TUESDAY (7/24) TRAINING CAMP TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "It's good to see everybody, appreciate you being here. It's beautiful weather we're having inside, which is the beauty of having an indoor building. [It was a] very good practice to close out the week – very happy with where we're at. We're a week into it, and we're a week better. I feel like our guys improved, took care of one another in a real good way, but we had some physical practices, and I like what we did. Just moving forward, they'll get a day off tomorrow — a chance to rest and recover — and then we'll be back at it on Thursday."
LB Kenny Young and CB Anthony Averett have started out really well in their rookie year, coming in here and already making plays. How important is it for rookies to start off on that right foot and immediately have an impact on practice? _(Kyle Barber) _"It is important for rookies to start off well. First impressions are important for anybody, and just to see that they can pick up the defense, and to see that they're kind of what you thought they were when you drafted them, things like that [is encouraging]. Those two guys have done a really good job. All the rookies have done a good job. They've been no nonsense. There's been no drag, all positive attitudes, very hard workers. I really like this group. It's going to be fun to see how they do through the preseason."
Speaking of, TE Hayden Hurst was out here and then he looked pretty … He had to leave, and he looked like he wanted to stay. He was trying to show that, "I'm OK, I'm OK." (Jerry Coleman)"The trainers had a plan for them. It's like I said yesterday. Hayden, he's doing everything he can do, and Mark Andrews is doing everything he can do, and a couple other guys, they do everything they can do to be here. I should give you guys the text that my dad sent me today. We should release that. I'll just have to put that out. It was awesome – just about kind of what we're talking about. The one thing about young people … And there were a couple headlines. I don't think ESPN was one of the terrible headlines. Oh, maybe it was. No, I'm just joking! But young people today are amazing. I have a daughter in high school. We draft college players. My brother coaches college players, young pro players, really all ages. You get a chance to stay young, but young people are amazing. This generation is going to change the world. It really is. They're smart. They want to work, they want to be pushed, they want to do the right thing. That's been my experience, and I would say to our generation — to my point — our generation is, we don't need to be babying them. They're tough, they want to be great, and let's not be afraid to push them and bring the best out in them and have high expectations. Let's have high expectations for them, because that's what they expect us to do for them and to ask of them. I'm proud of our guys. I like our guys."
We've been covering you for 11 years, so we kind of know what you're about. But do you think maybe there was some feedback from people who thought you were a little too harsh on the youth of America today? _(Jerry Coleman) _"There was a pretty funny article. I can't remember who wrote it. They were talking about the old man, 'Get off my yard,' whatever it was, yelling at the kids. What was the show? "Sandlot?" It was pretty funny, actually. We have a lot of kids playing in our yard, man. They're all in our yard playing, so it's good."
Was your dad in line with what you were saying? (Mike Garafolo)"Oh yeah, oh yeah. We'll get it out there. It was brilliant. My dad is really smart, and really, he's seen a lot. And he has great, great views of things. Mostly, when you see Jim [Harbaugh] and I have an opinion, if it's good or smart, it's usually where it comes from. Well, maybe our mom even more often."
Is it fair to assume that Michigan players coming out of college are pretty hardened in the preseason? (Ryan Mink) (laughter)"It's fair to say that, yes! Very good point."
What do you think of the other tight ends — Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams — so far? (Mike Preston)"Great question. I really think they're doing very well. They're unique. Nick is moving really well. These two guys are big, strong guys, and they're going to be at their best when you see them and they're blocking people and being physical. But with that, they can catch the ball. Nick looks a little faster to me. Maxx has always been able to catch the ball. He has great hands in terms of adjusting and making catches. He's not the prettiest mover. You can blame his dad for that; his dad was a center. But he can catch the ball. The thing I'm on him right now about is he makes the tough ones; make the easy ones! They put them right in your hands, make those ones, too. Those guys are doing very well. I really like our tight end group on the whole."
John, you've praised CB Jimmy Smith a lot over the years for his talent level and potential to be even one of the all-time great corners. From that standpoint, how tough has it been to see him have the injury where he's on the cusp of the Pro Bowl, a couple years ago he had the ankle, the foot before that, just that it seems like when he's ready to get to that top tier, something happens physically? (Luke Jones)"Very tough, very tough. Really, you kind of hurt for him, because he's plagued himself into that position, really, year after year, and the injuries have taken their toll. And then he kills himself to get back, and hopefully, this will be the year where he can stay injury-free the whole time. He's worked really hard, and he's really talented, and he really is conscientious. So, I'm really, I'm in his corner. I want to see him do well."
John, what do you think of QB Lamar Jackson's performance today throwing the ball? It looked, at least to us, like maybe there were a few overthrows today. (Aaron Kasinitz)"It's tough. There's a lot going on. We put in a bunch of new plays today, and Joe [Flacco] was not here, so Lamar had the group, along with the other two guys. But that's all new to him. As much as anything, he's trying to make sure he gets the play called right in the huddle with the new stuff, and the fact that he's not really been a play-caller … That hasn't been the offense he's been in, so he's doing a good job with that. He did make some overthrows, but he also made some really good throws, too. And, he made a couple scramble runs that were eye-opening. So with a young player, I don't think you expect perfection, but he looks pretty good out there to me."
John, I know you don't like to compare stuff to things past, but is the depth that you have at cornerback, is that more ideal for what a coach adds such a premium to?_ (Jeff Zrebiec)_"It's important for us. Because you guys have covered us, you know the defense that the Ravens have played the last 10 years and the last 20 years. It's based on having good corners. We want to be aggressive, and having guys that can cover is really important. And, we really haven't gotten away from that. We really haven't strayed from that. Yeah, we could go out there and play two deep, Cover 2 the whole time and protect our corners, and we have done that at times. But it's really not the way we want to play, so it's good to have depth at corner."
Based on what you've seen so far in training camp, what are your hopes for making the playoffs this year? (Dawn White) "High hopes! High hopes, high expectations. I wouldn't even put it in the hope category, maybe a prayer category — say some prayers. But we expect that. We expect that to be our starting point. We don't expect that to be our ending point. Our goal is not to make the playoffs. Our goal is to win the whole thing. Our season … We want our season to start in the playoffs, and we have to earn that right, which we haven't done the last three years, and we're not happy about it. But that's on us. It's our job to get that done. We have to be a better football team and all the things that go with that, so that's what we're working for right now."
DE Carl Davis
On the level of competition from veterans and rookies on the defensive line:"Everybody is talented. Everybody is bringing something to the table, and it's fun. We have fun out there watching each other compete and just competing against each other. I don't know. It's going to be interesting."
On last season's shoulder injury and having surgery in the offseason:"I hurt it last year playing Cleveland." (Reporter: "Week 2?") "No, no, the back end. I dealt with that. I'm fine now, I'm just still always regaining strength and just trying to get over that mental hump. I'm almost there, getting more comfortable with it. Yeah, I hurt it last year. It's football. You get injuries."
On how much interior pass rush has been emphasized by Ravens coaches: "It's been heavily stressed. That's something we talk about in meetings all the time. Guys go home, we're talking about it, watching other guys from different teams, how they pass rush. And, we're actually enforcing it a lot in practice. We do a lot of one-on-ones and a lot of play-action passes, converting from run to pass. You can tell that's been heavily enforced."
On how much him being a versatile lineman has been stressed this season:"I think it's been like that since I've been here. When C.B. [Clarence Brooks, the late Ravens defensive line coach] was here, he was telling me that the more you can do, the better. [When I] came in my rookie year, I played nose, then I played three technique. Last year, I played defensive end. Every guy has to be able to do that along the front, because you never know what could happen. I didn't know I'd be playing five technique last year, and I ended up playing five, so obviously, you've got to be versatile."
On confidence gained from being able to step into different positions and stabilize the line:"I was just glad to be able to help out, be a part of the defense, and do whatever I can to win. But that definitely gave me confidence knowing that since I've been here, I've played every position amongst the front besides rush — obviously, now I'm going to play that — but yeah, it feels good."
On DT Brandon Williams as a teammate:"Brandon, he's definitely one of the infectious personalities in the locker room. Him and 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs], when you get those two guys together, it's a show in there. He's a good competitor. He has fun out here and he brings a lot of energy to the group, and we love having him. And I'm sure he's glad to be here, too. He's a strong guy, a force to be reckoned with, and I'm just glad to have him as my teammate."
On DE Brent Urban after his injury last season, and his attitude entering this season:"'Urb' is a very resilient guy, a tough guy. He just puts his head down and grinds. I've got a lot of respect for him. I'm sure he's going to have a good year this year, too. Last year, he was coming out hot. It sucked to see him go down like that, but I'm sure he'll be just fine."
On CB Jimmy Smith coming back from injury this offseason:"Jimmy has just been here grinding, just doing his job rehabbing and getting better. [He] comes in early every day. He's just grinding it out, just like most of the guys, but obviously, he's a vet, he knows what he's doing and he's attacking everything."
On his foundation, the Trenchwork Foundation:"My foundation, we had an event — well, we had a couple. We had a kids camp in Detroit. That was good. That was my first camp. And also, we had a community cleanup day where we went to one of the local football fields, and we went and cleaned up. There are tires, glass on it. You have teams that practice on there, and they've got glass on the field, so we had a lot of people show up to help to clean up. We're actually looking to help them get a whole new field and a press box and everything. My foundation is really working hard to push that effort. It was just based out of Detroit — I'm from Detroit — from the west side area I was raised in, so we're just looking to try and help a community and just keep reaching out as much as we can."
On if he's seen the Comedy Central TV show "Detroiters":"I have not seen that yet. I might have to check that out."
CB Jimmy Smith
On if he was surprised how quickly he recovered from his Achilles injury:"Yeah, kind of, a little bit. Just when you first get the surgery, and you kind of don't really see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then five, six months later it's like, 'Oh, I'm moving, I'm running, I'm jumping.' At the beginning – no. But now..."
On if he feels hesitation out on the field: "I'm feeling fine, normal. Just getting back into playing football and the cuts and stuff – stuff that you can't really do on the field, like training. You can't really duplicate some of the stuff that you would do in practice. Those little nuances I have to work on, but other than that I feel totally fine."
On the mental aspects of returning from an Achilles injury:"Yeah, I trust [my Achilles]. I just have to get it strong, making [cuts] consistently every day and a lot of them."
On if he sought advice from teammates who had the same injury: "I talked to everybody. We have three people: [Michael] Crabtree had it, DeVier Posey, 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs]. I talked to Ben [Watson] when it happened, talked to Steve [Smith Sr.]. I'm one of the guys who wants to hear what everybody went through, or what you took to get better and all that type of stuff. So, I talked to everybody, and I got some good information from them."
On how he would describe how brutal the recovery process is:"It just sucks not to be able to walk. Most of my injuries are non-walking, and I have literally 56 steps – I counted – in my house. It was torture getting up and down those steps. It was difficult in the beginning, like I said, it's really hard. Your foot is so stiff, and it is a trust thing of stepping back. How you tore it, it's the same [movement]. It's kind of a trust thing, but once you get it back you feel comfortable."
On how quickly he can return to last year's level of play: "I think I can get there as soon as possible. I don't really feel any setback or anything that's holding me back from doing that."
On handling numerous injury setbacks to his career:"It sucks. I'm not going to act like it doesn't. It just seems like I'm constantly trying to fight just to get back to even instead of training and excelling better and progressing even more. It's always getting back even, getting back to just being healthy. So some of it ... It's really just keeping a strong mental [attitude]. I've obviously was read things about me; I can hear it and I feel it. Obviously, I want to be on the field, and to be hurt – it hurts, it sucks to sit in there. But just having a strong mental [approach] and my teammates supporting me, obviously, the Ravens supporting me, all that stuff matters in the long run."_ (Reporter: "The things you read – are people questioning your toughness?")_"No, it's not toughness. It's just, you know, injury-prone. When you play football, when you get hurt, then you become injury-prone."
On his suspension he served last season:"Last year, I took some pre-workouts. I'm not even sure which one it is, to be honest with you. You have to be conscious of what you put in your body, and I should've been a lot more conscious of what pre-workouts I was putting in there, and I got popped. I was going to appeal it, but when I tore my Achilles, I just took it and went home." (Reporter: "What do you mean by pre-workouts? Supplements?")"Yeah, pre-workout stuff to get you ready for practice. One year a supplement can be on the list, and that same supplement you're taking can be banned the next year. That's how certain things happen."
On his process of checking legal supplements:"There's an app. You send things into your agent. It's really just you doing the due diligence to make sure that ... It's a mistake that's easily avoidable. I wasn't conscious of it, and I didn't know, obviously. I would never take a steroid or some PED. I don't need that type of stuff to play football."
On if the Achilles injury was the most difficult injury of his career: "I'll tell you right now that the Lisfranc is probably the injury that keeps on giving. It never goes away, it seems. For me, the Achilles has not been that difficult at all."
On if he thought the Achilles tear was inevitable or if he knew he was at an increased risk of a tear:"I'm sure like everyone here, I was 'Google doctor,' searching things to figure out. But no, I didn't know. I did an interview, and I said in the interview [that] when I wake up, I feel that it's going to pop any day. When it finally popped, I was like, 'Ah, finally that's over now.' It hurt that bad." (Reporter: "Did you ever think about sitting out?")"For a game? It wouldn't have done anything. I take shots. I did PRP shots, I did Prednisone, I did everything I could possibly do, and resting it, and as soon as I would break or run, it would come back immediately. There was nothing, really, I could do besides trying to rest it, and you can't really rest during an NFL season. I just played until it went out."
On if there were any hurdles he had to get over during the recovery period: "No. I haven't had any setback like that. I guess the hardest part is when you're going from having heel lifts to a little [more] and then breaking. The first couple times you break and run and it's just really tight. I can't ... I'm trying to explain this. It's extremely tight. You feel like if you step back it will pop, but they tell you at least it's stronger now. You just have to trust it."
On if the criticism that he can't play 16 games serves as motivation:"Eh, I guess it is. It just keeps adding up. Yeah, I guess. It sucks. I guess I try not to think about it that much, but I want to finish 16. It's very difficult to do for whatever reason."
On if he counted the steps in his home out of boredom: "People who have been to my house, they know; they hate it. I have these spiral steps that just go up forever. Yeah, I counted. Well, my man cave is at the top of my house, and it's 56 steps to get up there, and with one foot and your Achilles and crutches, you tend to figure out how many it becomes eventually when you need to get up there."(Reporter: "Have any plans to install a lift?")"I wish."
On how difficult it is to listen to criticism and turn it into a positive:"You could go two ways with that: Some people get bogged down by it, and some people get motivated by it. I feel like for Breshad [Perriman] ... We're speaking about Breshad?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "I feel like he's taking it as motivation, because everybody knows he has talent, everybody knows he's the fastest guy out here. He can make these plays. It's just using that for motivation. I told him personally, like when I was going through mine, going into my third year, I told myself, 'If I'm going to get cut, if I'm going to get released, I'm going to go out playing the game that I know how to play, how I play it.' That was just running up and pressing people all day, but that's what my mindset was and that helped me. I feel like he knows his game, he knows what he has to do, and he has to go out there and prove it."
T Ronnie Stanley
On the progress of the offensive line:"I still think we have long way to go. We're still moving guys around, building up that chemistry, but I'm very pleased with the progress that we've made up to this point."
On his next step this season: "Just being a more vocal leader and just showing out more on the field on gameday and being that player that can be counted on by all his teammates."
On if he feels comfortable moving into a vocal leadership role:"Yeah, I'm kind of a vocal person already. I like to think that I can communicate well. I think I'm ready for that challenge."
On what it's like to practice against a player like OLB Terrell Suggs:"That just boosts your confidence way up. When you're going against a guy like that ... You know him, compared to the other defensive ends in the league. He's up at the very top one percent. When you're competing against a guy like that, you know you're going to be doing good against other guys around the league. Having a guy like 'Sizz' is a real blessing."
On working with G/T Alex Lewis again: "It's great working with Alex. He's a high-energy person. He's always coming in ready to work. It's been really fun."
On what he has to prove to get to a Pro Bowl-level tackle: "Like you said, just being dominant, and leaving no doubt when I come off the field on gameday knowing that '79' dominated the guys across from him."
On being a soccer fan and travelling to Russia for the World Cup: "I'm a huge fan of soccer. Soccer is definitely one of my favorite sports to watch. It was a great experience going to Russia; I've never been over to that side [west] of Europe. It was great. I learned a lot of new things, got to see a lot of beautiful structures, architectures. It was really fun." (Reporter: "You knew two guys who were competing for teams?") "Yeah, Romelu Lukaku and Jerome Boateng are good friends of mine, and I came over there to support them."
On if he compares his own success to others in his 2016 draft class:"I try not to worry about that too much. I try to just stay in my own zone, stay in my lane, and focus on what I need to do to be at my best."
On how QB Lamar Jackson is in the huddle:"Lamar is doing great; he's progressing a lot. It was definitely hard for him at first, but you can tell that he's improving, and he wants to improve more. S,o I'm glad with his progression."
On if it's different blocking for a mobile quarterback like QB Lamar Jackson:"He can be anywhere at any time. You just have to stay on your man and notice if your man's running left for some reason, it's probably because Lamar is out there. I'd say that the only difference is guys will be moving around different places, and you just have to assume that Lamar is over there."
On if using more RPOs takes the sting away from what defenses are doing against him:" I think that it takes the sting away from the whole defense. It gives them another thing to think about, to worry about all week, and I think it's a great dynamic that we have in our offense."