Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody – appreciate you guys coming. We had a good day. Obviously, we got a little outside time, and the weather came [and] we got a little inside time. That was good for us. It was a very special day with the Special Olympics athletes here. We have 60 athletes who are Special Olympians. The guys are over there with them right now. There couldn't be anything more special. They were over there paying attention, they were very well-behaved, and they're in to it. It was great to have them there. That's an honor for us to have these Olympians with us. What do you have?"
How did the change of environment test you guys? (Jerry Coleman) "I don't have that answer. It wasn't really much of a test."
Well, you just talked about the difference between the two. (Jerry Coleman) "How does he get the first question all of a sudden? Joe [Platania], what happened?" (laughter) (Joe Platania: "We're not in the auditorium today.") (Reporter: "He deferred.") "He deferred? Well played. Well played." (laughter)
John, how about QB Matt Schaub – a different sort of backup quarterback for you this year? What do you like about having an experienced guy? I know you like QB Tyrod Taylor, but it's really quite the difference that you have going here. (Dave Ginsburg) "Obviously, every guy is special in his own way. Matt [Schaub] has played a lot of football, and he has played a lot of football in a system very similar to this one. He has seen blitzes. He has seen run adjustments. He is able to operate very effectively in this offense and get us in the right type of calls. He can throw the ball, still. He's accurate. I hear some of the criticism [that] he's not throwing the ball as well as Joe [Flacco] – I will grant that – and he has had a few crazy plays out here. There have been some tipped balls and things that have come back, but I still stand by the fact that I believe he's practicing very, very well. He gives us a lot of a backup quarterback. We're going to hope we don't need him, but if we do need him, he's going to play well."
**I know you don't really like to talk about how much a guy will play, but is it important for QB Matt Schaub to get some playing time on Thursday and beyond to get acclimated with his teammates and this offense? *(Dave Ginsburg) *"It is. Matt [Schaub] is going to play a lot. That's where he's going to get a lot of time, because it's going to have to carry him through the season, this time he gets now. He'll play a lot Thursday night. He'll play a lot the next Saturday, and he'll play a significant amount on the third game [against Washington]. He's going to play quite a bit."
**John, do you anticipate the first preseason game, as far as how you handle playing time, to be similar to what you've done in the past? *(Luke Jones) *"We do. It'll be similar. We have a way that we like to do it here. It's individualized to a great extent, but it'll be similar to what you've seen in the past."
The quarterback room. Can you talk about how quarterbacks coach Marty Mornhinweg and offensive coordinator Marc Trestman have been able to mesh and give you the offense that you want for this team? (Turron Davenport) "It's a broad question, so I'll just have to try to put together a simple answer. I believe that they've done a great job. Marty [Mornhinweg] has a great, flamboyant way, a very descriptive way of explaining things. Marc has a very direct way of explaining things. Those two guys mesh really well together. Marty has done a really great job of trying to understand exactly what Marc wants. Marc has done a great job with trying to understand exactly what we want and how Joe [Flacco] plays. And because they take that kind of a mindset into it, it seems to be going really well. But, the proof is always in the pudding."
*What was it about quarterbacks coach Marty Mornhinweg that made you want to bring him in to coach? (Turron Davenport) *"I've known Marty for a number of years, since Philadelphia. I watched him coach in Philadelphia. I just thought he was a great teacher, excellent teacher of quarterback mechanics. Of course, he has been a coordinator. He understands the West Coast offense inside and out. He is a really great teacher of quarterback play, which would be the main part of his job, and he has done a great job with it."
*What makes all these coaches able to blend in so well? This has become a regular thing here. (David Steele) "I don't know. That's a great question. We're just getting good at it, I guess. A lot of practice. *(laughter) They're good guys. They're just good guys that appreciate being a part of a great program and a great place. They appreciate the organization. They all, to a man … Every single guy that comes in here comments about how our guys are, how hard they work, how much they love football and how much they like being around one another. Maybe that's the main thing. Maybe it's our players. Maybe they enjoy coaching our guys."
I know you have been asked about offensive coordinator Marc Trestman blending in probably about a million times at this point, but what has made it so easy for him to click with the players and the rest of the staff? (David Steele) "One thing about Marc is he's talented. Marc is a really smart coach. He has lots of experience, so he knows a lot of football. It's not like he's one-dimensional in his thinking. There's [not] only one way to do it in his mind. He's not like that. He has seen a lot of ways to run things, so he's very flexible. He has been able to take a number of parts of the offense that were here before and learn them and blend them into the way he thinks."
John, you have injuries in every camp, every teams does. How much does that sort of affect the intensity level of practice going forward when you start to lose some guys? (Jeff Zrebiec) "What we always have to do is adjust for position injuries. It's one spot. It doesn't change too much. The format is basically the same. We haven't had anything too dramatic other than we've had to pair a couple drills down in terms of overall number of reps. Instead of doubling the reps, we've singled them up. It hasn't really hurt us so far in this camp at all."
When you have close competition at a position, how often does how guys do in games become a determining factor? Is it a lot? Not too much? I'm just trying to get a sense of how important it is for these preseason games when you have so much competition. (Cliff Brown) "I would say the games are big, because that's when the lights are on. Rarely do you see a guy that doesn't do anything in practice and all of a sudden it comes out, and [he] lights it up in the game. If you had a guy who did that, you'd be suspicious of that. Is this guy for real? Was it a fluke situation? It's the guy that does it every day in practice and then goes out and does it again in the game, that's the guy who really gets your interest."
**Coach, with the guys that didn't practice today, would you be prudent probably to not play them on Thursday if they weren't able to go today? *(Jerry Coleman) *"I think that it won't be based on them not practicing, per se. If a guy didn't practice today, and he was cleared, then he'll play. But we're going to be on the more conservative side probably, [with it] being the first preseason game and all that."
Do you see a little difference in the younger players these days leading up to the first preseason game? In all your years of coaching, do you see something different in their eyes [because] they know they're up against their first game? (Scott Wykoff) "What I've seen so far – with these guys – is excitement. And I ask them – I joke with them – I'll say, 'Hey, you nervous?' If they're nervous, they're not portraying it. I really believe they're excited. Going down to the stadium [for practice] was a good thing, because now they've been there and they have a sense of what that's like a little bit, so I think that helps. But they're excited. They're going to play in their first NFL football game. It's something they've dreamed of their entire life. They're excited about that."
John, I know we asked you a few days ago about DE DeAngelo Tyson and you weren't really sure. Do you have any more clarity? (Luke Jones) "I really don't. It's going to be a matter of whether he is ready. He could be ready by Thursday. It's nothing major. It's just a matter of how … He has a strain, so to speak, and we'll see how it goes."
Quarterbacks Coach Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement:"We're two weeks into camp. Joe [Flacco] has had an excellent camp. He's really got some strengths and very few weaknesses. It's great to have Matt [Schaub] with us, with his experience, and then Bryn [Renner] is taking advantage of, really, every rep that he can get. I think the guys are looking forward to Thursday night. Let's open it up to questions."
What's the biggest thing you look for from quarterbacks in a preseason game like this? (Scott Wykoff)"Well, you're looking for decision-making and accuracy and timing. Now, the timing is the most difficult thing, but if a quarterback can make a decision, throw the ball accurately and on time, then he has a chance to do very well. Certainly the instincts, and Joe [Flacco] – looking from outside in – looked like he had some pretty good instincts. And then working with him through the offseason, now, he has some great instincts there as well. So those are the main things with a quarterback that we're looking for."
You're joining a staff that's put this team in the playoffs six of the last seven and a franchise that's been there 10 of the last 15. With your resume, what do you feel you can bring to the table here? (Joe Platania)"I'm in the position where I can help in any way possible, and it's just that simple. We'll do it all together, and I'll be a small part of something pretty special. And that's what we're looking forward to doing, and now it takes a lot of hard work and preparation. And we're right in the middle of that thing."
Coach, with QB Matt Schaub, have you seen that he has embraced this role? He would obviously prefer to start, but he's backing up on a very good team. (Dave Ginsburg)"Yes, that's right, and [he's] behind a very good quarterback. Matt [Schaub] has led his team to playoffs in recent past history. He's had a couple years that didn't go quite the way he would have liked them to go, and he gets to come here on – it appears – a very good football team with a pretty good quarterback. This is a pretty good spot for him, and I think it's good for us with all that experience he's had up to date."
What tells you that if QB Matt Schaub were pushed into the starter's role that he would perform better this year than he did the past couple tough years? (Ryan Mink)"There's no concern about that. He had the one [tough year] in Houston, and then last year in Oakland, things didn't go quite the way [he hoped]. He's a very good quarterback, he has an awful lot of strengths, he's very consistent and he knows much of this offense already. He's just an excellent leader. He has a lot of strengths, so I would have no concern about that. In fact, I'd be excited for him to get to play in these preseason games and see exactly where he's at."
Between yourself and QBs Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub, there's a lot of experience in that QB room. Having a guy to back Flacco up like Schaub, how important is that to have somebody to bounce things off of and share ideas? (Turron Davenport)"Experience counts, and especially in that role. With at least one of your backup quarterbacks, typically – not always, but typically – you need a man you can trust and be able to beat the best teams in this league with if called upon."
Can you talk about QB Joe Flacco and his ability to make different types of throws? Everybody talks about his arm strength, but you see him throw every day. Is that something that you see closely now that you're working with him every day? (Clifton Brown)"When he was coming out of Delaware, he was a big guy with a big arm, and I remember putting on my evaluation, 'Very deceptive athletic ability.' That surprised me once I turned the film on, and then [he] certainly has the instincts. He'll make a decision [and] throw the ball accurately. And then getting to your point, this arm, that's a special quality. There's only a select few that can do that, that just have that strength. He'll make a very difficult throw, a throw that some people would never even attempt in this league, and he'll make it look easy. It's really a special type of arm there, yes."
Has there been anything that's surprised you in working with him? (Garret Downing)"He's very bright. He is very business-like, now, and he's a very hard worker. So nothing particularly has surprised me, but he's got it all – a diligent worker, bright guy and a big guy, biggest guy I think I've ever coached. He's a tall dude. He's instinctive, so he's got it all. And he's got a Super Bowl win to show for it as well, and I know he wants another one."
*You're known for your work with quarterbacks, and you did an excellent job with some of the guys in Philadelphia. What was it that made you want to come to this team to be a part of this organization? *(Turron Davenport) "That's a good question, because there are a lot of things. When John [Harbaugh] called, I said, 'All right, when do you want me there?' Really, from the outside in, this organization is looked upon as one of the very best in the league, if not the best. And of course, it starts at the top with Steve [Bisciotti] and Ozzie [Newsome] and John. John and I go way back, of course. And then Joe [Flacco], certainly, and the team appears to be in pretty good shape talent-wise. It takes a lot of things to be very, very good in this league – talent and that, sort of, old-school mentality. Not the short shorts and high socks. Although, that stuff is coming back, isn't it? (laughter) Not quite yet? But then that hard work and preparation. So then, you don't put a camp on yourself, but the talent part with Joe – off of film and these types of things – I had him as a top-flight quarterback in this league."
As a coach, especially for the quarterbacks, do you find yourself chomping at the bit in these preseason games when you know you can't see a lot of QB Joe Flacco and you have to put a lot of the offense on the field? Though you know it's coming down the road, are you thinking, "Gosh, I want to see how this guy's doing?" (Scott Wykoff)"That is true; that's a good point. However, certainly, I'm excited to see Matt [Schaub] and then Bryn [Renner], as well, and see exactly where they're at. Matt's there, and Bryn, he's taking advantage of every rep. Bryn is working very, very hard to learn this offense. Matt has already been through several different systems, including a very similar one to this one. So, Bryn is working hard, and I'm excited to see those two play as well."
Meshing with offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, how is that coming along so far? (Turron Davenport)"Marc [Trestman] has done a fine job. Our whole staff is just excellent – quality coaches, top-flight coaches, great guys. So, that hard work and preparation I was talking about, you've got to have a little fun in there as well, and we try to do that on occasion."
Marty, I know you don't coach the receivers, but with WR Steve Smith Sr. announcing his retirement at the end of the year, any stories from over the years or what's it like being around him? (Brett Hyman)"Yes, I've got some great stories of Steve [Smith Sr.] I coached the Pro Bowl; I've coached too many of them by the way." *(laughter) *I had him over there and just can't say anything about these things publicly. *(laughter) *He's quite a character, isn't he? I got him in the Pro Bowl one year – it's been quite a while back – this guy, whoa! The guy can play, and I always liked him. I liked how he went about the game. We were over there in Hawaii, and he was practicing – practicing 100 percent, fast and furious – and then he had a heck of a game for us when I had him there as well. So, I've always liked him."
QB Matt Schaub
On his experience in Baltimore coming from Oakland, where he played a similar role:"It's been great. It's been a great transition. [It's a] first-class organization from top to bottom. [I've] just been really diving into things, getting to know the guys in the offseason and throughout training camp here. That's the biggest thing, because – when it's all said and done – football is between the lines. [I've] just getting to know my teammates and the receivers and just everyone in the huddle and learning nuances of everything. It's been a smooth transition, but [I'm] just continuing to work on things."
On his assessment of his play through training camp:"I thought I've had a good camp. I've felt things have gone relatively well. Obviously, it's a time you want to test things, you want to test yourself, test your offense [and] test the other guys in the huddle and see what they can do and see who's going to be there to make the plays. So, it's just one of those things that we're going against a good defense day-in and day-out – and it's really challenging us. It's been really fun."
On the challenges of his current role entering an early preseason game:"It's just a matter of the reps you're going to get, and I'm looking forward to getting on the field and playing and getting in the huddle. So much in practice … I think we do a good job here of just getting guys off the field on each sideline and going out and playing the game. It doesn't have the practice feel of a lot of other places I've been, and I think that's really good, because it's just you in the huddle when the ball is kicked off. You don't have your coaches back there coaching you up, so it's going to be fun to get out there and get some live action."
On if he has thrown more interceptions than he would have liked in practice:"You never want them. You never do want them to happen, but, like I said, at this time of year, you want to test things. You want to see who's going to be able to separate, who's going to make plays and test yourself. You don't want things to be completely easy and take the easy play, but when the lights come on, you do want to take those plays. They're going to happen, and you just move on. You move to the next play."
On if it's difficult for him accept being a backup quarterback, if it's been a tough transition into that role and if it gets easier as he goes:"I wouldn't say it gets easier. You definitely want to be on the field and play, but I know my role; I know where I am right now – and especially on this team, with Joe [Flacco] and what he's accomplished in his career to this point. It's been remarkable. So, I'm just looking to come in and help this team win a championship in any capacity that I can, and that's helping the young guys out, getting them up to speed throughout training camp and throughout the season, getting the defense prepared when we get to game week, helping Joe out however I can with the game plan and the coaches. I feel that I have some experience under my belt where I can really provide some assistance. I'm looking forward to that, but I wouldn't say it ever gets easy, because you want to be out there and play."
On how important preseason game experience is with the expectation of limited regular season reps:"It's huge, because like you said, once you get to the regular season, you don't get many reps – whether it be in practice or in a game. At a moment's notice, you have to be ready, but you have to get the mental reps once you get to that part of the season. And when you're running the cards for the defense, that's when you really get your work, and you really have to focus on your fundamentals and everything. If something does happen, you're ready to go and you're not trying to play catch-up. But these reps in live action and in the preseason are huge for every player, especially the role that I'm in."
On what he wants the coaches to see from him on Thursday that they may not have seen in training camp:"Just running the huddle, managing the game situations and managing the guys, because we do have a lot of young players. And just being able to make sure they're locked in to what they're doing and that I'm on top of my stuff. [I want them to see] some of the checks and the protection, things that go on, and just delivering the football where I want to delivery it."
On how intense situations get between quarterbacks and other players in training camp following recent altercations involving QBs on other teams, and if he has experience anything like that:*(laughter) *"I can't say I've had a teammate want to try [to fight me]. Maybe they wanted to, but they haven't. *(laughter) *I don't have too much experience [with that]. Obviously, we're all competitive people out there on the field, and things can get heated, but you never want to see it escalate to that point. That's when things are out of control, and I think that's a sign of an undisciplined football team [and] undisciplined players. Things like that happen, and you try to manage your emotions at that point and try to squash it. Because when it's all said and done, you're on the same team, and you're out trying to accomplish the same goals. So, we try to stay away from those things."
On working with the young receivers, and which ones have stood out to him:"It's a great group. From top to bottom, I think – from Steve [Smith Sr.] on down to the rookies – everybody has really, at one point or another, has really stood out to everybody in the film room – just how they've gone about their business and competed. We haven't had nearly the amount of missed assignments that I've seen in the past through the first two weeks of camp. I think that's a sign of good coaching and also guys really locked in studying their stuff. It's hard to single one guy out, because each period in practice the last two weeks, each one of them has really stepped up and made some plays. It's going to be exciting to see them go out and do it on Thursday night."
On if there is one thing from his experience as an NFL starter that helps him in his current role as a backup:"I think it's just that. I think you're trying to help out a lot of young players, because Joe [Flacco] and some of those guys – the veterans that are on the starting offense – they're focusing on what they have to do to be ready Week 1. I think we're doing the same, but in my position, there are so many young guys. You're trying to help them on the side: 'This is how we're expecting you to run this route. There are some of the protection things up front.' You're just constantly talking ball to those guys, so you can bring them up to speed, so when we get out there in live action, they're ready to go and they're not thinking. Once you start thinking on the field, you're going to miss something, and you just want to go out and play and cut it loose. I think it's just that, helping those guys get on top of their assignments."
On whether he goes into every practice with the mindset that he will be starting: "One hundred percent – 100 percent. It can happen at any time. You never know [at] any point in this business. Things happen and fluke things happen, so you always have to be ready. There's no doubt about that with all that being said."
On whether he refers to plays that he ran under Gary Kubiak in Houston: "Yes, because we're using some of the same terminology. There's some carry over there. Knowing that Joe [Flacco] was with [Gary Kubiak] last year – and I had him for seven years – there is some talk of that. You don't want to constantly refer to it, because all of the plays we're running I've done 100 times over, so it can get a little repetitive. But there is some common overlap in experiences that we both share that there is constant communication [like], 'It's like this,' or, 'You get this versus this coverage. We can get this throw,' or, 'Let's try to get this player in this position.' So, there's always talk of that, because between Joe and I – and then you have Marc [Trestman] and Marty [Mornhinweg] in our room – there's a lot of football experience there. We're just trying to work and put together a playbook that we all feel comfortable going out and playing in and using week-in, week-out."
On the benefit of working with QBs coach Marty Mornhinweg: "I think [it's] just his constant communication to our fundamentals. Going through training camp so often, you lose sight of some of the fundamentals and just the basics – your footwork and timing – just certain things that help you be more accurate. I think he really hammers that home in our fundamentals and our individual drills that he's just constantly harping on some of the little things that you sometimes forget about, and I think it has really helped us from a quarterback standpoint."
On how disappointing last season was and how excited he it is to be with the Ravens: "Last year was very difficult. It was a tough year in general. There were a lot of things going on away from football that a lot of people don't know about. It was a very tough year. I learned a lot from it. I've grown as a person – both as a football player and as a person from it. I'm just excited to be here and be a part of the Raven organization and am looking to great things this year."
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro
On whether his offseason preparations have paid off in camp: "I would think they paid off quite a bit. Heading into Thursday, we'll really find out.'
On whether there has been a separation between him and the other running backs for the No. 2 spot: "I'd say we're still competing. That's how it was last year [when] we really didn't know what was going on until after the preseason, so [I am] pretty sure it's going to continue the same way."
On how physical changes to his body have affected him on the field: "I think in the long run, I have more stamina. I can move better, separate from defenders better."
On whether he can feel physical changes affecting his play on the practice field: "Yes, I can feel it a lot. It definitely paid off."
On whether he is excited for the first preseason game: "Yes, I'm excited. Thursday is coming up, and it's going to be really exciting to see what I can do against other opponents."
On what he anticipates his workload being against the Saints: "I'm not sure, but whatever it is, I'm going to go out there and take care of business."
On his workload expectations for the season and what role he will play on the offense: "When it comes to [deciding] roles, that's the coaches' job. My job is to just go out there whenever my number is called and perform [and] do what I have to do to help this team get the win."
On whether it has helped not knowing who will be the No. 2 running back: "I wouldn't say that. Going into every year, you always have to compete. When I first got here, coach [John] Harbaugh made that very clear at every position that you have to compete. And [the media] knows, and you see throughout the seasons – if you all have been here – guys go from third-string to first-string in a hurry, whether it's [because of] injury or whatever it is. It's always 'next man up,' and you just have to be ready when your opportunity comes."
On what he has picked up from RB Justin Forsett: "I would say his confidence and his leadership. Justin is a great guy, not only on the field, but off the field. He cares about the whole group, the whole team, and you can tell he has a chip on his shoulder – always. He's ready to just go out there and play."
On what has changed for him this year mentally: "I would say simply just confidence. I feel way more confident going into Year Two of this offense. It's a new coordinator, but most of the run game is the same and most of everything else is the same, so I would say confidence. I feel like I can go out there and play free, and I know my assignments better."
On where his game was last season before being injured: "I think I was starting to climb a little bit. I wasn't where I needed to be exactly, but I think I was starting to climb, starting to grow. It was what, Week 13? Yes, I think I was starting to grow. And being out those couple weeks helped me actually get into the film room and work a little harder, prepare for next year, go sit in the meetings with the other guys and help them out with some of the blitz packages and stuff as they were heading into the week."
On whether slimming down was meant to increase his role on the field: "No, I wouldn't say that. Me and my coach got together during the season when I was hurt last year and we both agreed on it, [to] see what it would be like if I slimmed down a little bit. And I immediately – right when I got cleared – I started to eat right and do a lot of cardio and stuff, and I started to see changes when I was working with my agility coach down in South Carolina."
On his comfort level catching balls out of the backfield: "I feel very confident. Believe it or not, taking it back to I would say my junior year in high school, I think I had more receiving touchdowns than rushing. It just continued to grow. In college I played fullback my first year at my junior college I attended and my role was all blocking and catching the ball. Being able to transition into this offense, I think it will help a lot."