TUESDAY (7/31) TRAINING CAMP TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Good seeing everybody here. We really appreciate it. We're excited. Really good couple weeks of practice, but it's time to go play a game. It's what you work for, a chance to play the game. It's going to be a great opportunity for a lot of our players. I do want to point out, I do a little bit of reading in the summer. I don't know if I'm a real fast reader, but I read a book in one day this year, if you count 2 in the morning as the same day. Ed Norris' book, 'Way Down in the Hole.' Ed, awesome book, amazing book, and I would recommend it, highly recommend it for everybody. If a book can hold your attention until you put it down, until you finish it, I'd say that's a pretty good book." (Reporter: "Are you a fast reader?")"I'm not that fast of a reader, no. I just dug in and kept concentrating."(Reporter: "What was your favorite part of the book?") "My favorite part of the book, I'll tell you. I think the story about the 9/11 conspiracy that they could have gotten early on, and Ed and his crew found that thing, was pretty amazing. I also think it opened my eyes a lot to sometimes how things work in the real world. That was eye-opening for me. It was a great book. All right, what do you have?"
Coach, all the quarterbacks seem to be playing well. But with QB Robert Griffin III, what's it been like having a veteran arm like that in practice? How has that helped you? _(Todd Karpovich) _"It's been great having Robert here. He's a pro. He's a very talented pro. He's a first-round pick. He's a top pick in the draft, and so he has talent. He's healthy, probably for the first time in quite a few years, and it's been on display out here. Watching him play, the other guys as well, it's going to be very exciting for us."
Is there a message to the guys, especially the younger guys, a lot of them is their first time playing in an NFL game, and they're doing it on a pretty big stage in the only game going on in town? Is there something special you say to … You don't have to say anything to the vets. (Jerry Coleman)"It is a good point, because it's football. They're excited to go play, but let's remember, it's a football game. Keep it simple, pay attention to what's important, to me, and that's going to be knowing your assignment and playing hard. If you're on defense, run to the football. If you're on offense, make the catch, finish the play. Keep it simple, play football, and let the chips fly."
John, you guys tried to get QB Robert Griffin III before last season and then did get him this season. What made him so attractive to have on your team? _(Sam Fortier) _"He's a really good football player. Again, keep it simple. Here you have a player who has had tremendous success in the league, who has quite a pedigree. This is a talented football player who's had lots of success in college and the NFL. Why wouldn't you want him on your team and in the mix, and just see where it goes from there?"
Does hi QB Robert Griffin III m being out of the league for a year worry you at all? _(Sam Fortier) _"Not really. He came back, we saw him throw, and he looked good. We had a workout, he looked good throwing. He looked healthy. It wasn't really a very hard decision. Ozzie [Newsome] made it, and he made it pretty quickly."
Coach, does it also mean something to have both QB Joe Flacco and QB Robert Griffin III in the same room with QB Lamar Jackson? _(Adam Zielonka) _"It does. Having both those two guys in the same room with Lamar, they bring a perspective, which is a veteran perspective, but also a different perspective. Joe and Robert have different experiences to bring to the table to talk to Lamar about, so different styles of play a little bit. It has to be a benefit. Lamar has said that, so I would think it's been really good for him."
I know you have awhile before you make the decision, but when you decide to keep two or three quarterbacks, what factors are there? (_Aaron Kasinitz) _"It's going to be all the things that anybody could imagine. It's going to be what's best for our team and how well those guys play. It'll be a tough decision, because anytime you keep one player at one position extra, it's one less player at another position that you have to decide to lose. Those are going to be tough decisions. But you know what? I'm not going to be thinking about that right now. We'll let that happen when the time comes."
John, what do you think about the job QBs coach James Urban has done with a talented group of quarterbacks, guys that are at different stages of their career, just meshing that all together? _(Luke Jones) _"James Urban is a really good coach. We have a really good staff. Across the board, just the quarterback room, you've got James in there, Craig Ver Steeg is in there, Marty [Mornhinweg] is in there from time to time. It's a strong room with the players, and it's a strong room with the coaches. Every day has been positive. We're making progress, and let's see how it looks in the game."
Defensive coordinator Don Martindale said yesterday to us that he mentioned to his defense, in honor of Ray Lewis going in the Hall of Fame, to play like him: passionate, spirited. Will you address that to those guys before they take the field about what it means to have him going into the Hall of Fame? (Keith Mills)"Probably, that's a good idea. I think it's a great idea. Our guys right now are all in for what it means to Play Like a Raven, and nobody embodies that more than Ray Lewis. So, we might have a couple clips we show in honor of Ray, and I would love to see our guys play that way."
Will Ray Lewis be there, will he speak to your team at all? (Bo Smolka) _"I don't believe he's speaking to our team. He's pretty busy. He has a lot of events. I talked to him about speaking to our team before, and he had mentioned it would probably have to be after. He'll be back here. I still have my fingers crossed that maybe our paths will cross, and we'll get him to say a few words. He's not usually shy about saying a word or two, so we might be able to get that done still!" _(laughter)
John, I know you have practice here on Saturday. Is there enough time to get back to Canton Saturday night? (Jeff Zrebiec)"There is. We have plans to get back. Steve [Bisciotti] has graciously put the resources in place to get us out there. It will be me, Don Martindale and the players that played with Ray when he was here. That'll be fun. It'll be amazing. I can't wait! I can't wait. I've never been to one. I've never been to one of those inductions, so I can't wait to see it in real life."
John, did your parents take you to the Hall of Fame when you were growing up? _(Scott Wykoff) _"Yes, we went to the Hall of Fame when it had just opened. Early on, I might have been seven, eight years old. That's a long time ago."
Can you believe you're taking a football team back there to play a game? (Scott Wykoff)"Yes. The days are long, but the years are short. They seem to go faster as we get older, right?"
John, I know there's a checklist of things you would probably want to see out of QB Lamar Jackson in his first game. Is there anything at the top of the list that you would really want to see out of him? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Poise. Operate … You have to run the show. To see him run the show with confidence and get things right would be the main thing for him. After that, play football and see what happens."
How difficult is it to come up with the perfect practice script, and how long does that take you to get it exactly where you want it? (Conor Orr)"I'll tell you, the one thing that is constant is change. There probably is no perfect script, but you're always following the flow a little bit – what is going well, what needs to be worked on, what needs to be changed, where time needs to be spent – so that's always a moving target. We do a good job. We try to stay flexible. One thing, I'm kind of like that, Eric [Weddle] was making fun of me today a little bit that I joked with him yesterday — I make the schedule, then I change the schedule, then I forget the schedule." (laughter) "I never really know the schedule, but to me it's indicative of the type of job this is. You have to be flexible. You have to be moving, because the target is moving, so we try to be as accurate as we can with a moving target."
John, one last thing about the Hall of Fame] and the team. If Ed Reed goes in next year, you have three Hall of Famers, two Super Bowls in 22, 23 years. I know there are a lot of humble, modest people in the building. Has that been acknowledged at all, that sense of pride about this news or this organization at this time when a few more guys are probably going to go in? (Keith Mills)"I'll tell you, that's a great point. The answer to your question is 'no.' We don't talk about it. It's not something that Steve [Bisciotti] talks about, or Ozzie [Newsome] talks about or Eric [DeCosta] or all the amazing people in this building, or before that. Brian [Billick] was over here with NFL Network; the memory of Ted Marchibroda. We have 22 years now? Twenty-two years of Baltimore Ravens football – pretty storied tradition. Twenty-two years and all the things you talked about right there, it's just absolutely and utterly amazing what's been accomplished. I know that the Baltimore fans ... The thing about this organization, and I think it takes its cue from our owner, Steve Bisciotti, is that we're always looking forward. We're not looking backward. My grandpa, my dad reminded me of this story just the other day. He had an old, '61 Chevy Biscayne. It had no rearview mirrors. My dad asked him one time, he said, 'Why no rearview mirrors?' He said, 'I'm not driving backward; I'm driving forward!'" (laughter)"Not sure how he got out of the garage. But I feel like that's kind of one of our strengths, and that comes from Steve Bisciotti."
When CB Tavon Young got the slot cornerback spot, is outside corner a more natural fit for CB Maurice Canady? _(Ed Lee) _"That's a great question. I don't know, because he does a really good job in the slot, too. But with Tavon in there, we can push Maurice outside, if that's your point, that he can play outside maybe. Is that what you're saying? That's exactly right. That gives us the flexibility to move him out there and play him out there. That's why he's playing out there. But he can also play safety, so he's a very versatile player. But we need the help outside. He gives us depth out there. I think he's a starter, so he's doing a good job."
John, when the team loses a player like Ray Lewis, a great player like that, sometimes it takes them 10-15 years to find a guy. You have a ILB C.J. Mosley. How fortunate do you feel to have a person come in there, and kind of fill, not the same type of player, but kind of fill that gap? (Jamison Hensley)"Your point is good. You're never going to replace Ray Lewis. There will never be another Ray Lewis in football, ever. But, there will be a C.J. Mosley, and that's all the C.J. has to do, and that's what I love about C.J., is he understands that. Be who you are, be your version of whatever that is, and that he does a great job of chasing every day."
Quarterbacks Coach James Urban
QB Lamar Jackson looked like he was a little bit under pressure in the pocket during drills. Are you worried about him getting hit on Thursday? _(Katherine Fominykh) _"No, no. Of course, you don't want your quarterback to get hit. That's the No. 1 priority. He certainly has to understand the protections, but I'm not worried about that. Our defense does a terrific job with giving us some really unique looks and he'll be fine."
What's the most different thing about QB Lamar Jackson now that you've been coaching him for awhile? _(Mike Tanier) _"He gets better every day, so I keep seeing growth in all the different areas that we talk about. One of the important areas that we talk about is consistency. You see, in our drill work, you can see the growth, and then sometimes when the bullets are flying, so to speak, he reverts back to what he knows. So, [he must keep] improving that consistency of doing that all the time."
When we see that he overthrows, maybe catches are bobbled, is that where we're seeing an inconsistency? Is that mechanical? _(Mike Tanier) _"Yes, some of it's mechanical. Some of it is understanding exactly the route and the route concept and how that thing is going to feel to him. So much of that timing is how does it feel to the quarterback. Every rep we take is important, so that he can continue to increase the understanding of the timing."
What does a successful preseason look like for QB Lamar Jackson, in your eyes? (Garrett Downing)"I said it I think before: compete and complete. I want him to compete. Play the game. Then, I want completions. Find the ball, throw it to the open guy, and then when not [open], let your great natural ability take over. Success would be improvement from Game 1 all the way through to Game 5, and then we'll have a better understanding of exactly where he is."
James, you have a quarterbacks room that has three former first-round picks. Just meshing all that together, understanding they're all at different stages of their careers, how fun is that for you, first of all, and how challenging is it? _(Luke Jones) _"It's fun, because they make it fun. The environment in the room is very, very important to me, and we talk about it quite a good little bit. Joe [Flacco] has been great. Robert [Griffin III] has been great. Josh [Woodrum] is an unbelievable wealth of knowledge – he understands this offense in and out – and then Lamar [Jackson] has been a sponge. Lamar shows just enough personality that you really like, but he's respectful. If he said it once, he's said it a bunch of times: 'Joe Flacco has won a Super Bowl. That dude is real.' That kind of thing – it's been great."
You went and spent some time with QB Lamar Jackson before the draft. Where did you see the area which was going to be the biggest challenge? (Jeff Zrebiec)"In the system – and this is many college quarterbacks – the system was some hand signals, some no-huddle, some one-words. Now, they had wonderful concepts – coach [Bobby] Petrino does a great job with concepts – but it was a simpler, less verbiage. So, that was a hurdle. And of course, under center, he did some, but not a whole lot. Those were two areas, and he's been great with both of them."
Coach, you've talked about the quarterback room dynamic a little bit, and head coach John Harbaugh told us before that both QB Joe Flacco and QB Robert Griffin III have been able to offer something a little different to QB Lamar Jackson. Can you tell us a little more about how Robert is a mentor to Lamar on and off the field? _(Adam Zielonka) _"Look, Robert is a Heisman Trophy winner. He was the second-overall pick. He was the Rookie of the Year. He has street credibility immediately. Regardless of how he ended up with us, he was a great player. And still, he's playing at a very high level. I'm anxious to see him. Robert is healthy. He's throwing the ball strong. He's been very impressive. Some of the things he's done athletically, in terms of schematics, and then making plays outside the pocket, Lamar can relate to those. I think there's an instant bond that way."
Some people think that with mobile quarterbacks, you expose yourself to more hits when you run. Have you ever had a talk with QB Lamar Jackson about maybe limiting some of the times he runs? _(Jamison Hensley) _"That's a slippery slope. He didn't get drafted where we drafted him, he hasn't accomplished what he has, because he stands in the pocket. So, no. He has to learn how to throw in the pocket, of course. At some point, to play quarterback in the National Football League, you have to drop back and throw it. We're getting there, and he's improving dramatically. Great natural ability takes over, you go make your play, and then take the hit off, get what we can, get up and get out, sliding, obviously, and now diving. In the National Football League, there's protection for the quarterback, so we're aware of those, and we've talked about it. He might take a hit that he shouldn't, and then he'll learn."
Many have observed that QB Joe Flacco has practiced as well as he has in a long time. Beyond health, because we know how important that is, if you could pinpoint something that you've seen improving from him from the start of the offseason to now, what would it be? _(Luke Jones) _"Many things, and they're little things. Generally, Joe has not balked at a single thing: not any drill work, not any extra little conditioning drill work, not extra meeting time, nothing. He's been open, willing, ready and wants to [succeed] very badly, and that's just evident. I love how he's competing in practice."
In the progression of a rookie quarterback, how big is this step from what you see in training camp to actually playing against an opponent coming up on Thursday night? (Mark Viviano)"It's a big step, the guys from the other color jersey. When the ball is snapped, he's going to go play football. That's what happens. And that'll be the same for Robert [Griffin III], frankly, who was out last year at that point. It's knowing the offense. It's understanding what we're trying to get done, but then, go play the game. I'm not worried about Lamar [Jackson] and specifically going to play the game. It's hearing the play call in the helmet for the first time, and substitutions, and game management and all those things, where you want to see him improve."
It seems like you guys are altering the tempo a little bit with him sometimes. How has he handled that so far, QB Lamar Jackson? (Conor Orr)"That's certainly part of our offense, and that's not just Lamar. That is part of what we do, it's part of what we're going to do, and he's been great with that."
James, the fact that QB Lamar Jackson is also going to be on the field at the same times as QB Joe Flacco at times, how might that affect his rookie season and what is your role helping him through those other positions? (Aaron Kasinitz)"Marty [Mornhinweg] and I have experience with that. We did it with Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick. There are conversations that you have, in terms of exactly where you want each player, and exactly when you use it and how to use it, and those things. So, we have experience with it. They both want to win football games, so while we may ask one or both of them to do something that they're not accustomed to doing, traditionally speaking, they're open, and they want to win football games. So, we're going to do it."
Michael Vick talked about how relaxed he felt having your presence and you walk him through the plays. How far do you think that goes with QB Lamar Jackson? (Katherine Fominykh) _"It doesn't hurt. Michael was a special player. I think everyone in my room right now is a special player. It's nice to have Michael say those things. It's great. What young, athletic quarterback didn't look up to Michael Vick when Michael Vick was Michael Vick? He was on the cover of Madden and all those things!" _(laughter)"I think it helps some, but I'm not sure how much. It's important that I do my job and help them understand what my job is, so that they can trust me."
QB Robert Griffin III is a first-round pick, Heisman Trophy winner, he has kind of taken third-team reps at times. How has he embraced all this? It seems like he's still having more fun than anyone else on the field. What kind of energy does he bring? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Robert is a football player, and he loves football. That taste of not being around it for a season, he's hungry, and he's enjoying every moment. We talk all the time. 'Control what you control. When opportunity comes, you take advantage of the opportunity. If it's two reps or it's 10 reps, make them the best reps that you can.' And he has done that. I'm very happy with how Robert has been working."
When you do those two-quarterbacks type of things, sometimes the quarterbacks line up at wide receiver. Is that tricky for them to learn suddenly that they have to show release and things like that? (Mike Tanier)"Fortunately, I have a little experience coaching wide receivers, too! No, I'm joking. Of course, it's different, so you just coach them up and sometimes lean on, 'Hey, ask the receiver.' But they get it done. It's not rocket science."
James, can you talk about how many plays per series in games you'll have QB Lamar Jackson in? The reason I ask is, it was brought to me that advance scouting typically has a four-game look-back. Do you guys have a plan to have a new package of plays that will at least put Lamar in other looks? (Ken McKusick)"We certainly are in the midst of conversations on things of that nature, and that will be coach [John] Harbaugh and coach [Marty] Mornhinweg, and we'll do it. But no, not specifically in terms of exact number of reps or anything like that."
QB Robert Griffin III
Opening statement: "I'm very excited. I don't think I can put into words how fun this whole process has been being here in Baltimore. Just having an opportunity to grow with this team, grow with my teammates. I just want to go out there, show them they can trust me and help lead us to a win."
On how he explains the amount of enthusiasm he has for the game currently: "I think it's a combination of things. Being out of football last year is one of them, but anyone who has watched me throughout my career has probably noticed that I like to have a little bit of fun on the field, because it's a grind out here. These guys are putting their bodies on the line. As a quarterback it's more mentally draining and draining on your arm than it is on the rest of your body. But those big guys are in there banging every day. You just want to try to lift their spirits. We're the ones that keep the engine going and keep it moving and get guys ingrained and ready to go every day. So, sometimes you have to make the environment fun for them. But being out of football definitely adds to that – it gives you an appreciation that you thought you might have already had. It's like someone taking something away from you, or someone taking your girl, and then you miss her a little bit. You thought you'd miss her before, but now you miss her a little bit more. I think that's what happened with me and football. Being out of football last year, feeling like I knew I could still play, still go out and help a team in any type of way, [and] to come back and have this opportunity, to be blessed with this opportunity, is something that I don't take lightly."
On if he views Thursday's game as a chance to prove himself to his doubters: "No, it doesn't, not for me. What those guys [in the front office] think about me is more important to me than what anybody on the outside thinks. What my wife and daughters think about me is more important to me than what anybody else [thinks]. I've learned that through the course of my career. You can hear the noise, but you have to block it out. I think I've done a better job of that. I can hear it – things are going to be said, people are going doubt you – but you have to go out and perform and play to the best of your abilities. Really, I'm just excited to go play football."
On if he looks at the preseason as an audition: "No, I don't think so. Like I said, for me, it's about doing what I can to help those guys in that locker room make plays on offense, and make sure we go out and execute everything the coaches are asking us to do. It's not an audition; it's not anything like that to that nature. I just … Like I said, I'm excited to go play football again, be out there and just throw the pigskin around."
On how long ago it feels like he's played in an NFL game: "It doesn't feel that long, because time flies when you're in it. It felt really long last year when I wasn't in it. It was a really long process and getting calls but not getting that final call to come in and help a team – that was a long process. Having to sit there as a 27-year-old knowing like, 'Man, I'm ready to go.' Now here I am as a 28-year-old, and because I stayed with it and had the right people in my corner to push me during the time when I was out of the league, I was blessed with this opportunity. So, anyone out there who's going through something, you just have to look at that obstacle and never let it make you quit. You can be upset about it. It can feel like it's never going to end, but always make sure you push through, because the people who don't quit are the ones who end up being successful."
On what he did to stay in shape: "I think you guys probably saw. I was throwing footballs at palm trees … Nah, I actually trained in Orlando. I ended up moving to Orlando and trained at Disney. UCF [University of Central Florida] was gracious enough to let me use their field, along with my wife who is a professional track and field athlete. I just went out there, threw to some of their guys. I was able to get the work in when I could, but for the majority of it, it was mostly studying – studying the game, studying what defenses were doing to the offenses. I saw a trend in how things were kind of backtracking back to 2012, 2013 with the RPO [run-pass option] systems and guys using zone-read and play action drops out of the pistol. So, I looked at how the defenses were trying to challenge that and shut it down – that kept me in it mentally. Then I was able to go out and work on the things I felt like I needed to work on, whatever that may be. As a quarterback, you're working on everything all the time: consistency, your drops, your timing. I think that's one thing I was able to get back pretty quick, was the timing, because once you've played in the NFL, you know that speed. It's not lackadaisical. You can be this close to winning a game and losing a game. So, I worked on those things to make sure when I came here for my tryout with the Ravens that they saw that. They didn't see a guy that … 'Aw, man, he's going to need a couple weeks to get ready to go.' They saw a guy that was ready to play, and that's why I think I got the opportunity that I did."
On what sticks out about quarterbacks coach James Urban: "Other than the obvious? He's pretty … He's a tall quarterbacks coach. (laughter) No – he's awesome! The thing that I think he does the best is allows you to feel like a football player, not a robot. Not like pushing this button and then you go there, and pushing this button and you go there. I think he allows you to feel the game. He wants you to feel like you're being fluid in the pocket, that you're moving naturally. He's also a stickler for, 'Hey, when verses this coverage or verses this coverage, you're supposed to go here.' But he understands that maybe sometimes somebody gets through, or you felt something and that's why you made that throw. He doesn't try to coach the playmaker out of you. I think that's a really strong attribute of his. And it's not just his, it starts at the top with [offensive coordinator] Marty Mornhinweg. They have a certain way they want you to do things and you're going to do it their way. If you ever make a play outside of that, they're not going to condemn you. But if you don't make a play outside of that, you know it's on you."
On if he gave advice to QB Lamar Jackson about running the ball: "Yeah, a little bit. Lamar was a lot more prolific runner than I was coming out [of college]. He [uses] a lot of cutback runs, a lot of spin moves – I picked up a couple of those along the way. What I try to tell him mostly is that in this league things happen faster. It's not that he can't run – he just has to be smart when he does run. I'm not going to try … I feel like he's my little brother, but I'm not going to try as the big brother to tell him, 'Don't do this.' He's going to have to learn some things on his own as he's out there and he's working. I think he'll figure it out pretty quickly, and he'll still be the dynamic player that he is."
On the advice he gave to QB Lamar Jackson about rookie expectations: "He's in a different situation. He's got Joe [Flacco] and myself here to help him. Joe's a 10-year vet, a guy who's been a Super Bowl champion, led his team to the playoffs multiple times, Division champions. It's a different experience for him. When I was in Washington, I was the guy. I came in [and] I was the guy. I earned it, I worked for it and had to go out there and play right away. Lamar necessarily doesn't have that in front of him. We all know anything can happen, but he'll be ready. I think he's got us beating our chests, but I think he has the best quarterback room to help him get prepared and ready to go. He's got a guy who's done it a certain way for a long time – even though Joe is sneaky athletic. He's got myself who's been in his shoes, in his situation, and a similar-type player. So, I think he has the tools and everybody around him to help him be successful. I think he's been great about it with listening. We're just trying to teach him how to be a pro. I think he's going to be great."
On the dynamic of bringing a guy in while you're still competing for a job: "Somebody told me this, it was earlier this offseason, and you're not going to cheat a guy to beat a guy. Right? I'm not going to try to cheat you and not tell you something and not help you to try to win a spot. We're all about the team here – we're all about the Ravens. My job is to help Lamar [Jackson], Joe [Flacco], Josh [Woodrum], everybody get as good as they possibly can and then go out there and let the chips fall where they may. I think that's the approach we've taken to all of it and it's a great approach. It's been a lot of fun. I don't think that … There's no bad blood in our room. Our room is a very cohesive unit and we're all going to go out and ball out."
On the last time he had to worry about his health: "I feel great. I don't know – maybe it's my wife. I feel awesome. I feel healthy, fast. You know, 'Buck' [Javorius] Allen is right here … Go ahead, get out of here man! 'Buck' Allen – we're in offseason workouts and this guy's fast, but I feel like I'm beating him."
On if he could explain his unique socks: "So, every day coach [John] Harbaugh allows us to wear whatever socks we want. I wear little character socks: 'Dragon Ball Z,' a little Goku action, a little Frieza. But I just make sure that it's team colors or neutral so that no one really notices. So, I've worn some Batman … Can you think of any other ones? Black Panther … We've been dicing them up a little bit!" (Reporter: "So if Coach Harbaugh said he doesn't care what socks you wear, as long as they match team colors, have you thought about bringing the team a pair of socks?") (laughter) "See! Now he's putting me on the spot. I'll get the team some socks. I can go get 90 pairs of some Black Panther socks. What character [do] you want?" (Reporter: "We'll discuss with the team.") "Now he roped me into something, but we're going to make it happen. I got you, bro."
On if he'll ever say, 'I told you so' when QB Lamar Jackson runs the ball and gets hit: "You don't want to be that kind of guy. I don't want to tell him that, 'I told you so, bro.' For me, when I was early in my career, I didn't really understand how to get down and when to get down, and I just looked at every single play as, 'This is the last play of the game.' That was my competitive nature. What I learned is that I can still have that competitive nature, but there's a time and place for it. In the red zone – go for it. In the open field – if you feel like you have an edge – go for it. But when there's three guys about to smother you, you might want to go down a little bit faster. Lamar is going to have to learn that as he goes, because his natural instinct when he's running is that no one is going to tackle him, no one can tackle him. There's some guys in this league that can tackle him, and he'll figure that out. But I'm not going to be on the sideline saying, 'I told you so.' I'm going to be on the sideline like, 'Are you OK? You alright man?' (laughter) He'll figure it out and he'll be OK."
On who is faster between himself and QB Lamar Jackson: "Did you ask him that question? (Reporter: "I didn't ask him.") "Oh, OK, because I'm more than sure he'll try to say that he's faster. But Lamar is quicker than I am I would say, although my quickness has improved. Zero to 60, Zero to 40, Zero to 100, I think I'm faster than Lamar. That really doesn't matter at the end of the day. I'm trying to go out and help our team win and he is too. Maybe we'll get on the field together – who knows?"
On how much he has enjoyed having his wife and daughter at practice: "It's been awesome. My wife is my backbone and she's really, really been there for me and helped me throughout the times of when I was out of the league. It's just great to come out to practice every day and know that you have that support system there for you. She's supposed to be overseas right now competing, and she decided to stay to be here for training camp. To me, that speaks volumes about her and just how much this means to her to be here for me. And I will return the favor – believe that."
QB Lamar Jackson
On what he is looking to prove in the first preseason game: "[That] I'm a quarterback. Yeah – that's the first thing I want to show off, and just show them the growth [from] college on to my new chapter in life. That's all."
On how he has changed as a quarterback:"I have a little wider base. Sometimes coach will be telling me to stay down still – or a lot, because every day he was telling me to stay down. I'm on my toes a lot throwing the ball. I would say I grew at that." (Reporter: "Is that something instinctive or are you still thinking about it when you're out there?")"It's becoming instinct sometimes. I say 'sometimes,' as it depends if I'm on it. Sometimes I have to get coached a little. Coach will be like, 'Stay down! Stay down!' Sometimes, certain periods, if I get a little fatigued."
On the last time he took a big hit:"The  bowl game from college. [That's] the last time I remember."
On if he's ready for Thursday:"Absolutely! Yeah, I can't wait. All this preparation we've been going through ever since going through the draft, the Combine and stuff like that. We get the pads on and finally go at another opponent, so I can't wait."
On if being in the same quarterback room as QB Robert Griffin III makes him think more about running in the NFL compared to college: "Heisman brother. No – I'm just going to play my game. I'm not going to let anything change. If it's there, [I'm] throwing the ball like always. If it's not, [I'll] probably run. I'm going to go out of bounds; I'm not going to take on defenders and stuff like that – no."
On if he has changed his technique:"No. They just want me to do what I'm coached to do – that's all. Not anything in particular."
On if he feels there's a faster tempo when he's in the huddle:"No. It's the same. I just approach it different – that's all."
On if he has watched film on the Chicago Bears: "We just started watching film. We're going to watch it today, later on. Right now, we're just going through the film, nothing spectacular."
On what a successful preseason looks like:"Winning every game. (laughs)That's all! Just go undefeated in preseason games and that's it!"
On standing in the mirror and practicing play-calling: "I did that. I get in the huddle, coach gives me the plays, and I get in the huddle, and it starts tongue-twisting me, and I'm like, 'Uh … Say it again?' So yeah, I have to stand in the mirror and say and look at the plays, try to say them to myself to get ready for the next day." (Reporter: "You guys didn't huddle a lot at Louisville, correct?")"We did huddle sometimes." (Reporter: "But has that been some of the biggest adjustments, maybe the verbiage?") "No. Well, yeah, I would say the verbiage. Just breaking down each play, letting everyone know what they have on certain plays in each position." (Reporter: "Is standing in the mirror and practicing new for you this year?")"Yeah that's new, because I never did that before. So yeah, that's new."
On if it's difficult to learn gadget-type plays: "No, it's not different. It's just explaining it all during one play. You have to break down everyone and let them know – let the line know the protection, let this receiver know the 'X' receiver, know his placement …"
On if he knows how much playing time he will get on Thursday:"No, we didn't speak about that. We just can't wait to play Thursday."
On if he expects to be nervous: "I'll probably have the butterflies. It's my first NFL game. It's not a real game, but it counts for me. Yeah, definitely butterflies. I can't wait! I'm really anxious."
On if expectation management has been a problem being a first-round pick: "No, I just play my game. I go out there and try to win."
On how helpful QB Joe Flacco and QB Robert Griffin III have been: "They've been very helpful. Certain plays I go through, if I made the wrong read or something like that, they'll let me know how they do it on a certain play. They've been very helpful."