TUESDAY (8/7) TRAINING CAMP TRANSCRIPTS
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
What have you seen thus far with the new kickoff rules?_ (Kyle Barber)_"What I saw was a bit of what I expected. The kickoff team is not as far downfield as we anticipated. There are a number of nuances about the return game that are still yet to be discovered, in my opinion. This week is going to be a better indicator. There are going to be a lot more teams playing; you're going to be playing more schemes. We ran a very simple scheme, and it was a very simple kickoff coverage. But the spacing of the play, we saw with our kickoff return … We weren't coached up well enough, and we didn't set well enough based on where the players are going to be where the ball was caught. So, we had to tighten that up in practice this week, and we hope we're going to be better this week. But it's a learning process, it is, for both sides – for the kickoff team and the return team. After we get 16 games in this weekend, we'll have some other people to study other than just ourselves."
The intensity picked up during the gunner drill today. Is that by design?_ (Garrett Downing)_"Well, there are two professional football teams practicing against one another, and when you line up a gunner against a vice, and everybody in the whole place is watching three players, those guys want to do well. So, was it intense? Yeah, we anticipated that. We did the same drill yesterday. The unfortunate part was we had too many falls. We got competitive and lost our discipline, and we held too many guys, and at that point that's not helping anybody. We'll clean that up at practice, and hopefully on Thursday night we'll play just as competitive, just as aggressive, but with less falls."
I think it might've been the same drill, but WR/RS Janarion Grant had a long great return and then a penalty for taunting. As a coach, how do you coach him after that play? (Bo Smolka)"We're looking for a returner, and there's a competition every day in practice. I don't know who our returner is going to be at this point, but he's not going to be getting taunting fouls – I can assure you that."
Is there a progression from each preseason game that you're looking for on special teams that you're looking for this week, that you wanted from last week? (Peter Schmuck) "The beauty of this particular preseason is we've had the extra preseason game, and we've had these practices. So, we've already had more reps than we've typically had going into what would be the first preseason game. Our younger players have had more competitive situations, more full-speed situations than normal. The progression we're trying to do is we're trying to follow from this point forward the normal progression and just count all the other good stuff we've had as building block to that. We're not going to change from what we've done. You can go watch our tape – I'm sure opponents do – and they pretty much see the same stuff in the first preseason game. That's not going to change anything for us. What we do hope, and what we've been telling our players, is there's an old adage that you can prove the most between your first and your second game. Well, I think that's true for young players in preseason games, because they finally get a taste for what it's like. So, we're looking for a lot of improvements from our young players from Game 0 to Game 1."
Has S Eric Weddle's beard inspired you, or is there a wager?_ (Pete Gilbert)"It's analytics. It's all about the numbers. Our special teams analyst coordinator, Daniel Stern, ran the numbers during the offseason – and it's based on the numbers – that our punt coverage would increase by 4.6 percent. So, we're just playing the numbers at this point."(Reporter: "Is a beard a sign of intelligence?")_ "I'm not certain of that. I went to state college, so I'm not sure; just doing the best I can at this point." (laughter)
Have you guys been working on things to counter in case teams try to beat the system with the new rule changes? (Kevin Richardson)"Are you referring to trick plays?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "Well the thing that you're doing whenever you're thinking about fakes or trick returns … Is that the nature of your question? Well the thing about that is we try to in all of our coverage situations, and our block situations, we're always mindful of who the eligible [players] are and we're mindful of leverage on the ball and who's on the backside. So those things are a part of the way we structure our system and we practice. To work on every trick play that there's ever been run would be a long ordeal. It's really not something you can do. Just like our defense would do – they coach the concepts rather than the specific plays."
Defensive Coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale
Opening statement: "First of all, let's talk about the Hall of Fame Game. I was really pleased with our effort and how we ran to the football. I was really pleased with the four takeaways we had, and, what really stood out, it counts as double when you get two of them in the red zone. I liked our effort. We're still working. We're still a work in progress. We're still catching everybody up to the way you Play Like a Raven, especially the younger guys, like I pointed out before. But we're making progress with that. Second of all, Mr. [Steve] Bisciotti did a great thing for us – myself, 'Harbs,' and the players that were mentioned before – a first-class thing by getting us up there to see Ray's [Lewis] induction to the Hall of Fame. Everything was first-class, and it was a great, great experience. I sat there and just looked at C.J. [Mosley] as he was looking around, too, and to see the history of the game and to honor Ray, I thought it was fantastic. Like I said, it was a first-class thing that Mr. Bisciotti did. With that, I'll open it up for questions."
With S Tony Jefferson being out, what have you seen from S DeShon Elliott and S Chuck Clark standing beside? _(Kyle Barber) _"I think with every practice, they improve on certain things, and they're still trying to chase the perfection of playing the position. The good thing about practicing with the Rams is that they give us a different look, whether it's a different look with timing and coverages, because they're different receivers that we haven't seen yet. They have a precise passing game that is giving us some issues that we have to go look in at our coverages and make some adjustments with that, that we haven't done yet. We haven't game-planned yet. We're still installing defensively, but it's been a real positive for us to go against another team this early in training camp."
What kind of impression have you seen from OLB Tim Williams, and what did you see from him in the game this week? _(Garrett Downing) _"I'll tell you what, Tim was, I think I said this last time … I don't know, maybe it was somebody else … I think he is rushing better now than I've ever seen him rush. Out there, the last two practices against the Rams, he really put on a show in rushing the passer. He's becoming the player that we thought he was going to be when we drafted him. He's in shape. The special team reps were the first time, in the Hall of Fame Game, was the first time he did special teams and rushed the passer. And we got his play count up a little bit more than I expected, what I wanted to do. I'm going to be looking for that this game, but he really jumps out as a ... He's going to be a premier pass rusher, I think, in this league."
LB Kamalei Correa's first couple of years, [we saw him] kind of waiting. He would be in position but wouldn't pull the trigger and make the play. (Pete Gilbert) _"He sure did the other night!" _(laughter)
What do you think clicked for him? Why was he playing so free?*_(Pete Gilbert)_*"I think the move outside has built some confidence in him, but if you notice, he was still playing inside and outside. And I'm really … I'm happy for Kamalei, like I'm sure all of you were, too, to just see, like you said, that he's playing free and he's playing fast. He's gaining more confidence with every practice, with every rep, and then, obviously, the game. That was an outstanding game for him, and he just needs to keep stacking them now."
Why do you think that clicked? Is it anything you see? (Pete Gilbert)"I think it's confidence. It's just confidence in what he's doing. I shared with you before, he's got a baby now, and he's taken that to heart. We had the conversation, like I said before, that he said, 'This is what I want to do, and this is what I'm going to do.' And he's doing it right now. I'm really happy. I'm proud for him. I'm proud of him, and I'm really happy to see his progression."
I know there's a long way to go, but you have a lot of talented outside linebackers. You talk about OLB Tim Williams and LB Kamalei Correa coming on, joining the other guys. How do you plan to kind of rotate these guys and get them all reps? _(Ryan Mink) _"Through the preseason, it's pretty easy. Like I said before, in competition at any position, I think football will take care of it all. And that's no cop-out answer. I just think when you watch these games—and once again, that's the exciting part, to me, of these preseason games – I am elated that we have four more, with the practice time to get us ready to go into the season. And like I said, football will take care of it, and that's why it's going to be fun watching these preseason games, too."
How beneficial is it to have both [practicing with the Rams] and having the experience coming off a "bonus" preseason game, if you want to call it that, going into this on defense? _(Peter Schmuck) _"First of all, that's a great question. I think it's very beneficial. I think it's very beneficial, because it gets us going against the timing of their passing game, their tempo of their up-tempo stuff. They have different variances up-tempo, just like our offense does. But theirs is different than our offense, if that makes sense. So, it's been a great experience for our guys, especially our younger guys."
Even though S Tony Jefferson has missed several practices, do you feel because of his veteran experience that he can just pick up right where he left off? _(Ed Lee) _"No doubt. He's a professional. He came in in great shape. And I think he'll be fine. I don't think this hurts him; I really don't."
There's been so much talk about RPO plays, especially in the Super Bowl last year. I wonder, do you think that's going to be one of those offensive trends that comes and goes? Or do you feel like that's something that's going to be part of offensive people for a long time? _(Adam Kilgore) _"I don't have a crystal ball on it. I could give you my opinion, which might upset some people. I think, because of the trends of college football, I think that quarterbacks aren't developed as much as they have been in the past, because they run so many RPOs. It could fade, which it probably will fade, like the Wildcat and everything else. But, I still think some people will stick with it, because it's just like the triple-option. You're reading it, instead of a pitch now you're throwing it. Obviously, the defenses will catch up to it, so I hope we're there to catch up to it already. It will be interesting to see."
Do you remember the first time you heard that phrase or saw people and saw film of a college game or something? When did that become a play that was [prevalent]? (Adam Kilgore) _"I think that some fancy offensive guy came up with that. _(laughter)No, I don't remember the day, but I think it sounds really cool, doesn't it? It just gives the quarterback the option to throw it, and then what will happen is, the quarterbacks, they love to throw it, so it'll be more 'P' than 'R' with that, especially if they have a receiver who wants the ball all the time."
You had your first look at the helmet rule and how the referees are flagging it and calling it. Have you had to make any adjustments to the way you coach or to the way you've been teaching your players to tackle, or any adjustments? _(Kyle Barber) _"We've always taught, when we teach tackling, 'Keep your eyes up.' I don't think there's been an adjustment to it, no. I guess I should say this: What the as adjustment is, is you're really conscious now as the coach – whether it's a position coach, myself or 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] to, 'Keep your eyes up, keep your eyes up.' If a guy starts to drop his head, 'You've got to get your head out of there, you've got to get your head out of there.' You just hear that more, because we don't make the rules, we just play by them. That's the way we've always been here."
Alright, Wink. Are there any fancy defensive guys? (Kevin Byrne) _"No, just tough and gruff ones. Marty [Mornhinweg] will tell you about those." _(laughter)
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement: "Fantastic time at the Hall of Fame. Sort of a unique place. As you know, we visited the Hall of Fame – fantastic. Ray [Lewis] – fantastic job up there. Didn't he do a great job? Man alive! There were a couple other guys that I have been with that were getting their jackets as well. So, it was a special time that way. Heck of a game. A lot of young men got their first, sort of, experience in the NFL. We made up a few new plays right there on the spot. They did, I'm saying. You see what I'm saying? Man alive! I'll tell you what, they answered the bell – all of them – across the board, the young guys. Not that there weren't any mistakes, because there were too many of them for me to go through here. However, they answered the bell. They did a heck of a job. Now these two practices – great work, excellent work, appreciate the Rams coming in to go against somebody else. I'm sure you heard that many times. It seemed like great competitors, a little hot out there, got a little chippy today. That part was kind of good, too, and interesting. Alright, let's open it up to questions."
We saw that TE Darren Waller is back on the roster. What do you think he could bring to the table? (Childs Walker) "Well, we'll see. He's really worked himself. He's done a lot of things to get himself back to this point. What a great opportunity for him. You know his athleticism is unique. He's got a lot of hard work in front of him. I know this: He is a very, very tough-minded guy. I wouldn't be surprised if he does really, really well for us."
How pleased were you with TE Hayden Hurst practicing today? (Vasilios Nikolaou)"He did a heck of a job. He caught a couple down the pipe. He's really made a huge jump, both in-line and with his route-running. [Assistant head coach/tight ends coach] Greg [Roman] has done just a great job there getting him to this point. Now he's got a lot of hard work left – we all do. But he had a fantastic [day]. In fact, he had a fantastic couple days here. Had a nice touchdown … The two rookies – Lamar [Jackson] to Hurst – in the ball game. Pretty good, it's a good start for them."
What do you want to see from QB Lamar Jackson on Thursday?_ (Shawn Stepner) _"I want him to take the next step. What does that mean? Play quarterback. I was experimenting just a little bit that last game – you guys probably noticed the little special things for both he and Robert [Griffin III] – just a little bit. Play the quarterback position and that means many, many different things. There's about three things that we really emphasized this week. He did get great experience. The end of the game situations, the four-minute and even the victory [formation]! I'm joking just a little bit, but there is sort of an artwork to that thing. He got some great experience, he got himself a touchdown. Anyway, it was a good start. Now the next step, and there's a lot of steps involved."
How much better do you feel as a coordinator having G Marshal Yanda walk back on the field? (Childs Walker)"Yeah, it's a good point. Yanda is tough, physical, one of the great team leaders. It's good to have him here. As you know, he's going through individuals, and it'll be a ramp up for quite some time here. We'll get him in some team drills right when he's ready."
Along those lines, you've coached a lot of great players over the years. What stands out about G Marshal Yanda, beyond the obvious that he's made six Pro Bowls? (Luke Jones) "I'll tell you, he plays at a high level, and he does it on a real, real consistent basis. The things that some people don't notice from the outside is that leadership in the building, in the huddle, on the field during games. He's just fantastic that way. It's great to have him back."
Do you expect G Marshal Yanda to play in the exhibition games?_ (Peter Schmuck)_ "In fact, there's been … I've talked to John [Harbaugh] about it, I've talked to him about it, and John will make the final choice. Marshal has his thoughts on it, which are just a little bit different than mine. There's a big-picture plan. We'll see when the time comes there."
When was the genesis of the RPO play? When was the first time you've ever watched it in a college game? How do you trace it back?_ (Adam Kilgore)"Way back. This thing's cyclic a little bit. Don Faurot, University of Missouri. You remember? Geez – in his 80s he could hit his age on the golf course. He's pretty good. _(laughter)He still had an office when I was coaching, when I was a very young coach. I just happened to be walking by his office one time, and he's in watching the film, the old 16 millimeters, the bump bump. I said, 'Coach, what are you doing?' And I went in. He's in empty, shotgun, no backs, against Oklahoma. Way back then I'm going, 'Man alive! Why?' He told me the whole story of why he did it against all that stuff. This thing's a little bit cyclic. There's very, very few things that haven't been done. It might've been way back in the day."
How have you seen it trickle into the NFL the last few years?*_(Adam Kilgore) _*"I will say [that] there's only a few teams that it's really productive for. However, everybody seems to be doing just a little bit of it. As long as it's productive. And then you've got to have some skill set on certain things in that deal, as well, or it backfires on you. We've got a little bit of that in as you've seen."
When we see QB Lamar Jackson throw a deep pass, it appears a little wobbly. Have you talked to him about changing his approach or technique or anything? (Kevin Richardson)"Yeah, we've had … He's worked really hard, and he's gotten so much better as you've seen. If you remember when he first got here … With those types of things … It's still a work in progress. He's working hard at it, made just a couple little adjustments. I know this – you don't ever want to change a motion. However, you can make it just a little bit better, because every throwing motion is unique to that individual. They've been doing it since they were five, six, seven, eight, 10years old. Everybody throws it just a little bit different, and everybody grips just a little bit different. The quick release is important, your platform and your base are important; there are a bunch of different things. He's focused on two of them, and he's done really, really well. He's gotten a lot better."
Are you eager as a coach to see the chemistry between QB Joe Flacco and the new receivers in practice in a game? (Childs Walker) "Absolutely. I'm so excited, I'm out of my mind. I can't even see straight sometimes waiting for this thing. John [Harbaugh] typically handles all that publicly. So, here's what we have: We have a big-picture-type of plan, certainly for all players, especially the quarterbacks. Now that can be adjusted at any time, as well depending on how many plays, certainly, how many passes called and how many attempts they have. I think one important things for a man like Lamar [Jackson] is getting a lot of reps. So that's what I've typically done with the young quarterbacks is just simply trying to get them a lot of reps."
Your excitement having QB Joes Flacco back, is that more so than previous years? (Garrett Downing) "Well yeah. The last couple years … He's basically practiced three full practices before the first game last year, then the year before he's coming off the knee. He's had a whole offseason, he's had a great training camp, you've seen that. I'm probably more excited about it than he is, but I know he's jacked up just a little bit, too."
In regards to RPOs, are teams more receptive to add from the college game than they used to be? (Matthew Paras)"Always have. There's a big different in the college game, starting with the hashes. A lot of differences in the college game. They're usually a lot deeper at the quarterback spot, too. They don't put much thought into that sometimes on these RPOs. But yeah, always have. Always look at it, especially when guys are coming out, that's when you get a lot looks at the college game. One thing I know as a player or a coach is we don't ever want to stop learning, because the game changes – not yearly, not monthly – it changes every week to some extent."
ILB C.J. Mosley
On practicing with the Rams: "It's been fun out here, competing with another team. We get tired of practicing against each other, protecting each other, so we get a little extra physical, a couple of shoulder pads here and there. Today was definitely a little chippier than the first day, but that's what competition is. You want to get better, and like Coach [John] Harbaugh said, iron sharpens iron."
On having G Marshal Yanda back:"Yes, just bringing that 12-year toughness that Marshal brings to the O-line, and he's one of our leaders, too. Just to have him back, have him healthy, he's trying to get his legs back. [It's] definitely going to be great to have him on the line and get the run game going."
On attending Ray Lewis' Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony: "It was an awesome experience. I was honored to get picked to go to that, with that class that got inducted. Me growing up, that's who I watched play. [Brian] Urlacher and Ray Lewis [were] my favorite linebackers. Saw Brian Dawkins for the first time, and you could just see the intensity that they have and the passion that they have for the game and for their fans and in their community. That was probably one of the main reasons those guys got chosen."
On if he thinks about himself in the Hall of Fame: "There's always the possibility. I want to try to win now and get a Super Bowl first. It was a great experience. It's something to look forward to. You always look for reasons or things to get better at to get your game to that level. Those guys that got inducted and the speeches that they told give you another reason to want to get to that level or get to that next level after football."
On his thoughts on the officiating of the helmet rule: "It's part of the game, just like when the hand-fighting rule kind of changed over the past couple years. As a defensive player, you just have to adapt to it. It's tough. It's going to put us in some tough situations throughout the game. We had a few incidents in the past game. You think you're making a normal sideline tackle, but you just have to try your best to keep your head up. It's just part of the game. You have to adapt to it."
On what he feels like the defense needs to show in the upcoming game on Thursday:"Depending on who all is playing, for the whole defensive standpoint, just a mental toughness for the whole four quarters. We want to start fast. We don't want to start slow. And, towards the end of the game or in situational defense, where we've been talking about a lot this offseason – two-minute, third down, backed up, sudden change, offensive turnover – we've got to get back out there and try to get a stop. So, just those type of things, having that mental toughness and to push through it when you're tired, that's what we've been talking about the last few days in practice. It's been a little [more] humid than normal in these last few days, so we just have to have guys mentally push through when they're tired and better communicate still."
On practicing with a team that he'll play in the following days:"It's not that bad for me. This is my third time doing it. My rookie year, the 49ers came here, and the year after, we went to Philly, so I kind of know how it goes. I think on both sides of the ball, we kind of haven't been showing what everybody's going to be doing, so it's going to be fun when we actually get there in live-pass and actually get to go out there and be a unit and try to win and play like Ravens."
On if he expects LB Kamalei Correa to have a game similar to the first preseason game: "Yes. That's what we excepted as soon as he got here. Some guys take a little longer to develop or get kind of adjusted to their new role, but everybody was very excited for his breakout game. You're definitely going to see what he can do this time, because they're going to be sliding to him since they've got him on film wrecking the offense. It's exciting. We've got a lot of young guys on defense and offense, too, and a lot of new faces. So, it's fun. It will be a fun preseason to get everybody kind of making it together out there on the field and playing together."
G Marshal Yanda
On how it felt to be back with the team and getting ready for the season:"Yes, it felt great. It was exciting being back out there. I definitely missed it last year, so it felt really good to get back out there. I'm excited and just taking it one day at a time, but I'm feeling great and on schedule."
On difficulty over the last two years with injuries: "Yes, they've been tough. You have to fight through them. Last year, obviously, it was tough last year, because I couldn't fight through that one. It was kind of a 'bang-bang' injury, and I was done for the year. But injuries are part of football. You just have to fight though them, and I'm excited to be back this year. I'm feeling good, so I'm ready to roll."
On if the rehab gets tougher as he goes along:"No. Obviously, missing last year gave me a lot of fire and desire to play this year, for sure. So, I definitely have a lot left in the tank, and that fire is still there, and it burns high that I want to get back out there and play. That desire to play definitely kept me rolling, and I am definitely excited to play this fall."
On how he injured his shoulder:"I hurt it weightlifting in December. Obviously, it was a punch to the gut, hurting it weightlifting, but it was one of those deals where I could have possibly played through it, or it might have possibly torn more. There was a gray area, so we just went with fixing it, that way I would be, for sure, good for the season. That is what happened."
On how many times his shoulder has been operated on: "Three."
On how long it takes to get back into game shape: "Probably, I would say about three weeks."
On how long he wants to play: "I would say … A general rule of thumb is once you get to 10 years, I feel like, every year you have to reassess and reevaluate. Last year, me not playing pretty much at all last year, there was no question I definitely wanted to play this fall and get after it and be a part of it. You reassess and reevaluate. I'll take my time after the season, but right now I'm focused on this year and doing my part, and, like I said, I'm fired up to play."
On if he prides himself on his ability to come back quickly from injury:"I feel like I've always been a really good healer. I've always attacked my rehab. I've always come back from my injuries, so that's always been a good thing over the course of the years having injuries. That's just something that … You attack your rehab, but I've also had a lot of good fortune, where my injuries have healed. I've been able to go back on the field, and there hasn't been any drop-off."
On his impressions of the "new-look" offense: "It definitely looks good. Obviously, the plays and the passing game are definitely what's jumping off on the tape right now. You can just see the separation of the receivers and the guy catching the balls, so that's what's exciting. And obviously, Joe [Flacco] is practicing this camp, so that makes a big difference, and he's looking great. On the offensive line, they're grinding, and things are looking good. I'm excited. You can just see it on film that things are going well. Obviously, that has to translate once the games start happening for real, but things are looking good so far."
On how much he plans on playing in the preseason: "I don't know yet. We have to talk to about that with Coach [John] Harbaugh. We'll see."
On if he assumed he'd be able to play through his ankle injury: "It was a heart-breaking deal. I thought I was going to maybe miss some time but be able to find some way to fight through it and get back on the field. But, to have the news that it was season-ending was really tough. It was really hard for me, being away, but that's part of football. You have to deal with it. It was definitely one of the toughest things I've had to deal with in a while. But, that just gave me more fire to come back and play, because I definitely … I love playing this game, and I love being a part of it, and I'm going to play it for sure this fall and keep rolling."
On what his ankle injury was:"It's called a 'Weber C' fracture, is what it was. It's a pretty common injury in football, just where you have your leg planted on the ground, and somebody rolls up on you, and you just get hit from the side."
On what his shoulder injury affected: "Rotator cuff."
On if he was almost recovered from his ankle injury when his shoulder injury occurred: "Yes, like I said, it was a punch to the gut, and I was pissed off about it. But that's the tough thing, obviously. I was training and lifting and trying to get better. But, it comes to a point now where there's more risk than reward, and I just didn't know, obviously, didn't have any indication that it was going to go this way. But it's part of it."
On if he looks to someone like OLB Terrell Suggs for inspiration from recovering from an injury late in the career: "Yes, you understand that guys can definitely come back from it, and even though they're older players, they can still be productive. They can still do everything they want to do, so I've just attacked it every single day. I feel like, as you get older as a player, this game means more to you every single year that you play. Every single year that I've played, it's meant more to me. It's been more important. There's nothing else but football as you get older. I feel like that helps me as I get older. I obviously understand that it's a young man's game, but I'm going to be fighting every single day to be ready to roll and to be productive. I plan on doing that."
On what it was like attending the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony: "That was awesome. That was a really cool experience to be part of that, to watch all the guys talk — not just Ray [Lewis]— and to be there for Ray, obviously being able to play with him. That was a neat experience to see and to listen, and I really just feel fortunate to be a part of that."