Opening statement:"OK. [It's] good to see everybody. [I] sure appreciate you being here. [It was a] very good practice, very competitive practice, a physical practice. I thought the guys really stepped up and did a good job, and we improved today. What questions do you have?"
With WR Zay Flowers, we see a lot of the big plays on the field. But off the field, in your interactions with him as a rookie, how much has he impressed you? It seems like he's very motivated. (Jamison Hensley) "I would agree. All of the guys are very motivated, and Zay [Flowers] brings a unique personality to it. He's full of energy. He's an energy giver. He radiates energy. He's always ready to go, on point, works hard, does extra, wants to be as good as he can be every day, and he proves it by what he does. So, he's doing a great job, and he's taking it one day at a time."
Do you have any injury updates on CB Rock Ya-Seen, OLB David Ojabo, or any of the other guys that weren't on the field today? (Rocco DiSangro) "Yes. Those are short term. [They] should be back very soon. Rock [Ya-Sin] should be back soon. David [Ojabo] should be back soon. Trenton [Simpson] had a little issue [with] soft tissue, so we'll probably play it safe a little bit. We'll see where it goes. Those are normal camp things. So far, so good."
I know you don't like timelines for injuries, but is your goal to get WR Rashod Bateman back by the time joint practices start, or is it too early to know?_ (Bo Smolka) "I don't know. I haven't thought about that. He's doing a really great job. There's a chance that he will be out there pretty soon, but again, I don't want to say for sure because that just gets me in trouble. Then, you're going to ask me … You're going to say, 'Well you said he would be back at a certain time,' right? It's like … Don't they say when you get arrested, 'Anything you say can and will be used against you,' right? I feel like it's similar here in this press conference sometimes. _(Reporter: We should read you your rights.)Read me my rights. I should be read my rights before every press conference starts." (laughter)
CB Kevon Seymour has been someone who's had been a major presence for you guys on special teams the last couple of years, but it seems like he's had a really good start as a defensive back. What have you seen from him? (Luke Jones) "I agree, 100 percent. He's been playing DB well. You know what he's done for us special teams-wise. He's a guy with a high promise coming out. Then he faced just a lot of hamstring issues in one particular side, and it dogged him from like three different teams and basically cost him [a spot] in three different places. He came in here, we built a plan for him – in our training room and weight room and our performance room – and he stuck to it, he's worked really hard ever since, and now, knock on wood, he's been doing great with that. His talent is really starting to express itself."
We probably asked you a lot more about TE Isaiah Likely, but TE Charlie Kolar, what does he need to show you to have a real chance at snaps? (Childs Walker) "Well, [it's] just what you would expect. He's doing it. He's showing us. He's making catches, and he's blocking well every single day. He did a really good job with his body composition. He's bigger [and] stronger. I mean you walk by him, right, you see how big he is. It really is impressive, and he's done a great job at that. So, he's ready to go, and let's see how it goes in the practices and games. But I expect him to do very well. I think he's going to earn playing time."
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken said yesterday that he's looking for one of those tight ends to maybe be able to do the in-line job a little bit more. Do you think either TEs Isaiah Likely or Charlie Kolar could potentially do that? (Childs Walker) "I absolutely do. I watch them at practice. We had the inside run drill today. They're doing very well, so let's see what happens, but they can do it. I believe that."
When talking about players that can make plays on defense, LB Del'Shawn Phillips had multiple interceptions these last few days, a sack. What have you seen from him as a linebacker? (Kyle Barber) "Great point. Del'Shawn Phillips is playing … He's all over the field. How many times does he have his hands on the ball? [He's had] interceptions [and] passes broken up. The ball goes outside, [and] he's there waiting for it. He looks fantastic, and he's doing a great job. I would say that the whole linebacking crew is really playing that way. So, [I'm] really happy with those guys. It's top to bottom. Every single one of those guys is playing super well, and he probably has been the spark there with that particular group behind Roquan [Smith] and 'Pat' [Patrick Queen]."
What do you make of the wide receiver competition right now, and could this be some of the toughest decisions you have to make when it comes to deciding who stays and who goes? (Cordell Woodland) "No question. I mean you talk about fifth, possibly sixth, receiver making this team – even the practice squad guys – it's just a fight, man. So many guys are playing well. Guys are stepping up. You know, of course you've got Tylan [Wallace], and you've got James Proche [II], and they've done very well. Then, you've got [Laquon] Treadwell stepping up. Then, you have [Tarik] Black stepping up. Then, you have those young guys popping up and making plays here and there. So, I can't wait for the games to start and see who jumps in the games."
We'll be talking to OLB Odafe Oweh today, and he seems noticeably faster than last year. He told me last week that he's done a lot of work in that. What have you seen from him in making the jump from last year to this year?_ (Melissa Kim)_ "That's a great question. He is playing faster, maybe it's his response time, [or] maybe it's the way he's processing things, but he flew around last year. He made a bunch of good plays for us with speed last year. The ball goes to the perimeter, and you see him, and really all of the defensive ends, are out there really quick. So, he's having a stellar camp so far. So, [we] just have to keep building on it. [It's] still early. We've got a long way to go."
When QB Lamar Jackson met with the media after the first practice, he mentioned how there was a much different vibe to this year's training camp, and TE Mark Andrews said to NFL Network that this is the most laser-focused team he's been a part of into training camp. Is there a different feeling for you compared to last year? (Tim Barbalace) "I'd probably defer to those guys' opinions. They're more … The players are the most inside – they're the core – and when they say it, they mean it obviously. So, I'm happy to hear that, I feel that, but I feel that every year … I feel like our guys always come ready to work. But, for them to feel a little more juice maybe, I'm happy to hear it."
DT Justin Madubuike has had a really nice camp so far, and I know the expectations for him have been high. What does he need to do from your view to make that next leap forward? _(Brian Walker) _"Well, you watch the tape, and he played really well last year, so it's just probably a matter of consistency and stack even more great reps on top of those reps from last year. He's been very explosive, as you've seen, both in the run game and the pass game. He's spent a lot of time in our backfield so far this year, and he's usually not going around guys. I really expect … [I have] high expectations for him. He's a very determined guy. He doesn't say much. He kind of does his talking with his pads, and that's what we've seen so far."
We saw TE Mark Andrews get a little frustrated today. I think QB Lamar Jackson at times punted a ball away. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken said yesterday, 'We're not where we need to be right now, but that's OK.' Can you talk a little bit about the progress of the offense and the competitiveness out there and how demanding they're being of where they're at and where they need to get to? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Absolutely. It's a reflection of their perfectionism. They're chasing perfection, and that's what you want to see from your players. When your players take that mindset, you're going to have a chance. Coaches pretty much always have that mindset. When the players take on that personality because they feel like they're capable of it, that's what you want to see. The offense had a good practice today. They won the practice with the points, by about eight points, I think. That doesn't happen often. Usually, the defense wins those practices. The defense also had a good practice, but the offense made a bunch of plays. So, the few plays that they didn't make and they're mad about them, you know, that's good."
It seems like this is the most QB Lamar Jackson has thrown to running backs of any camp that I've been to. I remember former offensive coordinator Greg Roman said that Lamar at times was the checkdown in that offense. Are you guys moving away from that kind of thing or is it too early to say? (Jonas Shaffer) "No, the backs are very much a part of the passing game right now whether it's checkdowns [or] whether it's flat routes. You saw we threw a wheel route in the corner of the end zone that we almost made. [We were] just right out of bounds but the catch was still made. Rookie running backs don't get named yet. We'll see before we start using his name, but No. 34 [Keaton Mitchell], he showed he can run, [and] he's got good hands. So, yes. All of our backs ... Gus [Edwards], who has maybe not been known for that, has made a lot of good catches and ran some really good routes. So, all of those guys are really doing a great job. I feel like every one of our backs is a good receiving back right now. I mean Melvin Gordon [III] has done a great job. Justice [Hill] has looked good doing it. They've all looked good doing it."
This might be a bit broad, but about two weeks into training camp, but how have you seen these rookies take on the challenges of daily practice? (Kyle Barber) "I haven't seen anything [or] any problems with those guys. I haven't seen those guys blink yet, and it's been a grind for them because they do extra ... They stay extra after minicamp. They come back in early, and they're just a bunch of guys that kind of like football. They're very comfortable in the discomfort of football, and we appreciate that. That's kind of why we drafted them or brought them in."
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS COACH CHUCK SMITH
What do you make of the young pass rushers to this point? Are you liking where you are to date? (Cordell Woodland) "Well, I like the fact that they come and work hard every day. I like that they're enthusiastic. We've really learned how to work with one another as a unit, and they're fantastic to work with. And I'm really thankful to come to an organization that has two guys with so much talent and upside. You go a lot of places, and you go, and you're like having to find guys that you have to develop; I got this job, and they're already here. So, it's been fantastic so far. Those guys are everything I thought they would be."
OLB Odafe Oweh commended you the other day for your help on the field and with his confidence, as well. How have you been able to boost his confidence? (Cordell Woodland) "I think knowledge. One of the things that I pride myself on is being somewhat of a pass rush historian outside of a pass rush coach, and now as a position coach, I enlighten them on the history of it. Who created the cross chop? [Odafe Oweh] didn't know that the cross chop was created by another Nigerian – Osi Umenyiora – from the New York Giants. And that's like, 'Wow,' him and Odafe … They didn't know that Reggie White once played in the USFL. They didn't [that] Chris Doleman was one of the original hybrids when he came out of [the University of Pittsburgh]. So, all these different things … Understanding when the sack was invented in 1982 … Remember, they came to football late, so one of the ways that builds confidence [is] when you understand how there were people who invented these techniques. There were people that … how it started. And so, when I talk to them, [it's] almost like a – not really a teacher-student – [but] I look at it like an uncle and a nephew. Do you know what I mean? Uncle tells you all this stuff, and you're like, 'I'm going to believe uncle. I might not believe daddy, but I'm going to believe his brother.' (laughter)So, that's how it builds, and then we take it from all those things, like watching film. I give them things to read – classic books about rush. We look at videos. And then they see it on the field. Then they see other guys doing it, and I think, when it comes to that point, that helps build confidence and respect amongst each other, because we can talk. And it's not a dictatorship; it's like a partnership with everybody in that room."
What stands out to you about DT Justin Madubuike as a pass rusher? (Garrett Downing) "Well, I'm glad you asked me that. (laughter) Let me just fix this mic.(laughter)[It's] kind of like [I'm] up here like I'm Jay-Z.(laughter)Alright, so look: The first thing I've got to say is we are called the D-front [defensive front], right? I'm the head [outside] linebacker coach; I want to get this understood. How it works: Coach Weaver, [assistant head coach/defensive line] Anthony Weaver is my mentor, and then [in] the D-front, it's me as outside linebackers coach, [and] Coach Weaver is the assistant head coach, but from the standpoint of [him being] around the league a long time, we all work with everybody's players. Everything ultimately goes through Coach Weaver. But Coach Weaver has given me a platform to do whatever I want to do. So, from the standpoint of … It's a blessing that someone would let you come and be humble enough – where he's had crazy success – and he would let me come in and do things that most people in this league won't, and that's the difference here with this organization. And so, also, we have another person: [defensive quality control] Matt Robinson. I couldn't not mention him, because he's a master of coverage. I've been working on learning coverage. I've learned the coverage. But if you know anything about [defensive coordinator] Mike Macdonald and this Ravens history of defense, it's a lot. So, the thing that Coach Harbaugh [head coach John Harbaugh] did, [is] he put a nucleus of people around me that are experts, and Coach Weaver has expertise, and he's also working. I get a chance to work with 'Buike' [Justin Madubuike]. We work with 'Buike,' Mike [Pierce] and 'Brod' [Broderick Washington], but guess what, he [Coach Weaver] also works and does things with [David] Ojabo. So, I want to make sure they get the proper … [I want] you guys understand moving forward that there are a lot of hands in this process. [With] Madubuike, I actually met Madubuike two years ago; he came to Atlanta to train with me, and he actually still trained with my assistant, 'Dez' [Dezmon Walker], this year, because I'm out of that business, so I'm not able to train. Madubuike is a beast. Madubuike has incredible upside, and you know what, Madubuike kind of reminds me of … There is this new generation of big guys that kind of come in 3-4 defenses that you'll see, like the guys at Washington [Commanders]. Those two big guys [Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne] that were from 'Bama [University of Alabama]; when they came in, everybody said they're two-gappers, right? There were times I'm sure you all were like, 'Well, they aren't going to have a rush; they've just got Montez [Sweat] and Chase [Young].' But the two inside guys became the better pass rushers. Think about the guys in Miami – some of the big guys – those big guys in Miami. Think about the big guys up in New York [that] all you guys kind of know. But all I'm saying is this: The evolution of the 3-4 defensive tackle is 'Buike.' He can rush; he can play the run; he's aggressive; he's physical. And the sky is the limit; it really is. He's in that unique [area] where he's going to continue to grow, and he has – again – been coached well [by defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] and his defense. He fits perfect in the defense. But 'Buike' is a dog. I mean, he's a dog, and he comes to work every day and has passion, and he's a good teammate."
The last time you were up here, you talked about OLB Odafe Oweh and that we would know what his signature pass rush is soon. Does he have that down yet, and if so, how have you seen it develop throughout the first two weeks of camp? (Rocco DiSangro) "Well, we've been working. We're just working on all kinds of different concepts, and that's what [training] camp is all about. We're here to win, but we're also here … When we lose, there are opportunities for us to say, 'You know what, let's tweak this angle. Let's work on' … We're working on a spin. Let's do power,' which is something that we want to add in – to do that supercharge power. When you're in a 4-3 [defense], you can generate some power with your feet, and that will help you run through people. So, in this process, I can't say right now, specifically, his one move [Odafe Oweh] is doing, because we're doing lots of moves. Does that make sense? But ultimately, [it's] whatever works best for him, because we've got time until the season comes on. But he's pretty skilled up. He's skilled up. We've been working on it, and we're able to communicate and see what he likes, and what he doesn't like, and we'll continue to develop. But right now, we're in camp, [and] we're battling it out. We're working on … [We're] not only working on Odafe, but we're working on other guys that are in the unit. 'T-Rob' [Tavius Robinson] – our fourth-round pick – has been balling. You guys have heard about [Malik] Hamm. Jeremiah Moon is having a great camp. We know about [David] Ojabo. So, I've got to give a lot of credit [to] a part of that unit, because when 'Daf' [Odafe Oweh] and Ojabo come out, they are guys that are going in and battling against numbers one's, too – first-teamers, too. So, in this whole process, the unit is doing great, and those guys are doing great. They come to work every day and continue to be as good as you want guys to be to prepare for a season."
What has been your first impression of OLB Tavius Robinson? (Ryan Mink) "[Tavius Robinson] has heavy hands; he's not afraid of anybody – he's not. He has come [with] a workmanlike attitude. And one of the best examples I can say about him [is when] we were getting ready to do the first one-on-ones of [training] camp – the first. So 'Dafe' [Odafe Oweh] is running up, and 'Dafe' is going to be No. 1, right off the bat. 'Dafe' right now, he's the leader of the group. He is; that's how it goes. So 'Dafe' runs up; he's ready; he's jumping. All of a sudden, 'Dafe' is like, 'Little bro, get out the way.' (laughter)'T-Rob' [Tavius Robinson] is 6-foot-6 and a half, [and] he's up there ready to go. He's up there ready to go, and that's how he is. He is physical. He's getting at these guys. He is a hard worker. He's going to definitely be an asset. And I believe in the future; the Ravens fans are going to love that draft pick in the future. I think he's going to help us some this year."
When the Ravens hired defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald last year, the players talked about how it was a complex system, but it was pretty intuitive to learn. Being a coach who has to know the system as well – if not better – than these guys, how have you grasped it? (Jonas Shaffer) "Well, I've grasped it. I know the defense. I had to learn. But the thing that's really interesting about the NFL … We've had football school. We've done the installs 20 times. Even now … We just started … When we started [training] camp, we started with install. So, when the rookies were here before the veterans got here, we did the install. We've been doing it, so I've had to learn. And I have never known more coverage in my life. I'm like, 'Wow.' So, now, when I was at home – my sons were there – I was like, 'Yes, y'all, let's get on the board; let's talk some quarter flat; let's talk some cloud.' But I never … It's been a blessing. The way they've taught me, they've been truly … And I still learn. And I've got to give these guys a lot of credit. I've got to give [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] a lot of credit – [inside linebackers] Coach [Zach] Orr, [pass game coordinator/secondary] Chris [Hewitt], everybody, especially Mike and 'Weav' [assistant head coach/defensive line Anthony Weaver] and [defensive quality control] Matt [Robinson]. They have been really patient. Any time I've called them at night, any time I need them … I can text Matt; Matt is like, 'I've got you.' So, it's just been pretty cool. But yes, I had to learn now, and I'm still learning. I'm still learning, because now, Mike is like the mad scientist; we're starting to throw stuff out there, [and he's] like, 'Alright, let me get back to the drawing board.' So, I continue to grow, [and] there are still things I've got to learn, but I definitely have learned coverage, as well as understand how the pressures work. The pass rush is second nature."
DT JUSTIN MADUBUIKE
On how he feels going through training camp:"Pretty good. [I'm] just taking it one day at a time through camp. Around that time, we're getting a little scrappy and tired of seeing each other, so we're definitely looking forward to next week [and] playing against our next opponent. So, it's been good. We're just trying to get it all together. [We're] taking it one day at a time, keep sharpening [the] toolbox and keep craft and getting better."
On how big of a factor he could be with accumulating sacks after the departure of OLB Justin Houston and DE Calais Campbell:"Oh, huge, for sure. That's why we brought guys like [outside linebackers coach] Chuck [Smith] here. I even worked with Chuck even before he came here, so, the fact that he's here is even a bonus for us – 'Dafe [Odafe Oweh], 'Jabo [David Ojabo], Tyus [Bowser], the whole D-line. So, it's going to definitely not even change at all. We're just trying to get those connections together with the games and the timing. That's what we're doing out here in practice."
On getting better every year and what has allowed him to build confidence: "I think it's just my inner hunger just to get better. [I'm] asking older guys like Calais [Campbell], like [Justin] Houston, things that they did at my age to get better and just taking note and just applying it to my game. So, just always never being satisfied, always finding ways to get better and always never stop asking questions. Just be a little kid, you know what I mean?"
On what made him seek out outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith as a personal coach before he got the job with the Ravens and what he brings to help his game:"The things that he [outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith] brings to my game is just timing with moves – shadow boxing moves. It's just a repetition thing. He tells us it's a repetition. He's been in our shoes. He's played in the NFL; he's rushed the passer. I got him from Justin Houston, actually, out there in Atlanta. So, I went to him, and that was my first time being there. We talked on social media and still like that, but meeting him and actually working with him, that's when it happened."
On his first impressions of outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith when he started going to private lessons with him: "Just the stuff that he [outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith] was saying made sense. Stuff that he said, I could relate to, because he's actually played – 3-tech, 2-I, 5, shade [techniques] even as a nose [tackle]. So, he just … The way that he would talk to us, and just stuff that we would understand by him being in our shoes, he just basically made it click."
On the difference seeing outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith as a private coach to him now being a coach for the Ravens and how that could benefit the team as a whole: "It's going to be a huge benefit for us. I don't see it as anything different. He's just the same [outside linebackers coach] Chuck [Smith] that he was before he was a coach here, but I just get to see him every single day and get to ask him questions in person every single day. So, it's really a blessing."
On if he appreciates him being at a point where his teammates like NT Michael Pierce see him as a player that needs to be out there every play: "Yes, for sure. Respect isn't given; it's earned. So, I definitely respect the fact that he [Michael Pierce] respects me and just sees me as that way. But it doesn't stop the grind. It doesn't stop the push to keep being hungry, keep being great, keep getting better, and that's just what I'll continue to do."
On if he has been training differently to play more snaps: "Yes. It's just more running, more gassers, running to the ball, just never being satisfied. You feel like if you ran enough, just run the extra three to five gassers after practice. Just add it every single day. Add a brick every single day; it always adds up in the end. So, that's what I had [taken] from older guys that I knew."
On where he thinks he has made strides coming into this season and what he focused on this offseason: "I think just everything – attention to detail, [making my] brain more sharp, holding myself to a higher standard, pass rush, running, strength, just everything. Everything; I try to work on everything."
On what is goals are for this season: "They're pretty high. I'm still working on them, honestly. I revise and edit them like every single day, because I just feel like it's just not high enough, it's just not high enough. So, [I'm] trying to get through camp, take care of my body, find ways to get better. [I'm] taking care of my body and just taking it one day at a time."
On how his contract year affects him going into the season:"Everybody goes through a contract year; that's how I see it. You just put your head down and work, put your head down and work, put your head down and work. I feel like the more you think about it, the more it becomes a distraction. If you just put your head down and work, I feel like everything is going to work itself out in the end."
On if he has any specific goals for the season and how he keeps track of them:"I've got a little journal I write in, and I just try to do daily goals – stuff like that – weekly goals and then long-term goals and stuff like that."
On if keeping track of his goals is something that he has always done:"Probably the past three years, yes."
On if the deflect-the-pass-celebration with DE Brent Urban is here to stay: "The 'Urb' [Brent Urban] one? Yes, everybody is catching on. Even 'Weav' [assistant head coach/defensive line Anthony Weaver] and everybody is doing it in the back. So, yes, it's fun. We're just trying to have fun and just get better at the same time."
OLB ODAFE OWEH
On what he was looking for when he met OLBs Coach Chuck Smith: "I really just wanted a guy that played the position that they were coaching me with, first of all. So, he checked the box there. A guy that would not only teach you the techniques, but push the mentality of a pass rusher in terms of confidence – a go-getter type of mentality, trying to get off, taking that first approach, taking that attack approach and stuff like that. And obviously, the technical parts of it, teaching that part and then slowing it down for guys who are new to the game like me or [David] Ojabo or guys [that] are athletically inclined, but in terms of skill, they have little ways to go. So, those things."
On his impressions of rookie OLB Tavius Robinson: "He's been good. He's been really good. He's really strong, tall, doesn't talk a lot, but when he talks, he's asking questions, and he receives it well. He'll do a good job of implementing what you taught him and doing it the right way, stuff like that. He's a sponge. [He's] pretty good, strong, and he's not scared to make contact."
On OLBs coach Chuck Smith saying he's taken more of a leadership role this year: "I appreciate him saying that, but I've taken a mentality of just trying to lead by example. [I'm] just trying to run to the ball [and] take every rep as if it were my last rep. [I'm going to] go hard at everything and try to perfect everything he's teaching me, but obviously our room is really young. So, we're all trying to learn everything. I accept that, and I thank him for doing that and everything, because it makes me want to play harder and take that role, knowing that the other guys are watching me. I've always been the youngest guy in my room. I've always had [veteran players around me], so it's a different dynamic now."
On if it's different for him now as a leader since he always had leaders like Justin Houston: "That's what I'm saying. I had Justin [Houston], I had 'JPP' [Jason Pierre-Paul]. I had other older guys [like] Calais [Campbell] that were always teaching me what to do. [They called me] 'Big Rook,' if you guys remember that. So, it's just a different dynamic now. I'm taking it a different way."
On if Coach Chuck Smith has him watching other pass rushers:"He does. I don't know, I don't want to give them that, but yes, he has a whole thing in his iPad of certain names. He'll have David [Ojabo]. He'll have me and stuff that he thinks that are skills or our attributes matched towards, and we'll try and mirror and stuff like that. So, you'll always see us with our iPads to see who matches our games, but also, he teaches us that everyone is their own type of rusher. Everyone has their own things that they're good at, so you can't mimic everything. You have to find out what you're good at and then take little bits of it out of the [other successful] pass rushers."
On where he thinks he's made the biggest strides in techniques:"I'll probably say [the] get off and having a plan at the top of my rush. Chuck [Smith] always talks about, 'RIP.' He's always saying 'RIP.' So, at the end of the rush, you have to [use] side scissors and rip, because a lot of times, I would beat my man, but to get my hips cleared enough, I didn't do that and that's because of the rip, like he says. So, I'd probably say those two things."
On how important it is for him to put on a strong sack year: "It's really important because that's obviously – I'm a pass rusher – so, that's obviously the most important thing for someone in my position. I also want to win, so if I know I'm doing everything that my team needs me to do, and I'm doing it like how [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] and how [outside linebackers coach] Chuck [Smith] wants me to do it as well, then sacks [are] going to come there. It's going to be coming in bunches as well."