Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
Can you talk about the returners? Obviously, for so long you had WR/RS Jacoby Jones, such a known quality and a home run-hitter mentality. Without maybe that blazing speed back there and that track record, do you take a different approach in what you're trying to look for or find? Is it on the field right now? (Pete Gilbert)"That's a really astute observation, a very good question. We've been talking about that, and at this point in time, we're running our system. And we want the returner to fit our system. We don't want to fit it to our returner, because we don't know who our returner is going to be yet. We had seven guys out there taking reps today. So at the point which we establish a returner and know who that guy is, we're going to try to use his skills the best we can. But at this point in time, we're just running our plays."
Jerry, has anyone stood out to you in particular thus far? It's still early. (Pete Gilbert)"Yes, you're right; it is early. When we get to a preseason game, I'm hoping that they kick the ball to us and don't kick it out of the end zone, because we need to see these guys in live bullets. Now, we practiced the other night with a live kickoff with the young players, and we did it again yesterday in practice with the young players. We try to get more opportunities, but we're not putting our veteran special teams players out there for those reps. So, we're seeing a little bit with the young players, but honestly, we need as many preseason kickoff returns as we possibly can. Dean [Pees, defensive coordinator] has assured me he's not going to cooperate."
Could there be a gentlemen's agreement between special teams coordinators? If you kick to us, we'll kick to you in a preseason game? (Ryan Mink)"All they need to do with us is look at our film and see that we kicked to everybody every year. So, I don't make gentlemen's agreements with other special teams coaches. They can do what they want, and we'll do what we want. But we'll always kick the ball so they will return it, because we want to see our kickoff team. Not every special teams coach does that. Now, the good news, also, is we practice with Philadelphia, and after this first preseason game, we'll get reps against them, which is better than a touchback, and it's better than practicing against yourself. That's a really good opportunity for us, and that's another opportunity to do what you were talking about, to see returners in as close-to-live situations as you possibly can."
In the first preseason game, how many returners do you think might get an opportunity? How much do you want to kind of whittle down the competition so say, "This many guys are going to get opportunities to return in a game?" (Jamison Hensley)"At this point in time, I can't imagine anyone – more than three guys – getting reps in that game. I have a lot of confidence in our defense, and plus, the touchback situation … Now, that may change, and if it does, we'll get more guys reps, because I want to see everybody. I want to give everybody an opportunity. I tell these guys when they show up for football school, 'You're going to have an opportunity in our club to show what you can do.' And you see it every day in practice. We have competitive drills in our practices, and that's so we can find out – and they can find out – who the best players are. That's also true for the returner position."
Aside from the returners, do you get a sense of what you're special teams are shaping up like? (Stan Charles)"I'm very pleased with our returning veteran players. Fundamentally, they've carried over well. They're teaching the younger players; they're working with other guys. We're growing our depth and we're going our width of our roster, guys doing other things. I couldn't be more pleased with the effort. I think we're a long ways away, though, real honestly. Everybody is in training camp, just like us. So, we'll find out in the first preseason game. We'll play our veterans a little bit; we'll play our young guys a lot. And then, from that point on, we'll mix it, and when we get to the third preseason game, [it's] going to start taking shape of what our team is going to be looking like."
Jerry, what was your reaction – I know you issued a statement to kind of clarify the communication with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano – but what was your reaction when you see this, and there are emails saying that you did have certain conversations with Chuck Pagano? (Jamison Hensley)"My reaction was, I know what happened. The facts are the facts. So, it didn't bother me that that's out there, because I know what happened. I had nothing to do with footballs. You read my report. I'll tell you again: Chuck Pagano called me after the New England game [and] asked about a play that happened in the first half; there was a trick substitution. There [were] two different teams coming in, and they ended up punting with their kicker. We chose not to substitute again. We had our field goal block team on there. Our field goal block team got into the defense we use if it's not a field goal, and we were ready to defend the play. And the play clock ran out, and [they] were penalized. So, on the coaches' video, that's not all shown. All you see is the punt formation. Chuck wanted to know what happened. 'Why did you have your field goal block team out there against that punt unit?' And I explained to him what had happened. That was the extent of the conversation. As I said before, there was no conversation – there was no discussion – about footballs of any sort. We talked about our families. He asked about mine, I asked about his. He's a dear friend of him." *(Jamison Hensley: "That wasn't in the report.") *"Yes, I'm sure it wasn't."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
*Dean, what have you seen from CB Quinton Pointer? He's getting reps with the first team, and it looks like he's making plays. *(Ryan Mink) "Really, everybody is getting reps with the first group. We're really trying everybody. Everybody [is] getting an opportunity to go with that group and go against Joe [Flacco], which tells you a lot. But [Quinton Pointer] has been very productive in camp. He has his hands on a lot of balls. I think he probably has the most interceptions of anybody back there, and that's what we want back there is production. Right now, he's playing at a good level. I don't think anybody is playing at a high level, yet, but we're playing at a good level. I think we've been much more aggressive back there in the back end, and he has been one of the guys that stood out. It's going to be really interesting to see when the lights come on here in preseason, and it's not practice. It'll be interesting to see, but right now he's doing a good job."
Has practice been more crisp after the first week, and are the players picking up what you're trying to get them to do? (Todd Karpovich) "We're still installing. We're still putting stuff in [the defensive game plan], so sometimes some of the new stuff looks a little slower, because they're thinking about it. What I like is the fact that some of the stuff that we've been running is starting to become second-hand to them, and they're playing a little faster. I think the offense is, too. Besides, the ball is playing faster as the camp goes on. You can tell when they've installed something new, too. It may not look just as crisp that first day. But the guys have been practicing extremely hard. I'll compliment the offense, too. I think they are [practicing hard], too. I think it has just been a really competitive, competitive camp."
How have you seen DT Timmy Jernigan handle the increased responsibility for him? (Garrett Downing) "I think [Timmy Jernigan] has welcomed it, and we've told him, 'You have to step up. This is your time now to step in there and do what you can do. We drafted you for a reason, and what we saw on tape is what we want to see on tape even at a higher level.' I think he has embraced that. It's still a different scheme for him. We kind of piecemealed it for him last year. He went in at certain spots, and we made life kind of easy for him; he only had a couple things he had to do. Now, he has to do the whole package. But again, I'd say – just like everybody else – we have a ways to go, but he's really working hard. We're pleased with where he is right now."
With OLB Elvis Dumervil, he missed two days with tendinitis. What have you seen from him coming back? Does it look like he hasn't really missed any time? *(Jamison Hensley) *"He came here in great shape. He really did. He told us he was, and he was. After he ran the conditioning test … He walked through that thing. I really think he has a chance to have another great year. I don't see anything falling off with him whatsoever. The fact that he missed a couple days probably in some ways isn't all bad sometimes, because we probably would have given him a couple days off here and there anyhow. I don't think he has missed a beat."
Dean, I noticed a lot of the defensive linemen – it seems like in particular – at the end of the play if the ball hits the ground, they're scampering after it and trying to grab it off the ground and hold it up to show somebody. What is the incentive there for that? (Ryan Mink) "We have a point system, and you get a point if you ever get a fumble or you get any kind of a turnover. We count any ball that's on the ground as a turnover, whether it's a fumble or whether it's not." (Reporter: "A dropped pass?") "A dropped pass. It doesn't matter what it is – tipped ball falls on the ground – everything is a fumble. We're really trying to advocate turnovers. Who's going to get it and pick it up? They're picking it up, and of course, then they want to show it in the coach's face so that they get their point. It's really just a pride thing. We put the points up on the board and see who's leading in each group. It's kind of our own little point system."
**Who's leading? *(Jamison Hensley) *"I have no clue. Every group has their own [point system], and really, every coach has his own criteria. It's not like you could do the same thing the DBs [do] that the D-line does. It's really an incentive thing to try to really promote turnovers and getting to the ball."
Is that new this year? I don't remember it. (Ryan Mink) "Actually, I think the linebackers might have done it a year ago or something in their own little group, and we said, 'Hey, that's a good little tool making guys run to the ball.' It advocates picking up the ball, turnovers, creating turnovers, getting turnovers. It's what we want. So, we installed it for everybody."
*CB/RS Lardarius Webb was talking about some of the frustration for him personally the last couple of years. In your mind, how does he get back to the level he was, say, two or three years ago? (Luke Jones) *"Play. I don't think there's any magical thing that a coach can do or that we can do in practice for [Lardarius Webb]. He has to go out and play and play well and make plays and get back to that level, and then he'll feel good about himself. The only way … If anybody has played any kind of ball at all, the only way to feel good about yourself is if you do something right. There's nothing anybody can dream up for you. If they do, it's fake, it's not real. The only thing that's real is going out and playing in a game, and he has to go out and play in a game, and he has to have production, and he has to make plays, and he'll start feeling good about himself. It's like guys that get in a slump, right? Batters that get in a slump and all of a sudden they're thinking about striking out instead of thinking about hitting the ball. Then when they all of a sudden crank one over the centerfield fence, everything is back on, right? It's the same thing as an athlete. You just have to make plays and feel good about yourself. That's the secret."
It seems like DT Carl Davis has had increased reps – he moved up the depth chart a little bit. Have you seen enough from him to think that he might be able to contribute this year? (Jon Meoli) "[Carl Davis] has to contribute this year. I don't think he is going to; he has to. We're expecting him to. He's getting better and better all the time. Like I say, [he has] a long ways to go; we all do. We're far from being where we need to be, but at the same time, he has increased reps, because he deserves to get increased reps, and he's doing well. We are expecting him to and not hoping he will."
Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman
Opening statement:"I'll just open by saying it's training camp, and it's really the dog days of training camp for all of us. Our guys have come out, [and] they've worked really hard. When John [Harbaugh] sets this up, where competition – our offense against defense competition – it's affected in almost every period. And so, in those periods, there's an ebb and flow. The defense will have half a dozen good plays, the offense will come back and make a good play, and it kind of goes back and forth. It teaches all of use to deal with the inevitability of adversity throughout a game, and that's what happens in practice. Guys are working hard, and we'll just focus on finishing the day by getting to the tape, making the corrections and moving on to tomorrow."
Coach, when you start off with a new team, what's your process for learning the personnel, the scheme, the ideas you have and the things they're trying to do? (Kevin Seifert)"It's not as complicated as it sounds. I think, No.1, you're trying to build relationships. It's really to get the guys to know you as a person, and certainly, you getting to know them, because the better you know them, the more value they bring to the team because you know more about them. Football is an ultimate people-person place first. It's people business first, and the Xs and Os and science really come with it. We put the playbook down, we evaluated it and we think we've … We'll continue to transition. If Gary [Kubiak] was here, there would be transition in the offense this year as well, and we're taking the best of what we did. We evaluated it in our scheme evaluation, and we're moving forward to get the offense better. That's in the best interest of the team."
You've had several instances where you've, for lack of a better term, bonded with a new quarterback. Is this particular process with QB Joe Flacco easier, different or about the same? (Peter Schmuck)"I think that Joe [Flacco] has great experience in this environment, with a new coordinator almost every year the last four or five years. He's experienced this, and he's an unflappable guy, he's an even-keel guy [and] he's very flexible in his thinking. And I think he relates to everybody in terms of how we deal with him each and every day. But the bottom line is, he loves football. He wants to get better. We want to try to help him get better and the best way we can help the team to get better. That's just the daily grind of working together and learning more about each other, and it's really a lot of fun. The whole room was fun. Marty [Mornhinweg] has done a great job. Coaches are doing a great job, and we've got a good room of guys who love football in that quarterback room. We think we're working hard together to make our team better."
Has anything about the way QB Joe Flacco goes about his business surprised you, Marc? (Stan Charles)"Not at all. He's the utmost professional. He walks in every day, and he's totally prepared to practice. There's never a time when I have to repeat things to him. Once you tell him something, he's got it. You'll get feedback when he feels it's necessary. He's very good at handling information and communicating as we go through the process of building our offense. It's been a blast to be with him, Matt [Schaub] as well, and the whole room. We think we're getting better, and we think we're going to get to know each other better. We're building a level of trust that takes time. It's not going to happen in four weeks or six months. It's going to take time, and hopefully we're going to be able to expedite that quickly and be ready to have a firm backbone and foundation when the season starts in four weeks or five weeks."
Did you know you wanted to coach this year, or did you think about taking the year off? (Kevin Seifert)"I didn't think about anything other than what I'm going to do next, which was I wanted to coach football. I guess that's the answer to your question. I love football, and I wasn't going to let the adversity of what happened deter me. It was a great experience, and I love the people there and the guys that I coached. I love the team, and it didn't work out. Sometimes things don't work out the way you want them, and you just take the next step, and you do the best you can. I got great support from my family, and we moved forward. What a great thing to be able to land here in Baltimore. I've said that before, and I'll reiterate it again: It's a joy every day to be here, and I'm greatly appreciative for it."
Marc, whenever you get WR Breshad Perriman back, how much do you have to manage bringing him back just because he's so far behind on everything? (Gerry Sandusky)"I think we can only evaluate that when we get him back to see where he's at, and that will be with the help of the trainers and doctors. They're going to tell us what he can do and what he can't do, and we'll move forward from there. He's a smart young man. He's not going to get behind learning the offense. Obviously, he doesn't have the opportunity to develop his skill set on the grass, but we can't do anything about that. We'll work hard with Bobby [Engram, wide receivers coach] and our coaches to get him ready as quickly as we can and put him in a position where he can compete. When that time comes, we'll get started."
What have you seen from the depth of the receivers? (Todd Karpovich)"I think we've got a very competitive situation. We've been inconsistent overall in our passing game. We've had some very good days where we're catching everything and playing very well, and we've had other days where we haven't done as well as we'd like. And that's, really, training camp. That happens everywhere; it's universal. We'll just continue to let them compete. We'll continue to stack the days, as John [Harbaugh] would [say], and we'll continue to develop an evaluation of these guys. It won't be one day. It will be over a period of time through training camp [and] through the games, and it usually takes care of itself. But it's a good competition, and we feel we've got some very good players in those positions."
Coach, what's your view of the shotgun? Do you expect to use it a lot this year? (Garrett Downing) "I think we're going to grow just like we have. We're not going to run the offense … We're an under-the-center, offensive football team, and we'll use the shotgun when it's appropriate – whether it's third down or a second-down situation. If we're in first down, we'll throw it out there, and that's going to be part of our offense. Defenses and game-planning will determine that. But ultimately, we're under the center, and it all starts with Justin [Forsett] in the dot, and it all starts with forcing each and every defense to defend the run and running the football first."
Marc, how do you evaluate the backup running back competition right now? (Ryan Mink) "I think it's good. We really will learn a lot more when we play the games, when we're playing real football and we're tackling and doing those types of things. But as I said, all the way along, I think Lorenzo [Taliaferro] has had a tremendous spring, and he's doing very well in the camp. 'Buck' [Javorius Allen] has done really well. 'Fitz' [Fitzgerald Toussaint] has done really well. I don't think I missed anybody there. I don't think I have. I think all those guys have been very good. They're competing. The big part about it is they understand the offense. They understand our protection package, which is critically important. You're standing there next to Joe [Flacco], you have to know who to block, and all of them know how to do that. We'll see when we get to the games. That's when it'll get amped up, and we'll get a better feel. Terrence Magee, too, has had a very good camp – very good." With the wide receivers, do you feel like those inexperienced guys who are getting those reps with QB Joe Flacco can benefit? (Jon Meoli)"That's the positive. If guys are out, guys get a chance to grow, to compete, to work with Joe [Flacco] and show what they can do each and every day. Some of them who would have played with the 'threes' are playing against the 'twos,' and some of them who were going to be with the 'twos' are playing against the 'ones.' It gives us a great opportunity to evaluate the guys. The positive is we can evaluate the guys that have moved up against the better guys on the defensive side of the ball."