TIGHT ENDS COACH GEORGE GODSEY
What do the younger tight ends, Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar, need to do to earn significant snaps this year? (Childs Walker) "Mark [Andrews] is out there, so he's going to get his reps, and he's obviously going to get his targets, but 'Charlie' and 'Zay,' they're coming along. It's another year as a pro. [It's] another year with their schedule, recognizing coverage. I think our defense is doing a great job of showing us unique looks. Every day, there's a goal to get a little bit better, and that's what their role is right now, you know, as second year players."
Where have you seen the growth from TEs Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar in their second year? (Kyle Barber) "Just recognition, I would say. Recognition of certain looks, zone [defense] versus man [defense], depth of routes, distribution in the passing game and the running game, too. It's just technique and where their hat needs to be, their hands. It's a complicated game, and especially in our job. We have pass game responsibility in routes, protections, run game responsibility, front side, back side, we're detached. [So] we're using a lot of roles in Todd [Monken's] offense. We love it, we accept it and I think every day we're getting better."
What have you seen from TE Charlie Kolar in terms of his in-line blocking? (Ryan Mink) "We've had the pads out here for four days, so we've been anxious to get out here and do that. We're going against some good guys on the edge. It's quickly getting our hands on the opponent, quickly. He's got the frame, the length. It's good having that size. He's put on a lot of weight – 10 pounds – in the offseason, you know, five pounds of muscle. So, he's worked hard compared to this time last year where we had setback, injury-wise. So, this is a big Fall for him."
How do you prepare other TEs with FB Patrick Ricard being out? (Ken McKusick) "Yes, it's a good question because you never know, it's a limited roster on gameday. So, everybody's learning not just their personal role for practice, but another role in case something does happen. So, between Ben [Mason], between [Travis] Vokolek, obviously Charlie [Kolar], [Isaiah Likely], they know the role there. Then Mark [Andrews] has his unique role. We have to be versatile at that position, that's part of the number one job of a tight end, making sure you can fill in those spots when something happens because it happens instantly, and we have to make that work right away."
Do you feel this offense increases the need for the TEs to have a reliable guy in line? (Jonas Shaffer) "Yes, it's a mix of both. It's both run and pass and making sure that they tie in together. So, we're trying keep in that with that versatility of … a word that I used earlier. First down to second down, they have to look the same, and then third down is obviously more of a passing down, so it's about getting open. So yes, we're versatile players and making sure we fit in with the offense."
Do you think the roles and responsibility of TE in OC Todd Monken's offense is different compared to Greg Roman's offense? (Ryan Mink) "The tight end position, there's different kind of tight ends. [There's] guys that are in the backfield, guys that are in line, guys that are detached. In our room, we have guys that can do it all. That's the number one thing about our scouting department, we have versatile guys that can play all those different roles. [They can] split us out, keep us in line, we'll be able to do those roles."
How beneficial will this new offensive system be for FB Patrick Ricard? (David Andrade) "Yes, I think Patrick [Ricard]'s an established player. He's able to block people, move people, [and] he's a good protector. His role is physicality, so with every offense, there has to be that component. He's demonstrated that for the past few years. I think most of our opponents will say that, too."
Who has stepped up in a leadership role following the departure of veteran TE Nick Boyle? (Kyle Barber) "Mark [Andrews] is a productive player, and he wants to win, and that's what our room is about. When things are not going the right way, he's the guy stepping up, he's always been like that since I've been here. I love working with him; he's a [heck] of a pro. We both learn off of each other; it's a good relationship."
Have you seen improvements from TE Isaiah Likely from some of the mistakes he said he made in his rookie year, and how do you think he's gone about it? (Childs Walker) "Well, that attitude we love in him, because he's a true pro, and he' s going to take responsibility for everything, but being shoved into the amount of plays last year he had as a rookie … We think he did a [heck] of a job. I only see that trend going up, too. He's a very detailed person, takes good notes, asks good questions, and he shows that in practice. I see that trending up."
Did you learn to position TEs Isaiah Likely and Mark Andrews in the passing offense so they can be dynamic together? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Yes, there's only one ball. So, we have to kind of work off each other. A lot of times, Mark [Andrews] gets two [defenders] maybe on him, so that's time for us to get open. You saw that in the Pittsburgh game, you know, our critical play at the end of the half. Isaiah knows that, and when it's a one-on-one opportunity, we have to take advantage of that – everybody – receivers, tight ends, running backs, if we're put in that role, so I think they all understand that."
Are you confident this offense can be explosive with two tight ends? (Jonas Shaffer) "We're looking for opportunities in our room, and when we get those, we have to make it happen."
What have you seen from TE Travis Vokolek? (Kyle Barber) "Again, same thing. [He's] a rookie coming in [and] learning an offense that has a lot of different avenues to it. Run game, pass game and showing up like he is. We have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I'm anxious to see him out in preseason games. We think he's going to do well. He's definitely practicing that way. So, I'm impressed."
TE ISAIAH LIKELY
On if he is getting energy from Todd Monken's new offense: "For sure. Coach [Todd] Monken comes out there energetic every day at practice. Whether it's a Monday or a Saturday practice, it's the same every day. [He's] just putting that into the offense and having us feed off of him, it's been amazing."
On what he did in the offseason to come back as a more polished player: "I really just watched film on the little details and on the major details. [I] just really watched major games where I felt like I didn't play my best to help the team win. And then, [I] just stacked those days every day in the offseason and just really prepared and then just find my comfortability out here in OTAs and training camp so far."
On if he thinks he got the results he wanted from his work in the offseason:"I feel like I'm definitely improving."
On his takeaways from the Tight End U summit: "Really just seeing different tight ends with their unique skillset and how they really approach a game and different types of either route combinations or really in the blocking game and just seeing how they're coached, and then how we're coached here at the Ravens by [tight ends] Coach 'G' [George Godsey] and then really just applying them to the game."
On what he has to do to show the coaches he can be one of the players that can get consistent targets: "I feel like coach [Todd] Monken's going to put the ball in everybody's hands, really in the playmakers' hands. At the end of the day, everybody on this team's really trying to win the Super Bowl. So, whether I get eight targets a game, or whether I get one target a game, as long as the main focal point on this team and on this offense is winning, I'll be happy with any outcome."
On what he is doing to take the next steps forward as a player:"Really just being comfortable. As a rookie, I felt like I put a lot of weight on my shoulders, whether it was when I was starting some games where Mark [Andrews] wasn't there or really just finding my role in the offense in my rookie year. So, really just taking it one day at a time and really just being comfortable and learning the playbook and just attacking every day."
On if he sees an opportunity to be an inline blocker:"Definitely. I feel like the main quote, unquote knock coming into the league was [that] I couldn't block. So, really just keeping that as a focal point, hearing it and keeping it as really an initiative every day to get better as a blocker and seeing myself being able to put in lines, split out and in the slot."
On if he did something physically like put on muscle in the offseason to better himself: "For sure. I felt I played last year at 240 [pounds]. I'm now at 245. So, I did add some muscle and got a little bigger. So definitely."
On how much stress he and TE Mark Andrews want to put on defenses in two-tight end sets: "Really, we want to just make defenses start having to play off of us. If it's base personnel, you really want to have two tight ends. We'll have me and Mark [Andrews] be able to in [the] passing game. If they're in nickel, you really want to be able to run the ball. So, really just having them have no answer for our offense, and I really feel like that's the best way to be explosive."
On what it was like after a bad practice for the offense today and if the defense or coaches get after them:"I wouldn't say it's really coaches getting after us. At the end of the day, we're all pros. It's going to be a hard day for the offense. It was third-and-longs. As a defense, you want to be in those situations because you want your pass rush to get back there and you really want to be able to have the secondary be able to just make their plays and be special. So as an offense, it was really ...We were playing uphill today, and I felt like for the first time in this training camp, it was a learning experience. I mean, you could say the defense won, but in my head, we don't really lose, we just learn."
On if he and WR Zay Flowers have found a cool nickname for each other:"Right now, kind of, not really. We just really go off of whose voice you hear. So, if we're on the field at the same time, you could hear Coach say 'Big Zay' [or] 'Little Zay' every now and then. I know that's a little funny, but it is what it is."
On what helped him turn the corner as a blocker: "Really just not forgetting the little details when I go up to the line of scrimmage and in the run game. Really just fine tuning and understanding that I can do this. I'm a pro. They have me here for a reason and really just letting my talent shine."
TE CHARLIE KOLAR
On what he wanted to accomplish this offseason: "I knew with Josh [Oliver] and Nick [Boyle] leaving, there was a lot of reps available, blocking wise and stuff that I could just play an effective role in that. Obviously, just getting stronger and working on that was a big focus. I felt like I did a decent job, but just want to maintain that throughout the season."
On if he has a target playing weight: I'm 265 [pounds] right now. I try to keep an eye – I love cheeseburgers – so I have to like keep it a little bit down. It's always … Everyone like especially guys that aren't naturally ... They will lose weight as the season goes, so [I'm] just trying to keep as close as possible. But I feel pretty good right now [at] 265 or 270 [pounds], maybe. So, yes, I don't feel too bad."
On how the new system under offensive coordinator Todd Monken has been beneficial to him:"Yes, it's been great. [Offensive coordinator Todd Monken]'s done a great job. It's always interesting [to] learn a new offense [and] new terminology, but I really like 'Monk.' He has great energy. He involves every position group. Yes, I like him a lot. He's been fun to work for."
On what else he thinks it takes to become a high-level blocking tight end in the NFL: "Well, I had surgery at the beginning of training camp last year, so like most of the season [I was] just trying to get healthy. So, now to actually have an offseason, rehab my core and hips and everything back to stronger than what it was. Then that was great last year with Nick [Boyle] and Pat [Ricard] and Josh [Oliver]. It's like there's so many fine intricacies of your technique and your aiming points, your pad level, how to notice fronts and blitzes so you can react fast. So, [I'm] just trying to learn day by day. I was mostly [a] receiving [tight end] in college so just keep trying to learn. And yes, [tight ends coach] George [Godsey] is a great coach. It's been fun to work with those guys last year, and I like the room we have this year. So, [I'm] just trying to learn all the things and keep getting better a little bit every day."
On if he looks at this season without former TEs Josh Oliver and Nick Boyle as an opportunity to prove himself as a blocker:"Yes. For sure. Obviously, you want to be like the most complete tight end possible, but right now in this offense and the lion's share of the targets, with tight ends Mark [Andrews] and then … So, I'm just trying to do what I can to get on the field is the best way and try to develop the passing game and the blocking game. But like you said, right now it's … Obviously, there's more reps in the blocking world, so if I can keep getting better and [more] effective with that, I think there's a lot of opportunity there."
On if his coaches have talked to him about your potentials as a blocker because of his impressive wingspan for an average size: "Thank you. Thanks. I've never been complimented before on my wingspan, but I appreciate it. I mean, I wasn't super strong in college. I was long and … I played at like 255 [or] 260 [pounds] in college, but I was a little fat. (laughter)So now, I'm just trying to like really get stronger and just … Like, I'm a similar weight, I just [have] a little better body composition, and part of that is just learning how to eat better [and] train better. But I mean there's a lot of … I'm long-limbed. I have long arms, so definitely just try to keep [and] maintain. I feel like for this camp, I've been pretty much at 265 [pounds] the whole time. I don't feel that heavy, so as long as I can keep adding good weight, I think definitely that's an option."
On how beneficial it was having veteran tight ends when he was rehabbing from surgery as a rookie: "[It was] huge. That's one of the biggest … Obviously, it sucked. You never want to come in, and the first thing you do is have surgery, like the first or second week, so trying to just like focus as much as possible day by day, where, even though it feels a long way away when you're going to be playing, just trying to learn a little bit and watch them when they do some stuff, ask their opinion on the film, pick their brain on different looks, like what do they think of this three-point? How do they attack a five-tech [technique] versus a six-tech [technique] and just different stuff. I'm just trying to take a little bit, day by day and just listen and try not to ask too many questions all the time. [I was] really just trying to pick up little bits and pieces because there's so many intricacies of these vets who have been playing for eight, 10 [or] 12 years. They're just so good at these little things. You watch Morgan [Moses]; These guys do that stuff. So, [I'm] just trying to learn little things from those guys. So, yes, it was awesome. It was awesome."
On what he made of the team signing a lot of big playmakers in the offseason:"Obviously, you can't not notice it, but one thing having the veterans last year helped me this year, is what can you do today? So, me worrying about a target share is just a total waste of time. So, [I'm] just focusing on exactly what I can do today to be better, how I can help the team tomorrow [and] how I can help the team today – it's like I really don't think about it that much. Also, they're all just great dudes and fun to work with. You know, OBJ [Odell Beckham Jr.] … Bringing in Odell, everyone wants to ask how Odell is, and he's been nothing but a great teammate. You always hear about these big-name guys, and then you get to know them and they're just dudes. They're great teammates. They're good people. They're funny. They work hard. They're football guys. It's been fun to work with those guys. I don't think there's any way that can be a bad thing."
On he dealt with the injury last year mentally: "Obviously, there were some tough times. You want to play, and it's tough. Like I said with the same question, I try to take it day by day. Have you guys ever seen that Klay Thompson commercial where it's like, 'Win each day.' Do you know what I'm talking about? That was funny because I hate commercials [and] streaming services – sorry, I can go on a lot of tangents about that – but it's actually a great commercial because injuries … It's really interesting if you look at my life or athletes, usually the hardest mental struggles come with the physical stuff. You have a surgery or anything like that – all the athletes can attest it – it's just about taking it one day at a time and taking it one treatment at a time and then one meal at a time. Because if you look at it from the big picture, it's just so long and difficult. So, yes, [I'm] just trying to stay as present where my feet are at is the best thing that I can do. Obviously, there's times that I'm not good at that, but that's the best thing."
On how this new offensive system and spreading the ball around will affect the tight ends: "Like you said, with the receiver thing, there's so many things in this league that I've learned in one year that you just can't control. So, learning from 'G-Ro' [former offensive coordinator Greg Roman] last year [there were] some really great things. Learning from 'Monk' [offensive coordinator Todd Monken] there's some really great things. They're just different. So, with a different offense, obviously Monk is – you can tell watching it – there have been lighter personnel, more 11 and 12, less 21 and 13. So, there's just different opportunities, [I'm] just trying to figure out ways that you can effectively impact and help the offense. It's just like trying to find ways to help the team, and it's definitely been different."
On if his dad was a coach and helped you work out this summer:"Nope. Not me. It's OK. I mean, I love my dad, but he just wasn't my ... He was my basketball coach growing up, but never football, really."
If he went back to watch any of offensive coordinator Todd Monken's film from college: "They'll show some film. [Georgia] had two great tight ends last year. They had [Darnell] Washington and [Brock] Bowers. Yes, he'll show some clips in the [offense] install stuff. They had a ton of yards. They had really interesting stuff with the screen game. They had a good vertical passing attack. It was definitely interesting. I mostly just pick up stuff that he puts in the playbook. I didn't watch many games."