SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR CHRIS HORTON
Opening statement:"[It's] good to see everyone. I hope everyone is doing well. I thought our guys came out today – really the last couple days – and really put in some good days of work. [I'm] really just encouraged by what I'm seeing by all the young guys and the veteran guys, and the type of leadership that these guys are taking. Questions?"
What was it like seeing former special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg out there today? (Kevin Richardson) (laughter) "It's awesome. Jerry [Rosburg] and [my] relationship – I said this before – but it's bigger than football, so we do spend a lot of time talking to each other. So, when he does show up, I'm excited to see his face, and then when he jumps in the drills, it's even more exciting because I can tell, maybe he misses it a little bit, right? He wants to get out there, and he's coaching the right things, so I'm all excited for it. It's always good to see him."
It looked like P Jordan Stout went through a lot of offseason training. Where have you seen his biggest improvement? (Kyle Barber) "I think it's in everything that [Jordan Stout] does. Jordan's working hard every day. He has a plan. [Special teams coach/specialists coach] Randy [Brown] puts him through a workout plan. Jordan, what are you working on? OK. This is going to be turnover balls, so let's make sure that's what we're working on. Let's get down to the finest little details of turnover balls. If we're working in that pooch area, let's make sure that we're doing the right things with our drops [and] with our footwork. So, he's taking it all piece by piece, and when we see this game here in a couple – next week some time – hopefully we put it all together."
When it comes to the punt return man, is that still WR Devin Duvernay's role, or are you giving other guys reps as well? (Cordell Woodland) "That's [Devin] Duvernay's role, but obviously, during this time, everybody gets an opportunity. If you're here, you want an opportunity. You want a look, right? It's our job as coaches to give everybody an opportunity. Duv's done a great job for a guy that had never returned a ball and then to do what he's done the last couple of years. Man, we're excited about Duvernay, but we're also excited about some of the young guys that we have as well."
After years of continuity in your kicking game, you had a lot of turnover now in your long snapper and holder the last couple of years. How important is this camp and this preseason to get that all evened out? (Gerry Sandusky) "Every day is valuable. Every day those guys are out here. They're working on something, whether it's snap to catch, whether it's Tyler [Ott] to Jordan [Stout] to holds for [Justin] Tucker, whether it's punt snaps, whether it's punt footwork. It's all very important, and I think as we continue to move throughout camp, these guys will … They're going to stick together like glue, because it's important for us. We've won a lot of games with those three guys."
Speaking of young guys, RB Keaton Mitchell is obviously very fast. What do you see out of him from a special teams standpoint? (Brian Wacker) "Keaton [Mitchell] is a guy that I think can go out and play anywhere you ask him to play. Again, I'm … I told him before. I'm going to put you on kickoff. I want to see you run. I want to see some physicality, and I think he's got the right mindset, he's got the right makeup. We're going to let him return some punts. We're going to let him return some kicks. We're going to let him play some punt out at gunner. We're just going to give him every opportunity to make this football team and put himself in position to make this football team."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE MACDONALD
Opening statement:"Alright, [it's] great to see everybody. I feel like I was up here a couple days ago, so we'll see what questions you have."
What has stood out to you about CB Arthur Maulet since he's been here? (Garrett Downing) "[Arthur Maulet] has great energy and provides a little fire to the nickel position out there. [There are] a lot of things that we've done that are not so consistent with how he's done things, so, considering that learning curve, [I'm] actually impressed with how fast he's picked everything up. But [he's] just a fun guy to be around and [is] just attacking what we're asking him to do."
How much more impactful is it to have ILB Roquan Smith here from the start of camp while you're installing your defense? (Gerry Sandusky) "That's huge. It's huge. [Roquan Smith] is obviously a vital part of our operation, and he spearheads the charge. He picks it up very fast, he makes it seem very easy, and I think the guys follow that lead. If he's going, and he's rolling and rocking and rolling, then the guys fall in line, then things just happen a little more seamlessly. So, it's good. It's great, as a coach."
With CB Rock Ya-Sin going down, is it even more important now for some of these other cornerbacks to start separating themselves? (Cordell Woodland) "I wouldn't say it's more important; I'd just say it's always important. That's something that we're looking for. Obviously, we've got a great competition going on opposite Marlon [Humphrey]. So, there are going to be more reps to be had, for sure – we'll see how long it lasts – but I think the focus has been there from Day One with those guys."
We've heard various players talk about what they've gotten out of their interactions with outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith. Do you think he has an unusual ability to sort of relate as a teacher? (Childs Walker) "I would say [Chuck Smith] has got a great ability to relate. [With] any coach, you want to be able to relate to your players, so you have a good relationship. I think that's an important thing, and it starts with [head coach] John [Harbaugh] who he hires and who is on our staff. I speak to everybody on our staff; I think everybody does a great job with building rapport with our players, and you can build that trust and that connectivity, so we can stay aligned when we're working through that back and forth of coaching guys up and asking things from them. And I think you see that the players play harder, and you get more out of them when you have that relationship. Chuck is just like everybody else, but he's doing a great job."
We saw CB Jalyn Armour-Davis taking a lot of the reps today opposite of CB Marlon Humphrey. What about Armour-Davis makes him capable of stepping up, should he be needed there for a long period of time? (Timothy Dashiell) "Jalyn [Armour-Davis] is a guy that we were really excited [about] when we drafted him. He's got a lot of ability, and he's a very smart player. He's versatile; he can play multiple spots. But this is an opportunity for him to go show what he can do and see if he can earn himself a job. So, [the] opportunity is out there."
Has CB Jalyn Armour-Davis improved throughout training camp? What have you seen from him? (Kris Rhim) "Yes, I would say it's a gradual improvement. But with the whole defense right now … We're in Week Two; we're in it; we're in pads. The emphasis is, 'Let's go.' We're not waiting around; it's not process [over results]; we're rolling, OK? So, we're trying to get ready for next week when we tee it off against the Eagles and then, ultimately, against Houston Week One. So, we want pedal to the metal right now, and I think [Jalyn Armour-Davis] is right there with the rest of the crew."
DE Calais Campbell really established himself as a vocal leader last year. Since he left, who has really stepped up on the defensive line and established themself in that way? (Rocco DiSangro) "We spoke to it the other day very well. We've got a great group right there, and they're not necessarily a young group; they're not 'green' in that way. They're young, but they're not 'green.' Off the top of my head, Michael Pierce has done a great job, [and] he's been here all offseason. Brent Urban [has] done a great job. Broderick Washington is a stalwart in the middle for us. [He] leads through action and not his words. Just Madubuike [is the] same deal; [he] comes to work every day [and] plays extremely hard. It's a group that feeds off one another. Travis Jones [is a] second-year guy, [but] you would never guess he's a second-year guy. The list goes on. So, is there one guy that's kind of the head of the group? Maybe, maybe not; maybe by day. But [I'm] really proud of their approach, the competitiveness with them and the ability … They're fighting for pass-rush snaps, too, so [there is] a lot of competition in that room, as well."
How hard is it to get your players to work on tackling when there is really little to no tackling allowed in practice? Has that impacted what you see in games, in terms of guys' abilities? (Mark Viviano) "That's a great question. Tackling is a lost art, and the rules really make it challenging, like you said, to do it, so you have to be creative in [how] you do it. Now, I will say, when we practice, it's always angles to the ball, making sure that we have the ball viced, tearing off blocks, making sure we're in position to make a tackle, and then the tempo kind of dictates how we finish. So, I'm actually very pleased with … When we were in the pads, we we've been able to cup the ball very well, and we talk about finishing in a dominant position, and then the ball carrier goes backwards in staple tackling. We're not going to be able to do that with our guys [in practice], but we definitely want to [thump] guys up, wrap them up and make sure we know we're ensuring tackles."
OLB Odafe Oweh has talked about how he's going to embrace adding more power to his pass rush. Does that require a different mentality out there on the edge? (Jonas Shaffer) "Well, I think any good pass rush is going to start with power. If you just go down the list of the top pass rushers throughout the league, they have some sort of power. If you have threat of power, tackles are not going to respect it, and the rest of your stuff isn't going to be set up as well. But if you watch, [Odafe Oweh] has got a great long arm, and he's working on that – I know that. He was working on it today with [outside linebackers coach] Chuck [Smith] out there during 'indy' [individual drills], so that's the power … I think it showed up last year on tape, too. I think [what] you see when you turn the tape on is he's got a great long arm, and then the counters [are] off it. But just like any great pass rusher, you've got to have that element if you're going to have any success."
Did you feel like the end of last season was something you could really build on? (Childs Walker) "Yes, absolutely, absolutely."
How much do you evolve the defense from Year One to Year Two? (Garrett Downing) "Yes, that's a great question. You go in with an idea of what you have to build to – that picture is clearer from the get-go – but it's within the framework of who do we have, and what do they do, and what can they do, and then we can kind of take it as it goes from right there. I know I've alluded to this a lot of times, but when our personnel became into focus throughout the middle of the year, it really dictated what we could and couldn't do schematically and narrowed the focus, and I think that's when we took off. So, definitely, that picture is clearer earlier at this point in time."
What are you seeing in Year Two for S Kyle Hamilton? (Ken Weinman) "Kyle [Hamilton], like we've said, he's a guy that we're going to be able to move around. Right now, we're trying to get him really good at safety with the ability to move him to different spots. So, [we're] pleased [with] where he's at. I think he started out camp really well, [but] hasn't had as much ball production over the last couple days, so that's something that we're going to challenge him to be able to do moving forward throughout camp and going into the season."
What have you seen from CB Kyu Kelly, and is any of his pedigree growing up around his dad – a former NFL player – noticeable on the field and in meetings? (Morgan Adsit) "Yes, I would say it definitely shows itself off the field and in the building. You love [Kyu Kelly's] approach. He's here every morning working out when I'm in there with the guys and going through the process. The training room speaks very highly of him and his approach and his mentality. On the field, the message to him was just, 'Let's go; let's go compete. Alright, take the step every day that you need to.' We had a conversation actually this morning. Steve Smith [Sr.] talks about rookies making a play a day, and I just encourage him to go for it; go for it, so you can get those plays on tape where guys are going to remember those positive plays that you're making."
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR TODD MONKEN
How do you feel about the tempo of offense? (Jamison Hensley) "It's a work in progress. We're not nearly where we need to be, and we shouldn't be, because it's early in camp, but we have a lot of work to do."
What do the second-year tight ends, Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar, need to show you in significant snaps? _(Childs Walker) _First off, we have to figure out on the roster be it those two players – whoever we have – do we have an individual here that can play 'Y,' can be blocking tight end, can do somethings in line after losing the young man they had last year. So, and with [Patrick Ricard] being out, that's what we need to see form them. We know [Isaiah Likely] is the next receiving tight end, we've got to take the next step with a number of those guys. We'll know a lot more once we go to practice against the [Commanders]. We'll play some preseason games [to see] where we're at."
Is it frustrating to not have RB J.K. Dobbins? (Kris Rhim) "We'd love to have J.K. out there, there's no question about it. We look forward to when he does get out there. I don't control that. What I control is what we do each day on the practice field, and we'll be excited when he gets back."
Coach John Harbaugh says he's spoken to RB J.K. Dobbins, have you talked to him at all? (Kris Rhim) _"I talk to him every day. _(Reporter: Any texts or phone calls?) I talk to him every day. I don't know. He has a big smile on his face. I don't know what else to say. He's here every day, so when he's out there, we'll be fired up he's out there."
How far behind is RB J.K. Dobbins as far as learning this offense? How much catching up will he have to do? _(Rocco DiSangro) _"Great question because he hasn't repped so it's hard for me to know that when he's not out there. It's just the way it is. He's not out there, so we'll find out when he does get out there, but we're excited. I know I was kind of being a smart alec there, but I'm just saying in general, when he gets out there, we'll be excited to have him."
How did you start with selecting a child from the crowd to throw a football with QB Lamar Jackson after practice? _(Garrett Downing) _Oh, I don't know. Think about it, they come out here wearing our players' jerseys, I mean, how cool is that? Our players get to live out their dream and get paid for something they've been playing since they were little kids like them. To me, that's really easy. To me, that's not hard, that's easy. That's Todd Monken at eight years old that was dying to get an autograph and meet his favorite player. That's not hard. That's actually really, really easy, and you wish you could do it for all of them."
Is it tough to project where the team is at as an offense when RB J.K. Dobbins and WR Rashod Bateman aren't out there? (Cordell Woodland) "Well, right now, it's not hard to project because we're not really good right now. We have a long ways to go."
What are you expecting from G/T Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and G John Simpson to be able to start? _(Timothy Dashiell) _"There's a certain expectation of the position, whoever's out there. Whoever starts for the Ravens, there's an expectation there, whether it is 'Sala' [Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu] or John [Simpson]. Whoever that might be. I think there's some great competition there, and we look forward … Again, you keep moving into camp, you get more practices in pads, and you go against some other teams, you get a little better idea of what you can expect."
How do you balance practicing your offensive system without stifling some of the off-script plays the players have had success with? _(Luke Jones) _"Great question. You don't want to take away creativity – a great chemistry that players have – but we've got to continue to improve all of our quarterbacks' ability to check the ball down to get it to outlets – running backs getting them more involved – and Mark [Andrews] still being a big part of that. Mark is going to be a big part of what we do, as [are] the other players. We want to keep that, but also [have] the ability to move on. Right? Move on. As the pocket breaks down, we can find outlets and get the ball out of his hands."
Running backs around the league have been feeling undervalued. How has it evolved their role in this offense? (Mark Viviano) "First of all, I will just say this about any position. I'm never going to talk about another man's business. That is something they have to take care of. OK? But, running backs, in my opinion, are highly valued in this league. The running backs we have are highly valued to me. I think any player that makes an NFL roster is highly valued. That's a fact – they're one of the best in the world. I don't care – you're 53 to one – you're one of the best in the world. Elite. Elite. I think they're a valuable commodity on any team. I don't set the market. Our right tackle's valuable. Our kicker's valuable. Our quarterback's valuable. The running backs are valuable."
How have the use of running backs been altered over the time you have been in football? (Mark Viviano) "Trying to determine with all of your players what you can do to maximize their skillset. What got them here? If you're lucky enough to have an every down running back, that's different. If you have other guys that have certain traits, then you try to utilize that. Whether downhill, between the tackles, matchup guys are important once you get into that world of guys that can win one-on-one. I think it's assessing ... Every player that we have on our roster has some unique trait. They just do – something – and it's our job to pull it out of them or find what that is that they do. They're already elite, but at a unique level, and then utilize that in your gameplan."
TE Mark Andrews said this is the most locked in he's ever seen this team. What does that mean to have that kind of buy in coming from the team as you enter a new organization? (Kyle Barber) "I don't know. I appreciate Mark [Andrews] saying that. It'll only matter what we do on Sundays, what we do every day. I mean, that's being a pro. I wasn't here in the past, so I can't speak to what it looked like before. Am I appreciative [that] we're locked in? Yes. That's what being a pro is. That's a job. This is a job. I don't know how else to say it. We get to play a kids' game, but don't make any mistake about it, we're paid to do a job and when that ends … So, I take full advantage of that, and I appreciate that they have been attentive, and they have been, and they've wanted to, again, embrace the new system, what we're doing. Now, we just got to continue to take those next steps because we're not there yet."
It looks like with WR Zay Flowers – after he makes the catch – it looks like he's a guy that doesn't go out of bounds. It looks like he's always trying to get those extra yards. Do you see that a lot in new players, or is that something that's unique? (Jamison Hensley) "I think he's a natural run-after-catch guy. Some guys have more ability that way. Lamar [Jackson] has a unique trait with the ball in his hands. Not every quarterback does. Some guys are more confident. If they played running back as a youngster, growing up, and then they moved later in life, they have some running skills to them. Tight ends in the NFL that grew up as air raid receivers have route running skills. So, sometimes you develop that at a younger age, vision, once I get the ball in my hands, the ability to make plays, and obviously, with his quickness, he gets rewarded for that. When I did that, I got stuck in the dirt. I tried to make his moves, and it didn't work, so then I slid, and I got down. So, as you do things and you have success, you continue to do that."
You mentioned guys with specific traits. RB Keaton Mitchell is a young guy, and one of his traits is speed. What have you seen from him, and what has stood out to you aside from his speed? (Brian Wacker) "Well, he's got elite speed. I mean he does have that, so getting him to the edge, he has quickness about him. He can possibly be a matchup player, but he works awfully hard. He's diligent in the meeting room, taking good notes, asking good questions. If he doesn't know, he'll let you know. When we had a miscommunication yesterday in practice, he explained it the way that … 'This is what I heard. This is what I thought the quarterback meant.' And that is great engagement for us to fix it. The communication didn't exist, quarterback said something, [and] he assumed it was this – or he thought it was this – and that's when a player is dialed in, when he's engaged."