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Transcripts: Ravens Training Camp Availability (8/7)


Opening statement:OK, [it's] good to see everybody here. We sure appreciate you being here. [We] had the governor out today, so that was a big honor. Governor [Wes] Moore was here. He's an athlete – football and a baseball guy. So, we sure appreciate that. [It was a] good, tough practice today [in] pads. [It was] hot, humid, and I thought our guys were very intentional about bringing up the winning football aspect of what we're doing and staying out of that realm of below the line. [We] did a really good job of that. [There were] a lot less mistakes today than there were over the weekend. I was just really happy with that. Our guys are just … They're locked in. It matters to them. They're going very hard, and I'm proud of them for it. What questions do you have?" 

We saw WR Odell Beckham Jr. Leave the field and go to the locker room earlier. Is there a status on him? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, [it was] just a rep count. He had enough. His numbers were there. [He] worked hard, had a great day, I thought, and we're just going to monitor that as we go. Like we said, we'll be smart about it. There's no injury." 

FB Patrick Ricard was practicing with the offensive linemen in his return to practice after his injury. Is that something that will be looked at? (Bo Smolka) "We're looking at that. We're looking at that. It's just a multitude role kind of thing. Pat [Ricard]'s quite an athlete. He can do a lot of different things, and maybe we expand his role just a little bit for a little bit of time here and see how he does. So, we're going to look at that." 

It was the first day with the switch of G John Simpson and G/T Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu at left guard. How do you think it went for both of them? (Timothy Dashiell) "It went really well for both of them, thanks. I don't think there's anything to read into it from a depth chart standpoint. It's more just 'hey, let's give John a chance with the ones and give Sala a chance with the twos and continue to get reps. They both had the same number of reps. So, I thought they both did very well today." 

Did you notice a pickup in intensity this week since Saturday is the first preseason game? (Cordell Woodland) "I thought the intensity stayed at the same level. I thought we picked up in intentionality in terms of trying to be on point [like] fewer mistakes, those kind of things, and that's what camp should be. We've just got to keep improving steadily every single day in those areas, and I thought they did a really good job of that." 

Is this a practice that you are preparing for Saturday's game? (Cordell Woodland) "No. We really don't ever prepare for the preseason games, really, it's just we're getting ready for the regular season." 

At one point at practice, TE Mark Andrews slipped. We didn't see a ton of him afterwards, was that just precautionary? (Jason La Canfora) "Yes, he's OK. I mean he just … It's hot. It was towards the end of practice. Sometimes, I get like, 'OK, we're good, we're good.'" 

I know you said you don't prepare for preseason games, but the team hasn't lost in the preseason in a long time. What does that say? (Kris Rhim) "Give the players the credit. That's who deserves it. They've done a great job over the years, and I believe it means a lot to the guys that have played in those games." 

K Justin Tucker only kicks on certain days and has a schedule. Was P Jordan Stout practicing kicking today just in case there's an emergency situation in a game? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Right. That's exactly what it is. The good thing about [punter] Jordan [Stout] is he did it in college for a while. So, he can do it. You saw he kicked great – that was a great kick, right? The operation was really good. You have to be prepared for everything, right?" 

Any chance FB Patrick Ricard takes some reps on the offensive line after seeing him with them at the beginning of practice? (Childs Walker) "Well, we were just talking … There's a chance he'll take some reps there. We just want to look at it right now and see what it looks like. If you feel good about it, then keep moving with it. It's kind of late, so he'd have to really look good for us to do that. But with Pat [Ricard], you never know. I wouldn't count him out." 

You've had some cornerbacks banged up at practice. Someone like DB Brandon Stephens who we've seen play all positions in the defensive backfield, how valuable is it to have someone like that especially in a gameday setting where you could have some players go down? (Luke Jones) "That's right. [It's] hugely valuable for Brandon's versatility. He can play every position and be very good. We were just talking to him in the walk-through this morning about it [and] today before practice about it. What a blessing that is and a plus for our team." 


Opening Statement:"First of all, I just wanted to thank [you all] for the opportunity to be in front of [you all]. For me just coming back is a privilege being back in Baltimore, being back in the state of Maryland where I'm from. So, I'm excited to be here, man. I'm honored to be a part of the Baltimore Ravens. [Are there] any questions that you guys have?" 

Could you talk about the process of you coming back – there were talks of you becoming a defensive coordinator around the league. How did this opportunity come about? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Well, unfortunately, I didn't get the defensive coordinator job there [in Philadelphia]. It's just another step, another learning experience. When I didn't get the job, things kind of transpired – I won't talk about all that – but when it all transpired, Coach [John] Harbaugh gave me a call [and asked if] would I be interested in joining the team, and I jumped at it. To be a DB coach for the Baltimore Ravens organization, you can't beat that. There's a standard that's set here, and I was blessed and fortunate that he gave me a call." 

How quickly did that opportunity present itself, and how quickly did you say yes?_ (Jonas Shaffer) _"It was a quick turnaround. Obviously, we went our separate ways in Philly. I had a couple other teams reach out to me at the same time. Obviously, I was just up the road – an hour or so – and my family is there, trying to get situated, and I have family ... I'm coming back home. So, it's a dream for me to be a Raven. Coaching professionally in the state you grew up in, you can't beat that. So, it was quick, and it wasn't a hard decision for me to make." 

You're coming onto a staff where pass game coordinator/secondary coach Chris Hewitt has been here awhile. Is there a lot of overlap between what you guys do, and how do you set that up? (Childs Walker) "[The] things that I like to do, and things that [pass game coordinator/secondary coach] Chris [Hewitt] likes to do, we kind of blended it. One thing about this defensive staff [is] everybody is tight knit. There [are] no egos. We are here for one purpose, and that purpose is [to] make the players the best they can be. So, to me, it's not about an ego. I'm not going to be selfish. Chris wasn't selfish. We attack the day every day, we try to get these guys better, and at the end of the day, the way they play is the way we're going to coach them." 

What is one thing you wanted to emphasize this year compared to last year? (Mike Preston) "The big thing … Our big thing is this: the ball travels further and faster in the air than it does on the ground, and we have to eliminate the explosive plays [and] we have to keep the passing yards down. But the biggest thing is attacking the ball with violence. We have to create way more turnovers and take the ball away for our offense. The two big winning factors in football [are] explosive plays and takeaways. So, we have to stop the explosive plays, and we have to give the ball back to our offense."  

What's it been like coaching some of these versatile players that can play in multiple positions like S Kyle Hamilton and DB Brandon Stephens who have played both corner and safety? (Cordell Woodland) "It's great because you know in this game, the more you can do the better. And those young men, they can pick up things [and] they can grab things fast. They are real intelligent football players. So, they will come out there, and when they switch positions, there might be a mistake or two, but they get it corrected. They come back better every day. It's a blessing to coach a guy like Kyle Hamilton. He has endless potential, and as a coach, it's our jobs to get everything out of him so he reaches his full potential." 

What are you looking for from guys competing for the second cornerback spot since CB Rock Ya-Sin is out? (Garrett Downing) "Competition makes everybody better. It's like iron sharpens iron, right? So, when those guys come out here, we want to see who can consistently do the right things over and over again. It's not always about the flash plays – it's about the technique and fundamentals. Where are the eyes at? If they can build on the small stuff, and each day they start to get better and better, the battle itself will take care of itself. Do you know what I mean? So, with Rock [Ya-Sin] being out, it provides opportunities for young guys to get more reps, and it makes us a better unit." 

What are you seeing in CB Jalyn Armour-Davis? Where are you seeing his growth? (Ryan Mink) "Jalyn [Armour-Davis] has all of the tools. He has good footwork. He has top-end speed. The biggest thing with him is just consistency. [For] any great player or good player in the National Football League, they are consistent on a daily basis. So, some of the days that he comes out, 'Hey, we need to ramp it up a little bit more,' and he's gaining confidence on every play. [If] you notice, he's always in position. Now, it's about finishing when the ball is in the air." 

We've seen DB Ar'Darius Washington take a lot of first team reps in the slot. What do you like about him there? (Childs Walker) "'AD' is versatile. He has outstanding speed. He's a good athlete. He's quick. The thing about him [is] he's a smaller man, but he's still physical. So, he gives you a lot of versatility to line up against the small slot receivers in the National Football League."  

After coaching last year in Philadelphia, what have you learned about CB Marlon Humphrey from being with him every day, and what makes him special? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Marlon [Humphrey] isn't comfortable where he's at. Do you understand what I'm saying? And players, when they get comfortable, they kind of fall to the wayside. Since I've been here, Marlon has been a sponge. He asks a lot of questions. He'll revert back to some of the players I've coached in the past and [asked], 'How did they do this?' So, he's trying to incorporate everything in his game. Marlon wants to be the best in the business, and he's working every day to try and get there. He has high goals for himself and so do we for him." 

The fourth quarter was an issue last year for quarterback rating, one of the worst completion percentage from a defensive standpoint and high yards per attempt. How much of a point of emphasis is that?_ (Jason LaCanfora)_ "Oh, it's a huge point of emphasis. Look, in this game, the fourth quarter, and the way you finish defines you as a football team – period. It doesn't matter if it's the first quarter, the play on the ball. It's about finishing. So, we obviously had the conversations, talking to the young men, when they get in a situation like that – in two-minute situations [in the] red zone – they have to slow their heartbeat down. They have to focus on the little things and keep the main thing the main thing. When they do that and play with their eyes faster than their feet, they start to make plays, and that's what we've been hitting with the guys. Each day, Coach [John] Harbaugh does a great job of situational football, and they're getting better at it." 

How does it help the defense get better when they're going against this receiving corps?_ (Cordell Woodland)_ "Like I said: iron sharpens iron, right? If you get a chance to go against Odell [Beckham Jr.] every day, [and] you get a chance to go against Zay [Flowers and] all the guys we have, of course you're going to get better, right? They're going to challenge you. They're going to make their fair share of plays, and we're going to make ours. But if you can make plays against Odell on a consistent basis – or now and then – you get better as a football team or a football player. So, [it's been good] having those guys there, and Odell has been great. There're certain things that Marlon [Humphrey] might do that Odell will come to me and say, 'Hey, Marlon should probably keep doing this, because he's better against me when he does this.' So, it's good having guys like that, vets." 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but with Philadelphia, I think there's a different approach to training camp practices. What has stuck out to you about how head coach John Harbaugh does things here? (Jonas Shaffer) "Philly … Yes, Philly does have a different approach. [There's] not as many reps, but here, with the reps that we get, the young guys get a ton of reps here. So, with the young guys getting [reps], you develop those players faster. The vets, they might have their certain amount of plays, and then we're able to get them out and let these young guys come in here. So, [with] the way this schedule is here, you're kind of building … You're building your frontline guys, but you're building your backline up too. So, it's been great being here. It's kind of like I'm used to when I first was in this league, and I love it." 


On taking first-team reps in training camp:"It's always a positive thing. Any player … That's what we're paid to do. We all want to play; there's always competition across the board. It's always a great thing, but right now, honestly, it doesn't mean anything to me. It's a long camp; there are a lot of reps to be had. So, at the end of the day, regardless of what team I'm playing on, you've got to try to be your best and build on consistency." 

On his perspective regarding his rookie season and how he took that perspective into the summer:"[It was] a lesson, for sure. There were some ups and downs – more downs than up – but at the end of the day, it was things that I learned from. At the end of the day, I was able to experience some things. I was able to pick up on things – things I did well; things I didn't do well; things that I will want to feel again and things I would never want to feel again. So, at the end of the day, I was able to learn from it and build on it going into the next year." 

On what he'd like to show during camp:"Growth – just growth as a player – being healthy. As a defensive back, technique. My biggest thing is trying to build on consistency. Having ups and downs … It's nice when you can make a good play every now and then, but you can't give up plays. So, my main thing is being consistently rising [with] no ups and downs in a heartbeat. Just trying to consistently go up – that's my main thing." 

On going up against the Ravens wide receivers this training camp:"It's definitely challenging. They all bring something different to the table – not just the first team, but all three teams, really, man. It's a very talented room. But it makes practice great; that's what we're here to do. Iron sharpens iron, and I definitely think that's what they bring to the table. [They bring] a lot of explosiveness – and of course with our quarterbacks, as well. So, it's great competition. That's what we live for, for sure." 

On what stands out about WR Zay Flowers:"[Zay Flowers is] very quick [and] very explosive – very." (laughter) 

On if he feels more confidence with every rep and every practice:"A hundred percent. I'll say, that's really my biggest thing right now – is just building every single day. Even if you don't have your best day, learning from whatever you did wrong that day and just building on not bringing the negativity to the next day. And even from last year, even when I wasn't playing, just coming out to practice every day and finding something to learn from. Whether I was playing on Sunday or just practicing throughout the week – just find something to build on. That's been my main thing since I've gotten here, really." 

On if there has been chatter and if he senses anticipation for the Ravens' first preseason game on Saturday:"I wouldn't say so – not necessarily. We're really just trying to take it a day at a time – just really being where our feet are today, which is Monday. So, we're focusing on Monday practice [and] not really talking too much about Saturday. I'm pretty sure, the closer we get, the more we'll talk about it. But today, we're just trying to get better." 

On if the defense celebrated their practice performance from Saturday:"Not necessarily like after practice or anything like that. I mean, at the end of the day, the offense was in a tough situation. It was situational football, and we did what we were supposed to do, so we're not going to really blow it up too much or anything like that. But to do that is always exciting. At the moment, we were pretty excited about it, but at the end of the day, we understood that the offense … Their back was against the wall the entire day, and we knew that coming into the practice, so we don't really blow it up too much." 

On learning to cover inside and how comfortable he feels lined up in the slot:"Nickel – it's not really too much of a problem for me. When I was at Alabama, I really kind of … I played everything. I played outside – left, right – I played the nickel. In the National Championship game, I was playing dime. So, I've kind of had some experience, at [every] point, so whenever I'm out here, just wherever the coaches ask me to be, I'm prepared to be able to perform at my highest level. So, it doesn't really matter too much to me." 

On offensive coordinator Todd Monken's offense:"Oh, man. [Offensive coordinator Todd Monken] just knows how to attack the defense, and he shows different things. It's not really a steady of just a single dose of certain things, so that you can just gameplan for it. It's going to come in different directions – inside, outside – motions [and] all kinds of things. You've got to be disciplined with your eyes, [and] you've got to be disciplined with your technique or it can be very explosive. He brings a lot to the table, so I'm excited for it when the season starts, for sure." 

On the defensive backs' nominal fining and reward system for practice performance:"Yes, [on] a day like Saturday, we made some money. We made our own money back, at the end of the day, because [for] the things that we do wrong, we have to put it [money] into a pot. So, if we play well enough, and we put enough money in the pot to cancel out what we did wrong, then it's that. But it's all based on performance, as a group – well, individually, and the pot is going to be as a group. So, we've just got to play well, and [then] you won't have to lose money, at the end of the day." (laughter) 


On how the start of training camp has been for him:"It's been going good. You know, plugging in at different positions. That's kind of been the story of my career here, but I'm starting to get more comfortable every day. [We're] building [rapport] with one another. It's been a good start. This week is a big week for all of us, so we're just ready to show what we can do [in the preseason game] on Saturday." 

On what he says when people ask him what position he plays:"Oh that's simple, I just say 'DB.' [I] do it all, man."  

On if he likes having versatility as a player and will he one day choose a position:"Yes, I take pride in being able to do all the positions in the secondary. It's a blessing that I can do that, because not many people can do that and do it effectively, but yes, I take pride in it."  

On how he has gone about learning different positions: "A lot of it is just … my safety reps has helped a lot with knowing with what the nickel and the corner does, because, as a safety, you have to know what all three positions do. So that's helped me with each position, and I just take it day by day." 

On the key to being successful as a slot corner: "Yes, it's 'mano a mano.' Just win your match up. If it's man [defense], just win the matchup. That's all it is … and that goes for all three positions, whether it's corner, nickel safety. It's 'mano a mano.' It's buckle up [and] win the matchup." 

On if it helps having someone like S Kyle Hamilton on the team and if they help each other: "Absolutely. We talk about it all the time whether we're in meetings, out here, obviously, or eating lunch together, we're always talking, trying to help each other just so we're all playing faster and playing on one accord." 

On what he wants to show in the competition for corner or safety: "I'm just [going to] show my ability. [I'm going to] show I can be that 'CB2,' that nickel starter. There's no doubt in my mind that whatever position I do play, that I can play at a high level. That's what training camp is for, that's what the pre-season games are for. It's to show that I belong to be 'CB2' or Nickel, or whatever it is." 

On what was the one thing he did in the offseason to come back better this season: "All offseason, my whole career, I train as if I'm a corner. I think that's the key to playing all three positions, because they all translate to each position. I think that's helped over the offseason."  

On if the playbook studying is different for all three positions: "Like I said, just playing safety, that's what helped me know what each position responsibility is. There [are] intricate parts to each position, and you just have to know how to play it and just go from there." 

On the resource that DB Coach Dennard Wilson has been to the team: "Coach Dennard [Wilson] has been awesome. He's been awesome. He's really a student of the game, and I think the whole defensive back room, I think we all appreciate it and as well Coach Chris [Hewitt]. They're always on the same page, but just having Dennard come in has been a huge help." 

On how it is covering WR Zay Flowers one on one: "Man, they didn't give him the nickname 'Joystick' for no reason, but it's been an awesome matchup with him."