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Transcripts: Ravens Training Camp Availability (8/2)


Opening statement:"OK. [It's] good to see everybody here. [I] appreciate you being here. [It was] another good day. [There was] a lot of excitement with the crowd. Guys were into it, focused. What questions do you have?" 

We saw the slip and slide ball security drill. How did that idea originate? (Jamison Hensley) "That originated with George Godsey, our tight ends coach, and [director of football information] Scott Cohen, our personnel coach, and those two guys had run that [in] the summer before. So, they're in charge of that. [It was] a lot of fun – you know what – value too. You have to be able to handle and recover a wet football, so check that one off the box. We've worked on that." 

We've talked about how QB Lamar Jackson has been operating in the new offense. How do you think he's looked with his velocity, his accuracy and throwing the ball throughout training camp? (Kyle Barber) "He's looked very good at that, and it's a good question. We do measure all that. We have metrics on that. There's chips in the ball, and we look at the numbers on that, and the numbers bear that out, too. Whatever you're seeing in terms of your eye – with the way he's throwing – has been held true with the numbers. He's throwing the ball really well." 

I know you don't like comparison questions, but what have you seen from T Ronnie Stanley out there? He looks like he did before the injury, physically. Do you agree with that? (Pete Gilbert) "He's looking good, I do. Ronnie [Stanley] is moving around really well. He's … His feet are good. He's strong. He's in shape, working very hard [and has a] great attitude. So, he's just putting the work in right now, and I know he'll be ready to start the season." 

You had a guest special teams coach out there in [former special teams coordinator] Jerry Rosburg. How good is it to have Jerry back? (Luke Jones) "Yes. Coach [Jerry] Rosburg is back with us for a week. He will be a coach here for a week, coaching special teams and everything else probably. He does a great job. Jerry is family. Once a Raven, always a Raven, and we love Jerry. But yes, he's out there. I saw him working with the field goal team and the punt return team, and he probably misses it just a little bit. You can see that." 

We saw CB Rock Ya-Sin leave practice early. Have you gotten any indication on his situation? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes. The initial indication was [it was] not a serious thing, but let's wait and see what we hear. We'll know more once they get a look at it." 

Another comparison question if you don't mind. For QB Lamar Jackson this year versus this time last year, do you get a sense of difference in his demeanor? (Bo Smolka) "You know, I don't know. I haven't thought about it. It's really not something that matters. We have a lot going on right now, so I haven't really thought in those terms. He's doing great right now. He's into it. His attitude is great. I felt like he was great last year, too, so I really couldn't say that, but I'm really happy with him." 

With RB J.K. Dobbins still not being out there, I'm just curious, when does that become a concern? (Brian Wacker) "You know, I don't know. It's a fair question, and there is a point in time when it does become a concern, because he knows and … J.K. [Dobbins] and I talked last night. We talk a lot. He wants to be out there, and he needs to be out there, just like any player does. Other than that, there's nothing else I can really add. I don't know when he's going to come back, but I know I'm going to be really happy when he does." 

What are you missing without RB J.K. Dobbins here at training camp?_ (Brian Wacker)_ "Well, you miss J.K. [Dobbins], the player. You want him out there, he's a great player, and it's just one less great player we have out there." 

How's the offensive line looked just commanding the new offense, especially since some of the guys weren't here until minicamp? (Morgan Adsit) "I think they look really good. I think the offensive line is looking really good. Pass protection has been firm. You watched one-on-one pass protection, and they win a lot over there. I feel like the footwork and the timing and the run game … We had two days, the last two days – yesterday and the day before – of good run blocking, which you really have to have. We don't probably get enough of it, but they look good doing it. We have a lot of work to do, but [the offensive line is] probably the toughest area to get synchronized, but [we have] a lot of good prospects. Plus, I would add this: the rookies are doing a really great job. The rookies are making big strides. [Offensive line coach] Joe [D'Alessandris] is doing a great job with those guys."  

The Steelers have had pick and rub concepts. The Ravens are one of the only teams in the league that don't utilize those. First time in a long time the Ravens are running that drill here. Can you talk a little bit about why you're doing that now? (Ken McKusick) "We've run that drill every year, but you saw today, I think it will be a part of the offense for sure. We'll probably … I mean if we throw the ball more you're going to see more of those concepts. We've always had them, [but] we probably didn't do them well enough to make them or often enough to make you remember them. So as a coach, it's like, 'Ugh. That hurts.' But we'll get over it, and it's something we need to be good at. People are going to press you and get in your face, so you have to make them pay for that sometimes." 

We talked about the rookies, but with G/T Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu what are your early impressions been of him after two weeks, and how has he been fitting into the offensive line? (Rocco DiSangro)"He's done well. I haven't seen any step back, nothing to make you think he's been slowed down, or nothing to disappoint. He still continues to make steady progress. And I'll also say, John Simpson, you know, same thing. He's had a great camp, and next week, we'll flip it. He will go with the Ones and 'Sala' will go with the Twos, so two weeks in, we'll have it kind of … both guys, and we'll look at both guys with both groups of guys. So, that's how we set it up." 

Do you feel like the offensive line became a source stability for you guys last season, and do you feel like that's carried over to this summer? (Childs Walker) "Yes, I think they have for the last few years. We've always had … Whenever we've been good, our offensive line has been really good. To me, it all starts … We said it 16 years ago: football begins in the trenches. It always has and always will. If you're not good in the trenches, I don't know how you can think that you're going to overcome that. So, it's a priority for us. I love our offensive line. I think they are the core. They are the rock in the middle of that offense. It has to be … It has to be impregnable. That's what they are chasing right now." 

Do you have any update on when OLB Tyus Bowser or CB Trayvon Mullen will be back? (Brian Wacker) "I don't know when they might be back." 

With WR Odell Beckham Jr. not out today, is that a veteran day? (Morgan Adsit) "Yes. We had some guys that were out, and they were doing different lifting. They were doing some protocols as far as running and conditioning. Then, they were kind of helping the guys with coaching, so we did that with a few guys, Morgan [Moses], [Kevin] Zeitler, a few guys like that today." 


What has impressed you the most about G/T Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu? (Jamison Hensley) "'Sala' [Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu] has got more letters in his name than the alphabet. (laughter)He is a … Football means a lot to him. He's worked throughout his career to become a good football player – from high school, to junior college, to college – and he's got a tremendous work ethic. [He's] really receptive to learning and takes the information, [and] applies it. It's been a pleasant surprise so far. So, [through] the first two days in pads – and today – he's making nice progress. He's a work in progress, and we'll see how he continues to grow."  

Just how good do you think this offensive line can be? You've got veterans, you've got first-round picks, you've T Ronnie Stanley. How good can this group be? (Garrett Downing) "Just like I said, every day is a work in progress, and I don't want any accolades early. Let's just keep growing. We have our first preseason game coming up, and then we'll see how we do there, and then keep seeing which players fit into each position and grow. But the foundation is there for good growth." 

Where do you see the biggest strides in C Tyler Linderbaum from Year One to Year Two? (Ryan Mink) "[Tyler Linderbaum's] confidence. I mean, now he knows ... We speak in codes a lot up front – and that's throughout the league – and he now understands everything that takes place. And he's really the coach's voice and eyes on the field, so he's reiterating what's being taught in the classroom, and then he goes to the field, and we work on the field, and he's continued doing that process. So, he's doing a really great job, and he's a great leader and an excellent performer." 

I know it's early, but what's your confidence level in G/T Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu starting for you guys? (Rocco DiSangro) "Well, I don't know. I'm not going to make that determination yet. But he's doing a very nice job here so far early in camp, and we're going to try some of the guys at other positions just to see who's the best. The good news about our business [is] we get to see who rises up to earn that spot." 

Your coaching style is old schoolish, in terms of individual reps. What are some of the benefits of coaching them up that way? (Ken McKusick) "Well, that's what I know; I grew up that way. And my career … I started … I was very fortunate to come under [and] coach … My first job was at Livingston University in Southwest Alabama, and I had a great offensive head coach who was a former line coach that helped me grow in that area, and I always thank him for what he was able to do. He's passed [away] since then, but he was excellent. And we develop … As the game has gone on, I've developed more styles and more techniques, et cetera, but there is a way to do things. I expect offensive line play to be played a certain way, and that's in my vision [and] how I see it's supposed to be played, and I try to teach it that way, and the guys try to apply it that way. So, it's a work in progress." 

How rare is it to have someone as developed as C Tyler Linderbaum at the center position at such a young age? (Jonas Shaffer) "Oh, I think it's fantastic. I mean, to get a young man … And [Tyler Linderbaum] is … He's just a fantastic person and football player, and the way he carries himself and the respect … He's diligent at his job, so he wants to know – yes – the easy answers, but he wants to also find out the hard answers, so we'll give him … We'll put him in that position where he has to grow in that area, and he's doing a fantastic job." 

With QB Lamar Jackson having more pre-snap freedom in this offense, is there also more on C Tyler Linderbaum's plate, in terms of sorting out protections? (Jonas Shaffer) "I think what he [Tyler Linderbaum] does … We always try to let our quarterbacks … He and the center work together, so they communicate together, they work with each other, and [you] try to make the play work with your communication." 

How much have blocking schemes changed with this new offense under offensive coordinator Todd Monken? (Jamison Hensley) "And [former offensive coordinator] Greg [Roman] and I had a lot of the same philosophies, so we're staying with a lot of the same things that we have been doing. And there are some things that [offensive coordinator] Todd [Monken] has implemented, [and] we're still using some of that stuff, too. So, it's a combination of a lot of schemes." 

What does G Ben Cleveland need to do to be competitive in battling for this left guard spot? (Kyle Barber) "I think Ben [Cleveland] just needs to continue to grow and get more consistent, and he's working at that. So, we'll see how that plays out." 

How important has it been to have everybody healthy from the start of training camp this year and working together? (Childs Walker) "That's vital, just like anything else. The unity at the offensive line – all five guys playing together, communicating, and they're able to understand when each one talks to each other, [and] they're on the same page … And then [with] what I call 'fits-a-blocks,' they have to know how to fit the blocks, and they know how to do that together. Well, if you don't practice, it's not going to work out as well. So, the consistency [and] continuity is very important." 

G Tashawn Manning is another guy you brought in. What have you seen from him? (Brian Wacker) "Well, I can tell you this: [Tashawn Manning] likes contact, so he's a contact player, which is great. He's a very good football player, [a] very intelligent young man, [and he's] really growing and learning. So, he's been a pleasure to work with." 


On what changed for him from Year One to Year Two: "I just think being more comfortable playing at this level. [It's] kind of [your] first year here, everything is coming at you so fast … Just getting so used to the speed of the game is important. So, definitely having a season under your belt is good, but there's still a lot of improvements to go."  

On if he is a lot stronger this year than last year: "Yes, I think a little bit of both. Obviously in the offseason, [I'm] still working on strength. [I'm] trying to get better at technique, putting myself in positions – where I can use my strength to my advantage – just little things like that." 

On his expectations on how good this O-Line can be: Obviously, only six, seven days in, [we're] doing a lot of good things, but there's still a lot of improvement to be done. I think, from an execution standpoint, just being more consistent, because at the end of the day the O-Line leads the charge. We're the guys up front that set the tempo of the game and make everything happen and let the playmakers around us do their thing."  

On if this O-Line group is well ahead this season compared to last season:"Yes, I think from a numbers standpoint, we have a lot more guys, and the young guys, too, are playing awesome football. [They're] showing a lot of progress from OTAs to now into camp. So definitely, having more numbers, more competition in the room always helps to push guys faster along. Then obviously, yes – knock on wood – you don't want injuries to happen. Whenever you have everyone there that can practice and keep stacking in the practices, keep stacking the days, that's good." 

On where he feels confidence the most in himself: "Yes, I definitely feel more confident. It's like coming into college as a freshman or something. Obviously, you're going to be a little more reserved in the things you're going to say, but I think as the season progressed last year, I had to have a role of talking and speaking, because going up there making the calls and making the fronts and being confident in them, so guys can follow you. But I think certainly, as we progress, as times goes on, just continue to build that leadership role and have guys go up there trust me on what needs to be done." 

On the differences he sees in T Ronnie Stanley this season compared to last season when he was injured:"Honestly, Ronnie, you go back to film five [or] six years ago, he's on there playing really good football. I think he's working his way to get back to that level. Obviously, having his injury … he's worked his butt off to get to where he's at today. He's continuing to get better and better and better. He's another guy that's played a lot of football, a lot of young guys can go to him and ask him questions. He's very knowledgeable of the game, and he's like another coach in the room. He's a good guy to have around and very knowledge about the game, but also, he plays really good football."  

On what has stood out on G/T Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu: "I think he's handles it well. Obviously, kind of being thrown into the fire with the [first team], he's done well. A lot of new stuff comes up just because it's the first time in the offense and some of these plays, but he's handled it well. He plays with confidence, and you can tell that in his game, and he's only going to get better and better, so I'm excited for him." 

On any advice he has offered G/T Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu:"Yes, just play with confidence. He's here for a reason, [and] I think that's the biggest thing." 

On what comes out on the field when he gets angry: "I just think I'm competitive, it's a competitive spirit. I think a lot of guys on this team have that, so in anytime we're in a competitive situation, a little fire comes out. So, I think that's a good thing to have." 

On if he got angry during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game last year: "No, it all depends. Whenever I step on the field, and you've got to play the game hard, you've got to play it the right way. So, sometimes things like that happen." 

On the bar for being a good interior pass blocker: "Guys around the league are getting better and better. Just at the end of the day, it's being consistent in the game, not letting one or two plays build on top of each other. Because, guys are skilled [and] guys are really good, but, at the end of the day, we're all here for a reason. I think O-linemen are pretty good, too, so our jobs are to stop interior [defensive] guys around the league." 


On how good it feels to be healthy going into the season:"It feels great just to be out here with the guys. I don't take it for granted. [It's a] blessing to just to be out here, experience this and go through this process." 

On far he feels the offensive line is as a group:"I feel very comfortable with where we are right now in our process as an offense and as a team, building our chemistry. [It's] probably the furthest along I've felt on any team that I've ever been on at this point. Things are really starting to click early, and Coach [Todd Monken] has gotten us executing and focused on the right things. Everyone's doing what they're supposed to do – it's just good to see." 

On how good he feels and if he feels he is the same player before the Steelers game last year when he got hurt:"Yes, I feel really good. It's kind of hard to tell exactly who that person is, but I can tell you the person I am now. I feel great." 

On his thoughts on rookie G/T Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu:"Sala's been great. He's gone out there, done everything coach has asked him to do. He's put in all the effort that he needs to put in. He's putting in the extra work. He's smart. He's a quick learner. This is part of the camp where you really grow and develop as a player, and I'm starting to see him definitely make strides every day. He gets better every day." 

On if he thinks he has a responsibility to take G/T Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu under his wing: "Oh yes. Him playing next to me as well definitely gives me more of an opportunity to help him and just be there for him any time he needs help." 

On if this season's offensive line can be as good as the one from 2019: "Yes, I think this group has the potential to be there." 

On what gives him the confidence that this season's offensive line can be as good as the one from 2019: "I just know the type of players that we have – the experienced vets, me, Morgan [Moses], Kevin Zeitler. And then we have some young guys. Tyler [Linderbaum]'s in there, and then we've got the left guard position. I really think we have the pieces to bring that same type of offensive line. We could be better. So, it's just about us putting that together and actually doing it." 

On what a fully healthy offseason has meant to him:"Yes, it definitely takes out a lot of the part of coming in and just getting into football things again and learning how to cut and just be more coordinated. So, that whole process that I had to deal with before, I don't have to deal with that now and just really hone in on football and my technique, which has really just helped me be overall a better player and a better leader." 

On if it mentally helps him to not have the pressure and stress of being injured:"Yes. It takes off a lot of stress and makes everything a lot easier, because the main thing you have to focus now on is the game. That's hard enough as it is. [I've been] trying to focus on rehab and doing all these things outside of that which is still part of it, but having that be a main priority definitely took away a lot of mental capacity." 

On if he ever wondered if he would be the same player again after his injury: "Yes, there was for sure doubt, especially early on in the injury where you're really not sure how you're going to run, or if you're going to run again just kind of hobbling, walking anywhere not really doing anything athletic. [You] really don't know until you start to turn that corner on the rehab progression. To be able to firsthand see, 'OK, I can do these drills, I can feel comfortable doing these movements,' just slowly built up that confidence again." 

On if the fewer injuries to the offensive line this year helps with the unit's confidence:"Yes, I think it makes a big difference. Just guys being around and seeing guys able to be on the field and just available, I think it makes a big difference mentally at this point of the year especially so early. We want to keep as many guys as healthy as possible." 

On if there are any similarities on or off the field between C Tyler Linderbaum and former Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz:"I mean, off the field, they're completely different people, but, on the field, they [have a] very similar tenacity. I would say they play with the same tenacity. When they get upset, there's definitely another switch about them where they're just not going to take anything from anyone. So, they both have that about them, and that's something you always want to see in your center."