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Transcripts: Ravens Training Camp Availability (8/15)


Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody. [I] really appreciate you being here. Just first off, regarding Alex Collins and the passing of Alex Collins yesterday to the tragic accident: From the bottom of our hearts, as an organization, every player, every coach, from [owner] Steve [Bisciotti], right on through the whole organization, we want to wish that family our utmost heartfelt condolences and also our prayers for them and for Alex in eternity. He was a great guy. Every day on the practice field [he brought] great energy. [He was] a great dancer, as you might remember – a great dancer. And we loved having him here. So, with that, what questions do you have?" 

Overall, after one day, how do you think today's joint practice went?_ (Jamison Hensley) _"We got a lot of work to done. I mean, that's the bottom line; we got a lot of work done. Joint practices are a challenge, always, obviously, because you've got two teams out here, and there is a lot of pride. I thought it was a really good practice. We had a couple dust-ups, which you don't want to see, but it's not really unexpected. I thought they got handled pretty quickly. We called the guys up there on our field – over there on our offensive field – and talked to our guys, and [Commanders head coach] Ron [Rivera] talked to their guys. After that, it was calmed down, so I felt good about that." 

What does this joint practice give you that a game does not?_ (Kyle Goon) _"Well, it's more controlled. That's the thing about joint practice; you still get a lot of great work without the 'finish' part of it. You don't get the tackling, the sacks – those kinds of things. I will also say, that's a double-edged sword, because then it becomes a gray area about how much is too much, and that's where the pushing and the shoving starts sometimes." 

Did you notice an extra edge from the guys, especially the starters who didn't get to play in the preseason? (Cordell Woodland) "It was good. I thought the guys did a good job with it. I was proud of them for that. I thought they practiced well and hard, like they always do." 

We didn't see T Ronnie Stanley out there today. Is everything alright with him?_ (Bo Smolka) _"Yes, I was just kind of protecting his ankle a little bit, in terms of the workload." 

Does FB Patrick Ricard seem more comfortable practicing with the fullbacks and tight ends instead of the offensive line?_ (David Andrade) _"I wouldn't even judge the offensive line, because [Patrick Ricard] hadn't been there. He was in there for individual – we got a little look – and I think he wanted to get a feel for some of those blocks. But it's late in camp, and he came to me the other day and said, 'Hey, I want to get back in there, where I know what I'm doing. And maybe this is something for next year.' So, he's back at fullback and tight end." 

It seemed like G John Simpson was solid out there today, and he was solid in the game. Is he making a good case for himself?_ (Childs Walker) _"John [Simpson] is making a good case for himself. He was – he was very solid; [that's] a good word for it. His footwork, fundamentals, assignments were all good. He was physical. [He's] a very aggressive player, in terms of looking for work – [what] we call, 'looking for work' – in the offensive line; [assistant offensive line coach] Mike [Devlin] knows about that. So, I'm happy with him. I'll say also, 'Sala' [Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu] – since that's the other question [being asked] – did a nice job, too. It's just [that] he's a rookie, [so] it's new for him a little bit. But I expect him to improve a lot from the first game to the second game." 

QB Lamar Jackson revealed during the in-game interview on Saturday that he's been giving offensive coordinator Todd Monken some plays to run. Do you look at that as just another step in their relationship?_ (Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, I think it's important. Your quarterback and your offensive coordinator should be talking football all the time, and those guys are, and I'm really happy. All the quarterbacks … And of course [quarterbacks coach] Tee [Martin] is a big part of that, [and assistant quarterbacks coach] Kerry [Dixon] is a big part of that – all the coaches and quarterbacks. So, yes, Lamar [Jackson] … He's a guy [who] thinks about football a lot – it's on his mind – and I think he always had his ideas. He had a couple good ones; I can tell you that. So, it was fun." 

Is there a time when you'd like to have the starting left guard settled on? If it has to go all the way to the end here, would you be OK with that? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"I'm OK either way, really. They're both going to get the reps. If it settles down sooner, great; if it takes longer, it probably means both guys are playing well." 

What's it like knowing that the foundation of your offense is healthy and practicing?_ (Jonas Shaffer) _"Well, that's right. We're going to chase that, and that's very important for us. And we're just hopeful that we get through this work. You have to get to work to have a chance to compete in this league at this level, but you also need your guys out there. So, we're trying to get both of those things done." 

Is TE Isaiah Likely OK?_ (Jeff Zrebiec) _"Yes, I haven't heard anything. I don't have any information on that." 


On his interactions with the referees at practice: "I think for me, it's just being competitive – the way I see the game, the way I feel things may go. I could be wrong or right. That's just part of it. I have a lot of respect for all the refs and what they do and their job. It's not an easy thing to do, but for me, it's just being competitive. Sometimes, I speak my mind or do a little something. At the end of the day, [I] always come back up to them just to let them know I appreciate them." 

On the two dustups that occurred between both teams from his vantage point:"I think Coach [John] Harbaugh said it best. It's amazing to have the Washington [Commanders] out here and being competitive and be able to practice against these guys. We want to be competitive and play inside the rules, and I thought today was a good day. Obviously, [there was] a lot of competitiveness, a lot of chippiness, but [I have] a lot of respect for the organization and what they stand for." 

On what it was like to go up against another defense that has talented players:"They have a lot of good players. Just going against someone different than our own defense – it's nice – feeling just a different body that you haven't seen all camp. So again, they have a lot of great players on defense and offensively. It's a great challenge for us this time of year to make sure that we can get better and better and take each day and just continue that growth mindset." 

On where he thinks the process is with regards to the new offense:"I'm very excited – very, very excited. I have a lot of faith and trust in Coach [Todd] Monken and the way that he sees the game. He's very good at what he does, and yes, I'm excited about it." 

On if he has a different perspective of WR Odell Beckham Jr. now that they are teammates:"He's been a joy to play with. Inside the lines, he's extremely competitive, and he's really good at what he does, but he's also an incredible teammate. He's a great guy to have in the locker room, and he's been nothing but the best and what you expect from a guy like that. I'm very thankful to have him on this team." 

On QB Lamar Jackson's comfort level with the new offense now just over halfway through training camp: "He looks really good. He looks really, really good. I just think the understanding of the offense, making it his own, seeing the game the right way and making the big-time throws. He's extremely focused and determined, and it's going to be a special Lamar [Jackson] season." 

On if he is seeing the 'Lamar stamp' on this offense:"For sure. [Lamar Jackson]'s got a good eye. If anybody ever asks him, or you just pick his mind about plays and where he sees the game and that sort of thing … And now that he's getting that input, it's been great. Yes, he sees the game really well." 

On if he thinks QB Lamar Jackson is looking his way for a big play even with all of the new wide receivers on the team:"It's 'Big Truss,' man." We've been through a lot together, and yes, that connection's always going to be there." 

On what RB J.K. Dobbins and WR Rashod Bateman being healthy for Week 1 means for the offense: "Those are two 'dawgs' – two 'dawgs' that we have that can really play great football. For us to have those two guys, and for them to be working back in and getting a part of this offense – it's just only going to make us more explosive and a better team." 

On if he looks at the joint practices as his preseason considering the established starters do not play in the preseason:"Oh, this has been fun. This is really, really fun, and like I said, [I have] a lot of respect for this [Washington] organization that we're going against. And today, just being focused, being determined, playing hard, and like you said, just taking advantage of the opportunity to play against somebody else." 

On if he has any reflections or memories of former teammate RB Alex Collins who recently passed away: "Yes. My condolences [go] out to him and his family. I have a ton of great memories of Alex Collins and his time here. He was a bright spirit – someone that was always happy [and] having fun. [He was] a great guy to have in the locker room, and [I'm] deeply saddened by what happened. I'm feeling for him and his family, and [I'm] just praying for him." 


Opening Statement: "I want to start by just saying [that] life is really real; I would say. Being 27 years old, all of my teammates – older than me, younger than me – you never think about a guy that was just in the League, playing with the guy [that] life could end so soon. To Alex Collins, he was a funny teammate. I think he made everybody laugh, but I just want to encourage everyone – whoever's listening – just tell your people that you love them because you truly just never know. I just wanted to say that, and [I'm sending] lots of prayers to Alex Collins and his family." 

On what sticks out in his mind when he played with RB Alex Collins: "For me, it was kind of crazy – his journey – for me. He was on the practice squad, and we're both running down on scout kickoff ... fast forward to however many weeks later, he was about to have 1,000 yards rushing. So, it was kind of a very ideal story [because] a lot of times, a practice squad guy may not think he's starting running back in the same season, but to kind of see that journey for him, it was surreal. I'm sure it was a surreal feeling for him, but also it was also you really can start low and get [to] where you want to be after already getting drafted earlier, going to the bottom and then coming back. So, a lot of ups and downs, but it can happen." 

On what his impressions of Commanders QB Sam Howell are:"He looked pretty comfortable. I didn't know if it was going to be him or [Jacoby] Brissett throwing with the Ones, but I know they have some speed out there at receiver, for sure. But he looked really comfortable. He' s a second-year guy, but he looked really comfortable back there at quarterback." 

On if he feels as if practicing with Ravens wide receivers helped prepare him to practice against Commanders wide receivers:"Yes, it did. We were definitely very well prepared. I don't think there will be many teams that will be able to have as much depth at the wide receiver position that we have. So, unless you have five legit guys … that's kind of what you want. You want the best competition you face to be your own team, and we want to be the best DBs our wide receivers face, as well. So, it's a give and take, but obviously Terry [McLaurin] and [Curtis] Samuel and [Jahan] Dotson, those guys are legit. So, there was some really good work today." 

On how important these two days of joint practices are since he won't get as much preseason action: "Yes, to me, this is actually kind of almost better than preseason. It's much harder to tackle without going to the ground, and you're covering elite guys every single play doing your third-and-1s. You're put in good and bad positions, so I think for a lot of guys – me, Roquan [Smith], Marcus [Williams] – we're kind of taking these days as they are our two preseason games. [We don't] know how much preseason action we'll see, but I think joint practices, it's some of the best you can really get." 

On if during the second hour, if it was the heat, competition or the intensity ramping up:"I think it was just hot outside. It was hot outside, it gets chirpy. But like I said, it gets really intense in these practices. We were all just discussing some stuff in that big huddle that was going on the field, and then I looked over to my offensive field, and it looked like they were discussions about the weather tomorrow, as well. So, practices can always get chirpy, but I think it was really good that it didn't turn into a big, gigantic brawl. It got heated, and then it kind of died down, which shows a lot of maturity on both teams."  

On if the defense has tried to be more physical this year in training camp:"Last time, we were really physically, it was a reflection of [John Harbaugh]. He told us some stuff. I'm not going to get into too [much] detail. Roquan [Smith] and 'PQ' [Patrick Queen] didn't like it so much, but that was that training camp day where guys were getting tackled. Going against the Commanders obviously, you can be more physical, because it's not your guys. So that's definitely been a point of emphasis, to get a little bit more physical. Obviously, not game physical, but as physical as you can be." 

Where does he see the connection between QB Lamar Jackson and WR Odell Beckham Jr.:"It's been really good. Based on discussions that me and Odell [Beckham Jr.] have had – whatever this means – he says, 'I'm not going to do to you what I would do to guys in the game.' So, he's done some kind of bad stuff to me, so that's a good thing, there's more in the tank there.' But I think that connection is going to be sweet. I'm really excited for those two guys to make some big things happen. I see us having at least two 1,000-yard receivers this year. So whatever two guys that will be, I'm excited for it. But like I said before, we have guys at the wide receiver position, and then Mark Andrews, that's just a given. We don't even have to talk about that. So, I think we have a really strong core there." 

On if he had thinks OLB Odafe Oweh will have lots of success as a pass rusher: "Yes. [Odafe Oweh] and [David Ojabo], they've been looking really good. There's been some reports about who we might get in the pass rush, here [or] there or whatever, but I know as far as depth, we do need that. But, we have some guys that can really rush the passer, which makes my job a lot easier. So, I think [pass] rushing coverage [is] working together [with us well]. Sometimes I'm going to get beat, I need the coverage to come. Sometimes I'm going to have to cover forever to help the guys get the rush. So, it kind of works hand in hand, but [Oweh and Ojabo] have really taken some strides. I'm ready to see them do it on Sundays and kind of be able to become household names for themselves." 


On what he thought of the joint practice with the Washington Commanders:"It was wonderful. It was good to go against someone else instead of my teammates every day. It was good to get out there with another team." 

On what he gets out of these practices: "Just execution. [We can] see where we are before the season starts, seeing if our timing is down pat and stuff like that." 

On how he feels the offense is progression, and how close he thinks it is to regular season form: "We're just taking it a day at a time. We never know where we are until we're out there actually in a real game, but we'll just keep getting better with that. As far as what I see at practice, each and every day, we're getting better." 

On how it is to have other weapons back like RB J.K. Dobbins: "It feels wonderful to have my boy 'KJ' [J.K. Dobbins] – I call him 'KJ' – [to] have my boy back out there on the field and all the running backs, just everybody. We have [Rashod] Bateman coming back, slowly but surely. [I] just can't wait to see what's going on this season." 

On his connection with WRs Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers and TE Mark Andrews against another team:"It makes my job a lot easier. Those guys are just flying around [and] making spectacular catches. As you can see – I know you guys have seen it – Zay [Flowers] is very shifty, like I said before. Odell [Beckham Jr.] and Mark [Andrews] are household names."  

On how much he gets out of a joint practice versus against his own team:"I'd rather go against someone else [other] than my teammates, but I feel like iron sharpens iron. We have one of the best defenses in the league, and it prepared us for today." 

On if he needs to play in a preseason game to get ready for the regular season Week One: "I didn't play in the preseason games last year, I don't think. Did I? No? (laughter)[It's] self-explanatory." 

On how it works when offensive coordinator Todd Monken lets him call plays:"Actually, I was just on social media, and I saw a couple of routes, and I sent it to Coach Tee [Martin] and he was like, 'I'm going to relay the message to Coach [Todd] Monken,' and Coach Monken liked the play, so he put it in practice. We didn't show it today, but I feel like it will be good for us." 

On how calling plays makes him feel:"I made me feel good. Coach listens to me. Yes, it made me feel good." 

On if excitement level was any higher today knowing that he's practicing against another team:"To be honest, we normally practice in the afternoon or evening time, so this morning practice, I was like, (sighs) but you know, it's practice, so I want to get better. It was all good. I had fun going against another team though." 

On how much he wants the deep passing game to be a part of the offense:"To be honest, I want every pass to be on point throughout this season, but yes, especially down the field. You know, we hit a big play here and there [to] back the defense up and let our running backs get the ball [or] throw the ball short and let those guys get YAC [yards after catch]. So, the sky is the limit right now." 

On how much fun you have watching WR Zay Flowers and what he showed today against another team:"He showed me he can do it against anybody else, not just our team. He was making some crazy moves, great route running, great in and out of his cuts, and he was catching the ball, so he was looking pretty good out there." 

On his thoughts on former Ravens RB Alex Collins passing yesterday: "Yes, man. 'AC' [Alex Collins], that's my boy. He's from Broward County, as well, and he was here my rookie year. We were always chatting and playing around and stuff like that in the locker room. [He had] great energy [and was] a great guy to be around. [I'm] just sorry for the loss and especially to his family, because he was a great guy." 

On where he feels like the chemistry is with WR Odell Beckham Jr.:"I feel like our chemistry is there. He's a lot faster than people give him credit for it, a lot faster."