many times about Albert: At whatever point in time he's done being a player, he'll be a fabulous coach, because he understands the little things that are important. He is a great communicator. In his own way, he's going to coach the returners. I suggest to you that Albert has probably never been a returner is his life – perhaps he has as a Pop Warner guy. I'm not sure. I'll have to go back and look at the Lakeland Pop Warner tape.(laughter) He understands football, and he's going to coach those guys just like he does everybody else. It's great to see. You talk about leadership – the leadership doesn't just have to come from Terrell Suggs or Joe Flacco or Eric Weddle. The more leaders you have, the stronger team you're going to have, and Albert is an example of that."
Defensive Coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale
Opening statement:"I am in a little bit of a better mood than what I was the last time I stood up here. I think that we've pointed out some things that we really need to work on in the last couple days. We've done that. I'm more pleased with the effort of the young guys and, actually, the execution of them. I don't think we're where we're going to be, by any means, by any stretch, but I think we're getting closer to getting ready to play up there in the Hall of Fame Game, which is a real important game for the younger guys on the roster. They understand the history of the game. We've been talking to them about that – the history of this game, the significance of playing in Canton, Ohio. I told 'Sizz' [OLB Terrell Suggs] to make sure he brings a toothbrush with him. He can just leave it there, because he's going to be up there using it again whenever he decides to call it a career. But we're really excited about it. With that, I'll leave it open to questions."
Wink, there's a lot of attention this year on run-pass option. How much time did you guys spend looking at that in the offseason, and how much have you guys faced it? I know it's not exactly new." (Jeff Zrebiec)"It's not new, but it's gaining momentum. A lot of teams are going to it with the more mobile quarterbacks, especially. It's an easy scheme for the quarterbacks, offensively, actually, so we did spend a lot of time on it with the offseason. We studied a lot of college tapes. We had some college coaches come in and talk to us about it and how they see it. We're seeing it a little bit differently than how they see it in college, in the college game. It really helped us, and it's really helped us, defensively, get a grasp of it all, because there are a lot of teams that are going to it."
Did you see it a lot last year? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Yes, Cincinnati — [Andy] Dalton, he does a lot of that run-pass option stuff, and that's just an example. It's going to continue to grow. That, and up-tempo [offense]."
Why do you think things are trending in that direction? (Garrett Downing)"I think it's because of the youth that's getting into this league. It's easier to teach. It's an easier teach with it, and just the running game itself out of zebra [formation] — three receivers – you're getting a lot of that."
Wink, we saw DT Willie Henry in the backfield a couple more times again today. Where have you seen the most growth from him since, say, middle of last season to now? (Bo Smolka)"I think it's physically. I think he's gotten into shape, and you can really see, like I said the last time, how he's changed his body. His body fat is down. Now, he's starting to get some of that 'old-man dad' strength and quickness. We just continue to just take a step every day with him, and I think you're going to see big things from Willie."
How much of a benefit is it to have a guy like CB Brandon Carr, not only just his experience, but knowing that you can depend on him every single time? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Oh, it's huge. It's a comfort, is what it is. For the coaching staff, it's a comfort knowing you can count on him. And you said it first, a veteran corner that can help these younger corners as well."
This question is about two inside linebackers. First of all, LB Patrick Onwuasor: Where have you seen him make strides? What have you seen from him out there? And then secondly, LB Albert McClellan. Jerry Rosburg just talked about him moving to inside linebacker. (Ryan Mink)"Albert has always been the Swiss Army knife of the defense ever since I've been here. [I'm] going on my seventh year. He has the ability to play wherever we need to play him. We moved him back to inside. He's played inside. He's played outside. He started outside, as you know, but he is starting to feel better with the knee. You can see he's starting to trust it. Same thing with Tavon [Young], when he came back from his knee. A little slow starting out, and then the more and more they go, they start trusting it a little bit more and it gets back to normal. 'Peanut' [Onwuasor], he's grown schematically just seeing things. He's still not where he wants to be, or where I want him to be, where Mike [Macdonald, linebacker coach] wants him to be, but he's really grown as a linebacker. Let's face it, he was a free safety in college and last year was the first year he ever played linebacker, so he's growing into the role fast. There's going to be great competition with 'Peanut and' Kenny [Young]. Kenny Young has come on. And to see who's going to get that starting role position … There's competition across the board, which we're … That's the exciting part to me, because of how young we are. I'm glad we have five games, because football's going to take care of this competition. You guys will see it when we start playing."
CB Marlon Humphrey had a couple tough catches on him today. How does he continue to deal with a lot of people's expectation that he makes a big leap in his second year? (Stephen Pimpo)"I think he's dealing with it just fine. I think that's a question you're going to have to ask him. Maybe I'll ask him. But he's going to be a dominant corner in this league. You're seeing some things, maybe today, and I haven't seen the tape yet. There's times when the ball is getting downfield – especially when we're in shells – we're not going to collide with the receivers. Like I said, I haven't watched the tape on it, but I know overall, his body of work has been outstanding."
Another cornerback, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, has gotten a lot of reps. What are you seeing from him out there?" (Jonas Shaffer)"He's got a nice skill set. He falls into that group that I was upset with before about being mentally stronger as the practice wears on. He starts out, he's on fire, and as he tires, that's where I start to see some mental errors on him and technique errors and things like that. He's got a chance, though."
Wink, when you see a lot of these middle linebackers who are supposed to be the quarterbacks of the defense, they are usually very outspoken. LB C.J. Mosley, that's not his personality. How does his personality fit that role? (Jamison Hensley)"I think you don't see the personality when he's on the field. His personality here is completely different than when he's on the field. You can ask Tyus Bowser that. (laughter)Don't worry about C.J. He's going to get his point across, as will Eric Weddle as a safety and 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs] up front. They guys, they'll let them know, and they'll lead them."
Wink, how important is a healthy DE Brent Urban when you want to do this defense?" _(Gerry Sandusky) _"Awesome! He's a true five technique that can play inside and penny. With his size and strength … We're also seeing his confidence starting to take off. He is a knock-back defensive lineman, so he's important, just as they all are. But he's very important. And with that, I'll follow that up with [how] Chris Wormley has really come on the last three days. He wasn't practicing, in my opinion, he wasn't practicing as well as I thought he could, and the last three days, he's starting to practice like I expected him to."
S DeShon Elliott has made his presence felt out here, especially when the pads came on, with kind of big knocks. What have you seen from him in terms of his physicality, and do you have to say to him, "All right, I know you want to hit people, but you've got to kind of dial it back." (Ryan Mink)"Just be smart, take care of your teammates. What he needs to do is, we've been working on this, [is focus on] his entry points to the ball when it breaks as a free safety, because he's going to hit people. We've just got to make sure he doesn't overshoot it. He's got to come at the right angles and things like that. But he's going to be another fun one to watch back here."
You mentioned CB Tavon Young before, when you were talking about the knee injuries. What are the challenges to sustain the momentum that he had as a rookie since he missed last season? And then how is he handling it? (Aaron Kasinitz)"I think the only challenge is his confidence, and he's confident. He's a pit bull out there. He's the epitome of Raven defense, when you're talking about attitude. I know he's smaller size, but he's fun to watch. He's competitive as … Trying to keep it clean here!"
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement: "Alright, let's get started. Man, there's not too much different than the last time [I spoke]. It feels like it's only been a couple days. The fellas were working hard. We're still in the middle of install: the great preparation in the building, the hard work on the field, and then you don't put a cap on yourself. So, let's open it up to questions."
It seems like you guys really started the day strong. Are you more pleased with the passing game with QB Joe Flacco and TE Nick Boyle, TE Hayden Hurst and WR John Brown? It seems like they were clicking there. (Garrett Downing) "It was really a good start, about two-thirds of the practice looked to be pretty good. We lacked a little execution there, sort of, towards the end. There were a few new plays there as well. Joe had a heck of a practice. John Brown made some plays, it certainly looked like. The tight ends as a group ... [Michael] Crabtree had a couple there throughout practice. Robert Griffin [III] has had an excellent camp. Certainly looks to be ... Well, Joe – first time he's been healthy in a while – man, that feels good. I'm sure he feels even better than I do about that. Robert is totally healthy; he's played good football. Lamar [Jackson] – we talked about him. He's beyond the curve, I mean, he has worked hard, hard, hard. He is a diligent young man. Josh Woodrum has had a terrific camp up to date, as well."
With the plays that WR John Brown made, are those the kind of plays you expect from him? _(Ed Lee) _"Those are the types of plays he made clear back ... I studied him when he was coming out clear back in junior college and at Pittsburg State. So yeah, he's very good down the field. He has the great speed, and he's very good getting in and out of breaks as well. He's had a heck of a camp."
You guys loaded up on offensive skill positions but didn't draft a running back. Is the depth there a potential to be concerned? Or have you really liked what you've seen there with the undrafted guys? (Jeff Zrebiec) "That's a good point, but the answer would be 'no.' We're pretty thick right there with some really good ball players. By 'thick,' I mean we're pretty deep with some pretty good ball players. No – I'm happy with the depth at the running back spot."
With G Marshal Yanda sitting out, you got a long look at T Orlando Brown Jr. What are your impressions of him so far?_ (Bo Smolka)_"He's improved dramatically. He's right in the middle of learning how we go about our business, as well as the offensive structure. He's getting better every day, and as long as a young man – let's say a rookie – can get better every day, good things end up happening. He's done that. He's a very, very hard worker – has excellent preparation. Joe 'D' [D'Alessandris, offensive line coach] is doing a heck of a job with him."
What's your reaction to the national media still reacting to the quarterback situation as a "quarterback battle" in training camp? It seems like QB Joe Flacco has a clearly defined role._ (Stephen Pimpo)_"Well, I haven't heard that. We know how we're going to go about our business, so there's no sense in talking about it too much. Joe has had a heck of a camp, Robert [Griffin III] is doing very well, and like I said, Lamar [Jackson] is way ahead of the curve. Josh [Woodrum] is ... You remember last preseason? Josh can play – now [he] kind of broke little records in the preseason for quarterback rating."
I know it was focused in the offseason, but has the deep passing game been a conscious effort, or has it been naturally developed in practice? (Jamison Hensley) "What you said is true. We always force the issue, especially in the offseason and early in camp. It looks like we got the fellas to do it just a little bit this year."
RB Gus Edwards is a big back. What are the benefits of being a running back of his size? (Ed Lee) "There are all kinds of advantages and not very many disadvantages. This is a big man's game. He's done a heck of a job so far. Look, everybody's had a pretty good camp. We'll see Thursday night, one week from today. I'm juiced up; I'm peaking too soon. We will get excited for that one, and we'll get great evaluations in preseason games. It's great that we have the extra one this year, because we have so many rookies that are battling to make the team, and/or will end up helping us throughout the year. Very important deal going into Thursday night for all kinds of players."
With the two rookie tight ends out, TE Nick Boyle and TE Maxx Williams have gotten more reps today. What are you seeing out of them? What would you like to see from them? (Jonas Shaffer)" Hayden [Hurst] practiced a little bit today, so he's back – that's a good thing. He's feeling pretty good. I talked to him before practice; haven't talked to him since. So – man alive! We've got a lot of tight ends, and they all have different strengths. We'll utilize all of the different strengths that they have. Was that your question?" (Reporter: "Just specific to Maxx and Nick.") "Maxx is coming off the injury [rehabilitation from 2016], and it was a major injury – one of those that hasn't been done very often. He's back, it looks like. There was time where I'm going, 'Geez. I'm not sure he's ever going to ...' He's back. So, he's running really well, executing really well in the pass game, doing some really good things in the run game."