Transcripts: Ravens Training Camp (8/29) Zoom Press Conference


Opening statement: "OK, I appreciate people being here. You were the crowd today, so I'll be interested to hear what you think about the stadium environment and those kind of things with the crowd noise and the music and stuff like that. So, let us know what you think about that. Good practice; I'm proud of the guys. It was really good circumstantially to get in the stadium [and] work in a semi-realistic type of an environment for the game. I think every time you change environments, it's a challenge for execution. And that sure showed up today, but we fought through it, and I think it's a step in the direction toward playing the game. Now, we've got to lock in and get better, and we have plenty to work on. So, what do you have?"

In just watching the execution of the guys, in this environment, did you learn anything different than what you've seen from them in training camp? Did you learn anything new from the guys? (Jamison Hensley) "We'll find out more when we watch the tape, because that's a very specific question [and] I think you'll find out when you watch the tape. Generally speaking, I just think we can be a lot better execution-wise in every area. It was good to see some tackling, especially from the young guys. It was good to see some competing, you always appreciate that. I feel like the guys are really excited. There's a lot of enthusiasm to go play. In this kind of an environment, you sort of need to generate energy on your own, and the guys did a good job of that. But we have work to do. It's a different kind of preseason, so we've got to learn from it, and we've got to improve every day as we go forward."

Just going back a couple of days to the team's statement, obviously, that you put out. There was a very positive reaction to the statement. I'm curious, did you hear from coaches in your life or around the league or people that you know as a reaction to that statement? (Garrett Downing) "That's a great question and a timely question. Let me dig up my texts here. I'm going to look at my texts, because I got one from my dad. The question about the [19]70's was such a great question, and he texted me just this morning. So, I'm going to read it to you. Is that alright? Because I think it's really great. Here's what he said: He said, 'Really impressed with how you wove the 70's and today into discussion. I haven't thought about the similarities of the times. Making rooming lists, in 1973 both Ohio State and Michigan started Black quarterbacks. Teams having player boycotts, community protests, [Michigan head coach] Bo [Schembechler] making facial hair and hairstyle exceptions. It seems we have come so far, yet much work to be done. Sadly, I do not remember a time I talked to my players about what was happening. Why? I don't know. That's the difference. You're meeting in the open dialogue, honest dialogue with no agenda but a sincere desire to understand each other. Of all the positive things achieved back in the 70's, we never talked openly to each other. The key to getting over the finish line is open, honest and unfettered communication.' I just texted right back, my dad, 'Wow, dad. This is so right. Pure gold.' So, yes. That's who I heard from on it. That's the only person I heard from on it. That's the main person."

A lot of people are going to be talking about the QB Lamar Jackson throw to WR Marquise Brown. I know that is an area Lamar is trying to get better at. How good was it to see him getting one of those deep throws to 'Hollywood' there? (Jamison Hensley) "Oh, at the end for the score. Yes, that was great. It was great. But we've seen a lot in practice, and we know the timing, but when you get in a game, it's different. Protection things happen. Move around; you have to operate. That was a scramble play, so that was good to see in that sense. But I just can't wait to see the tape, to be honest with you; just take a look at it and look at the details of where we need to continue to improve. It ends up being about fundamentals, about execution, about not making mistakes, [and] playing error-free football. We had pre-snap penalties; there are just way too many of those out there. Those are the types of things that have to get cleaned up, because 'winning football' is not 'losing football' first. That's what we have to understand, and we have to get that into our DNA right now."

We saw C/G Matt Skura get some nice reps today as we have in practice recently. Is he kind of where you guys hoped he would be in terms of the ramp-up? (Childs Walker) "I would say so. I don't know whether he's there yet or not. This is going to be a good test for him, for sure. You look at the tape and see how he did in this setting here – see how comfortable he felt and how powerful his legs were and things like that. So, I'm definitely looking forward to that. But to see him out there and see him competing is a pretty big deal at this stage with the injury he had. So, he deserves a lot of credit for that."

I witnessed a number of guys on the sidelines having some adamant conversations when they came off after a different series. In a scrimmage setting two weeks from the opener, is there a sense – a build up here – of urgency, so-to-speak, with the season ahead? (Mark Viviano) "Absolutely; no question about it. Our guys understand that we're playing a very good Cleveland Browns team in our first week. We're going down to Houston in Week Two. Then we have the Chiefs coming in on Monday Night in Week Three. Then we have the [Washington Football Team] in Week Four. The focus comes right back to the Browns in our opener. So, it's here. We don't have preseason games to work out the operational, execution details – understanding those kinds of things – and we need to be really good at it in order to make sure we play good football. So, the guys are urgent, and they want to get those things right. So, all the things you're talking about – that conversation back and forth – is very welcomed. I want to see that."


We haven't talked to you since the team released their statement. So, I'm just curious what the last few days have been like for you, and what your role in releasing the statement was? (Andrew Gillis) "I think we had a great day. We had a full team meeting with all the players [and] coaches [and] everybody in our organization. We kind of expressed our feelings and thoughts and tried to put our minds together on how we can inflict immediate change. Coach 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] said that he was going to allow us to release a statement that we felt was appropriate and we felt that should be player driven. So, we went and had a separate meeting after the main team gathering. So many guys had positive input – from players, to coaches, to many guys who want to see change, who want to make an impact. Just for us to be able to put together a player driven statement that everybody had input on, everyone who had passion and desires about [it]. I think it covered a lot of our thoughts and feelings, and things that we want to put towards making action. I think things that are tangible, things that we can follow the progress of, and things that we would be striving to accomplish and make sure they get completed. So, I think it was great. It's a testament to Coach 'Harbs' and a credible organization in the Ravens for allowing players and trusting the players to come up with a statement for the organization."

Have you given RB Ty'Son Williams any veteran advice? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "Our new running back?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "I respect him tremendously. Obviously, he's been in the building … This was his second day in the building. But just to come off the street in tremendous shape, to know the playbook, to be able to function and operate in the offensive series, and to make big plays, to make big runs, score a touchdown, that's the testament of a true pro. He earned my respect, tremendously, tonight. Obviously, I'll help him any way I can to learn the playbook, to become a better runner. Anything I can do to help, I'm there. I'm proud of him and I respect him a lot for his performance tonight, second day in the building."

How do you feel, with no preseason games, just getting out in this environment? Where do you feel the offense is right now, two weeks away from the regular season? (Jamison Hensley) "I feel good about where we're at. And we have guys who have the right intent, guys who are willing to play hard, guys who want to be great. And, honestly, I think today was very needed for us – just to be able to see that we're not all the way ready. We still have strides to go to be the team that we want to be. Pre-snap penalties, being able just to execute our assignments, execute our plays. Every single person on the offense playing hard, being able to communicate the plays in and out the huddle, be able to operate under duress with a short play clock. I think all of those things are vital in order to prepare yourself for a season. So, being able to function and being able to operate in a game environment under the clock, relaying the play calls through the mic, through signals. I think there's lots of different operational things that we need to improve and sharpen up. And, obviously, the execution of our plays. I think today was huge for us – so we'll, obviously, be able to study from this film, learn from this film. Two weeks from tomorrow, it'll be live bullets. Every single day will be geared towards sharpening our swords, sharpening our tools and preparing for game reps. Every single rep is like a game rep. We've got to take advantage of every single rep and we've got to win each day, so we'll be prepared in two weeks when the live bullets starts going."

I know you guys had another practice in the stadium, but today you ran out of the tunnel; you did some things like a normal game. Was it weird without the fans? How did it feel? Did you think it prepared you for what to expect in a couple weeks? (Aaron Kasinitz) "Yes, I think it was very appropriate and very necessary for us just to be able to drive down to the stadium – especially the young players – who get a feel of how to get to the stadium, get a feel of how to warm-up properly before a game, get a feel on how we go through our warm-ups on the field, going back in, coming back out. Obviously, take a little halftime break; coming out of the halftime. And obviously, getting a feel for what it's going to be like with no fans. Obviously, we want our fans to be here, we miss our fans, [and] they're a huge advantage for us. But we're just going to have to roll with it how it is. And hopefully, we can have our fans there at some point where everybody can be healthy [and] everybody can be safe. But I think today was great for us just to be able to feel a gameday environment and feel what it's going to be like Week One and going forward in some other stadiums. So, it was a little odd not having any fans in there. Obviously, we want them there. They are a huge advantage for us. We appreciate everyone for staying safe, and we hope that you guys support us emphatically from home for the time-being."

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