David Culley – Assistant Head Coach/Pass Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach
We all saw WR Miles Boykin have a really strong training camp and you had, really, a lot of praise for him. In the past few weeks, we've seen some, I guess, communication issues with him and QB Lamar Jackson where I guess Lamar is throwing passes and expecting Miles to do different things. What are you seeing from the sideline? (Daniel Oyefusi) "There have been a couple communication things. First of all, when we're in the huddle a couple of those happened when we were kind of in a two-minute or hurry-up situation, and Miles [Boykin] heard one thing and Lamar [Jackson] said another thing. It's our responsibility when we're in the huddle to make sure we're hearing and listening to what he's saying. He didn't understand exactly what [Lamar] had said, because he was trying to get out. Basically, it's our responsibility to make sure that we're in there and we're hearing exactly what he said. That's happened a couple of times, and that's on us to make sure that we know when we come out of the huddle exactly what he's called. And because he didn't know, the ball just happened to come to him twice. We had a miscommunication there, but we've corrected that. Miles understands what has to happen and it's our responsibility to make sure that doesn't happen."
Overall, let's take the miscommunication aside, or those instances you were just discussing. Where do you see him in his development? I think everyone was pretty honest last year about how he was thinking a little bit too much early, but everyone has felt good about his confidence and his knowledge of the playbook coming into this year. (Jeff Zrebiec) "I think that has all improved. What you have seen happen right now is that there have been some times when he puts a little bit of pressure on himself to want to really, really always do everything right. We've talked about that. They understand it's a thing that he needs to make sure he's doing; he's really working on this. It's just going out and reacting to what things happen and not worrying about being right or being wrong about things. I think he's done a really good job of doing that this year. Unfortunately, he had two communication errors right there that kind of look like it set him back a little bit, but I'm happy with where he's at from that standpoint. We're progressing right now with that. He's progressed to the point now where I feel like I don't think we'll see those kinds of things happen, and he's aware of that. I like where he's at right now."
When we talked to Head Coach John Harbaugh yesterday, he talked about the need to take advantage of defenses stacking the box and going deep a little bit more often. What do you think is the missing part to get the deep passing game to maybe hit a little bit more consistently? (Jamison Hensley) "Last year at this time, going into the year, we had spent a lot of time in our offseason and in training camp of taking those shots. And then last year early in the year, we took those shots and we hit a couple. We've taken those same shots this year and we've missed a few times. We're going to continue to take those shots. We just have been a little bit off the mark, but during this time right now, in the next couple of days, we'll be working on that. We're going to keep taking those shots; they're there. We feel like we're going to end up hitting those shots."
We've seen WR Devin Duvernay start to take on a bigger role week-by-week. Based on what you've seen from him so far, do you feel like he's ready for even a bigger load if he's called on? (Childs Walker) "His load, basically, on special teams has really gone up, because he's done a heck of a job on that. Not just on kickoff returns, but obviously, on coverage teams also. He's also kind of like, last year when I had Miles [Boykin] and Seth [Roberts]; he's kind of moving into that role. He's starting to feel comfortable with what we're doing, and we've done some special things with him. You've seen with some reverses and some quick passes that he's done very well, because he's very good with the ball in his hands. At this point, he's getting to the point where that's going to expand, and it has expanded. This past week, he probably played twice as many snaps as he had played in any game this past year. It's going to continue to do that."
Along those same lines, I know WR James Proche II is not playing a whole lot on offense, but what are you seeing in his development as a receiver? What's kind of the next step for him to potentially get in the mix there a little bit more? (Luke Jones) "We have a few things for him also, because he's very good. He's got good quickness on the inside; he knows how to uncover there. Not having the preseason games, when you play on the inside, it's a little bit different on the inside – things happen a lot quicker [and] there's a lot more traffic. The couple of times that we've had him in that situation this year, a few times in games, I could see where things happened in a hurry. He got in a little bit of a hurry, just because of not having had that time to go through training camp with preseason games. But he is progressing very well, and as we move along, I'm sure that role will end up expanding for him also."
With defenses playing you guys close to the line of scrimmage, are you seeing fewer two-high safety looks? If so, how does that change what this offense needs to do to beat that kind of look? (Jonas Shaffer) "What's starting to happen is now you're starting to see Lamar [Jackson] really spread that ball around to a bunch of guys. Basically, when they put the extra guys up in the box, that puts a premium on the outside guys who are in one-on-one situations to be able to uncover and have some opportunities. In this past game, we had some opportunities on the outside with the way they played us. We ended up getting some completions outside the numbers, which is what we wanted to do, because that's what they were allowing us to do and we took advantage of that."
Chris Hewitt – Pass Defense Coordinator
The last time we talked to you, we were asking you a lot about S DeShon Elliott, because he was just about to get that opportunity. How would you assess how he's played through five or six weeks? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I think he continues to keep on growing as a player. He's gotten better every week. [He's] getting more comfortable playing his position. He's always been a guy who's been extremely studious [and is] a guy who is taking every rep to try to get better. He's learned how to become a pro. Becoming a pro, he had so many examples in front of him, like the Eric Weddle's and the 'T.J.' [Tony] Jefferson's, on how to be a pro – coming in early in the morning, getting your lifts in and watching tape. He's done everything the right way, and his approach is going to help him become a really good player. So, all he has to do is just make a couple more plays. I wish he would've gotten that pick against Philly. But, anyway, those type of plays are coming for him, and I think he's going to do an excellent job going forward. He'll be a staple around here for a while."
We all know how chemistry plays a big part in the offensive line and its effectiveness. Shoveling guys into the defensive backfield due to injury, how much does that throw off chemistry? Guys knowing each other's tendencies and now they're on the sideline. You have CB Khalil Dorsey and CB Terrell Bonds coming in. How does that effect chemistry? (Kirk McEwen) "Obviously, you're exactly right when you're talking about the cohesiveness as a unit; guys learning how to play together, knowing how guys react to certain routes and how guys want to play certain coverages. So, that's been a challenge, but those guys have been together for a while. We still have our nucleus together with Marlon [Humphrey], Jimmy [Smith], Marcus [Peters] and Chuck [Clark], and then DeShon [Elliott] rolling in. The loss of Tavon [Young], that was a big blow to us, but having Marlon play in that position last year, it was really easy for him to just go ahead and roll in. Having Jimmy, we just plug him right back into where he was at, and we're off and running. So, we haven't missed a beat too much when we're talking about as far as chemistry. We believe in guys with interchangeable parts, guys who are able to play different positions, and everybody knowing each other's position. So, when we have guys who know different jobs, it becomes really easy to just plug another guy in. But yes, the chemistry has been really good. Guys have been doing a really good job. Having all of those guys in the room, they all are hearing and saying the same things. So, they know what they're supposed to do, because they're all in the same room and they all are talking together. So, that helps with the chemistry."
CB Marlon Humphrey has obviously developed into one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Is there a part of his game that doesn't get recognized as much but really stands out to you? (Jamison Hensley) "The thing that stands out to me is how hard he plays. He plays the game like a linebacker; he has a linebacker mentality. He's trying to get to the ball. He wants to be involved in tackles. A lot of corners, they do their covering, and it's all about getting picks. Marlon [Humphrey] wants to be a part of the action. He wants to be physical. He wants to get in on tackles. Now, he's a sack master. You heard that one too, right? He's an all-around football player; it's not all about just playing corner for him. He's just a really good football player. If you played him at defensive end or you played him at linebacker, I think he would just have that same kind of mentality, because he just plays so hard. That's a rare trait for just a football player, period. He leaves it out there all the time. And I'm not saying that we don't have guys who do that; we do have a lot of players that are like that. But he's just the guy who drives the energy for all the guys out there on the field."
With CB Jimmy Smith, every week we see him in a different assignment. Just being the elder statesman of the defensive back room, how have you seen him approach this season and approach week to week knowing he's going to have a different role? (Daniel Oyefusi) "It's all about the matchups, whoever we're playing that week. We try to maximize our players and put them in a position so they can go out there and make plays and be able to stop whatever offense we're facing against. Again, just going back to what I was saying about the guys in interchangeable parts; if we feel like this game we can play Jimmy [Smith] at safety, we can play him at nickel or play him at corner, wherever the best matchup is for him that week, that's what we try to do. Jimmy is an ultimate pro. He's a humble person. He's willing to do anything for us to get wins. So, if that means playing safety this week or playing nickel, he's willing to do that. So, kudos to him. I love having Jimmy in the room. We've been together, what? Going on nine years together, so he's been really, really good for our room."
Can you talk about what you've seen from CB Khalil Dorsey and CB Terrell Bonds in practice and your level of confidence in them to step in? (Ryan Mink) "They're both great, young players. They're guys who have a lot of speed [and are] extremely quick. They are more suited to play inside as a nickel. But like I said, they're young players, and they just need the opportunity to go out there and get the experience. They go out there every week in the practice, and they just go out there and go make plays. One of the mantras that we always talk about with all of those guys is, 'Just go out there and go make a play every day.' That's what they try to do, go out there and make a play every day, so that they're noticed. [Then] the coaching staff has an opportunity to have the confidence in those guys to go out there and go play some football. But first and foremost, they have to be able to go out there and play special teams for us and make a name for themselves right there. Then when the opportunity comes, or there's an injury, they'll be ready to go. You know how we think around here – it's next man up. So, those guys will be ready to go at any point."
Another guy who has been mentioned … It's been interesting to see S Marcus Gilchrist get the number of snaps he's gotten on defense after just signing him a few weeks ago. What about him makes him a guy that you can plug in there? And what was the process of getting him up to speed so quickly? (Aaron Kasinitz) "The interesting thing about Marcus [Gilchrist] is Marcus is a veteran, and he's played in a lot of systems similar to this. It's really all about the verbiage and knowing what we call things and how we play things. We've had a couple talks about how he sees things, and he sees the game just the way that I see it. It's been really easy for him to just go in there and go play, because he knows all those coverages; he's played them before. And again, it's really just about the verbiage and him coming in here … [He's] a humble person, and he just wants to play football. So, it's been really easy to get a guy who's a veteran to come in here and go play, because there's a lot of carryover in the systems that he's played in before."
Your defensive backs are very adept at blitzing the quarterback. They've done a really good job this year. Is that a delicate balance for those guys, when to attack the quarterback and when to stay back? And how do you kind of coach that up? (Todd Karpovich) "First of all, that's all orchestrated by [defensive coordinator Don] 'Wink' [Martindale]. 'Wink' does an awesome job of … Him and [outside linebackers coach] Drew Wilkins, [linebackers coach] Mike Macdonald and [defensive line coach] Joe Cullen, all those guys do a great job of scheming up the pressures to get our guys free. But as far as blitzing our corners and blitzing our safeties, it's all about trying to gain free runners and trying to get to the quarterback. It makes our job a whole lot easier trying to cover – a quarterback can't throw the ball if he's on his back. So, if you can't get there with four, you send five. If you can't get there with five, send six – that's the way it goes."
Mike Macdonald – Linebackers Coach
With ILB Patrick Queen and his development, where have you seen him make the biggest strides in his game? (Jamison Hensley) "Patrick [Queen] has been doing a great job; we just watched our self-scout tape here from the first six weeks. But the thing that I love about his game is every game is making a step forward. And the beautiful thing with Patrick's game is there's so much room for improvement, and he'll be the first guy to tell you that. But run game-wise, really the focus right now for us is just getting aligned right, looking at the right stuff, and then just playing as hard as we can and as physical as we can for the rest of the down. And you've seen the results up to this point. Great things happen when you're constantly around the ball and you play really hard. Just staying on that trajectory – that's the challenge for the next 10 weeks."
Is one of the things you've particularly appreciated about ILB Patrick Queen the most is that even when he's had made some mistakes, it hasn't affected the speed that he's playing at? It doesn't seem like he's thinking too much. He's still reacting and maintaining his play speed. (Jeff Zrebiec) "I think when you turn the tape on, you see the speed for sure. And he's a resilient guy. We talked about it from the beginning of the season; there will be mistakes, and as a team, we make mistakes. But he's a resilient guy. So, you go to him with the mistake, he sees it, he corrects it. And even through the course of a play … Let's say we're misaligned, or we make a mistake at the beginning of the play. Well, it's not a bad play until the entire play is over. On a forced fumble early in the year against Cleveland, it isn't how we wanted to play from the get-go, but by the end of the play, the ball was in our hands and we were going the other way. He's got a great attitude. You talk to him throughout the game – he's poised. He knows what he's doing. He's got a great sense of urgency to get it right, too. I think there's maybe a little bit too much made on the mistakes, and all that – especially for a rookie. I think if you just counted them up, they're there, but nothing more than you'd expect."
ILB Malik Harrison had eight snaps last week against the Eagles. What are you seeing as far as his development and him playing a bigger role over the second half of the season? (Todd Karpovich) "Malik [Harrison] is doing a great job. The thing about Malik's role – and really the thing about our entire linebacker room that's a beautiful thing – is we've got guys who have earned a role in our defense. More than just two guys. You're talking about a guy like Malik, or Chris Board, or Otaro [Alaka] before he got hurt, and now Kristian [Welch]. Malik knows his role. Right now, he has a role that when you look at all the snaps, you can probably figure out how we're using him. That role can grow or it can shrink based on the game and what type of game we're playing. It just so happened the game that we were playing, those were L.J.'s [Fort] reps, and L.J. has been doing a great job as well. But Malik is doing well. He's being physical in the run game. He's a smart guy. Same thing with 'PQ' [Patrick Queen] – he corrects his mistakes as he gets going. He should have a great second half of the year."
You mentioned ILB L.J. Fort – what is he doing so well? Why do you think it took a while and a bunch of teams for him to land the role that he has today with you guys? (Ryan Mink) "Like you said, L.J. [Fort] is doing a great job. He's playing great football for us. He's had some big-time plays; speaking about closing out the game with Matt [Judon] there against 'Philly' [Philadelphia]. I can't speak to what happened before. But all I know of L.J. is from when he got here, and he's been doing the right things since he got here. He plays hard, he studies, he's a great vet, he's a mentor to the young guys. What else do you want from a veteran linebacker? He's physical. I'm just excited we have him. He's been a blessing for our room, for our defense, for our team. He's been a captain this year. He's been a Player of the Week. And he has a role just like everybody else. He knows his role and he's been executing it at a high level. Again, should be exciting to see where he goes the rest of the year."
When you get young outside backers in and you're teaching them edge-setting, what points do you emphasize? How do you guys feel like you've been doing in that area overall this year? (Childs Walker) "That would be a better question for [outside linebackers coach] Drew [Wilkins] this year. He's really got those guys on the outside, and I think they're doing a great job. But that's really his area."
It seems like ILB Chris Board – he's really turned it on this year. It seems like he's figured it out. What have you seen from him? How much is he boosting your unit as well? (Ryan Mink) "I'm glad you asked that; I'm really happy for Chris [Board] and where he's going. Again, he's on a great trajectory. Talk about what happened last year with a little bit of adversity that hit him throughout the year. Look, we know he's a heck of a special teams player; he could probably be a Pro Bowl special teams player this year with all the tackles he's making. But he has role in this defense, like I said. We have guys – multiple guys in our room – who play a valuable role for us. And I'd say the biggest difference is just his confidence. He worked his tail off in the offseason, came in in great shape, he knows the package, had more confidence communicating and all of that. The guy plays fast; he plays physical. But I think once he started to make some plays in live situations, you can kind of see a little bit of a light bulb come on and say, 'Hey, I can go out there and do this thing.' And he's been doing it. He's been playing great for us."
I wanted to ask just generally about the idea of coaching young players this season during a pandemic. I know you got less time with them, but is there also maybe a sense that you're a little more involved holistically? Because these players can't go anywhere in the Bye Week and they're having to live life during a pandemic. (Aaron Kasinitz) "It's an interesting question. If you look at it with a silver lining, the blessing in disguise is we were able to have so much meeting time with these guys over the course of the spring, up until now. Countless Zoom hours where you're not just talking about football, but you're talking about their background, you're talking about life, you're talking about life in the NFL, being a pro – things like that. But what that did allow you to do was to start with the building blocks of the defense and really build the foundation as you work throughout the season. Whereas in a normal offseason, you get your rookie camp and you're trying to get on the field and execute fast, and it's this call, and you've got walk-throughs. There's all sorts of things going on where, 'Hey, look, there's no practice. Let's understand the defense, let's get the building blocks [and] move forward.' And those guys, to their credit … Look, they were locked in from Day One – every meeting we had. Took the quizzes, learned it, and then when we showed up and did it on the field … Like I said, when I told you guys the first time, they were ahead of schedule. How they were able to do that in 2020 is definitely a credit to those guys and how smart they are."
James Urban – Quarterbacks Coach
We just asked QB Lamar Jackson about all the defenses you guys are seeing. How challenging has that been, and how much have you talked to him about that? Just having to adjust to so many different looks that these teams really aren't showing on film before they play you? (Jeff Zrebiec) "One of the great parts of our offense is we tend to dictate to the defense. Teams play things differently, maybe sometimes outside of their scheme a little bit. One of the challenging things of that is until we get going in a game, sometimes we don't know exactly what we're going to see from a defense. So, the great advantage is we dictate, and part of that is seeing how they're going to decide to defend us."
A lot of guys have talked about wanting to get the passing game clicking a little bit better, a little bit more like last year. Understanding there's so much that goes into that, as far as QB Lamar Jackson, what would you like to see him do, as far as his part in getting that thing rolling a little bit better? (Luke Jones) "We have a very high standard, and we work very hard to chase that standard. So, it's a constant work in progress. As always, we're trying to chase that consistency – that level of consistency. We've seen great stretches of it, and there's been some throws we'd like to have back, or some routes maybe we'd like to have back, but we're working very hard on that. And these next couple of days, we're going to spend some time getting some of those things cleaned up."
There was a decent amount of talk about side-arm throws during the broadcast on Sunday. I'm just curious, from an arm-angle standpoint, is that something that you discuss? Worry about? Focus on? How much attention is paid on arm angles during throws, and is that designed versus just a player trying to fit a ball through tight windows? (Garrett Downing) "The one thing I know is he's done that for a very long time. We work very hard on having a consistent platform. I'm more concerned about his base, his platform and the biomechanics of the delivery than some of those things that he does great naturally. I know there are some other players around this league who get publicized for how amazing it is that they can throw side armed. And I'm not going to try to coach him out of making a consistent, accurate throw. Decision-making, timing and accuracy; that's what we're chasing. And if it occurs to his brain to throw that shallow cross into a window that not many people can do, and throw a little side armed, and it's an accurate throw, then I'm not concerned about the arm angle."
Is QB Lamar Jackson getting enough time back there in the pocket to make his reads? It seems like he's facing a lot more pressure this year than he was last year. (Todd Karpovich) "Our [offensive] line is doing a tremendous job, and they're straining like crazy to give us as much time as we need. Sometimes we go through full progressions, and it might take a little bit longer to work through the progression, and there's other times when the first read is available and the ball gets out and you say, 'Great protection.' But our line is doing a terrific job."
When you talk about biomechanics, what exactly does that mean? (Mike Preston) "Obviously, you see us all the time working on our platform, [and] having a good base to throw from; you hear those terms a lot. And it's all the coordination of the feet, the hip, the arms and then the follow through." (Reporter: "Is that something that he's been struggling with the last couple of games?") "I don't see that at all."
Along that note, QB Lamar Jackson was completing a very high percentage of his passes the first couple games, but it hasn't been as high the last three games. Is there any reason you're seeing that percentage go down? (Ryan Mink) "Yes, I think he had about five throwaways this past game – that's part of it – which, as coaches, we applaud. One of our quarterback commandments is, 'Do what's best for the team at that moment.' And so, sometimes throwing that ball away … He should have thrown the ball away and not taken that sack that took us out of field goal range. And that would have been another incompletion that I would have high-fived him for. He made a poor decision on that play, but on many other plays, he's making wise decisions to not take a sack or make a bad play worse."
Have you noticed teams doing things differently as far as trying to negate QB Lamar Jackson as a runner, whether it's read option or when he's dropping back and nobody's open? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, maybe some. It's probably some subtle things. But I never [cease to be amazed] by the defensive coordinators in this league. It is unbelievable, the creative ways that they approach us. Each of the last couple games, Lamar [Jackson] has been able to pop a big one, and it's been a hugely impactful play in the game. So, sometimes you get those big ones, and sometimes you have to keep grinding. And we're going to keep grinding."
We're hearing a lot today about how the Bye Week is a good chance to develop chemistry, certainly with QB Lamar Jackson and the receivers. Are there certain things you do, or is that just running routes and throwing passes? Or is there more to it when you have a Bye Week to try and improve chemistry? (Aaron Kasinitz) "What I would say about the Bye Week is we're not preparing for a game this week, so there's less gameplan-specific discussion. There's less, 'Let's work this route. We need to get this play run against this look that we anticipate from the team that we're playing.' So, in many ways, it's like a training camp practice, or an OTA practice, where we're working on us. We're working on our offense specifically, in terms of rhythm and passing and those kinds of things."
What are your thoughts on QB Robert Griffin III and QB Trace McSorley? How have they looked? How do you feel about them taking the reins if they have to? (Kirk McEwen) "We certainly hope they don't have to, but they're working hard. They're doing a great job. We all know that in our room, we prepare as if we're starters, and they do that very well. And when given opportunity, Robert's [Griffin III] done well in the games when we've put him in when we've had the score tilted a little bit. I'm comfortable with both those guys. [They're] working very, very hard."
QB Lamar Jackson
With the Bye Week being a little different and you guys staying around the facility, what are you going to be doing? Are you going to take some time to step away from the game and maybe take a break mentally? What are your thoughts for the Bye Week? (Jamison Hensley) "For now, for the next two days, we're going to be working, grinding at the facility, trying to get better – pass game, stuff like that – trying to clean up the little bits of error we are having, so we won't have them after the Bye Week. That's about it."
The Bye Week is a time for a lot of people to kind of reflect on how the season's going. When you look back on the first six games, what are some of the things you think you've done well, and what are the things you'd really like to improve on for the last 10 games? (Aaron Kasinitz) "We did a lot of great things the past few weeks. I'd say what we didn't do is finish drives – scoring a lot of touchdowns. Last year, we started the season out, and we were rolling. [Last season], in the first game, we put a lot of points on the board, but after that, we slowed down, but then we picked it back up after our Bye Week. So, hopefully it will be similar to that from last year."
Can you talk about your mechanics in the past two weeks? How they've been, and have you slipped progress? Where you are compared to last season? (Mike Preston) "I don't think I've slipped. There are certain situations in the game where you have to throw in certain windows, with the guys putting their arms up trying to slap the ball. There were a lot of tipped passes during our games, and I'm trying to find angles. So, that's why sometimes my elbow drops trying to get the ball out."
Coming up in November, you have the Steelers twice, you have the Colts, you have the Titans. They are all considered – like the Ravens – among the top teams in the AFC. Do you think you'll learn a lot about this team when you go through that month? (Jamison Hensley) "We should learn about our team each and every week no matter who we have on our schedule. It's about us in the building. We know we want to get what we want. We just have to grind and get after it."
From your end, what do you think you can do to get on the same page with WR Miles Boykin and have that work for the rest of the season? (Childs Walker) "It starts in practice. Just get together, work outside of that after practice, see what he likes, see what he doesn't like – stuff like that – just to make his job a lot easier, and mine as well."
You care a lot about performing at a very high level. How tough is it for you, and how do you handle it when things sometimes within a game aren't going that well? Do you have to prevent yourself from pressing and trying to do too much? (Ryan Mink) "I like to win, like you said. It's how the game is going. My emotions will probably flare up a little depending on that, but it's just a competitive edge. I don't like to mess up, and I feel like our guys should feel the same way."
I know it's important for you to be a passer first, but one of the things that made this offense so dynamic last year was you tucking the ball and running. Is there a chance we might see a little bit more of that going forward? You didn't run much the last couple of weeks? (Kirk McEwen) "If I get the looks, I would, but it's just how the scheme is. If their scheme gives me a look to run, I will. If the defense is playing the run or playing the pass, it depends on what the defense is doing and what coach [offensive coordinator Greg Roman] is calling, really."
We've seen WR Devin Duvernay play a little bit more the last couple of weeks. How do you think he's handling that, and how excited are you to see what he can bring the rest of the season? (Luke Jones) "I feel he's doing pretty good. I hope he gets a lot of chances on the field in the upcoming weeks. The sky is the limit for him."
A common theme after every game seems to be all these defenses you guys are seeing and some of the different looks, and how teams are stacking the box. What is the biggest key to getting the game more on your terms, where you guys are dictating things rather than the defense dictating things? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Just the scheme, just putting us in great situations. I feel we'll do our job to make the plays happen."
WR Marquise Brown
I'm wondering – you've had six games with the added weight. Have you been able to keep the weight on? Are you comfortable with the weight? Would you like to have a little more, a little less? How does it feel after six games? (Kirk McEwen) "I feel good. Just been playing, really. I haven't really been worried about my weight. Just trying to get better each week. It hasn't really affected me in any kind of way."
I know you had high expectations for yourself going into this season. After six games, where do you feel you, personally, are at right now? (Jamison Hensley) "Me personally, I feel like I'm playing good. I feel like I'm out there getting open, doing what I got to do in the run game. I feel good about where I'm at."
You're obviously super close with QB Lamar Jackson. What do you see from him in terms of how this season is going and how he's handling it? Is he happy? Is he frustrated? How does he come off to you? (Ryan Mink) "It's frustrating for everybody if we're not playing to our full potential. But at the same time, he – like everybody else – is just trying to get better. Going to work each day and trying to find ways to keep improving."
You've said in the past – and some of your coaches have said – you're close to hitting on a couple of those deep balls, and that would change the offense. Now that you have the Bye Week, is there anything specifically you're going to do to try to gain chemistry and start connecting? Or is it just about running more routes? (Aaron Kasinitz) "It's about just running more routes. When the opportunity presents itself in the game, we've got to hit it. It's not really this hard thing. We've just got to go out there and do it."
How frustrating is it for you when you cut [and] break open and then lose your footing? It looked like you were close to breaking some long ones this year, but just slipped, or whatever it may be. Is that frustrating for you? (Ryan Mink) "Yeah, I thought I had one this last game, and I went stumbling down. It made me mad, but like I said, you've just got to work on it. Keep working on my foot[ing]. Keep working on the things that I can control, so when the situations come up again, I can be able to stay up and get more yards or maybe a touchdown."
How are you seeing teams defend you this year and how is that similar or different compared to last season? (Garrett Downing) "Teams have been … They'll play off, or they'll put a guy over the top. But, like I said, I feel good about how I've been playing. I feel like I've been getting open. It's not anything that they're doing; we're stopping ourselves."
How impressed have you been with WR Devin Duvernay over these last couple of weeks? It looks like he's gaining a bigger role in the offense. What has stood out to you about him? (Andrew Gillis) "He's a guy who's always ready. When he's on the field, he's looking to make a big play, and that's what I love about him. Every time he's on the field, he's looking to make a big play soon. I'm kind of happy that he can come in and he's a guy that there's no complaining. When he gets his opportunity, he tries to make the most of it."