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Transcripts: Ravens Training Camp Day 1 Availability (7/26)


Opening statement: "OK, great to see everybody. [I] appreciate you being here. It's pretty exciting. [There's a] great media turnout. Thanks for coming. Great kids' turnout, right? We've got kids everywhere, running around out here, and that's what it's all about. I'm reminded of the picture that I've really seen so many times of [former Baltimore Colts quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer] Johnny Unitas taking a picture with a young fan back in the 70's – got to be the 70's. [It was with] a little boy about, probably, 10, 11 years old, in a white buttoned-up collar, all dressed up like he was going to Sunday School; that was [owner] Steve Bisciotti. And that's what it's all about – always has been; always will be. So, welcome back. What questions do you have?" 

How did you like the tempo today? I know some guys have been practicing for a little while, but for the first day of full-team practice, what did you think? _(Jamison Hensley) _"It was a good start. It was a very good start. I thought the guys worked really hard, [and] they were ready to go. It's definitely a stepladder, [and] we're working our way up, in terms of intensity. This is our first practice; it will probably be our least-overall quote-unquote intense practice, because there's a lot of mental work going on there and things like that. We want to bring them into football shape as well as we can." 

WR Odell Beckham Jr. seemed a little more comfortable out there today. Are you seeing that, as well? _(Melissa Kim) _"I did [see that]. It seems to be that Odell [Beckham Jr.] has a good plan, and I see him working himself on a schedule to be ready to start the season. I think you saw that today. It's interesting you noticed that, because that's exactly what I saw, too. And he's definitely not where he's going to be, but you could see the step from minicamp, so that was a good step in the right direction." 

What did you see from QB Lamar Jackson today? _(Brian Wacker) _"I thought [Lamar Jackson] looked good. It's definitely always … We're building it; it's new. There are going to be things … Lamar is a perfectionist. He wants everything exactly right, and I like that about him. So, we've got a long way to go, but we've got some time to get there." 

By adding offensive coordinator Todd Monken, first-round pick WR Zay Flowers and WR Odell Beckham Jr., do you believe you've put QB Lamar Jackson in the best position possible to take that next step? _(Jamison Hensley) _"I don't know [about] 'best.' We'll do the best we can. I think we've done the best we can, and I think we're really good. I think we have a chance to be a really, really good football team. So, everybody [does] their part every day; let's see where we go." 

How have you seen WR Zay Flowers really step up, even as a rookie? _(Valerie Preactor) _"Zay [Flowers] has been … I'm just nothing but impressed with everything he's done. He's just been … He's been … He kind of … You get the feel like he's not a rookie; you get the feel like he's a veteran. He just seems really mature. I think what he's been through in his life as a player and as a person – his family and things like that, [and he's got a] great family – has gotten him to this point so far. And again, we'll take it one day at a time." 

You're short a few guys. We haven't seen RB J.K. Dobbins all offseason. What's going on with that situation? _(Morgan Adsit) _"That's a J.K. [Dobbins] question. It's a … I wish it was a simple answer. There are always a lot of things that go into football, but there is some complexity to it, and we're working through all that, [and] J.K. is working through it, and I'm looking forward to when he's out there." 

With RB J.K. Dobbins' absence, where do you think he will be, physically, once returning to the field? _(Morgan Adsit) _"It's really hard to make a measurement like that. I don't know that there's a measurement. I know [J.K. Dobbins] will get ready. He's in all the meetings – mentally – and doing those kinds of things. And then I also believe this about J.K. – he'll be happy when he's out there. He wants to be out there, and we both want the same thing." 

We've seen you guys put together great regular seasons, and you have great individual players. What do you think it will take to be that great team that you want to be at the end of the year? _(Cordell Woodland) _"Right, well, all the things that go into it … Over the years, we've been great finishers, in terms of December and January football, and I do think the last four or five years, that has not been the case, and we had been playing good football. Last year, I thought we were playing really good football – our best football of the season – and we just didn't play winning football in certain ways, and those plays bite you in games like that, and that's kind of how it went. So, we've got to play winning football at the end of the season. We've got to do everything we can to be as healthy as we can be. And our guys are … I think we're built … I think we're building something for the long haul; that's what we try to do. Let's see if we can get it done." 

You said that QB Lamar Jackson is a perfectionist. Is there something that he did today, or are you just saying that more generally? Is there an example you can provide? _(Kyle Goon) _"Oh, yes, every day. If [Lamar Jackson] doesn't get a word right, if he doesn't get a snap count right, if a motion is not right or something like that, a read is not right, he's hard on himself, and you appreciate that about him." 

What do you like about RB Melvin Gordon III? _(Kris Rhim) _"Melvin [Gordon III] is a pro. I had a chance to get to know him up close. We've known him as a defense; now we get to see him as a teammate. He's very excited to be here; he's very excited to make a statement about where he's at in his career, for sure. I thought he looked really good out there today. Physically, he ran the conditioning test really well, [and] he's in great shape. I'm really happy we have him." 

Did the conditioning test remain the same this year, and did everybody pass? (Jeff Zrebiec) _"It stayed the same, and everybody passed it. They did a good job with it. I'm happy with the guys. You seem surprised by that. You kind of seem surprised by that." _(Reporter: "That everybody passed it?")"Yes." (laughter) 

How do you balance your thoughts on what you're seeing now, knowing that they don't even have the pads on? (David Andrade) "I don't know how to balance it exactly, other than the fact that we just have work to do. It's a process, so we've got work to do – it's daily. Let's take it one day at a time. Let's make the most of the moment. Let's have a good play, let's have a good day, and let's go from there." 

Getting back to the running backs, what have you seen from RB Keaton Mitchell so far? (Luke Jones) "I think [Keaton Mitchell] comes from really good bloodlines – fast. [There's] a lot of speed in that family, and he's got it. Really, also, I'd say [he's] very determined, very confident, [has a] great personality. He's got a shot … He's got a shot in this league." 

And did you get any indication of a timeline for RB J.K. Dobbins? _(Luke Jones) _"No, I really wouldn't be able to say at this time."  

Do you know when WR Rashod Bateman and OLB Tyus Bowser might be able to return?_ (Jeff Zrebiec) _"Yes, absolutely. Both those guys [Rashod Bateman and Tyus Bowser] … It's hard to categorize it, but I would say [that] both those guys are dealing with things that are kind of like side issues to their recovery, so [there were] no setbacks. Tyus' Achilles is fine. Bateman's Lisfranc surgery is good; he's fine. But with that, sometimes other areas compensate and get a little sore, and that's what we're dealing with. There are some timelines to that; I really don't want to share them right now, but they're reasonable timelines. And we'll be excited when they get back." 

How do you think CB Marlon Humphrey looked today? He didn't get the ball thrown his way much. _(Kyle Barber) _"Yes, maybe they were throwing away from [Marlon Humphrey]; you'll have to ask the quarterbacks and Coach [Todd] Monken. But I think Marlon is in great shape, and maybe … He's a hard-working guy. I think he's really determined to have a great season." 

How do you feel like this set the tone for what you guys want to do during the rest of training camp and the preseason? _(Sherree Burress) _"It's just a good start. I knew that they were going to come out and be into it and be excited and be a little nervous, obviously, but I thought they did a good job of taking care of one another. And really, these guys know how to pace themselves. They're pros; they're workers. So, it's time to get to work." 

How different is the pace of this camp, offensively, since you are installing a brand-new offense? _(Gerry Sandusky) _"Yes, that's a good question. I think the pace stays the same, actually. I think it's a good point. I think that guys probably are thinking terminology more, so there may be some more terminology issues; 'Oh, I thought it was this,' or, 'I made that check,' or, 'We used to call it this coverage' – whatever. But we'll get through all that." 

You mentioned during minicamp that T Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu was going to have a chance to win that left guard job. He got some run today with the Ones. For a late-round pick to spend some time with the Ones on Day One, what does that say about him? _(Tim Barbalace) _"[Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu] deserves a lot of credit for working his way into position – 'Sala,' we're talking about – to get some time with the Ones. That's something he's earned, because of what he's done since he's been here so far. And [as] you know, [we'll take it] one day at a time." 


On the first day of training camp:"Yes, it was a good first day. I think it was a little bit shorter than the usual first day, but it was all by design. I think we wanted to get more high yardage without as much as drag. I think it worked really well. I think a lot of guys got really good work in, but less volume. It was a good first day."  

On what he thinks about WR Odell Beckham Jr. coming back after injury:"He looked good. He looked good for the day he was out at mini-camp, and I tried to connect with him down in Miami, he invited me down there. So, I know he was training. I know he feels great. I was actually kind of watching his pre-practice routine; it was pretty long. I'm always trying to figure different ways to get warmed up. He's got a pretty good system, he does. I'm always trying to add to my routine. [It] looked good. I'm really excited for 'The OBJ Era.' I think that combo can be really special." 

On impressions of offense from the other side as a defender: "Yes, it's really early to tell, but based off how I've talked with the guys, and I ask them how do they like it, what's the differences between [former offensive coordinator Greg Roman] to this one. A lot of them seem to say it's a lot more simple. It's pretty, sometimes football can be complicated, and sometimes it can be pretty simple. So, from what the guys have said, it sounds like, I know we've got the players, sometimes simple might be the better [way to go], sometimes some game plans are a little more complicated. From what I'm hearing and what I am seeing, it's looking pretty good."  

On what makes WR Zay Flowers so dynamic: "He's a young player, but a lot of times you get in front of a younger guy, they're not as polished. Usually, a lot of [times], they're just kind of raw talent, there's a lot that they might have to work on, different things. As I've gotten older in the league, you guard more and more rookies. But he's pretty polished. He definitely has that South Florida route running, breaking, cutting, that Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy. He has that X-factor that a lot of those South Florida guys have. We had one of those guys in Hollywood [Marquise Brown], and you add Zay [Flowers] – I think the sky is the limit with our receiving corps."  

On what it was like seeing CB Rock Ya-Sin and S Kyle Hamilton in practice today: "I've loved Rock since he's gotten here, along with Kyle. I'm really excited to see Kyle in a bigger role this year as far as starting safety, obviously playing some nickel [and] gameplan. He's a guy that can play anywhere, but for now we've got him predominantly as safety, but we're really excited to see him go there. Then Rock, we talk all the time about different things. He's trying to take stuff from my game, [and] I'm trying to take stuff from his. So, I really like the group of corners that we have. I'm excited to see how many corners we can have. Being in this league for so long, you can never have too many good corners. I know we just signed Arthur [Maulet] today. You can never have too many good corners, and Rock adds to that room really well."  

On making Top 100 players in the NFL list: "Coaches asked me today if were 91 guys better than me. We'll see. Any sort of ranking that players put out, it's always an honor. I don't really take any recognition lately when it comes to peers' recognition. It's a cool thing. It sucks when you're not on it, I do know that. But being high, it's cool. That's about it." 

On if he is working on anything in particular about his game:"For me, it's … The good thing about having really good wide receivers is a lot of different releases, a lot of different speeds, a lot of different guys' tempos. For me, I want to get back to winning in press man. Winning in the first five yards should I say. I think I can stop with anybody. I think I can run with anybody, but I want to make my job a lot easier at the line of scrimmage. So, trying to get in front of Zay [Flowers], Odell [Beckham Jr.], [Rashod] Bateman, [James] Proche, [Devin] Duvernay. Trying to get in front of these guys and try to get hands on them. I really want to try to make these guys better, but also make myself better as well. I think the more competitive battles we can have at the line of scrimmage … I want the hardest corner, any of our wide receivers, to see is me, Rock [Ya-Sin] and the guys we have at corner. That's the biggest thing. I'm trying to lead that room, and everybody follow up. There's not a big gap from the best guy to the worst guy. We want to have that gap as small as possible. I think if we can do that, we will be very successful." 

On his impressions of new DBs Coach Dennard Wilson and Eagles DB Darius Slay's comments on Wilson: "[Darius] Slay, who should've been a Raven, which [I'm] still disappointed in that. He told me a lot about him. Since I've gotten here, I've been nothing but excited. I think [Wilson] and Coach Chris [Hewitt] are very similar in coaching styles. Coming into this year, we wanted to be the best secondary in the league. I think Coach Chris [Hewitt] has elevated his game. I think all the players have elevated their game. Everyone in the room, we've made as a collective ... We decided, 'Let's all step up. Let's all take a step up.' I think coach Dennard [Wilson] was the perfect piece to that pie to make it full. [I'm] really excited to get coached up underneath him, and hopefully we'll be the best secondary in the league." 

On why he wore the padded Guardian Cap on his helmet despite DBs not being required to wear it:"Gus [Edwards] is my locker mate, and I told him I'm going to hit him at some point this training camp to see if he's ready to go. It was really just talk, but now I have the Cap on, so I guess I have to stick to my word. If I get run over by Gus, or if I knock him back, either one, don't be surprised. That was just a joke with Gus. I think I'm going to keep it on and maybe get a little contact this training camp. [The equipment staff] said you're supposed to be cooler with it on. I don't know if that's true or not, because I felt hotter today. I am the outlier with the Guardian Cap, but I don't really care too much about the look anyway. As you see, my swag is not the best, but that was a joke with Gus [Edwards]. Now, I have to keep it on for sure because J.K [Dobbins] was talking smack to me on the sideline today. So, I have to hit him when he comes back." 

On the impact of the hot weather over the next few days at training camp: "I think it makes a man amongst boys for sure. Those hot days, they're obviously really tough. I don't know if we play any AFC South games early. I'm not sure of the schedule, but those days are always fun. They're not really fun going through them or after or the days to come, but you talk about them, they're good memories. It's always good to get those really hot weather practices just to see … It's a mental battle within each player. Mistakes go higher, you want to try to limit those. So, it's really a mental game when it's those really hot days like we have I think [this] Friday." 

On how the new offense is set up to hopefully benefit QB Lamar Jackson:"To answer your question, yes. I think with Tee [Martin] being the new QBs coach, [Todd] Monken coming in, the weapons we have, Lamar [Jackson's] going to be Lamar no matter what. The added style, him being able to be more flexible with what Lamar wants to do. You look at the top quarterbacks in the league, they get the call, they look at everything, and they kind of make their own decisions. When you not necessarily take that away, but when you give that green light to your quarterback, I think things just open up tremendously. Nobody can see it better than the guy that's looking at it all. With the new ability that he can do, I think this is a great situation for Lamar, and then [if] everybody just puts it all together, then it'll be great." 

On how he or the team can offer anything different this year:"Yes, I think so. I think I've said before, on paper we look great. It's just all about proving it this year. We have one of those teams where you look … There aren't not many holes. There might be a couple cracks, but there's not really any holes in any of the things we can do. There are so many guys that can step up and fill in those cracks. It's all there. It's just putting it all together, earning it and not being a paper team [but] being a real-life team." 

On the effect having S Marcus Williams calling out more of the defensive plays will influence him:"I've really noticed a change with Marcus Williams. He's been a lot more vocal this year. Hopefully, as camp goes on, Kyle [Hamilton] will get going. Marcus is coaching me, yelling at me. He's coaching Kyle, he's coaching Rock [Ya-Sin]. I'm better when I'm told what to do, told what to see, work off my guy. That's just how I've been since [former Raven] Eric Weddle was here, since [former Raven] Earl [Thomas] was here, since all of my safeties have been here. I want the safety to put me in the right position and go like that. It was crazy that Marcus [Williams] was doing it playing corner which was crazy on the opposite side. I think Marcus Williams has really taken a big step with that as far as coaching guys, holding guys accountable. That's been a big difference this year." 


On how Year Six feels in comparison to other training camps:"Year Six for me. I feel young still, even though I'm not old. But yes, I feel more experienced. I'm just glad to be back out here, being around my guys and being around the coaches. The atmosphere feels different. It smells different. It's probably the popcorn right now, but it smells different." 

On how Year Six feels different: "Like I said, [it's] just experience and the guys … All I know is our guys have more pep in their step. I don't know if it's Year Six for me, and I'm just realizing it – because you know Ravens always play fast – but it's like it's different now. It's different." 

On first impressions of what you're seeing from the offense: "Right now, I feel like it's a slow ramp up and it's … Well, not really. I feel like it's been going pretty fast. My guys [are] dialing in the playbook. [It] looks like they learned more in the offseason – during the offseason – with that little month off after minicamp. Our guys came back ready, and everyone looks explosive. So, I would say it's fast, not really slow." 

On what the workout season with WRs Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr. in Miami was like: "Those guys … I feel like those guys are ready. I knew they were going to come in ready. Zay [Flowers] – his new name is 'Joystick' because how he is moving out there is so swift and making stuff happen. His new name is 'Joystick.' We're going to call him 'Joystick' not 'Zay.'" 

On if he's more dangerous in the open field or WR Zay Flowers: "We have our moments I'm going to say, because I'm going to be just like him out there." 

On what goes through his mind when looking at all of the offensive weapons around him: "Let's get these guys the ball and let them do them. We have the guys that will make stuff happen, get yards after the catch. That's all … The only thing that goes through my head is just getting them the ball and letting them do them." 

On if working out in Florida with WRs Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr. during the offseason is paying off today at training camp: "I feel like it paid off a lot, just learning chemistry, learning those guys' speed, and they are learning my – I'm going to say my pass velocity on the ball – and the timing and knowing where to be at and stuff like that. I feel like it paid off a lot." 

On if he his physical preparation in the offseason was different because of the new offense: "No, not really. I just had to learn the terminology of the offense and just learn without using the wristband because Coach [Todd] Monken, he wants to call it and haul it, so that's what is been so far." 

On if he feels a sense of urgency to get more plays run and be quicker: "Yes, absolutely, because the season is right around the corner – a month away – and it's right here. So, I feel like the faster we go, the more quickly we'll learn. So that's what it's about right now." 

On if he feels that there is less pressure on him to make a play because he can get it to his playmakers, and they can make a play: "I never thought I had pressure on my shoulders. I always felt like we had guys who were going make things happen; they just needed the opportunity. Right now, I'm … [with] Coach [Todd] Monken being here, he's letting the guys just freelance and let them do them. That's what it's about. Like I said, just letting them get the ball and letting them do them. We should see magic happen." 

On if he expects to wear the play wristband this year: "I'm not going to say that [I expect to wear it]. I'm saying for right now – at the beginning of training camp – I don't know how … The playbook might get longer throughout the process, so we'll see." 

On how long it will take until WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and 'Joystick' (Zay Flowers) test CB Marlon Humphrey on the outside:"OK, you learn fast. You said test who? (Reporter: "Test Marlon [Humphrey] outside, one on one.") "I mean it's Day One!" (Reporter: "Fans are ready on Day One.") "I bet they are. Our fans are pumped. We have the best crowd. We have the best fan base. But we're going to see … it's going to happen. [It] probably will be this week." 

On what he did to better understand the playbook and the new system: "I had to study and then just saying the plays out loud. Saying them in my mind. Turn the page, say the play and then go back to see if I'm right on the play. Just learning the routes on the play, stuff like that." 

On if the offensive system feels more simplified than last year: "The old system – what we had with [former offensive coordinator Greg Roman] – it was simple. So, I wouldn't say that. You just have to learn it to make it simple. I wouldn't just say one is harder than the other." 

On if there is more of an emphasis to dump the ball off to running backs in this offense: "[It's] just going through your progression. Sometimes it is a lot of yards when the back gets the ball because you know linebacker might drop coverage or our running back is just that elusive." 

On how it feels to throw passes to WR Odell Beckham Jr.: "It feels great. Odell [Beckham Jr.] is a household name. He built that on his own, and it speaks for itself. You've seen that out there today." 

On if he feels more confident when throwing to WR Odell Beckham Jr. because you think he can always come up with the ball: "Absolutely. He is just giving me a lot of confidence, because you know during the offseason he was like, 'If you throw it anywhere in my perimeter, it's not going to be an interception. I'm going to do my best to slap it down, make the tackle, whatever, break it up. But most likely, I'm going to make the catch.' And that's what I like to hear." 

On if he's talked to RB J.K. Dobbins about his situation and how excited are you to have him back:"I haven't talked to him about the situation, but I'm very excited. J.K. [Dobbins] is J.K. I know he's going to work his tail off, and I can't wait for him to be out here." 

On if he sees optimism and energy for the first practice of the season: "I see a bunch of guys running around, happy, happy to be back, happy to be back in the building. Guys are just pumped for the season, because I know I am. That's what I like to see from our guys, so that's all I see." 

On if his different role allows him to call more audibles and make changes at the line of scrimmage: "Yes, absolutely. That's pretty much what Coach Todd [Monken] has us doing right now. If we see it, make the audible. If we're right, if we're wrong, we're going to talk about it after the play. We're going to talk about it in the meeting room. But most likely, I feel like [because of] how he's coaching us, we're going to be right nine times out of 10." 

On if his new role and being able to call audibles excites him: "It's very exciting. I just can't wait to get out there in the regular season and show the world."