Transcripts: Ravens Training Camp (8/19) Zoom Press Conference


Opening statement: "I appreciate you guys being here. Most of you, I saw you out on the sideline today, and I know you enjoyed that practice. That was fun, competitive and [there was] a lot of enthusiasm. It came down to the last play – a two-point play – and that play is under review right now. So, the defense feels that they got the stop; that's how it was ruled, as a stop. But we'll find out once we go to review, once we see the tape. So, it's a lot of fun. And I appreciate the effort of our guys – the enthusiasm. Third day in pads, [and we're] starting to really ramp that part of it up, and I was really pleased with the way they practiced and how they executed for this early in that style of practice.

"With that, we had a couple things come up. Eli Wolf – you saw at the end – had a collision deal where he didn't finish. There were two plays left in practice, so I don't know the extent of that right now. I don't think it's going to be a big, serious thing, but we will see once he gets in the training room with the doctors. Chris Moore still has his finger [injury], and Antoine Wesley had a shoulder situation that is still being evaluated. I believe he is going to see a shoulder specialist on that. That could be a few weeks, and whether he'll need surgery or something like that, I really don't know. We'll see where that goes. So, with that, we'll open it up to questions."

Talking about that hit, how good is it to see CB Jimmy Smith out there, being physical like that and have him back after being a free agent and coming back? (Jamison Hensley) "Jimmy [Smith] is legit. It's interesting, he hasn't really been talked about, but he took off 10, 12 pounds, and it was muscle. He was a very big, thick guy in his low-220's. He's maybe 207 [pounds] now, 208, somewhere in there, and I really think it's helped him. I think he looks quick and fast and really, really looks good out there. Jimmy's having a really good camp."

Like you said would happen, we're seeing a lot of offensive linemen rotating around and playing different positions. Obviously, that's a key part for chemistry and getting a rhythm together. Is there a time you'd like to have that set by? Or where are you in that process? (Jeff Zrebiec) "The latest would be the game week. That would be the very latest we'd want to have it set. We'd like to have it set before that. I think our goal would be the week before – the week leading into the game week, which is really only a week and a half away. So, by that Monday, we'd probably like to have that set up and organized. Whether we'll announce it or not, I don't know. We might; we might not. It just depends whether we think it helps us not to or helps us to. We don't know, but I would like to have it set by that week."

I saw you spend some time with special teams this morning – giving instructions and looking at them. How do you think the rookies are progressing and getting up to speed in what they need to do on special teams? (Todd Karpovich) "I think they're doing a great job. I really do. This rookie class is very football oriented. They're quick learners, and they're all ball, and you really appreciate that about them. So, they're picking it up very quickly. Whether they're picking it up quickly enough to have winning reps in a game against special teams players, who are veteran specials teams players, who know how to play, that's always a question mark, because that's really tough. It's a tough ask, but they're doing as well as could be expected by every stretch, and I think they're doing a really good job. So, a number of those guys will have a chance to play special teams for us. We'll just have to see – as we get even more competitive reps – see how they hold up in practice through those more competitive reps."

If defensive-minded coaches – when they become head coaches – want to see the defense win practices, and offensive-minded coaches – when they become head coaches – want to run their plays, you coming from special teams, what side do you come down on? (Kirk McEwen) "I get accused by the offense of being a defensive coach, and by the defense of being an offensive coach, of course. I'm probably more involved with the defense as far as a schematic point of view and day-to-day stuff, so I watch that more from that perspective. Offensively, [I watch] more from a fundamental and an execution standpoint. Then, special teams, [I watch] from both. I told the team after practice, 'The one viewpoint that really is the unbiased, in-the-middle perspective is the head coach.' I'm the one guy that really doesn't have a 'dog' in it other than the team. I look at it from the team perspective, so, when there's a good rep, both sides execute well, somebody makes a play, somebody doesn't, that's what I really root for. So, those coverages where a defensive back is all over the receiver, great coverage, everything is done right, [but] the receiver makes the play, I'm happy, and I'll tell the 'DB' [defensive back], 'Hey, that's great coverage. That's great coverage. Keep doing that.' Same thing the other way. So, I'm rooting for execution on both sides."

Can you talk about CB Marlon Humphrey and what you've seen from him so far in training camp, especially with his attitude and coming off the strong season he had last year? (Mike Preston) "That's a really good question, because he's a young guy [and] came off a season where he began to get the accolades, right? Well, he started to recognize how well he's playing, and I would say he's notched it up one more notch from an attention to detail and intensity perspective. Marlon is all over the field. He's physical, he's running to the ball, [and his] eyes are where they are supposed to be in coverage. I would say he's taking it up another notch, which is really impressive, because some guys aren't mature enough to handle the attention, and he's really done a good job of that so far in training camp. And I don't think for one second anything will change going forward, because that's just the type of person he is."

You talked about TE Eli Wolf and what happened at the end of practice. That aside, do you still see the guys competing for the third tight end job as neck-and-neck? And, what have you like from what you've seen from each one so far? (Childs Walker) "I would say that. They've both played well to their skillsets. Eli has been really good in the passing game downfield, and he's hanging tough with the blocking. Charles [Scarff] is actually a big, big guy, but he was more of a receiving tight end in college at Rutgers, and he's shown that, but his blocking is really coming on. He's blocking into his size now, so he's done a really good job of that. Jerell [Adams], this is a veteran player. He has a reputation for blocking, but I saw a play today in the passing game that was tremendous. And as the pads come on, I think we'll see him in the … As he gets more opportunities in the blocking, with the heavy stuff that we're going [into] the next few days, I think we'll see his blocking. So, I would say, absolutely, those guys are in a real-tight race there."

G D.J. Fluker has talked about how he has tried to lose a lot of weight this offseason. How has he looked from your perspective, physically? (Jamison Hensley) "He [D.J. Fluker] has looked excellent. [He's] moving very well. This is a big guy, and it's all muscle, as you guys know; you saw the body comp stuff there that he put out. And he's moving very well. I'm really impressed with him. He's done a great job. His attitude has been excellent. His work ethic, we had heard it was good, and I would say it's been better than good. It's been an 'A,' 'A-plus.' So, everything's thumbs up with D.J."

We make a big deal about replacing G Marshal Yanda. Is Marshal's name even brought up at all at camp right now? Or are you just trying to move forward? (Shawn Stepner) "Sure, we talk about Marshal [Yanda], because he's on tape. So, we show the training tape, and you see Marshal making the plays and making the blocks and doing the technique, and we're coaching off of that every day. And 'Joe D.' [offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris] always is coaching off of Marshal's technique and the outcomes of the plays and all of it. But the other side of the coin is we're moving on. This is the offensive line we have now. They're moving forward. Marshal's not here – Marshal's always here, [and] he's always a Raven – but this is our offensive line now, the way it's constituted. And we love these guys. I think they're doing a heck of a job so far."

There's been talk about TE Nick Boyle's improvement as a receiver. I'm just curious what you've seen with that, and also, how that may play into this year, particularly with TE Hayden Hurst gone? (Cliff Brown) "I really appreciate the question, because I do appreciate Nick [Boyle] getting recognized that way, but I've always thought he was a really good receiver – all the way back to Delaware. You watch the tape, you watch the Combine; Nick has always been able to adjust to balls, he's always had good hands, [and] he's always made plays in the passing game. To see him make those plays, I don't … I think he's improved – absolutely. He's gotten better, just as you'd expect, but I don't think he was ever a minus in the passing game to start with. I just don't think he got thrown the ball much in college, and he's been blocking so well for us, it takes over the attention. So, he's definitely a weapon in the passing game, and for you to recognize that is really great, because I think he's a well-rounded tight end. I really do."

We can see LB Patrick Queen's speed just by watching, but when you asses his communication and the stuff he needs to do in the middle of the defense, how would you asses how he's handled that in the first few days? (Aaron Kasinitz) "Good question. I think he's right on schedule. He wants to be right, he really studies, he's very conscientious, and he's a rookie at the same time – without reps in the offseason. So, I would say he's doing really well – better than anticipated, but he's not there yet. He has a lot to learn, and that's going to be the case all year. Throughout the course of the season, for rookies, every day is a new day. There is not going to be one day from now until the end of the season that will be something that they've seen before – not until the second year. [If] you talk to the second-year guys, they'll tell you that. They feel so much more in-tune because they know what to expect. So, that'll be part of it, but I also think he's going to be a real, major contributor this year, right where he's at."

Even in the rain this morning, you're not seeing picks, you're not seeing balls on the turf. There's been really good ball control. In the three days we've watched you, that's certainly been a theme from you guys. (Pete Gilbert) "[It's] definitely a theme. It's a major point of emphasis. We worked really hard on it when we didn't have pads on. And when we were doing just ball-handling and the stuff on air, we worked really hard on that; we'll continue to do it. It was a big plus – to your point – to have the rain today [and] to get out with the rain [and] the wet field. We had one other drizzly day we went out also. I love it when it rains. That's an opportunity for us to work on that ball handling."

Piggybacking off the LB Patrick Queen question, I saw LB Malik Harrison with a couple nice reps in pass coverage in those one-on-one drills. Can you talk about what you've seen from Malik so far, especially in his movement in pass coverage? (Ryan Mink) "To the physicality, the way he moves and his size, he's really talented. He's a really big person, and he moves really fluidly and smoothly. He has great body control. He's a guy that [when] you teach him footwork, he picks it up quickly – whether it's defense or special teams. That's a gift. And then, he's learning how to operate in the coverage stuff. To see that today, was good stuff for him, because for the rookies, the pass coverages aren't as sophisticated [in college]. Even as Ohio State has a sophisticated defense, it's not like here. So, the ability to adjust and feel and know where the routes are at, it takes a lifetime of playing linebacker. He made a big step from yesterday to today, and to see – like you said – the plays that he made, that was good to see."

Given all the differences in how things are being run and no preseason, there's been a lot of talk about how coaches will handle the roster numbers. Do they cut down early? Have you guys made a decision on that? Do you feel like you're going to go down with … I know you have 79 now, but do you feel like you're going to be there until the last day, or could you make a series of cuts? (Jeff Zrebiec) "That's a very good question, and it's one we have not answered yet. I think it'll depend on where we're at with the players, basically, and how we feel about the rhythm of this camp. As a head coach, finding the rhythm of this camp is a little different; it's not the same. So, you just have to use your extra-sensory perception up here – your antenna – and try to get a feel for where we're at. So, between [executive vice president & general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and myself and [executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] and the coaches, we'll be able to try to figure that out, but we have not decided that yet."


Can you talk about the progression for you as a pass catcher? Or do you always feel that you've always been a good pass catcher, it's just that people are recognizing it more now? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, I get that a lot. I think I've always been a good pass catcher. I always think I have good hands. I think I run good routes for my speed. But, you know, like everybody who plays football, you try to get better at certain things. And for me, I'm always trying to be a better blocker. I'm always trying to be the best at that, but I'm also trying to improve my receiving game and learn from Mark [Andrews]. All the other tight ends are really good receivers. So, I'm always trying to improve. I think that's a way I can improve; to try to manipulate people to get open a little bit more. But yes, I think I've always been good, but I'm always trying to improve."

You just mentioned TE Mark Andrews. How has his game impacted yours? (Kirk McEwen) "Oh, he's awesome. I'm trying to learn from Mark [Andrews] in a lot of things. Even before we reported to camp, we had some time where we got some route work in. I was trying to learn everything from him from releases, to stems, to how to run certain routes, what he sees. He's just a tremendous player, obviously, what he's done here in the past, and him coming back stronger, he can do a lot more things. He's always been able to do a lot of things, but I think seeing he's excited to step into blocking, pass protecting, catching balls to be an all-around tight end."

I know you guys miss TE Hayden Hurst, but there's also a fierce competition going on for that tight end spot. What have you seen that you've liked from those three guys who are with you now in the room? (Childs Walker) "It's been impressive. First and foremost, we're all awesome guys. It's a joy to come to work with them in the room. I think that was something that we pushed last year with Hayden [Hurst] being here, is that I truly enjoyed and had the most fun last year out of all the years I played here. I think it's continuing this year. Yes, we miss Hayden, and I hope he does well in Atlanta, but all the guys they brought in here – Chuck [Charles Scarff], Eli [Wolf], Jerell [Adams] – they've all been awesome to the group. They all have their specialties with what they can do. Like I said before, they're all good people, and that's what makes it a joy to come to work and be in meetings with them and have a really good time."

When TE Hayden Hurst was traded, were you surprised? In relation to that, do you feel like his departure opens the door in any way for you for more opportunities? (Jerry Coleman) "Yes, you're always surprised when someone close to you on the team gets traded, just because you don't want to see that happen. We were awesome friends – me, him and Mark [Andrews]. But like I said before, I hope he does well. Was I surprised? Yes. That being said, I think it does open a [few] more doors with the receiving game. But all the other tight ends they brought here are good receivers, too. So, I think there's an open spot for who wants to go in there and grab that, and everyone's been doing a good job competing, learning from [one] another and just trying to be their best."

Just seeing you guys on the field, really, that's the only time that all of us get to see a sense of normalcy of what we're used to. What is it like to forget about these times and get those two hours to have no social distancing, no masks and just play football? (Morgan Adsit) "It's awesome. Not to wear a mask is awesome – not in like a … I'm not against masks. I'm all for masks, OK? (laughter) But to be out there, just being football, just being where we feel at home with all our best friends, all our teammates, getting better at what we do and what we love every day. So, that being said, that is the most normal I feel during this time of year, during this pandemic, [is] out in practice. It's just a joy to be out there. No mask, but you have the helmet on. It's just a great time."

I wanted to get your reaction to how the defense reacted to CB Jimmy Smith's hit on you at the goal line? (Luke Jones) "At the end? Yes, Jimmy [Smith] had a good play. Hats off to Jimmy, he had a good play. I let my guard down a little bit when I caught that, I thought I was wide open. I have to have a better sense of urgency there – pluck it, tuck it and get in the endzone. I guess he was hauling … I thought I was going to be wide open, but good play by Jimmy. Next time that comes, I'll be in for sure. It's a good thing it happened."

You talked about TE Mark Andrews and his ability with the running of the routes. Is it simply the way he runs routes? Why does it seem like he always gets open? It's not like he's the fastest tight end out there where … Why do you think he always gets open? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, he's fast. Number One, he's fast. That man – it doesn't look like he's moving fast, but he's a fast player. But what Mark [Andrews] does, he has a really good instinct. He has a really good feel. He's nifty. He knows how to get open in certain scenarios. He knows how to play certain man coverages. He knows and he has a good feel, that's what I said. He has a good instinct, and he has a good football IQ – that's what he uses to his advantage. He knows how to manipulate people, like I said, to move them certain ways so he creates more separation, and he's fast. So, that makes him really dangerous."

QB Lamar Jackson is coming off a historically great quarterback season in NFL history and he looks, from the three days we've been able to watch, even better. What are you seeing from Lamar? Did you see how the Tennessee loss has driven him to this point? (Pete Gilbert) "Win or lose versus Tennessee, I think Lamar [Jackson] has the attitude that he approaches … That he brings to the game that he wants to get better every time he gets out on the field. I've always seen the leadership from him. I've always seen the humbleness. He's one of the nicest guys in the locker room, and he's the most respected. With that being said, he's on this platform, and I think he does a great job of leading this team and trying to get better. [He's] explaining what he sees during certain plays after things don't go well, controlling the offense, being the leader. He's in a very stable mood out there. Things don't go well? He may (frustrated motion), and then he's back down. He's just a great leader for our team and he's always trying to get better."

With no preseason games, are you feeling like … Is there a sense of urgency right now? The practice energy levels seem like there's definitely been an uptick. So, what's been your approach? (Bobby Trosset) "I think, Number One – without even preseason games – not having the springtime and coming into practice, the first couple of days felt weird to be in the huddle and hearing the play, getting lined up. Everyone has a sense of urgency, just because of the time we missed. But then, like you said, without preseason games, I think when the pads come on, people know that this is when they're going to get their work. This is where they're going to get better and feel what they need to feel out there in practice, because they're not going to have that preseason. I think all around, it's a good sense of urgency. I think we're all excited to just get going and actually play a game."

If you catch more passes this year, does that mean we get to see more hurdles or more trucking people? (Ryan Mink) "Probably more hurdles. Hopefully, I can truck people good and stay on my feet. But when the situation appears, you never know how it's going to play out. But maybe I'll hurdle some more people or … I don't know." (laughter)

Obviously, losing TE Hayden Hurst maybe leaves you guys a little less flexible with tight ends. You look at last year when you guys went to 12 personnel, 13 personnel, your efficiency was off the charts. Just looking at how defenses defend in the modern NFL, why do you think it was that you guys were so much better than a lot of other teams when you went heavy? (Jonas Shaffer) "I think because we have better players. I think we have players who care. I think we have players who know what to do in certain situations, and I think we get trained by the best coaches. I think we prepare the best. So, I think we had the best tight end group last year, including Pat [Patrick Ricard] as a fullback. I think that showed and that's something we try to continue here. Is it a shocker to me that we have the best efficiency or whatever it was? Not really, because that's what we go out there to play and prepare and do. It's always nice to do your job well."


I know a lot of people are asking the big question – is how do the Ravens replace G Marshal Yanda? As a group that's trying to do that, how big of a challenge do you think that is collectively? (Jamison Hensley) "Marshal [Yanda] left a really big hole for our offensive line to fill. He was a great mentor to so many guys on the team – me, myself. We're just trying to work every day to step up and fill that role. We have a lot of guys in different rotations. Haven't quite figured out the combination yet, but we're going to keep working and just make sure that we're the best group that we can be."

How would you describe this camp so far? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "It's been a lot different. The ramp-up period has been, actually, kind of nice. We've been really just getting into it, taking it step-by-step and just continuing to grow every day. It's been really good for the young guys. They've gotten a lot of good reps. We're just continuing to grow. I think the practice was longer today – it was two hours. It's previously been one-hour-and-45 [minutes]. So, it continuously gets longer – which is good for us. We got to get some more team periods in today. I got a lot of really good work out there on the field today. We're just excited to be able to hit and just get after it."

You're not that far removed from the start of your career. But seeing how this spring and summer has played out with all the circumstances, how difficult would that have been for you a few years ago as a rookie offensive lineman? (Luke Jones) "It would've been really tough. Everything was virtual to start, and then we just, kind of … The rookies got here and just had to be ready to go. They were fortunate enough to have that time to be able to study, to be able to really take in the information and learn it. But they didn't get the opportunity to really put it on the field, and now they're putting it on the field and they're just learning as they go and trying to put more things together. I'm a hands-on guy. I like to run it out and rep it out, and that's just where I learn and grow as a player. So, it would've been tough on me to be able to learn it, but it's an opportunity they've got, and they have to make the best of it. Hopefully, their film will show."

It came down to the end of the preseason last year for you to get that starting job and you started all year. And then, you see G Tyre Phillips, G Ben Bredeson get drafted [and] G D.J. Fluker comes in. I know you're a team guy, but what kind of pressure does that put on you to really step up your game? (Kirk McEwen) "For me, I try to play the best that I can. It's not about 'Fluke' [D.J. Fluker], it's not about any of the guys that are around me for my personal performance. For me, it's just going out and being the best that I can be. And whoever is the best for the team deserves the job – whether it's me or not. And I'm going to continue to work and try to perfect my craft and just continue to just try to get better every single day. Whoever wins the job wins it. A lesson my dad told me a really long time ago … I think I was playing Pee Wee football … He was like … We had just lost to our rivals and I was upset, I was crying. I was like 11 or 12-years-old. And he goes, 'You know, if you can go home, look yourself in the mirror and say you gave everything you had, you have nothing to be down on yourself about.' And that's how I live my football career, and I go out and put everything that I can into it."

Now that you've had some time to reflect on your caravan across the country and speaking to so many schools, what is the big takeaway now that it's sunk in a little bit? (Pete Gilbert) "Just the trip in general?" (Reporter: Yes, what does that feel like? What does it mean to you now after some time has gone by?) "It was great. It was a great experience for [my wife] Nikki and I. We got to go cross-country with our foundation – The Bradley and Nikki Bozeman Foundation. It was cut short a little bit because of COVID[-19], but we made the best of the situation. We got to, I think, 13 different stops. We were short by four stops – four different schools that we weren't able to make the trip to. But we talked to over … I think it was over 10,000 students … No, 100,000 students – sorry – and it was just an absolutely, really great experience to be able to go and talk to so many different kids and just how open everyone was with who we were, what we were talking about and our cause. Something that we really learned was that no matter [if] you're in California, or Winnemucca, Nevada – or wherever it may be – the issues were still the same. Everyone still struggled with bullying – cyberbullying, and the videos and everything else. It really solidified in us that no matter where you go or who you are, bullying is an issue. That's our cause and we want to try to help some kids out there that grew up in my shoes – being the big [fictional character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory] 'Augustus Gloop' kid – just trying to find their place and their meaning in this world."

What lessons did you take away from last year being a 16-game starter? How have you become a better player entering this year? (Ryan Mink) "You have to put your best out on the field, no matter who you're playing, no matter what the situation is. You've heard the story before … But Marshal Yanda … We're playing the [Cleveland] Browns the first time when we had our last loss last season … And we're down by two touchdowns or three touchdowns – whatever it was – [with] like 40 seconds left on the clock. He just looks at me and he goes, 'Block your butt off.' He didn't use 'butt,' (laughter) but he was just like, 'Block your butt off. I don't care what the situation is.' It's just about a 13-year vet going in [and] we're down, and he could be like, 'Whatever, just get the job done [and] do whatever.' But he still had that same amount of intensity where as soon as we came into the game. Just learning that – just to do your best on every single play, every snap, no matter what the situation is – is definitely a key in this league."

Want to get our perspective on one of your teammates. C/G Matt Skura was carted off the field in Los Angeles [Week 12 of 2019]. Now, he's back on the field with you guys. Just to see that comeback, your thoughts? (Mark Viviano) "I think it's absolutely awesome. Matt [Skura] has been working his tail off. I was able to train with Matt for a couple weeks in the offseason and the guy … He is grinding 100 percent. He's doing everything you can. I know he's been working his tail off and just trying to get back … Get back to the player he was. I think he's pretty close to that now. He's out there running with us; he's out there going. We're excited to have him back on the field. To see him go down the way he did last year, it's terrible … No matter the position, no matter what team you're on. But he came back stronger and I think he's ready to play."

What have been your initial impressions of G D.J. Fluker – your new teammate up front? (Jamison Hensley) "So, I was fortunate enough to meet D.J. [Fluker] at some Alabama camps when I was a young guy coming out of high school. D.J. helped me out at some Alabama camps and different things like that. So, I had a small relationship with him there through recruiting. And then to come here … D.J. has a huge heart. The guy wants to do the very best that he can, no matter the situation. He's got a lot of energy. He brings the fire. He's a big, strong, physical guy. He's like six [feet], six [inches] – he's just a really big force up front. Excited to have him on our team; excited to see what we're going to do. We're just continuing to mesh every day and just try to keep working and make each other better."

You said G D.J. Fluker brings the fire [and] he's got a lot of energy. Is there anything in particular that sticks out? (Aaron Kasinitz) "He's just always hype. We're going into a team run today and he's just going crazy. He wants to come off the ball [and] fire off. He's just that guy. He's bringing the energy right now. Excited to see that. It's always good to have that guy in your group."

I think when we see G D.J. Fluker, we know he's a physical specimen. Are there athletic feats – whether it's on the field [or] off the field – that just leave you amazed? (Jonas Shaffer) "The guy … He's huge. What is he? He's six [feet], six [inches], six [feet], seven [inches], 350 pounds and can move really well. He's just continuing to come into this offense and progressing every day – trying to learn the playbook. We run a complicated system, but I think he's doing a pretty good job with it."


I know you talked a lot about your offseason. Did you have a goal in mind of what you wanted to get down to as far as weight? How proud are you of your offseason work? (Jamison Hensley) "I didn't really have a goal. I was just trying to get down, get leaner, get more explosive – things like that. Basically, come in at my best shape, and I think I've done a great job with that."

What do you like about the Ravens training camp compared to other places you have been? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "Just being here is a blessing. Meeting the guys, talking to Coach [John] Harbaugh, getting to know everyone – everyone is like a big family here. I think they do a great job with introducing people. I just feel at home here. They make you feel welcomed, and that's what it's all about for me. I'm just feeling great."

When you were deciding, kind of, mulling over whether to come to Baltimore, how much did the style of play and your connection to [offensive line] coach Joe D'Alessandris kind of play into your decision? (Daniel Oyefusi) "We go back to [the] San Diego [Chargers] days. (laughter) It's been fun. He hasn't changed a bit. [He's] always on guys about working hard, playing their tails off, five equals one, guys going [in] there and playing physical. That's been his mentality since Day One when he drafted me in San Diego. Being here, it's the same way – nothing [has] changed. It's been great."

You saw 'DangeRuss' [Seahawks QB Russell Wilson] up close in the huddle for a couple of seasons. Albeit it's a small sample size, but now you're around QB Lamar Jackson. Any similarities or differences between two of the best quarterbacks in the game? (Kirk McEwen) "They're both good. Playing with 'Russ' [Russell Wilson] and playing with Lamar [Jackson], they're both good quarterbacks. Lamar is like six [feet], five [inches] running around the pocket, taking off – he's super-fast. He reminds me of Michael Vick. I've never seen a guy with so much speed. He's a great quarterback – young, still learning. He has a little chip on his shoulder. Having a quarterback like that makes things a whole lot easier."

Can you share with us how much weight you lost, what you were starting at and what you're at now? And then your feelings coming into Baltimore replacing a guy like G Marshal Yanda? (Shawn Stepner) "I started off … I want to say, maybe at the end of my season, I was probably like 358 [pounds], something like that, and I got down to 348 [pounds]. But the thing is, it's really more about the body fat. My body fat was like 44 percent at the time, I think, and I got it down to 22 percent. I'm just lean mass more than anything. I probably was a little heavier than that, too, but I actually got down and took my time to work hard at it. It's been great. My trainer, Jacob Rice, helped me a lot. He's in Seattle, so he came out here with me. We trained, came out here a little bit earlier on the [July] 15th, came out here and put work in. Plus, it's hot out here, too. Woah – let me tell you; it's a lot different being out here than it is being in Seattle. (laughter) But it's still good to be out here. Other than that, that was my goal. [Marshal] Yanda is a Hall of Famer. You can't replace that guy. That's a guy that has his own mentality in how he does things. He's a good dude. I chatted with him on a little Zoom call. But other than that, I mean, shoot … Those are big shoes to fill, but I'm just going to be myself, come in and do what I do best – and that's just play football. That's me – hungry, ready to go and win a championship and a Super Bowl and that's it."

Can you talk about what it's like blocking DE Calais Campbell in practice? (Garrett Downing) "It's the first time I ever picked somebody as big as you that can move with sweet feet. (laughter) It's a challenge. Some days, it's a challenge. Some days, we go at it. He may win one, I'll win one. You're going against great players. He's a real savvy vet though, real tricky. We have great battles. That's what it's about at training camp – going and battling."

Would you say you are in the best shape of your career? How has being leaner helped you out on the field? How do you feel it making a difference? (Ryan Mink) "Being able to move like water – just being able to flow. You've got to have sweet feet to go on the field and play offensive line. More reaction time, being able to switch off of blocks really quick, getting my assignments down, being able to reach with, almost, a four eye – those are hard things to do. But I've come along and have really worked hard at it. So, being lighter, being leaner, being more explosive – that does help."

Did you say you had a Zoom chat with Marshal Yanda? If so, how did that get set up? (Aaron Kasinitz) "No, no it was more of the offensive line. He called in on a Zoom call during OTAs, during the time when we had our little Zoom meetings, and stuff like that. He was just telling us the best advice, and I was listening. He had some great pointers. First off, the key was working hard. Don't take any day for granted, and just be who you are, and that's what it is."

You mentioned QB Lamar Jackson's speed. How much of an adjustment is that for you – just getting used to a guy that is just so dynamic and explosive? (Morgan Adsit) "I don't think I have to get used to it. I think the defense [has] got to get used to it. (laughter) I don't mind it, but it's really about keeping him safe for me, protecting him, making sure he can get that ball off and give him as much time as he needs. That's what it's about for me. But defenses got to deal with him. We don't have to deal with him, because he's on our team."

Related Content