Transcripts: Ravens Tuesday Zoom Availability - Eric DeCosta

As you know, QB Lamar Jackson is a big topic of discussion. Have you begun talks about a long-term extension with QB Lamar Jackson? What do you feel are the chances of something getting done in that regard this year? (Jamison Hensley) "Welcome to 'Indy' [Indianapolis], everyone. (laughter) Lamar [Jackson] and I have had a couple talks. We did spend some time together a few weeks ago, and that went really well. We haven't really gotten into the actual contract proposals, negotiations and things like that. It was more of a general conversation about a lot of different things – the team, Lamar [and] just how we were going to go about a negotiation like this. There are definitely some different moving parts that make this different than a lot of other negotiations we've done. So, I think from our perspective it hasn't changed from what I said post-season, which is Lamar is a really important part of the team. He's a leader. He's an outstanding player. He's a foundational-type of guy for this organization. I really think he loves the organization. I think he's very appreciative of the organization and our stance and different things. We're confident and committed to trying to get a long-term deal done, and hopefully, we can get that done at some point in the near future. It may take a little time, but we're willing to try."

How surprised were you with T Orlando Brown Jr.'s stance about rather being traded than playing right tackle? Do you have any … I know you're not going to give blow by blow details on trade talks, but at this point, do you expect him to be the right tackle come July? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Well, was I surprised? I think Orlando [Brown Jr.] is a competitive guy. I think he has a … I had a dream when I was six years old to be the general manager of an NFL team. I think Orlando's dream has always been to be a left tackle in the NFL like his father. So, that's just how he sees himself, and that's how he envisions his career playing out. We're blessed to have him on the team. He's a great kid. He's an outstanding player. He's played very well for us. He's a very selfless guy. He's bounced around and played two different positions at a very high level. He's under contract, and he understands that. He and I have had some discussions; we've spoken on the phone. I've spoken to his agents, who I have a lot of respect for; [they are] two of the best guys in the business. We'll do what's best for Orlando, and we'll do what's best for the Ravens. These things take time sometimes. A lot of different scenarios in how this thing could play out, but we are blessed to have him on the team. He's an excellent player. We're a team that loves offensive linemen and young offensive linemen who are skilled. Orlando is a young offensive lineman who is skilled."

With the franchise tag deadline coming, have you guys given serious thoughts to tagging either OLB Matthew Judon again or DE Yannick Ngakoue? (Childs Walker) "We look at all of that. It's such a difficult thing, because we don't know what the salary cap is going to actually be yet; we still haven't been told. So, there are a lot of moving parts and these things are very fluid. There are a lot of different ways we can go, and we still have time to make those decisions. So, we've definitely talked about a lot of different scenarios with our roster, free agency, players under contract, impending free agents [and] players available on other teams. We look at all that stuff; we've been doing that really since November. When the time comes, we'll have a gameplan and we'll be ready to attack."

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, you've had to adjust completely how you evaluate talent [with] not having the Combine [and] not having all the things you've had throughout the course of your career. How much margin of error does this create in terms of putting together your board from your perspective? (Gerry Sandusky) "I think we're comforted by the fact that we had a lot of these challenges, as well, last year. We had a Combine last year, but we didn't have the Pro Days. We weren't able to meet with a lot of players … The 30 visits and various things like that. I think one thing that's really been good is we've had a year to prepare and a year to think about it. Last May, we created a little task force of guys and women who work for me and the idea was, 'What would our landscape look like with no college football this year? How will we get ready for a Draft?' It was really a valuable experience for the group and for us. We had a chance to really attack these situations and problems with some really creative [and] efficient strategies and solutions. We'll use our scouts. I think our scouts are the best in the league. Obviously, I'm biased, but I really feel that way. Our analytics team [has] very skilled people as well. We'll be creative. We'll be strategic. We'll be aggressive, and we'll build a great board. We just had a meeting over the last week with our scouts, and we've got over 200 players that we've ranked. I think it's an outstanding board. There were definitely some unique challenges, but also some opportunities. Because of the Zoom [calls] and all of these different things, we've had the chance to meet with a lot more players. There's an advantage to that – to really getting a chance to spend time with these guys over Zoom. The League allows us to do that. There's an unlimited amount of players that we can interview, and the technology makes it very easy. For us, there's no excuse to not know the players [and] to not know their personalities. Now the workouts and the numbers and all that, that might be a different story, but I think in the end, when it comes time to pick the players, we will be in a great position. I think that our collective intelligence and ability of our scouts and analysts will shine."

I'm wondering if extension talks have started with TE Mark Andrews and whether that's a goal to get a deal done with him before this offseason ends? (Ryan Mink) "We've had some preliminary discussions. Again, it's interesting; Mark [Andrews] has the same agents as Orlando [Brown Jr.]. So, we've spent some time talking to those two guys – Joe Panos and Justin Schulman. They're outstanding agents. We've started discussions on all these types of things. We try to be as aggressive and proactive as possible with our players looking forward and pushing things out. I think that's a part of it. Mark is a very good player. I love everything about Mark – his personality, his ability, his work ethic, demeanor [and] competitiveness. He has a great family, and again, he's the type of guy we want to keep."

Do you believe that QB Dak Prescott's contract will have any impact in talking with QB Lamar Jackson and trying to negotiate with him? And in the same respect, when do you expect, ballpark-wise, to hear from the NFL about the salary cap? (Jerry Coleman) "The second question, I really don't know; hopefully, pretty soon. I think when you look at a contract like Dak [Prescott's], and he's a great player … As an executive, when you're talking about these kinds of contracts, it's like if you go to the Bentley dealership or the Ranger Rover dealership, you know what the cars are going to cost. You're not going to get much of a discount; they all cost about the same. You go in there with the idea that you're either going to buy the car, or you're not going to buy the car. So, all of these contracts, there are bells and whistles, and they're all different in some ways, and they're all alike in some ways. There are a lot of different ways to look at these contracts. There's average. There are guarantees. There's money in the first three years, cash flow and all these different things, time length and all of that. But in the end, they're all very big contracts for outstanding players. They're quarterback deals. They're marquee players, and you know you're going to pay a lot, but you're going to get a lot in return."

Last year, you mentioned how deep the Draft was at wide receiver. I'm wondering, what positions do you find the most depth going into the Draft this year? (Kirk McEwen) "[When] we look at the board, we have a ton of receivers on the board again, which is a good thing. Offensive line looks pretty good, I think, in the first three or four rounds at least and then it thins out. So, that's really good. I think outside linebacker looks pretty good. Corner looks pretty good. Tight end is probably sparse. Running back is probably not as good. Fortunately, we drafted a good one last year. But overall, it looks like numbers-wise very similar in terms of the fertility of the Draft [and] the amount of good players across the board. At least through the first four or five rounds, there's a really good chance for us to get a guy that would have a chance to start over time, and that's a great thing. So, numbers-wise, it looks very similar to last year's Draft in terms of the amount of really good prospects. We feel really good about our chances, we just wish we had more picks. We have seven picks right now, and hopefully, we have the chance to accumulate a few more."

Back to QB Dak Prescott's contract, he turned down a deal and kind of bet on himself and went through the franchise tag situation. Even though he got hurt, he ultimately got a lot more money than what they initially offered. Watching that play out, does that change your math and approach to dealing with QB Lamar Jackson at all? (Pete Gilbert) "No, I don't think so. I don't think so. Every negotiation is different. Every player is different. Every GM is different. We have a strategy, and we have a relationship. That doesn't really affect me. Lamar [Jackson] has played three years, and you know what? He's a good player. We feel really good about him. I think he feels really good about us. It's up to us to get a deal done."

I know DT Brandon Williams' contract is one that you guys have adjusted quite a bit over the years. Where his numbers stand right now, are you comfortable with it? Do you fully expect him to be on the team in 2021? (Luke Jones) "Again, we don't know what the cap is going to be, so it's hard to say anything definitively. But Brandon [Williams] played good football this year. He's a valued player on the team; it's hard to find guys like him. He fits our mentality. He's still a relatively … As a nose tackle, these guys can play for a long time. He plays hard. He plays [well]. He's one of us. He's a Raven through and through. So, yes – I expect him to be on the team."

Free agency starts next week. How difficult has it been for you to put together a plan, without a defined salary cap, of guys you're going to pursue? Have you been able to sort of work around that on guys you want to pinpoint? (Todd Karpovich) "We have a general idea of what the cap will probably be – at least some kind of parameters. We know it's not going to be any less than $180 million. So, using that number, we try to be conservative. We look at deals. We look at how this is going to affect things. We look at recent deals that have taken place [and] players that have recently signed to try to get a sense of what the market is going to be. The hardest thing is to assess veteran players that are being terminated now versus the clump of free agents that will be available next week. What [effect is] this reduced cap number going to have on contracts in general? Is there a percent decrease that we expect across the board? How is this going to affect guys that get cut later in March, early April? How is that going to affect their value? Are the top guys going to get paid equivalent to what they normally would be paid in any other given year? Is that going to change? There are a lot of different factors. Some of that is just a gut thing. Some of that is analytics. Some of that is trying to assess getting as much information as possible from different sources and different people. The honest answer is we really don't know. You try to prepare for this, and you try to predict, but it's not that much different from trying to predict the first round of a Draft. You can get pretty close. I can get pretty close, but there's always going to be some surprises and changes and different things that happen along the way. We're trying to do that right now; we're trying to assess what the next 14 days are going to look like. That's a challenge, but we embrace it. It's kind of fun. It's kind of fun with some changes and some new nuances involved. So, we'll pivot as we have to pivot. We'll be aggressive when we can, but we'll also be conservative in some ways, too."

With talking about contract extensions, there are two guys I'd like to ask you about in terms of contract possibilities. One is DE Derek Wolfe and the other is RB Gus Edwards. Do you expect a tender for RB Gus Edwards? Or has there been discussion about extending him? (Bo Smolka) "Gus [Edwards] is going to be on the team, one way or the other. We're going to certainly tender him if we don't get a long-term deal done, but he is a Raven. He played his butt off this year, and he had a good season for us. Derek [Wolfe] is a free agent as of right now. We have had conversations with his agent. Again, we've had conversations with every free agent, pretty much, on our team or their agents. So, every player you ask me about, I'm going to say we've talked to the agent, because that's what we do. We have talked to Derek's agent. I think Derek had a great experience here. I think he had a great year for us. He fits us; [he's] another guy that fits us. We'd love to have him back, and I think the challenge is to find the right numbers and the right opportunity. We'll see how that all transpires over the next 10 days."

Just backtracking to T Orlando Brown Jr. for a moment. If a move was going to be made with T Orlando Brown Jr., is there a deadline or a time that you would want to see that kind of resolution to that issue? (Shawn Stepner) "No, I don't think so. I don't think so, no. It's all really about what's best for the club – that's how I look at everything we do. What's best for the club? How does the club win?"

You were talking earlier about missing out on the Combine and making up for it via Zoom. How much do the standards of the Combine matter? Where you have one scale, one guy clocking the 40 [-yard dash] and one guy testing this. Does that really make a difference in evaluation? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "That's a good question. I think it does. It's something we've thought about. You'd like everything to happen in the same atmosphere in a sterile environment [where] everybody [is] being tested exactly the same way. That is a challenge. Some of that we can adjust to using analytics and different things that we do with things like speed output and GPS. [We're] trying to be really as smart as we can be and use as much information as possible using objective measures, but it is a challenge. If you have one guy doing 40 [-yard dashes] at Oklahoma State and another guy doing 40 [-yard dashes] at Oklahoma, the question is, 'Are they being measured exactly the same way?' So, we will look at that. I think there are other ways we can sort of balance that out a little bit, but it is a challenge. That's one of the real values of the Combine, getting the objective data and having a chance to see the players on the same stage compete at the exact same time under the exact same conditions. So, that's a challenge for us, but we will adjust effectively."

Similar to what you were just talking about but more subjective. You talked about meeting players on Zoom. I spoke with a Division I lacrosse coach who has recruited 20 guys and signed them without shaking their hands or meeting them. How much of that do you miss? What is a potential pitfall of not really getting to know guys as well as you may want to before you commit and invest? (Mark Viviano) "You love to see these guys in person, for sure. There are a lot of challenges with that. Body-typing and things, it's really valuable for me as an old school scout to have a chance to see a guy in person. That being said, we are blessed to have a staff of guys with tremendous experience. Our scouting staff and analytics [staff], we are blessed to have the continuity. Thankfully, it goes back to [former owner] Mr. [Art] Modell and then [owner] Steve Bisciotti. We've only had a couple GMs and a few head coaches. Our scouting staff has been, in a lot of ways, part of that continuity. We've been intact for really 25 years in many ways. So, that's a huge advantage for us, I think. We have the chance to interview players. We know our standards, and we ask the right questions. We have developed, I think, a great system of interviewing players over the last five to seven years under [director of player personnel] Joe [Hortiz] and [director of player personnel] George [Kokinis]. We have really tweaked it and refined it. We've done a lot of research on interviewing players and getting to know players. I think we have a phenomenal system in place; [it's] very cutting edge. The Zoom allows us to spend as much time as we want with the players. So, just imagine at the Combine, we have a 15-minute slot or a 12-minute slot to interview a player. We can interview a player over Zoom for an hour. So, it's not in-person, but if we do the interview the right way, we can build a profile that is far superior to anything we do at the Combine in terms of meeting with these players. That's a huge advantage for our guys. So, we've done that. We've taken advantage of it. I can't get into all the different specifics about what we've done, but I am very comfortable. I think we're very comfortable as an organization that we're going to know these players off the field – their personalities, their drivers, their motivations [and] all of those different things. The numbers might be something different. The Combine numbers and all that might be something different, but as far as the personality and the challenges associated with no live exposures in the interviews, I think we're going to do a really good job with that."

The center position, if you had to move ahead in your mind's eye, do you think it will be addressed in-house, free agency, or through the Draft? (Stan Charles) "I think it could be all of the above. I don't want to tip our hand. I think our coaches have a really good plan moving forward for that position. From a scouting perspective, if there is a free agent that we think is really, really good as an option, we'll look into that. Certainly, with the Draft, we'll always be a 'best player available' team. So, if we're picking and the best guy available is a center, then we're probably going to pick him."

Just to go back to something you were asked earlier; do you have meetings like you had with QB Lamar Jackson, regularly, with different players? Did you go see him in Florida? Can you give us an idea of the logistics and how all that played out? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I meet with the players a lot. I meet with free agents or guys that have questions or their contracts, a lot. With Ronnie Stanley, we probably met, I don't know, you'd have to ask Ronnie, but probably 10 times. He still likes to meet with me. He'll still come up and meet with me, and I think that's one of the parts of the job that when I was the assistant GM [General Manager], I had a lot of anxiety about that – about meeting with players and the relationships with players and how those things would go. Probably that and the salary cap, I would say, would be the two things that caused me the most anxiety, as I was thinking about what this job would be, and where I had to grow and improve and learn and all those things. And now, I would look back and say to you all that two of the things that probably give me the most satisfaction now are meeting with players and the salary cap, and doing deals and things like that. I spend a lot more time now meeting with players than I do scouting, which is unfortunate, because I love to scout players. But I do spend a lot more time now with [senior vice president of football operations] Pat Moriarty and [director of football administration] Nick Matteo, talking about the salary cap, and then with players coming up to my office, meeting with me, talking to me, about a lot of different things. Whether it's their contracts, whether it's their family situation, or something they need support with, or a challenge they're having. Or, in the case of one guy, life after football and him thinking about the scouting profession, and if I can help him kind of get a sense for what that might look like? So, those things take place all the time. I have spent time with Lamar [Jackson], personally, one on one, not texting – I mean actually being together with him – and it was great. We talk about a lot of different things; the team, his family, his goals and dreams for the future, what he loves about the organization. We laughed a lot. I talked about some stories where we talk about … He likes to hear stories about players that we've scouted and drafted over the years. So, it's been really healthy – really, really good. And we've started to talk about what a contract might look like, but we haven't really, necessarily, gotten into all the weeds and all the nuances of all those types of things. Bur that will be coming at some point soon."

Like you said, you don't know what the salary cap is going to be, exactly, but you're in better position than a lot of other teams. Do you expect that most of the money that you have allotted, or that you have remaining, will be used on keeping your young players on extensions or whatnot? Or do you feel like you can be pretty active in the free agency market? (Ryan Mink) "I think that just depends. That's a good question, but if you think about the salary cap like an ice cream cake, there's only so much to go around, and at some point, late at night, if you're hungry, you might eat a big piece of that cake, which leaves less for everybody else. So, it's a work in progress. It just depends. I can't give you a definitive answer, because I don't know who is going to be available, who is going to get cut, who wants to come to Baltimore, which of our players want to do long-term deals. These things are very, very fluid. And as apprehensive and anxious as we are about this offseason, I think players feel the same. It's a very, very uneasy feeling with a reduced salary cap, in many ways, and we all feel it: players, front office, coaches, unrestricted guys, players on teams, draft picks. Everyone is trying to get a sense for this new climate; how to adjust, how to pivot, and how best to survive."

I know you haven't gotten too deep into the numbers there with QB Lamar Jackson, but do you expect him to be represented by his mother? Is it going to proceed as normal, without normal representation? (Jonas Shaffer) "That would be a question for Lamar [Jackson]. I'm not going to get into the personals, specifics, of any of these negotiations – how the dynamic changes or what the dynamic might be, except that we will be as transparent as possible with Lamar, and he'll be as transparent as possible with us. And certainly, it's going to be a good relationship and partnership. Fortunately, as I've gained experience, we've done some good contracts. We've worked with Marlon [Humphrey], and we've worked with Ronnie [Stanley]; we've worked with Chuck [Clark]; we've worked with Pat [Ricard]; we've worked with [Nick] Boyle, and we've done a lot of different contracts with players. I feel more and more confident every day. Every deal you do really does, kind of, scar you up a little bit, and it helps. I think the players know that we'll be as fair as possible, and we know the players are going to advocate for themselves as best as they can, and we'll get a deal done."

Not to talk about specific names in free agency, but in terms of wide receiver, do you have, in your mind, kind of, the type of wide receiver, as far strengths that you might want to bring onto this team? (Jamison Hensley) "I was waiting for the first receiver question; I didn't know how long it was going to take. (laughter) We talk about all these things in the offseason. We had a great personnel meeting after the Super Bowl … I think it was after the Super Bowl – maybe it was the week before the Super Bowl … But we had a personnel meeting with our coaches and our scouts, and we talked about where we want to be, and how we want to evolve, and what we want the team to look like, offensively, defensively, special teams; what the cap is going to look like and how that's going to affect our team; which players we want to sign or offer long-term deals to. We're always talking about the nuances of these positional groups and what our strengths and weaknesses might be. So, I think we have an idea of what we're looking for. It doesn't really serve my purposes to tell you exactly what we're looking for, player-wise, but we do talk about that stuff. We self-scout – is the term that we use quite a bit – looking at what we have, where we want to be, where we've made mistakes, where we've succeeded. Our goal is to build a diverse team with a lot of different types of players that can help you in a lot of different situations, with depth at all positions, that fit under the salary cap and give you a chance, long-term, to succeed."

The talk is obviously about the salary cap going down this year, but the NFL also has framework deals in place with the networks that could, arguably, double their television revenue in the years ahead, which means, the salary cap, in the future, is going to explode. So, how much do you have to balance the deals you try to put together this year with the deals that you know are going to be done, on a very different framework, next year and beyond? (Gerry Sandusky) "That's a hard question for me to answer, because I have no numbers, I have no knowledge of that. I read things like you all do, but again, I'm just, right now, operating under this year and what we think the parameters will be this year. Again, I'll always expect the worst, and I'm happy when we get something better than that. So, if someone says to me, 'The cap is going to be $181 million.' I'll be psyched, because I'm operating as if the cap is going to be $180 million. So, that's just my mindset. I try not to be optimistic, because then I'm usually let down. So, I'm usually pessimistic, and I end up being happy. A good example would be, last year, I never thought that we'd get a third-round comp [compensatory] pick for C.J. Mosley; I always expected a fourth-round comp pick, and then we got a third-round comp pick for C.J. Mosley, and I was psyched. So, I always tell the guys, 'Listen, don't give me the best case; give me the worst case, and let's operate off the worst case.' So, I don't know what the cap is going to be next year and moving forward, but we'll be prepared, we'll be responsible, as best as we can be, but also be aggressive if we can be."

I actually did have a wide receiver question. Going back to that, did you happen to catch some of the comments on social media from either soon-to-be former wide receivers with the team, or current, about what defines a No. 1 and the role as a blocker? And in that respect, also, in your conversations with QB Lamar Jackson, has wide receiver come up with him at all during discussions? (Jerry Coleman) "I don't really even understand the first part of your question – no disrespect. I'm not on social media really, so I don't know what you're referring to. But I can say, the second part, with Lamar [Jackson], I think the question is how can we improve as a team? How can we improve as an offense? What do we have to do as an offense? What do we have to do, overall, as an organization to improve? Those are really important discussions. We don't necessarily dwell on specifics, or specific players, or specific things, but we look at it as really how can we improve? Where are the opportunities for us to get better as a team? Some of that might be salary-cap-wise, the type of deals we do. How can we get guys under contract long-term? How can we do flexible deals that allow us to get out of a contract if we want to, with very little dead money associated? The second part of that is how can we find better players? And that's free agency and the draft. The third part of that is – there are really two other parts – how can our players who are currently on the team get better? And the fourth part is, how can we coach these guys and give them an opportunity to develop and improve?"

This is kind of off of that and a little bit of a chicken and an egg question: When you talk about getting better players, and you talk about getting better … Coach Harbaugh, at the end of the season, talked about perhaps evolving the offense a little bit. So, do you think about how you want to evolve the offense, or do you think about the best players that you can get, and it's the coaches' jobs to figure out how to sort of adapt them to what you're trying to do, and how to create an offense to what they're doing? So, not necessarily, "OK, we need a No. 1 wide receiver, but …" Which comes first? Is it, what is the hole? Or figure out an offense to fit whoever we bring you? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "That is a multi-layered question; I could probably talk about that for six hours. I think that, in general, it's two things. It's one: Do these players fit you? Do they fit your organization? Do they fit your scheme that you run? Do they fit? The second part is: Do these players have the skills that can help us, and can we tweak things, and can we create opportunities for these guys, for their skills to emerge and help the team? You never want to pigeonhole yourselves into being, 'This is exactly what we are, and this guy doesn't fit,' because a talented player can fit any team; you just have to be creative. On the other hand, we've made mistakes over the years by bringing in players who didn't necessarily fit us, and we see them go to other teams and succeed and thrive. It's my job, and it was [executive vice president] Ozzie Newsome's job as GM [general manager], and as our scouts, to find players who really do fit the defense or fit the offense of what we're trying to do. For instance, we're a power-, man-, blocking-scheme, and we probably don't want to bring an offensive lineman who is 285 pounds to Baltimore to be a part of that offensive line. It just doesn't fit. It's not going to be effective. On the other hand, is there a player who we can bring in who doesn't necessarily fit? For instance, say it's a 4-3 defensive end who's not a great player in space, in terms of dropping and all those types of things; we like our 3-4 outside linebackers to be able to drop, and play in space, and cover tight ends, and do all these things. However, if the guy is a dominant pass rusher, and he can't drop and play in space, it would be something that we would probably really strongly consider, because this guy has a dominant trait, which is to rush the passer. So, it's a little bit of give and take. The biggest thing is understanding who you are as a team, having a great relationship as a scouting staff with your coaching staff and being on the same page, and really working together to build the best team you can."

I apologize for re-asking a question I asked you about over a month ago, but it seems pertinent with the salary cap situation. Have you gotten any word from the league about any resolution with the S Earl Thomas III situation? (Jeff Zrebiec) "No, that's ongoing. We have had discussions, and there are a lot of moving arts, but that is ongoing. I shouldn't say anything about that really, just because there are a lot of different things. I'm not a lawyer, and I don't want to get anybody mad at me: The Players Association [NFLPA], or the [NFL] Management Council, or the agents involved, or the player involved. But these are certainly things that we've discussed and talked about, and it's just an ongoing matter. It's an in-house thing right now. We shouldn't comment on it. But it's definitely something that has been discussed since the end of the season and will continue to be discussed, probably over the next five, six, eight, 10 months, to a year, I would say."

I'm looking around at all the faces here, and I'm probably one of the only ones old enough to have been here with the first character issue in Ravens' Draft history, and that was T Jonathan Ogden versus RB Lawrence Phillips. In light of the T Isaiah Wilson mistake by Tennessee, how does character still factor in? And are you confident that you guys have the proper protocols in place to not make that kind of mistake? (Stan Charles) "I was thinking about that. I was 25 back then, in 1996. I turned 50 this year, and I've been blessed to be with the same team for the last 25 years, which is highly unlikely in this business. I've seen that change quite a bit over the years – how teams look at character and assess personalities and different things. I can't say that we're the best, but I can say that we've got a great culture, and I think we've built that culture up over time. That's probably the one thing that I think we would all say in Baltimore, here, in this building, that we're most proud of – is the culture that we've built. It doesn't happen overnight. You hear that word thrown around a lot, and what I've seen is it takes 25 years to really build a culture. And we're not perfect; we make mistakes. We don't always bring in the best players who fit. We make mistakes; we've made some recently. But that being said, you cover the team, you all cover this team, and you know the type of guys we have, generally, on this team, in the locker room. We make mistakes; I'm not saying we're 100%. We're dealing with personalities, and we're dealing with people, so you can't ever be as objective as you want to be; it's a very subjective business. But we scrutinize character, I think we have stringent standards, we take it very, very seriously in many different ways, and again, we've built up a lot of scars along the way. We've had issues here that have set this organization back, at different times. We've seen how these types of thing can decimate a franchise and kill a franchise in many ways; embarrass an organization; embarrass a community. We take it very seriously. We spend, probably, more time in the meetings – the Draft meetings, specifically – talking about the personality of the player and the character of the player than we do the ability. That's just a big change over the last 25 years. It didn't used to be that way. It used to be, you'd spend 30 minutes on a player, and you'd spend 25 minutes on his ability, and you'd spend five minutes on his personality, and his background, and his character and different things like that. Now, that has changed. And with things like social media, and all the coverage that you guys give these players, and all the information out there, and the ability for us to talk to these guys, we should not make mistakes. We should not make mistakes as an organization, and if we do, it's on me. I've made mistakes; we make mistakes – it happens – but we always strive to be the very best. We want to build a team, that when you guys come into the locker room and talk to the players, that at least – and we might have lost the game – but you guys can say, 'That's a good dude; that's a good guy; that's an intelligent player; that's a respectful player.' That's one of our big goals, and we will always strive for that."

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