BALTIMORE RAVENS TRAINING CAMP (8/28) TRANSCRIPTS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good seeing everybody – appreciate you coming out. [It's] hot – very hot! Which I feel great about our guys because we had two real practices out here the last two days. Whole team is practicing, a mix of regular season preparation and Redskins preparation. We've played now three games, I think it will be in 10 days – right? Challenging for our guys. This'll be the third very physical game we're going to play, especially those young guys who are playing, but they're fighting for roster spots on this football team. That's what makes it very dramatic and very exciting. So, [we] had a good practice today. We certainly weren't taking it easy on them, trying to get ready for the game. We pushed through it, and they're going to have to recover and get ready for Thursday night. Then an announcement: Obviously, Kamalei Correa was traded to the Tennessee Titans. So, he'll reunite with Dean Pees in a good trade for both teams. I wish him nothing but the best [and] thank him for everything he did while he was here. Kamalei had a heck of a training camp, love the way he works, love who he is. We tell our guys, 'Once a Raven, always a Raven,' and that'll be true for Kamalei as well. OK, what do you have?"
The depth there at that position made that [trade] work, do you guys think? (Pete Gilbert) "Absolutely. We're just stacked up at that position. I think Kamalei [Correa] knew it. He played both outside and inside [linebacker] but focused on playing back to the outside position that he played more in college. I think he really showed what he's capable of."
So, would you say he's more of an outside linebacker or an inside linebacker? (Mike Preston) "I think he's more of an outside 'backer. He's the kind of guy that can get on the edge, hold the edge, but he's just a … He's a fast playing, kind of an edge-stunt, make things happen kind of guy like he was in college. I think it showed up more than it did inside. Though I will say – he was a lot better inside than he had been earlier in his career. So, maybe he's a swing guy for them and can give them some versatility."
You've talked about how QB Robert Griffin III has made your decision difficult in terms of keeping three quarterbacks. Would you say he has done everything you could have asked him to do since he showed up here? (Childs Walker) "I would say that; I would. I think Robert has done everything we've asked him to do and more. He's everything he's always been as a player, he's back on his feet, he's healthy, he's in a new environment, new situation. He's had great success, and then Haloti [Ngata] fell on him. That'll hurt anybody's career! Right? (laughter) So, I think he's back from that finally, and he had a heck of a summer, and he's played very well."
You have a lot of young guys on the offensive line behind the five starters. How do you feel about the depth there? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I feel like it's developing. I think we have some guys. Orlando [Brown Jr.] has really, probably proven himself as a viable guy. Then after that, I think those guys are in the process of developing into viable guys. But we have candidates, and in that I mean, they haven't probably done it consistently as well as the other guys, but they've done it enough to make you feel like they can do it and they just have to keep stacking."
I know evaluating players and getting healthy are two of the main priorities when you go into these preseason games. How much though is winning a priority? (Jamison Hensley) "Well there's a coach, a very good former NFL coach [Herm Edwards], who said, 'You play the game to win.' We all remember that, right? Now coaching at Arizona State – great guy. I would say that that's always the case. You play the game to win. I don't care when you play, where you play – there's a scoreboard up there and they keep score. So, we're trying to win the game, but we're trying to win the game within certain parameters, which are the two you're talking about. We're trying to stay healthy, we're trying to get guys what they need to play in the regular season, the ones that count for the regular season – these don't count for the regular season – we understand that. So, you have certain parameters built around that and we stick to that. We haven't really played our starters all that much in this preseason, and yet we've won games. So, you're kind of proud of that. I was proud … I told you yesterday. I was really proud of the way the guys played, in the second half especially [at Miami]. It was Ravens football and that's what you want to see."
When you make a trade like the LB Kamalei Correa deal, how much does other positions factor? Maybe you have a roster crunch at another position and you have to make room. Does that have heavy consideration into deals like that? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Probably a consideration, sure. The whole puzzle has to fit together now at this time of year, and that's your point. I think it all pieces together that way. Kamalei was definitely one of our best 53. So, it opens up a roster spot for another position that you probably needed the number for, sure, and it gives someone an opportunity to make the team."
T Gregory Senat posted a picture of himself in a walking boot. Do you have any update on him? (Childs Walker) "Yeah, I'm going to update. He'll be disciplined for that. So, I'll make sure that we take care of that. Obviously, he doesn't know any better. At this point in time when the regular season starts, we won't be doing that. But he has a turf toe – he'll be out for a while. So, we'll just have to play that one by ear, and [general manager & executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] will have to decide how he wants to handle it going into the 53-man roster."
Is there any update with S DeShon Elliott? You said at one point it could be the whole year, could not be the whole year. (Bo Smolka) "I would say … Well, it's going to be a long time. What is it … A fracture of a forearm? It's going to be a long time. It's not really a whole year, but what point in time can a guy come back? For the playoffs? I don't know. We'll have to see how that goes."
You only have a couple days left with 90 players and then it drops. Is there any room for sentimentality at this point, or is it just the job and you move on? (Pete Gilbert) "I think that answers itself. There's sentimentality in the sense of you get close to people. Guys talk all the time about being a family. I think we have something that's really pretty special here. I don't believe it's the same everywhere – people tell me it's not. Having been around a bit, I don't know, but I would say that we care about our guys [and] our guys matter to us. We love our players. [Steelers WR] Antonio Brown said it last year! He said about the Ravens, he said, 'Hey, they love their guys.' That's how we are here, that's the way we run it. That's the kind of people we have all the way up to the top. So, that won't be easy – yet as far as the decisions that are made – no, there's no sentimentality. It's all about what gives you the best football team that you can have."
S Chuck Clark
On the defense's low third-down conversion rate in the preseason: "Our key is just focusing, executing and getting off the field – making turnovers."
On incorporating the new faces on defense: "The main part with that is just communicating [and] vibing off the field, and then it carries over to the field, and then everybody gels out there on the field."
On getting experience with the first-team defense during training camp: "It was huge, just getting out there with the ones and seeing how they communicate on the field, how they actually play and gel together. It's critical, just actually getting those reps and working."
On if he received any clarification on the helmet penalty involving his hit last Saturday: "Not yet. They haven't given us any ruling yet on it as to why they called it. But, I feel that they called it because of how it looked. That's just what I got from the ref, based on how it looked."
On if what he saw on film was what he originally thought happened, that both players went low and he made contact with his shoulder: "Yeah, just going back and looking at it, I was trying to go for his legs. He's a shorter player, and when it came down to it, he came in lower, too. So, it was just one of those things, 'bang-bang' [play]."
On how he developed his intelligence for the game: "Just studying, then coming in my rookie year and seeing how [Eric] Weddle approaches the game and how he studies the game. If you're next in line, you have to kind of develop some of those traits, too, and just watch yourself and model yourself [after him]. You just study the game and learn it and become a student."
On his goal for the season: "Get better and make more plays."
On what has impressed him from LB Chris Board: "Just being a young guy coming in, they're asking a lot of you on special teams, and you just have to pick it up quick and learn it. Going from your senior year in college, you're probably not playing special teams that much, and you come to the NFL, and you have to play special teams. So, just picking that up and keeping the ball rolling."
On if he sees this in LB Chris Board: "Yes."
On if he has given any rookies advice on the time around final cuts: "Not really. Like you said, this time around here, [this] period, is kind of on-edge. But I haven't really talked to anybody about that."
QB Robert Griffin III
On his mindset going into the final preseason game: "For me personally, it's about the model that Coach [Harbaugh] has had. Since I've been here, he's been preaching, 'The Team, The Team, The Team,' so I just try to focus small. I'm worried about, or focused on, coming out for these last couple days of practice and putting together two strong practices and going into the game. [I'm] just getting ready to play, and whatever happens, happens. But, if I was to say that I sat out of football all last year, and was to come and have an opportunity to play for the Baltimore Ravens, and have the preseason that we have so far, winning all our games – and personally, playing the way I've played – I would say it was a successful camp. I'm just really excited and grateful for the opportunity from the Ravens and the organization and Mr. [Steve] Bisciotti and all the guys that came together to give me an opportunity. I couldn't ask for anything more."
On if he feels like he has done everything he could do since he arrived here: "I try to maximize the days. You'd have to ask the coaches and the GM, Ozzie [Newsome] and Eric [DeCosta], and see how they feel about what I've done, but I just try to earn the respect of my teammates, get the coaches to trust me, and I think I've accomplished those things. But, [I'm] still looking to grow with this team, so if I'm blessed with that opportunity, I'm more than willing to take it."
On if it will mean more to play the final preseason game against his former team in the Redskins: "I've got nothing but love for the Washington Redskins and the organization. They drafted me, 2012, gave me an opportunity to play this game that I've dreamed of playing most of my life. I can't say my entire life, but since I went to college. I'm really grateful to that. If I get the opportunity to go out there and play against them, it won't be any more special or less special, but I'll always know where I started, and [I'm] just looking to continue to build from there."
On how he has changed since his rookie season: "Good to see you, by the way. (laughter) A familiar face. What I would say … The thing I feel like I've learned the most about is who I am as a player, a better understanding of my strengths and my weaknesses, and then how to counteract that. A wise man once said, 'In order to beat the system, you have to learn it first and know what it does,' and I know what I tend to do. I know where I've come up short in my career. One of those is being available, and I think I've proven throughout the preseason that I've learned how to protect myself, while also still playing aggressively, and I think that's something that I didn't really do earlier on in my career. I was a little reckless. Everybody thinks they're Superman. I had to learn that I am human, but there are some things that God has blessed me to be able to do that other guys cannot do, and I have to maximize those things. I think that's where I've come along the most. Obviously, the more you play, the better you're going to get – recognizing coverages, making checks – and I'm just more comfortable doing those types of things, and I think it's shown. I just [give] credit to the coaches, credit to the people who have been there to help me, throughout this whole process, to get me better."
On the significance of showing his growth: "I think it is important. Not only have I learned and improved to protect myself, I've learned how to slide. (laughter) I can't say I had any special coaches help me with that. It just came naturally, and over the course of having horrible slides all the time, I figured out how to slide. I think, going back to an earlier point that I made, it's about being aggressive and knowing that I do have that ability to break the pocket and extend plays, and not shying away from that to protect myself. So, I can be aggressive and still gain 20 yards on a run like that, and still protect myself and get down. It also has to do with the guys that are out there with me. Offensive line did a great job against that front we played against in Miami, and receivers are getting open. It helps when you have those guys out there going and playing, but my job is to inspire them and lead them in that direction, so I think they're doing a great job."
On if he's thought about the possibility of being traded: "It's like I said: I try to just focus on the here and the now, and then whatever they decide on the back end is whatever they decide. It is about the team, and I would be doing my guys, my players and the coaches, a disservice if I was going out there trying to play to showcase for another team. [I'm] solely focused on being here and seeing this thing out, and if it doesn't happen, and a trade happens, or whatever comes, then you just adjust on the fly to that. But, the coaches have liked what I've done. I know the players seem to tell me every single day they want me to be here, so that makes me feel good about not only what I've done, but how I've grown and connected with them."
On how he would feel not being here with those relationships he's built: "Yes, that's life. You're not always going to get what you want, but I think there's something special brewing here. I want to be a part of it. If I'm not, for whatever reason, I'm grateful for the opportunity. But, I've let it be known that I want to be here, and that's all I can do."
On if he, given their similar tendencies, worries about QB Lamar Jackson's susceptibility to hits: "It's two-fold. One, Lamar is a grown man, and he's going to do what he feels like he can do. The second part of that is, I do have a lot of experience in this league, and we have a similar skill set. So, I try to get in his ear as often as I possibly can on some of those things, and I think everybody has, but I think coming from me, he definitely hears it a little bit more. There are going to be opportunities where he gets out of something that you don't think he's going to get out of, and you don't want to take that ability from him. But, it is a 16-game season. Those hits do pile up, and he'll learn. He'll learn to protect himself, but that is something that he will have to master on his own, just like I did. I was … I thought I was protecting myself when I was a rookie, too, just diving into guys, but that's not the case, and you have to learn from that. I've learned from it. He'll learn from it, but he's going to have to learn it in his own time."
On how he's gained the respect of his teammates: "It's a tough question to answer. A reporter asked me – had to be a couple weeks ago – he said, 'Do you want to be called 'RGIII'?' That's something I've been called my entire life, really, growing up. It had just caught as a nickname. Some people associate some bad things with that, and I don't. It's just … It's who I am, and when I came into this locker room, these guys didn't expect me to come in and be the first guy in, last guy out, do all the things that you would say a rookie would do. They expected me to come here with that moniker of 'RGIII' and just expect it to be laid at my feet. So, I think I've earned their respect by how I've come out and worked every single day, whether I get all the reps or no reps, whether I get no preparation for the game and then I have to play most of the game. I think they've respected that. When I go in in the fourth quarter of a preseason game, when they know that, 'Hey, this guy has played a lot of football in this league,' but I don't frown upon that. I don't look down upon that. It's an opportunity. It's a blessing to have that opportunity, and I think that's part of why I've earned their respect, aside from just being a cool guy!" (laughter)
On how adversity has made him different since he entered the league: "That's a huge cliché, right? 'Everything you go through makes you stronger, makes you a better person.' 'Hindsight is 20/20.' I could go on for days, and many people have seen me go on for days on Twitter in the past with just cliché quotes. And the thing I have learned is I just know who I am. Being out of football for a year teaches you a lot about yourself. If I had just folded and said, 'You know what? I'm done, made enough money, played enough plays, lived out my dream,' that would tell me where my heart is, but I didn't do that. I watched the tape. I studied. I worked hard. I stayed in it. My family kept me in it. The people that have been down with me since Day One kept me in it. I showed up here some day in March and had a tryout, and I rocked it. And, they signed me, gave me an opportunity. I feel like the adversity that I've been through, from the highs to the lows, to in the MVP talks, to not playing an entire year because of concussion or whatever it may be. I've learned who I am, and I understand the type of player that I can be, the type of player I will be. Tom Brady is playing until he's 41. I'm 28. I have a lot of years left, so I'm looking forward to continuing to get better as a player, as a leader and just as a teammate, and hopefully it's here, because that's where I want to be. And if not, whoever picks me up or whatever happens, I'll give them my all."
TE Maxx Williams
On how he feels going into the final preseason game: "It feels good. I mean, obviously [had to] get through all of this heat and stuff. Whatever that preseason game is, it can't be much worse than this. But all of camp, it's been [about] trying to get better. I think we've had a good camp so far, and we have to go out there and finish it off with a win Thursday night."
On how much better he feels this year during training camp compared to last year: "Way different. I think I just have a lot more confidence in my knee. Last year, I think because coming off the injury right before camp … I was a little hesitate because I didn't really trust myself yet, I didn't trust my knee. So, having a full offseason to kind of get my mind right all of April and May and OTAs and minicamp and all through camp, I feel pretty confident in my knee. I feel like that's all in my past. So, now it's all storm forward and get ready for the season."
On his reaction when the Ravens drafted two tight ends: "That's not really my job to worry about that. They're going to do what they have to do. Me and Nick [Boyle] are in our fourth year, so it just gave me an opportunity to go to work. They say that competition makes you better, so I feel like me and Nick can push Hayden [Hurst] and Mark [Andrews], and Hayden and Mark can push me and Nick, and that's the way I've looked at it since the day of the draft. Hey, if they're going to make us better, we're just going to push each other and be the best team we can be."
On how much his game has had to evolve because of the knee injury: "I would say maybe my second year before the surgery, I had to change a little bit because of the pain of it. But this year I feel like I'm back to my normal self, back to how I want to play football and go out there every day and try to improve and get better."
On if he looks at himself as a great receiving tight end like he was coming out of college: "I just look at myself the same. That's for you guys all to decide and whatever you guys are going to say. But I'll go out there and do my best, whatever the coaches ask me to do and just try to prove my game every day."
On if winning in preseason translates to the regular season: "I mean, yeah, you have to build your confidence. If you go out there in preseason and you lose every game by 40 points, you're not going to be feeling pretty good going into Week One. But it's important to go out there and win. We're here to play football. Hey, if you're going to go out there and lose, then why are we here? You can say it's preseason, it doesn't matter towards the regular season – but really, you gain a lot of momentum and feeling good about yourself through all these preseason games. So, you want to go out there and play the best ball you can."
On how the tight ends group is thinking about TE Hayden Hurst's injury: "It sucks for him. We all pray that he gets better as fast as he can, so he can get back out there with us. But we still have a job to do. We still have to go play this week; we still have to go play Buffalo [and] Cincinnati. I mean, you can dwell on him being hurt – and we're going to pray for him – but we have to go out there and we have to perform. We have to do our job still no matter what."
On if he has advice for TE Hayden Hurst: "Just wish him all the best of luck every day. I talk to him every day, ask if I can do anything to help him. But he's a smart guy. He's older than me, so he's been around longer. (laughter) He's just going to go out there, do what he has to do to get back as fast as he can. We just can't wait for him to get back."
On how he has been a mentor to rookie tight ends: "I think the way me and Nick [Boyle] looked at it was as soon as we got the guys here after the draft and we started working with them, is let us help them, teach them what we learned through our first four years – kind of what Dennis [Pitta], Crockett [Gillmore] and Ben [Watson] of course – did for us when we were younger. Now that me and Nick are kind of the oldest guys in the room, it's just trying to teach them how we can practice better, how we can make each other better and really just kind of let them shine. Obviously, they are both very talented and we're going to go out there and get each other better."
On his impressions of QB Robert Griffin III: "I like 'Griff.' Obviously, he has talent – you can't really take that away from him. He's always out there in preseason, he's making plays. In practice, obviously he's making plays. He can run, he can throw. I love the guy. I love him in the locker room – he's a great guy to talk to. He's been around a long time, so you kind of learn a lot of things from him."
On the atmosphere with cut day looming: "We can't control who stays or goes. So really, everyone is going to be thinking about now until everything happens, because it's that time of the year. But really, that's not our decision. All we can do is go out here on the fields, play our best football and go out in preseason games and play our best. Then whatever happens, happens. Whoever makes the roster, whoever doesn't … I mean, among the 90 guys, someone should be playing somewhere in this league. I feel like there's not anyone on our roster that shouldn't be playing in this league. So, really for all of us in the locker room, we're just going to have fun together and whatever happens, happens when the cuts come."