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Transcripts: Ravens Training Camp (8/18) Zoom Press Conference


Opening statement: "Good to see everybody again on Zoom – I appreciate it. You guys are looking good, nice backgrounds. It's funny how we kind of evaluate everybody's background now, you know, 'What do they have going on back there?' But we had a good day, I appreciate the guys. Second day in pads – you evaluate that a little bit just to figure out how guys respond from the first day in pads, and our guys did a good job. We actually got a couple guys back for practice and I thought we had a really good day. We're ready to roll for tomorrow."

We're talking to QB Lamar Jackson in a little bit. I know it's early, but has anything stood out about Lamar so far [from] what we haven't seen and then the first two days that we've seen today? (Jamison Hensley) "You've seen it. I think what stands out about Lamar [Jackson] is just Lamar. He's the whole package in terms of who he is and how he plays. He's been that. He's been very consistent in what he's been doing, but he's also really focusing on improving across the board on specific areas, and he's worked hard at that. So, as we go, we'll just kind of see where that goes. It's just a matter of it's a process, it's repetition. He's working really hard at it, like always, and that's what you appreciate about Lamar."

Do you think QB Lamar Jackson likes the idea that he's got a lot of responsibilities as the guy who everyone is looking at? OLB Matthew Judon called him the franchise player yesterday. Do you think he embraces that responsibility? (David Ginsburg) "I do, he loves it. He loves that, because he's in the middle of it. He wants to be in the middle of things. He loves the guys, he loves practice, he loves meetings. I mean, he likes to be in the middle of stuff. He's always in … If there's something going on, Lamar's [Jackson] probably in the middle of it. That's just his personality and the way he lives. Sure – he's a competitor, he's fun to be around, and he wants to win. Those are all good things."

DE Calais Campbell, he's an even more imposing figure when you see him in person. He seems to be exuberant with the guys. How do you see him fitting in early during the practice and sort of taking over a leadership role? It seems like he's really embracing that veteran presence. (Todd Karpovich) "That's a perfect observation, that's exactly right. Everything you just said is spot on. He is more imposing in person, as just the size of who he is physically, but sort of as a personality as well, in a real positive and good-natured way. He has a big personality. He's a really caring guy. He's a great leader. [He] cares about his teammates and [he's a] family man. He's just the total package, for sure. But you know the thing about these guys is – you don't realize it until you stand there on the field – is how big they are. Calais [Campbell] looks big on the … And then you see him in person. It kind of gives you a sense of how big everybody is. So, it definitely is a big person's game."

We've seen S Earl Thomas III for two days. He's typically business-like, just going about his business, but he looks like he's moving even better than he was at this time last year. What have you seen from him thus far early in camp? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I would agree with that 100 percent. He's 100 percent ready to go. He's worked very hard in the offseason – you can see that. He's in excellent shape; quick, fast, has a good burst, good acceleration, he's strong. He just looks really good. I think this is … I don't know the comparisons to the past and stuff like that, but I just know the now. And, right now, I see a guy that's ready to roll – he's in great shape."

WR Miles Boykin, the steps as a rookie … He showed flashes and the consistencies where most rookie receivers have issues. It looks like he's just making every play, every ball that comes to him, not just running the right routes but making all the catches. Is that what you're seeing? Are you pleased with the progress you've seen out of him so far? (Pete Gilbert) "Sure. The same thing you're seeing, we're seeing. He has a mindset where he wants to dominate at the catch point – that's something he's taken very personally. Obviously, he's worked really hard. You can see the physical aspect of it, but he has to stack those plays, stack those days and make those plays. So, that's what he's trying to do. We appreciate it and I think he's off to a very good start."

It's been said that your working relationship with executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta is the best in football. What do you attribute that to? (Kirk McEwen) (laughing) "I saw that. I'll tell you; I'll attribute that to Eric [DeCosta]. He's a really humble guy and a very hard-working guy; very determined, very creative. He's taken the number of years he's been here … He's been here his whole career. He's been with [executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] and all the other … [owner] Steve [Bisciotti] and the great people in this organization. He's soaked everything up, to the point where I think he has it all in terms of leadership, in terms of organization, in terms of ability to evaluate. He understands the [salary] cap inside and out. He understands the rules. He understands how it operates in terms of finding players, and how the NFL operates. I just think he's done a great job getting himself ready for this. I mean, he's been ready for years, but he wanted to be here. He wanted to be with the Ravens and Steve and Ozzie. I know he loves Ozzie and what he's learned from Ozzie. I just think he's top-notch. He's done a great job, and hopefully, we can keep building on it."

Has there been any cases, and it's early, of maybe you've had to say to some guys, 'You've got to dial it back a little bit. You're a little too aggressive here at the early portion with the padded practice?' It's the first-time you guys have been in pads here now for two days. Has that been the case or has it been pretty controlled? (Jerry Coleman) "It's been controlled, I would say. But there's always those moments where it's pass rush or something in terms of staying off the ground or a catch point or whatever. You have to try to just keep emphasizing to guys the balance of preparing and getting ourselves ready to play an NFL football game and taking care of each other at the same time at practice. So, those are the things that you work on, but I do feel that our guys have done a really good job of that. I'm very excited about their understanding of both aspects of that walk, and they've done a good job so far."

I know that you like speed. How do you rate the speed of this year's team? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "I don't know if we can rate it, exactly. I don't think you really … You don't just know exactly where you're at until you play the games. That's the thing that's going to be so interesting this year – it's going to be a year like none other. The opening game will be like no other opening game in the history of NFL football. I don't know that there's ever been an opener without preseason games, without a sense of where a team is at. So, that first weekend is going to be wild and exciting, and we're all going to be seeing it for the first time. It's going to be pretty exciting."

How do you think the rest of the quarterback room is coming along? Certainly, you've had a long time to watch QB Trace McSorley, but it seems like QB Tyler Huntley has done some nice things out there so far. What have you seen from those guys? (Childs Walker) "They're all doing a good job. [Tyler] Huntley is just who we thought he would be; he's a sponge, he works hard. Trace [McSorley] looks good. 'RGIII' [Robert Griffin III] is having the best camp that he's had since he's been here. He's really playing well. He's throwing the ball well, really, up until yesterday, and then back again today. He's just been hot. I just feel like they're all doing well and it's a good room."


Yesterday, OLB Matthew Judon proclaimed you to be the franchise player, even though he has the franchise tag. How do you feel about that – having the responsibility of knowing that you're maybe the face of the franchise? (David Ginsburg) "I appreciate that from Matt [Judon], but I just appreciate that coming from guys like him, because he's been doing what he has been doing for a long period of time so far here at the Baltimore Ravens facility, and with us. I appreciate that coming from my peers, especially because we grind so hard together and our goal is to win championships. For guys to look at me, and me being so young, to be the franchise guy, I appreciate that. I just know I got to keep doing what I'm doing and keep trying to build up and bring a championship home."

You were mic'd up yesterday, and you said, 'I'm going to break a lot of long ones this year.' I heard you say that yesterday mic'd up. My observation is this – last year your visor was clear, defenders can see in [and] look at your eyes. Now, you can't see in there Lamar. Was that done on purpose so defenders can't see you, and that will lend to more long runs? Am I correct in saying that? (Kirk McEwen) "Hopefully, if I'm able to wear that visor. I hope I can." (Reporter: You don't know if you can wear it yet?) "I don't know. It's just a practice thing right now."

How competitive are you during practice? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "I'm very competitive. Our defense is going to bring it out of us. They want us to be … They want to compete. They want us to be great for Sundays, or Thursdays or Mondays. We're trying to win. We're keeping score right now, so it's just like we're playing against another team without us tackling each other. So, I'm prepared for that."

Kind of piggybacking off of Kirk McEwen's question … Why do you feel like you can break more long runs this year? Is that a part of your game where you feel like, 'Hey, I didn't even show that as much as I think I can last year?' (Ryan Mink) "Actually, it was just something from practice. I was just saying that because Coach [John Harbaugh] called me down [by contact], and I was telling him I wasn't down – I felt like I scored on the play. So, that's why I ended up saying that. But if I have to run for a touchdown, I will. But I'm just trying to win at the end of the day."

You talked this offseason about wanting to add in the deep passing game and improve in that area, and all of that. Just a couple days into camp so far, what are your impressions on where the chemistry is in that regard? (Garrett Downing) "We're building a lot from last year. We're doing a lot better than we were last year, especially at deep passes. And our guys … Receivers are in stride with the passes. We've just got to keep it going, keep building and keep getting better each and every day, and taking advantage of this time right now."

You said you're so competitive in practice and this is the second day of padded practices. How have the last couple of days gone as we ramp-up here and you guys put on the pads? (Shawn Stepner) "We [the offense] won the first day; defense won today. [We're] trying to get out there and get back [at them] tomorrow. That's how it's been going." (Reporter: "You said you won yesterday. How are you guys keeping score? Talk us through that.) "Well, it's on the scoreboard and we're just going by periods. That's all I know so far. I can't really get into details of how we do it. But it's just like one concept period, we go against the defense here – one-on-ones – we go against the defense and whoever wins out of those goes up on the score[board] – three points, six points, however they score it, I don't know. Talk to [football analyst Daniel Stern] 'Danny'; 'Danny' is our guy."

You have a lot more connections [on] all those deep balls in the two days that we've been able to watch, and a lot of them are to WR Devin Duvernay, WR Miles Boykin. A lot of the young guys are getting behind and making a play. What do you see out of your young receiving corps? (Pete Gilbert) "They're workaholics right now. They're trying to show us … Well, show the guys who've been in the league so far what their talent is made of [and] the reason they're here. We're just going to see when the time comes. Right now, it's just the second day. [We're] going into the third day tomorrow. We're just going to have to see – just keep building, keep stacking."

Coach John Harbaugh before was on talking about … And this goes back to what OLB Matthew Judon was saying about [you] being the face of the franchise. But one thing Coach Harbaugh did say was that you like to be involved in everything. Can you discuss that a little bit? Every aspect, every meeting … He said that if you could be involved, you'd like to be involved. Obviously, you've come a long way since your rookie year. (Jerry Coleman) "Just to help my mind grow. I want to know what everyone is doing. Just not doing my position, but I want to know what all my guys are doing – blocking assignments, running back blocking assignments on each and every play, just so I can protect myself and protect the play, protect the ball. The longer we have the ball, the best chance that we'll score."

Maybe related to that – CB Marcus Peters just told us as he watches you, your passion and dedication is what sets you apart, and I know that's a hard thing to describe. How do you describe your passion for this game and your job? (Mark Viviano) "I just love what I do. I've been playing since I was a little kid. When you get the opportunity to do something you love, you want to take advantage of it. That's what I'm going to do each and every day. It starts with practice."

Head Coach John Harbaugh said earlier that he thinks QB Robert Griffin III is having the best training camp he's ever seen him have. Are you impressed with his level of preparation every year, even though he knows that he's coming in as the backup? (Childs Walker) "For sure, I've been seeing him since my rookie year and he's been preparing the same way. He always goes out there and grinds. Even pre-practice, he's getting his work in. He stretches like we're going to practice already, or in game mode. He switches very fast. He practices how he plays, for sure."

You talked a lot this offseason about the outbreaking routes and those throws outside the numbers. In your mind, beyond just getting more reps [and] more practice, what's kind of the biggest key for you to get better in that way? Is there something mechanical you focus on? (Luke Jones) "Just repetition, that's all."

I had talked to you last week and following up with you on something I talked to you about – growing up with WR Marquise Brown in south Florida. I'm curious, why do you think it is that there's so much talent in South Florida? And what do you think when you hear people from Texas with those $56 million stadiums talk about Texas has the best youth and high school football in the country? (Bo Smolka) "We've just got to get it out of the mud – like, literally. Down there, it's different. Some people … A lot of the people down there, nine times out of 10, don't really have anyone pushing them to reach their full potential. There's a lot more talent down there [that] people have never seen before; people that are better than some guys in the league. It's been like that, all I've known, all my life. I don't know … It's just that we're different. Florida is different – I feel that we're the best."

You've been teammates with S Earl Thomas III for over a year now. What impresses you about how he goes about preparing for games, and then come game day, how he actually goes out there and plays just 100 miles per hour? (Jonas Shaffer) "Oh, it's no different from practice or a game with him, with that guy. (laughter) He'll be the one who'll make me … Pushing me to compete, even in practices, like, 'Oh, yes, I've got to get me a pick today.' I'm like, 'You'll probably pick somebody else off, but not me. That's not going to happen.' He got me last year – took it back for a touchdown, pitched it back to 'Peanut' [Patrick Onwuasor], our former teammate. But that guy – he's different, man. I told him he makes us better each and every day, because of his knowledge of the game, the years he's been in the league, his Super Bowl experience and stuff like that. He brings a whole other swag to the defense and helps us out a lot, even on offense."

There have been reports that you guys are taking a look at [free agent] WR Dez Bryant. Is that something that intrigues you, and is he an addition that you think would help you guys out? (Jeff Zrebiec) "We have a lot of great receivers who are here right now, but it's up to the front office. Obviously, Dez Bryant [is] on Instagram and stuff like that, running his routes and competing against cornerbacks, and he's looking pretty good on social media. But if the front office likes him, we'll have to see when he gets here."

If the team does sign somebody or bring somebody in mid-season, how long does it take for you to feel comfortable with a player – with a new receiver? Two weeks? Three weeks? How long do you think you need to get ready? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I don't know. I just have to work with them at first to be able to see. I can't tell you the answer right now."

Being the reigning NFL MVP, do you feel that you're going to have more of a target on your back, that defenses are spending all this offseason trying to focus on how to stop you? (Jamison Hensley) "No, because just like they're trying to prepare for me, I'm preparing for them as well. That's why we've got [offensive coordinator] 'G-Ro' [Greg Roman] and [quarterbacks] coach [James] Urban. We're going to be ready when [the] game comes."


Do you find it a little bit different these days with the coaches wearing masks and everything that's going on in the locker room? Or does it seem like a normal camp? (David Ginsburg) "No, it's not normal at all, but it's just the normal that we have to adjust to. So, it is what it is."

How much more comfortable are you coming in, starting camp here, instead of coming in halfway through the season? It must be much easier to get acclimated, coming in and starting out with everybody. (Kirk McEwen) "Yes, it's easier than coming in on a Tuesday and then you have to play on a Sunday, but other than that, everything's been cool. I kind of just picked up from where I left off at and just go about it every day as it comes."

Yesterday, OLB Matthew Judon told us that he would love to get his first pick-six this season. Has he asked you for any advice? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "All I can tell him is, 'Just catch it, man. You have to take care of the rest.' That's about it."

Since you entered the league, your interception total is the highest in the league. Why do you think you're so much better at getting those interceptions than everybody else? (Jamison Hensley) "I've just had more opportunities, and I capitalize on my opportunities more than they do. That's about it."

Along those same lines, CB Marlon Humphrey told a story yesterday, how you told him that on every single play, you should be looking to make an interception. Is that how you approach it? Every play that you line up, you think, 'Alright, how am I going to get a pick on this play?' (Ryan Mink) "Every time the quarterback drops back to pass, our chance of picking it off is 50-50, so why not give yourself the chance and opportunity of making a play. Once the ball is in the air it's, 'See-ball, get-ball.' It's whoever can go get it first, so it is what it is after that."

It's your first training camp with the Ravens, and now it's the second one for S Earl Thomas III. I don't know how much familiarity you need, because you're kind of on an island on the outside, but what's it like working with him, as a guy who has been such a playmaker, like yourself, throughout your careers? (Pete Gilbert) "It's fun to work with everybody. It's not just me and him; it's everybody. We are a group out there, so we have to communicate and handle things as a group. Overall, it's fun when you have some people like that out there that can play ball at a high level. But, like I said, it's a group effort out there; it's not just me and him."

How do you feel about going in to the first regular season game – just like everyone else – without taking a hit? The last time you all took hits was your last game, and like you said in the beginning, it's an unusual season. (Jerry Coleman) "We're pros at the end of the day, so tackling is going to be tackling, and football is going to be football. We can't change anything about that. We just do what we can do about handling practice the way we can. We're trying to keep everybody healthy and safe and make it to the first game of the season, overall. So, all the rest of those things, we'll handle them as we handle them."

I know you're a guy who likes film study, and I'm just curious, going into a Week One game against a team with a new coach and no preseason, how do you end up film-studying for that? Do you look back at where the coach was previously? Do you look back at the team last year? How do you go about that? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I think you just answered your question. He [Kevin Stefanski] wasn't there with them last year. We know who their personnel is going to be, and we are going into Week One without even seeing anything. Usually, you can get a grasp of what they are going to run with the basics from preseason. But now, we're just playing ball. We're just going to go out there and have fun – play fast, play physical, play our brand of football, and we'll be good with that."

You've seen a lot of quarterbacks that you've played against. You have one on your team that you will go against in practice. What is your perspective on QB Lamar Jackson, his skillset, and what he brings to a team? (Mark Viviano) "He's the MVP. He's not the MVP for no reason. He goes out there, and he's going to make the plays. He's a smart guy. He attacks the game the right way, and it means something to him. You can see a difference in somebody when the game means something to [them]. There are a lot of quarterbacks around this league, and I'm sorry to say it, but they are getting paid just to play football because of where they came from, or they've got a great connection. You don't find too many quarterbacks who love to play the game like him. So, in the ones who do love to play the game like him, you see what they do. They go out there, and they put a product on the field that's remarkable."

Some quarterbacks say they will remember every touchdown pass they've ever thrown. Do you remember every interception you've ever made in your career, and is there one interception that stands out for you the most? (Jamison Hensley) "No, I can't put a gist on all my interceptions, but my favorite interception is my first one."

Going back to last year, what is it that you think allowed it to work so well, so quickly, once you arrived here? And then, how will that help you going into this season? (Garrett Downing) "I think it was just the team, overall. The team welcomed me in with open arms. And, with me and my personality, I'm coming in just to do my job, and that's to be dominant on defense and help this team win games, so we can ultimately get to our Number One goal. And it wasn't about me; it was about this team. So, when I got here, it was just me adding on whatever I can bring from where I was coming from to this team. That's just all I can say about that. I'm here to do my part, and that's just to do whatever I can to help us win championships."

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