RAVENS THURSDAY TRANSCRIPTS: WEEK 1 VS. BILLS
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
Can you elaborate on some of the factors that went in to naming WR/RS Janarion Grant the return specialist? (Ed Lee) "It was really a great competition all through training camp. Janarion, in our opinion, won the job. The stats don't necessarily reflect one guy winning the job over the other guy. So, like we say in our meeting room every day, 'Every day is a competition during training camp.' There are a lot of practice reps that went in to that, and we just felt that overall, his ball security skills were good. He gave up one in a preseason game – but his ball catching was good all during the preseason. He got some tough yards in the preseason games that we thought were impressive. That's why we went in that direction. I'm really thankful for Ozzie [Newsome] and his crew, and John [Harbaugh] did a great job of being able to keep Tim White here with us. I think Tim will continue to grow; I think he has a great future both as a returner and a receiver. Then we made the addition of getting Cyrus [Jones] here. So, we have a good stable back there – all three really fine, young players that have a bright future."
Do you have any concerns with WR/RS Janarion Grant being a rookie? (Ed Lee) "In the National Football League, especially in special teams, rookies have to play. There's no redshirt season for these guys. He's on our team; he's our returner. Let's go."
Why do you think a guy like WR/RS Janarion Grant who didn't get drafted? I don't think he got signed until after a tryout. He slipped through the crack. (Aaron Kasinitz)"There are a lot of stories like that in this league. There are a lot of players playing football and different people look at things different ways. I was impressed by Janarion's film, our scouts were impressed by Janarion's film, and the guy that scouts the area liked him as well. Nobody else was really interested in him – I can't really comment on [that]. Nobody was interested in Justin Tucker either. It's just kind of the way things fall. It reminded me of a situation in Cleveland of a guy named Josh Cribbs, who was in the same exact circumstances when he came out. How you start isn't really important. I know it's not important to Janarion, because he has an opportunity now to make his own way, and that's really all these young men are looking for when they come here. It's just [about] looking for opportunity. This is the land of opportunity. He's taking advantage of it."
I know John Harbaugh hasn't ruled out bringing LB Albert McClellan back, but how difficult was that conversation for you? I know how close you've gotten to him._ (Jeff Zrebiec)_ "That was a tough one. Well, the conversation … It's kind of remarkable. Just the idea of going out to practice without Albert out there was challenging, because he's such a stabilizing factor with our young players and our punt protection and the meeting rooms. He has such a big role for us. So that was certainly an adjustment that we've had to make – in all of us, not just the coaches, but the players as well. But Albert made the meeting easy – he was amazing, like you might expect him to be, I guess. So hopefully, I heard it mentioned, that perhaps this is not over. I hope that's the case, but we'll see what goes on down the road. I know I owe a great deal to him, personally. He's been a big part of my life, and I know our club has been better for him being here, both as a player and a person. I'm sure I'll see him soon."
Does LB Albert McClellan's absence shift more responsibility to someone like DB/LB Anthony Levine Sr.?_ (Ed Lee) "They call Anthony 'Co-Cap' for a reason, because those two guys assumed that responsibility and took the mantle of that. I guess now that there's only one 'cap,' I guess that would be the case. I haven't heard anybody call him 'Cap' though yet. _(laughter) But yes, he needs to. And he has been, He's always been that kind of player. But I think what it does do, more than anything else, is that the young players have to understand the standard that Albert played at and practiced at, and in the meetings rooms, the standard that he set here is something that they have to live up to."
Do you have any concerns with the punt block, kick block in the preseason? Anything you saw there that would be a greater concern going forward, or was it a one-off?_ (Pete Gilbert)_ "There are concerns every week in the league about kick protection and punt protection. There always is. There are great concerns about punt coverage and kick coverage – that's an ongoing thing. It's just the nature of the business. Every time you kick the ball off, every time you punt, there's risk. Our job, as coaches and players, is to get ready for that and handle whatever comes."
Five preseason games, extra practice time … Does that have any impact on the feeling about Game 1, as far as intangibles and butterflies and whatever goes into it? (Peter Schmuck) "That's a really good question. I think more than anything else, it's anticipation, like, 'Let's go! Let's go play a National Football League game.' Our players are excited to play this game, because as you said, we've been practicing a long time with five preseason games. That's like half a college season for some of these guys. We're ready to play a real game. We can't wait until Sunday to get here."
Did you have a just to catch up with P/K Kaare Vedvik? How difficult was that news to process when you first heard? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Yes, it takes you back when something like that, you hear something like that. Then to answer your question: Yes, I have spent some time with Kaare since the incident. I thank God that he's going to be OK. He's recovering, and he's going to be OK. I will say this, too: He is in great hands – not only by our medical staff, but all the people around here that are helping him. I think it really points to the kind of organization that he's been working for. People came to his aid immediately and continue to do so. The other thing I would say is it's the first time I've ever been to Shock Trauma. Thankfully I haven't had to be down there. I was so impressed by, not only the facility itself, but the people that work down there. Amazing people and so caring and so professional and so skilled. You never want any of this to happen, but I guess if something like that happens, you're thankful they have a place and people like that to take care of him."
How confident were you that P/K Kaare Vedvik was going to get a job somewhere kicking in this league?_ (Ryan Mink) _"You can't predict that, but I know just with speaking with his agent in the aftermath of all this, there was a lot of interest. Now whether it happens or not would have been up to him, but there were a lot of people that were contacting his people – so to speak."
You said that the preseason might not show much about the kickoff rules. Are you expecting something wacky to happen somewhere across the league?_ (Aaron Kasinitz)_ "I don't know if 'wacky' would be the description. I think perhaps … I think what's going to happen is you're going to see the real intentions of the coaches and how they look at the new rules and what they think they can do or can't do with the new rules. I don't think a lot was shown necessarily in the preseason. We've been studying it, and everybody else has been. It'll be another interesting part of the opening game of the season to find out how people are going to adapt to these rule changes."
Defensive Coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale
Opening statement:"First of all, to start off, I'd like to congratulate the guys that made the final roster. As you know, there were some tough decisions that we had to make, and I think that Eric [DeCosta] and Ozzie [Newsome] and 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] have done a great job of building a roster. We're excited about taking off this year. I think the [longer] training camp – which has been mentioned every time we've come up here – I think 'Harbs' handled it great, and our veterans handled it great, and we're ready to roll. We took the right amount of time off, and we got everybody ready to roll. So, I'm really excited about it, and I'm sure everybody else is."
A popular topic yesterday among the players was the two-minute defense and how excited they are to get back out there and get those opportunities. Is that kind of something that you can work a lot on, or is that more of a mindset, would you say? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I think it's a little bit of both. I think that it's a mindset, definitely, but we need to hammer in, which we have in training camp, situational football. I think as more and more guys talk about it, that makes me feel better, because they're listening, and we're actually executing and understanding what we have to do in different situations."
So, when you guys put two minutes on the clock on the scoreboard, and they back you guys up inside the 20, that's the kind of stuff that you're doing? And did you do more of that? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Yes, in training camp, yes we have. We really emphasized it a lot more. Yes, we did, so we're excited about that challenge as well."
Over the last decade or so, how has the slot cornerback role changed, and why is CB Tavon Young a good fit for you guys? (Aaron Kasinitz)"I heard you ask that question to John [Harbaugh] yesterday. Can I just go with what John said? (laughter)That's a long conversation of how it's changed, just like every position has changed in the last 10 years. It's a fair question. The best way I can describe Tavon: He's a pit bull. He does everything that you want a slot corner to do. He covers well. He tackles well. He knows the defense inside and out, and piggybacking on what Jeff [Zrebiec] said, he understands situations better this year just with his experience. You need a smart, crafty guy to play nickel for you, and we have a couple of them."
With the understanding that you guys were all over the quarterback in the preseason, it looked like Buffalo struggled at times in the preseason. How much of that ... Is that what makes you excited? How much of that carries over to the regular season? _(Jerry Coleman) _"I just got done telling the defense in a meeting, what I'm excited for, as a coach, is to see them turn it loose and play. It's going to be great to see all the work that they've put in and how they handle different situations and just cut it loose and go. I talked earlier about the big three – you go [Eric] Weddle, C.J. [Mosley] and 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs]. They've done a nice job of leading this defense and communicating and everything else. I'm excited to see that going to work for four quarters instead of 15 plays. That's the exciting part to me. As a coach, you want to see your guys play well. I think we're heading down that street."
Speaking of LB C.J. Mosley, he mentioned how he has a list of goals in his locker. He said it's the first time he's done it, and he credited you with the idea. Where did you get that idea from? How do you think that can help someone like him? (Ed Lee)"Where did it get it from? It was probably Lou Holtz. I know for a fact it was Lou Holtz. He talked about way back when – when he was at William and Mary, and there were more Marys than Williams – when he was there, about the goals he listed down, and he looked at them every day. I did the same thing as a coach. Every time I've been in a situation like this, I've always urged players to do it, because you would be amazed if you put down your goals [to see] what they are and go back and look at them. If you see them every day, you'll start checking them off. I just think that's a mindset of what you want to do and how you want to attack each season, and really how you want to attack life."
What's the list of goals, say, on your locker? (Garrett Downing)"It's been a long one. It's been a long one, and I'm hitting them. One was win a Super Bowl, National Championship, things like that, coach at a major college – professionally, things like that, and then also family goals. My wife has two horses. I don't remember seeing that on my goal sheet." (laughter)
How much are you looking forward to seeing what CB Marlon Humphrey can do in Year Two after he had so much success as a rookie corner, which is kind of rare in the NFL? _(Luke Jones) _
"I'm really excited to see what Marlon is going to do – not what he can do, what he's going to do – as well as the rest of them. Brandon Carr, I think he's had a great training camp and ramped up his play, and he's ready to roll. And, the list goes on. Besides just the big three [Eric Weddle, C.J. Mosley and Terrell Suggs] like I'm talking about, I'm excited about seeing 'Big Baby' [Brandon Williams] and Michael Pierce, 'Z' [Za'Darius Smith]. 'Z 'had the best training camp I've ever seen him have since I've been here. I'm excited about seeing all of that."
You guys were really good at creating turnovers last season. Do you think that's something you can take to another level, and if you did, what goes into doing that? (Cliff Brown)"I think that you get what you emphasize, and John [Harbaugh] has done a great job with theat. The last two years, we emphasized takeaways, and we've emphasized ball security on the other side of it, and we've had drills throughout training camp with that. I think we're on a good start throughout the preseason as well. They come in bunches, so let's keep them rolling."
You look at some of the names that have held your position before, from Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Chuck Pagano, guys that have been head coaches. The title in Baltimore is a really significant one, "Defensive Coordinator." Going into your first Week 1 having it, do you feel the weight of that, to live up to that? Is that there at all? (Pete Gilbert)"Like I said, I know all those guys, and I've coached with a lot of them. I really keep this thing focused about the players. This isn't about me. This is about us. This is about the … Our defensive staff has done a great job of implementing this plan and teaching this plan and making it simple for guys. Chris [Hewitt] in the secondary, Jesse [Minter, coaching analyst] and [Brian] Duker [coaching analyst] – Duker, I call him the bookkeeper. He keeps me organized – and Joe [Cullen] and Drew [Wilkins] with the D-line, and then with Mike [Macdonald] … Zach Orr has been great, and Sterling [Lucas]. It's about all of us. Every one of them knows what we're doing in this package. I think that's a credit to us just forwarding John's plan. So, I don't look at it that way. I don't know if I should or not, but I don't."
Do you prefer "Don" or "Wink?" _(Pete Gilbert) _"Whatever you call me. Just call me."
Obviously, as a defense you hate to lose someone of CB Jimmy Smith's caliber, of DT Willie Henry's caliber, but losing them when you did in the preseason, does that give you more time to prepare to play without them? (Jonas Shafffer)"Yes, it does. Yes, it does, and we've talked about depth since I've been in this position and what we have. Obviously, we're going to have to dip into that depth a little bit faster than what we wanted, but I think that we're ready to roll with that."
You talked about the young pass rushers: OLB Za'Darius Smith, you talked about OLB Tim Williams and these guys coming on. Will you have any interest in basically taking OLB Terrell Suggs off the field at times to keep him fresh, and how do you manage that within a game, knowing all that he brings on the field? (Garrett Downing) _"I'm excited about seeing them all play. Loose lips sink ships. _(laughter)I'm excited about seeing them all play."
Can I ask, what will you miss about LB Albert McClellan? _(Ed Lee) _"That was tough, because Albert and I have been here together since I've been here, and his leadership and his toughness are the first two things that come to mind. Who knows? Maybe he can come back here. We'll see about that. But, that was a tough one. I'm just going to miss him, period, like your kid goes off to college or something."
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement: "Exciting time! Man alive! The guys are juiced up. [We're] right in the middle of preparation; we have a little bit more work to do, preparation. We've got some hard work to do on the field. We had a couple of just tremendous practices. So, let's open it up to questions."
I'm sure it's always the goal to get off to a hot start. Has that been an emphasis? Is that important to do offensively? (Jeff Zrebiec)"There's momentum to every game. Certainly, you would love to do that. We've talked about that as an offense. There are typically some momentum shifts. So, when you have the momentum, let's make good on it. When you don't have the momentum, let's minimize the damage and get the momentum back. It's just that simple, and games typically have a little bit of a flow to them. You never know when those flows will happen. So that's important; that mentality is important."
Not having your starting offensive line for a lot of the preseason out there, do you feel that they are comfortable they are ready for Week 1, even though they didn't get as many reps? (Pete Gilbert) "Yes, they're ready to go. Joe 'D' [D'Alessandris, offensive line coach] has done a nice job. The players have done just an excellent job of the preparation. There's no question they've had enough plays together, certainly in practice, even though they haven't gotten them as much in the preseason games. It's a good point."
What factors went in to going with G/T James Hurst as the starting right tackle over T Orlando Brown Jr.? (Ed Lee) "Well, the experience part certainly. James is a heck of a player, and Orlando is coming. Orlando had just an outstanding preseason and training camp. So, Orlando is ready to go. Now, that preparation is going to be key for him. James is a heck of a player, and Orlando's on the come up."
With T Orlando Brown Jr. being a rookie, do you worry at all about him losing confidence in being a backup after starting for most of the preseason? (Ed Lee)"Oh, absolutely not! He's ready to go. We talked about that certain mentality. We're ready to go, and everybody has a role to play. That role can change very quickly in this league. So, all hands on deck; everybody's ready to go."
Can you take us through the process when you have three quarterbacks on the roster, when it comes to an hour-and-a-half before the game, or I'm sure you have it decided way before that? (Jerry Coleman) _"Everybody is preparing hard!" _(laughter)(Reporter: "As far as activating two, three, the conversation, is that a weekly thing?")"You know I'm not going there."
But I'll just ask you in a generic term, is that something that will be a conversation between you and John Harbaugh? Will you have input on all of that? (Jerry Coleman) _"We'll see. We'll see how that goes. Yes, yes, yes, all those things. Very good questions." _(laughter)
If that time comes with QB Lamar Jackson, you guys made no secret throughout the spring and summer about wanting to take advantage of opportunities to get him on the field, get him involved. How exciting is that, the prospects of, based on what you saw in the preseason, Lamar being involved in some way? _(Luke Jones) _"We'll see on that. Everybody is excited for this ballgame now. It's great preparation and hard work. The players are working hard now. One other thing: Joe [Flacco] is really healthy. This is as healthy as I've seen him in a long time, and he's had a lot of reps, a lot of individual [reps]. We talked about our offensive line. Our tight ends are going to be a key to every game that we play. We're down one man, but the other fellas are ready to go. Isn't it going to be exciting to see the three new receivers? And Chris Moore is ready to go, as well, and Chris has had an outstanding training camp along with the other guys."
Is there a curiosity factor, from your perspective, because we haven't seen large glimpses of these guys together in a real game setting? (Jerry Coleman)"You're exactly right. I'm excited for that, and you think you know what's going to happen and what you're going to see, but you really don't until league games. It's so much different than practice and preseason, so yes, I'm excited about that."
The addition of QBs coach James Urban, how much does that change things for you after the series, for example? Can you spend more time looking ahead at your play sheet and some of the calls you want to play and want to make and talking to people upstairs than you normally would, because you'd be in directly with the quarterbacks? I'm not saying you're not going to do that, but you have also somebody else that can directly do that. _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"A couple of things come to mind: First of all, James Urban has done just an outstanding job. We worked together before. He does a heck of a job. Second thing is, communication is key with everybody. You talk about communication, how important! Strange things happen sometimes in first games, so if your communication is good – I'm talking coach-to-coach, player-to-player, at the line of scrimmage, in the huddle, calls – that communication in these early games is so key. I hope I answered your question, because it was a good one."
Based on what you saw from TE Mark Andrews on Thursday night, do you feel more comfortable that he can develop into that pass-catching tight end that you thought he would be? _(Ed Lee) _"Yes, he's really done well, and we'll see on that. Rookies in first games, as well – details, details, details. Mark has had a terrific training camp, and we'll see in the ball game."