Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, [it's] good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys being here. Where is everybody else at?" (Reporter: "Have you seen any increased traffic around here?") "Yes, you can't drive certain roads [because of the BMW Championship]. I have a really good friend of mine; he's working a construction project right off of there. He had a cement mixer that he needed to get in, and they wouldn't let him through. So, the cement dried up in the truck. So, I guess that doesn't seem right to me. We have to talk to somebody about that. Maybe bring some breakfast sandwiches for the police on the corner there and get those things through. What questions do you have?"
With QB Trace McSorley, I know you said he'd be out a few weeks, but are there any updates on his progress? (Jamison Hensley) "He's doing well. He's starting to throw. He probably would be ready to some degree early in the season – first week even, possibly, to play, or second week – somewhere in there. That's what it's looking like right now."
I know you don't like these questions, but we haven't seen WR Sammy Watkins in a while. Do you have any updates on him? (Ken Weinman) "Yes, he's OK. It's not a serious injury. We're just trying to rest some things that he was dealing with that are just normal camp things that we felt like it wasn't really worth it at this point. It was better to get him 100%. Like he says, you're never 100%, but we're trying to get him as close as we can."
How do you think the guys handled the week in general? It was pretty hot out here and kind of labor intensive. (Luke Jones) "That's a great point. To me, they … It was tough. It was really hot [and] really humid. [We had] competitive practices, and we fought through it. Part of it is understanding that, as Winston Churchill quoted so eloquently, 'fatigue makes cowards of us all.' What he meant was when you get fatigued, it's hard to focus, [and] it's hard to execute. So, we want to be able to execute when we're tired, when we're hot [and] when our legs aren't there. [We want] to be able to do that late in the game or late in the season when it counts the most. That's kind of what we worked on today, and I thought the guys did a good job of it – today and all week."
Was that kind of the message… I know we saw you early yesterday kind of pulling guys around special teams. Was that kind of the message you were trying to send? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, that was exactly it, and they did a great job. They locked in. … Our guys respond. They locked in, and they had a good practice." (Reporter: "And you gave them ice cream afterwards.") "Snowballs, yes. (laughter) I'll tell you; God's timing is amazing, because those were already planned, and they showed up right on time. So, it was great."
To kind of reset an understanding, the final preseason game, you've mentioned it before and offensive coordinator Greg Roman said it yesterday, you don't gameplan for these games. How do you approach it? What is the thought going into a preseason game if you're not gameplanning? (Mark Viviano) "You run your plays, basically. We run our base plays, that's what we do all ... We've never run a gameplan play, per se, in the preseason or a gameplan defensive call. I think Carolina blitzed us more than we blitzed them in that game. No matter what their quarterback … He thought he got a lot of blitzes; watch the other side of the ball. They're the same blitzes we've been running every week in the preseason for the last four years. So, we just have an install that we do with our base stuff, and we run it. So, anything we do, you've seen it before. It's basic … Everything is basic to what we do."
I know we've asked you a lot about the wide receivers, but offensive line, it seems like everyone is back to practice now except for T Ja'Wuan James, which you expected. Do you feel like you're getting to a good place with that group as far as getting ready and ramped up for the regular season? (Luke Jones) "Yes, we're getting some work with those guys. It's been really good. I feel good about it. You saw Ben [Cleveland] was out there along with Tyre [Phillips]. [You saw] Ben at left guard, Tyre at left guard and also right tackle. We gave Alejandro [Villanueva] a vet day yesterday. So, those guys are getting good work together."
Today's is Women's Equality Day. I was just curious to get your perspective on some of the advancements women have made in the NFL, whether in coaching, scouting or officiating? (Garrett Downing) "Absolutely. I have a wife that's very equal; she's more than equal. Some are … Do you remember the book Animal Farm? 'Some are more equal than others.' My wife is more equal than me. (laughter) But I have a great wife and a great daughter, so it's very important when you're a girl dad – these things become even more important. I think a lot more about them than I did 15, 20 [or] 25 years ago, for sure. A lot of advancements have been made. We have some amazing young trainers in here, equipment people, analytics, coaches … We're looking for coaches still, and we'll find some. That's what it's all about. It's just all about opportunity – that's what America is all about. The more that we can fully realize that as a country, the more fully the world is going to realize that and follow our lead. That's what we always have to remember; we're the leaders. We're in front. No one is going to do these things without us doing them first – it seems. That's the history. You asked the question; now you're going to get me going on a tangent about whatever world affairs. I'm all for it. What do we say on Women's Equality Day?" (Reporter: "I think you're saying it. I think obviously the NFL has come a long way through the years, and you see that out on the practice field.") "It's not like, 'Happy Women's Equality Day' or anything like that?" (Reporter: "I don't think so. I don't think it's like saying 'Merry Christmas.'")
With OLB Justin Houston, year to year is when you have teams … Is it important to have those types of players who … I mean, he's obviously a guy who come in wanting a championship. He's at that stage in his career where his focus is that. Is it really important to have those type of players on this team? (Jamison Hensley) "Absolutely. I believe we had those kinds of players in 2012. We really had those players all the way through, and you want to follow through for them. But you can talk too much about a championship. I think everybody wants to win a championship. Guys like Justin Houston are willing to pay the price to do so. I believe all of our team is, but you have to do it one practice at a time, one play at a time, one series at a time, one game at a time. It's the only way anything like that can be done. If you get to the Super Bowl, then you can start talking about it. Up until then, it's really pointless to even think too much about it, because you have to focus on being good enough to even get yourself in position to do that first."
OLB Jaylon Ferguson
On if he feels like he's practicing and playing at a different level so far this year: "Yes. Going into my third year, I've got a little bit more experience. I've got the right group of guys around me, leading me the right way, so yes, everything is clicking for me right now. I'm trying to keep it rolling."
On where he thinks he's improved the most throughout his career: "I think [in the] preseason [and] coming into the season, I took better care of my body. I worked on bettering elements of my game and [not] being focused so much on being in the big NFL. Here, now, I've got a bunch of technicians in the room with me, who [are] not selfish; they're willing to share all their little secrets. So, I grab on to some of their secrets and add it to my game."
On how far he's come in his ability to stop the run: "I've come a lot farther. Being here, with the program, with [head strength and conditioning coach] Steve Saunders, I've gotten bigger and stronger, so that's always going to help me in the run game – and on top of my natural willingness to hit. I think the Ravens are the right place for me to keep on doing what I do."
On learning from OLB Justin Houston and seeing him after practice coaching up the younger guys: "Yes, you might have seen me out there with him, too. Between him, Pernell [McPhee], Tyus Bowser, even Calais Campbell – he helped me out – Derek Wolfe, especially, because he's got the ferocity inside, but he's still got all the moves … Just being with guys like that, I'm learning not to look at, so much, physical stuff, [but to look at] little keys, like which way they're moving, which way they're leaning, pre-snap stuff to help me. Before, I would just look at a player, just thinking that I can beat him by myself."
On how he maintains emotion when he's held by offensive linemen but doesn't draw a flag: "One of the unspoken rules in our room is, 'There's no such thing as holding,' and if referees don't call it, it never happened. So, to me, I just missed out on a sack."
On his mindset entering Year Three: "Just keep working. Dominate my opportunity. As long as I get a chance, keep playing. As long as I get a chance, I'm going to come out here, I'm going to keep working, keep working to get better every single day."
On if he senses anyone pressing or a general tightness as training camp is winding down: "Right now, I'm trying to stay as relaxed as possible and just keep on balling. One thing I know is that I can play in this league, and definitely, I can play here. So, if I keep on doing my job, keep on doing my thing, nothing will change, [and] there will be an opportunity for me."
P Sam Koch
On if things have felt different without LS Morgan Cox this season: "Well, it definitely feels different. It's not Morgan [Cox]; we'd been together for 10 years. But Nick [Moore] has come in and done an amazing job. He's focusing, and his spots and everything … Nick has come in and done a great job. He's performed well and has done a great job. He's filled a role very well and continues to work every day to become better to fill that spot. [They are] big shoes to fill. So, we're excited to see where he goes with this and [for him to] keep on helping out the team in any way possible."
On if there is a nickname that will replace "The Wolfpack": "It's a good question. [Justin] Tucker hasn't defined a new coin phrase or name yet, so at the immediate time, we're still considered 'Wolfpack,' unless Tucker states otherwise."
On looking back to the first time he walked into the locker room as a Raven: "Yes, I can take you back to the first time I walked into the locker room during a training camp and being able to walk up to a locker and just seeing the Ravens logo, and I'm like, 'Man, what a dream come true.' Here, you see this logo as a kid, thinking, 'Man, how cool would it be to play in the NFL and be a part of an organization?' And to be able to see that and be a part of that as a rookie, and coming from Nebraska, was very sentimental. And now, 16 years later, you're like, 'Man, it flies by way too fast.' And so, I think about that all the time – just how lucky I am to be here, be at such a great organization and be with such great people and to continue doing what I love."
On how he's maintained consistency in his performance throughout his career: "So, you're saying I'm old?" (laughter) (Reporter: "Older.") "Older, OK." (Reporter: "But you're still younger than me.) "Oh, that's true, that's true. (laughter) Well, it's one of those things; I'm never satisfied, regardless of what I do, so I'm always trying to prove my worth, prove my value here at this organization and do everything I can each and every year to better myself. The only way I can be great is [to] be consistent day in and day out, and if I can be consistent on the field or practice field and take that over to the game, that's my ultimate goal. So, numbers be what they are; I don't ever really pay attention to the numbers. At the end of the day, if I go out there and execute the way I'm supposed to every game, then I'm happy with that."
On how K Justin Tucker has changed throughout the years: "[Justin] Tucker is … He definitely … Well, he still does his normal things; he's singing in the shower, singing in the locker room. He provides that comedic relief, yet after having a kid, he's much more mature. But he's always been a very, very mature guy. We're great friends, and we enjoy each other's company. This year, we kind of miss Morgan [Cox], but we've got a new guy filling in on that spot, and he's going to do good. But Tucker is Justin Tucker."
On how his project of renovating a pick-up truck is going, which he's shared on Instagram: "It's coming good. Me and my son, we try to find time between both of our football schedules. We had the exhaust put on the other day, so we're pretty happy about that. We took all the interior out, so that's our next step. It's just something that we can do together. He's wanting to drive it when he turns 16 – actually, he turns 16 next April and starts driving next year – so, he's looking forward to driving that when we get it all done."
On sensing the urgency from younger players to perform on special teams during training camp and the preseason: "Yes. I mean, each and every year, we … And I believe I'm getting your question right. Just how much value special teams plays on these …" (Reporter: "Yes.") "And so, it's such a huge part of this game, and guys come into the league thinking, 'I want to play offense; I want to play defense,' but even Ray Lewis played special teams when he got here. Ed Reed played special teams. And a lot of people will earn their living through special teams and make a name for themselves through special teams, to get them on to defense or offense. For the young guys, it plays such a pivotal role in their advancement in football. It behooves them to go out there and do whatever they can each and every day on special teams to try to gain a spot on the 53."
On how often he communicates with other punters around the league: "I mean, as far as other punters, we talk during games, and occasionally, we'll text back and forth, here and there with a few of them. It's more so [the] younger guys – through Instagram and all that stuff – reaching out, trying to figure out, 'How do you do this? How do you do that? How do you get to the consistency part of it?' And so, that's where I find most of the information coming from – is through the young guys in high school and in college."
On how he differs as the Ravens' punter and the Winters Mill High School football coach: "Hmm, man. Well, I can be somewhat of a – pardon my French – an a-hole on the game field and on the practice field. (laughter) When I come out here, my mindset is totally different. I can still be stern on the practice field, but I'm not … I'm more of a dad [at Winters Mill]. I'm trying to put that kind of nicely. As [Justin] Tucker knows, and other guys know, I can be very, sometimes, hard to handle in practice, because I demand so much of myself each and every day. And so, when it comes to [high school] practice, I let that go a little bit. I demand a lot of the guys, but I also have a lot of fun with that."
On how the rise of analytics has changed how he's approached his job: "As far as how I've approached my job, I think it's [changed] just when we attempt certain punts. Now, when we have a quarterback like Lamar [Jackson], and we're on fourth-and-short around the 40[-yard line], we're more apt to go for those. And so, it just [dictates], I think, more so what we decide to do. In previous years, with other quarterbacks, we've kicked field goals from there and maybe not so much punts. So, I think it's more based off what kind of play call at that time."
On if he could serve as the emergency quarterback: "I'm always willing to step up. (laughter) I'm always willing to practice it out here. I hope it doesn't get to that point, but if so, I can just shotgun from the punt formation." (laughter)