Transcripts: Ravens Wednesday OTA


Head Coach John Harbaugh, RB Justin Forsett, TE Crockett Gillmore and DT Timmy Jernigan

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "OK, glad to see everybody. … I really don't have anything for you. It was a good start, though, a good practice. We had a little bonus with the weather – that was good. The ground was slick, so dealing with that and working on our footing was something I thought challenged those guys both yesterday and today. This is our fifth practice now. They're doing a good job of learning how to practice, how to stay up, how to play fast, how to not fall down, how to take care of one another. That's a big challenge in these types of practices that we have this time of year in phase three [of offseason training], so we're doing a good job with that, and they're fighting through it. We did have an injury yesterday with Aldrick Robinson. It looks like it's a Grade 2 MCL sprain, so he'll be ready to go in training camp, but he won't make the rest of this period."

**In Marc Trestman's offense, you've seen that the running backs get a lot of opportunities catching the ball. How much do you think that will be, maybe, something that will be [an] increased role for the running backs this year? *(Jamison Hensley) *"We never really talked about whether it will be increased or decreased or how it compares to last year. But obviously, it's a part of it; it always has been. It's a part of this offense anyway. Whether they are checkdowns or play-action passes, those guys have always been a part of it. We try to put those guys in position as receivers, too – with Kyle [Juszczyk] more than Justin [Forsett] last year. But Justin lined up outside the formation as well at times. That will be a part of what we're doing. It'll be a big part of it."

John, what have you seen from DE Brent Urban and DE Kapron Lewis-Moore? And I guess Brent got a little too close for comfort on one of those? (Aaron Wilson) "It was Brent's second time, so he was sent to his room for a couple of plays. But we do like to keep our guys away from the quarterback – that's good. He was a little too close, and then he was celebrating it. That's what sent me over the edge. It's like, 'Do you not understand what we're doing here?' But he has practiced really well. Brent has, and so has Kapron. They both look like they're 100 percent as far as the way they're moving around, and they look like they're going to be able to contribute for us."

A bunch of receivers made some nice plays – WR Jeremy Butler, WR Darren Waller. How do you see these guys taking advantage of their opportunity when you have a couple of guys banged up like WR Aldrick Robinson and WR Michael Campanaro? (Garrett Downing) "Well, it's going to be very competitive at wide receiver, so you're going to have guys who are going to have nicks and things like that. One day to the next, different guys are going to get reps and throws, and that's really what determines who moves on. Who can do it and who can do it the next day, the day after that over the long haul? We'll find out who those guys are."

**John, how important was it this offseason to add depth, young depth at tight end? And building off of what you said about TE Crockett Gillmore, people have been commenting how much quicker he looks. What have you seen? *(Jeff Zrebiec) *"We've had veteran tight ends here, really, over the years, and to plug in some young tight ends is a big thing. We did it a few years ago with Dennis [Pitta] and with Ed [Dickson], and now we're doing it again with Crockett and then two rookies. Of course, Dennis is out there for about half the practice, and he's doing a nice job, too, so we're not counting him out at all. All of those guys look good. They look like they know how to play. They're big, strong guys. They catch the ball well. They have a lot to learn, so it'll be a process through this part of it then through training camp."

Coach, has there ever been a time during OTAs that there was a player who stood out and you knew was going to make the roster and players that have stood out in your mind that you know will probably have a really big shot at making the roster? (Barry Barnes) "You mean undrafted-type guys?" (Reporter: "Undrafted guys.") "I can't think of anybody that … You get a pretty good indication early of who has a chance, but I don't think you really know who is going to make it at this point, just because there's so much water to go under the bridge still. We haven't even been in a shell yet, let alone a pad. We haven't tackled anybody yet. We haven't blocked anybody for real yet. So the real part of it [is] the ability to do it over the long haul, because it's competitive. If anybody makes the team, they're going to have to beat somebody else out. I don't care if it's a first-round pick or if it's a free agent, you're taking somebody's spot from last year. Even more so for the guys who are the free agent guys – they're going to have to beat somebody out. So, you don't really do that in one minicamp. It's going to take the whole process to do it. I do think there are a couple guys – maybe more than a couple – that have a chance to do it, but we'll see."

**How is S Kendrick Lewis adjusting to the defensive system? *(Garrett Downing) *"Kendrick Lewis is doing a great job. He doesn't say much. In terms of walking around the building, he just puts his nose to the grindstone and goes to work. I see him in the weight room, I see him in the meeting room, I see him on the field just working like crazy. Very smart player, really gets the game and communicates really well back there, so he has looked very good."

Coach, knowing it's early, how would you assess where things are in getting down the new two-point conversion and the rule changes and all that? (Jerry Coleman) "Well, we've kicked it from the 15-yard line. We really haven't done it as an extra point. We're just kicking field goals right now, so I can't say we've worked on that specific extra point situation yet. We have done a two-minute period … I mean a two-point play period, I should say. We've done one of those so far. It's nothing really that dramatic; it's just something I think we'll work on a little more just in case it comes up more."

WR Jeremy Butler, what have you seen from him so far as he comes back from injury? (Ryan Mink) "Jeremy Butler, he looks fine. He was actually – toward the end of the season – he was 100 percent. It would have been nice if he could have practiced, but the rules, obviously, didn't permit it. So, it was no surprise. It wasn't like he had to get healthy or anything [this offseason]. I do think he has picked up where he left off and gotten better – stronger, a little faster. He has made some plays. Again, for him, it's going to be kind of a long-haul-type deal and see how he does."

Have you noticed any difference with DT Timmy Jernigan. A lot of people talk about from the first year to the second year the jump. Have you noticed anything with him? (Jamison Hensley) "He has just improved and gotten better. He's more confident in what he's doing defensively. He wants to play to his strengths. He has a lot of quickness and explosiveness, and he's focusing on that. I can't say it's a dramatic difference, because he's very confident, but he was really confident last year. He's a confident guy, so he has really high expectations for himself."

John, logistically are you further along in planning with the Eagles practices and also the West Coast plans, whether you're going to stay there, or is that still kind of in the process you guys are evaluating? (Jeff Zrebiec) "We haven't made a final decision yet. [Senior vice president of operations] Bob Eller and [director of travel] Joan Fennekohl went out there and visited the different hotels and things like that. Actually, we're meeting on that on Thursday, so we might have some decisions here at the end of the week. What was the other part of the question?" (Reporter: "About the Eagles.") "Oh, the Eagles? Yes, Chip [Kelly] and I have gotten together. We have the practices pretty much finished, and we'll be practicing against them. It'll be fun – looking forward to it. I haven't thought much about it."

John, can you talk about how a year of experience for TE Crockett Gillmore has helped him to be more of an all-around tight end? (Brent Harris) "Anytime you have experience, it's important, but I just think his body … What I've noticed mostly about Crockett is the change physically. He was a big guy before, but now he's really [big]. He's packing a lot of muscle on that [frame] – 275 pounds. He looks the part, he's moving well, and he's catching the ball really well. And, he knows what he's doing. He really does know the offense. So, time will tell. We'll see what happens when the lights come on, but he looks good to me."

RB Justin Forsett

On how much motivation he has to build upon last season's success: "It's big, because I know I have a little taste of what it's like to have an opportunity to be the star running back and have success, and I just want to build upon it. I know there are a lot of doubters out there, but I don't worry about that. I already have a chip on my shoulder, and I'm ready to work and get better."

On if the run game feels different compared to last year's offensive system: "No, not at all. It's basically the same stuff, same terminology in the run game, so [it is a] smooth transition."

On if the offense has been upgraded by adding more receiving targets: "I think they did a great job with brining in some [new receiving targets]. We lost some great guys, but [the new players are] filling in those roles. I'm excited to see them in pads. Right now, everybody is fast, everybody is making plays, but I think the sky is the limit for us. I think the most important thing is we have Joe [Flacco] back there, we have our hogs up front, and it's our job to go out and make plays."

On if he has seen TE Crockett Gillmore make strides in the offseason: "He is already strong, he is already big, but it just seems like he's moving around a lot better out here – a lot more fluid in his route-running, catching passes, things like that. I'm excited about him as well."

On whether he will have an increased role catching the ball: "I'm excited about that – being used more, going out wide or catching passes out of the backfield. With coach [Marc] Trestman coming in, a lot of his backs have had a lot of passes. Even in OTAs, I've been catching a lot of balls, so I make sure I am sharp on my routes and ready to be used that way as well."

On if catching balls has been a focal point: "[It is] not a focal point. When we first brought [Marc Trestman] in and he was here, I looked at his track record. Most recently, [Matt] Forte caught like 100-and-something passes last year, I think, so that kind of let me know that I could be getting a lot more passes than I did last year. I caught around, I think, 40 [passes] last year, so I am just being ready for that and prepared for that."

On if he trained to prepare for catching more passes: "No, not yet. Out here we've been doing a lot of more stuff with the team, whether that's spreading me out, running routes, making sure that my running back coach was on us about getting in and out of our breaks and things like that, but nothing individually. But this offseason – going into training camp – I'll definitely work on it."

On whether he will continue to implement the qualities of a third-down running back: "That's the reason why I haven't really spent that much extra time in there, because I've always been used that way other than last year. That's how I got my start was being the third-down guy, picking up blitzes, running routes out of the backfield, screens and things like that. So, I'm ready for it."

On why it is important for him to participate in OTAs: "Well, you have a new coach here. I want to make sure that [I am] getting all of the terminology down, make sure [I am] developing a relationship with Joe – making sure that we're on the same track – and being here with my family. It has been a while since I've been able to stay in a city and really enjoy the offseason, so that was a big part of it – just staying in one place. I had a baby this offseason, so [there is] not much traveling."

On whether there is peace of mind with being able to stay in Baltimore during the offseason: "Definitely a little bit, but you can't get too comfortable. My thing is, I get comfortable with being uncomfortable and making sure that I'm not getting complacent, making sure I'm working hard. I know that any given day, I could be out of here. This is a business, and I have to bring my A game every day, and that's what I'm trying to do."

TE Crockett Gillmore

On what some differences are and how much more comfortable he feels right now compared to last year:"It's been a night-and-day thing for me. I really went back after the season and was able to watch film, kind of judge myself and judge what all we were doing, and really understand the offense a little bit better. Even though it's a change in scheme, it's still something that you can learn from last season."

On his impressions of the young, new tight ends added to the group:"They're hardworking kids. They came in similar to me; they're quiet and they want to work. That's how I am, so that's what they're going to continue to do."

On how important TE Dennis Pitta has been as a veteran leader among a young tight ends group:"Super Bowl champion, Pro-Bowler, everything he is, that [speaks] for itself. Every day you come out here and you ask him a question, because he's the most experienced guy [and] he's been around the league for a while. Like I said, he's just going to continue to work and he'll come back. Obviously, he's put up great numbers for us and we're better with him."

On what specific preparations he had this past offseason:"I just went back to training. Really, it was a long season, so you get some recovery, but then it's back to the weight room. That's the biggest thing for me. To me, I felt like I needed to work on my routes and catching the ball, so that's what I did. Fundamentally, from the weight room standpoint, I kind of put on some weight and got a little bit stronger."

On if he still feels quick even after putting on muscle weight during the offseason:"Absolutely. I think that the muscle [increase] has helped me tremendously in the power in and out of breaks and just being physical in the run game. But mainly in the passing game, I feel like I have the power to get in and out of breaks."

On what his reaction was to the Ravens drafting two tight ends, despite losing veterans from last season:"Welcome to the Ravens. That's their job to come in here and help the team just like it was my job last year. We're going to continue to do that, and we're going to continue to do whatever we can to really push that position to be one of the best groups in the league."

On if it is important to him to be more of a two-way tight end this season:"Absolutely. You're not on the field for more than but two or three plays a series if you can only do one thing. So, that's really my whole focus this offseason."

On if he attended an offensive line camp this offseason:"I did. Like I said, the majority of the things I needed was power and the strength to develop and move around. So, it's a little bit different training, but it's something that I knew would help me."

On how that type of training has helped him:"[It is for helping me get] in and out of breaks – the power to cut and really control your own body."

On if he feels more prepared to take on a bigger role than he did at this time last year:"I think so. I think I found my role last year. I understood where other guys were and what they could do, so I just made myself into a guy that could block, and that worked for last season. But, we've got a new season."

DT Timmy Jernigan

On what he has seen from DE Brent Urban and DE Kapron Lewis-Moore: "I think they're going to be dominant. 'C.B.' [Clarence Brooks], he has a standard that he makes everybody play to, and you really don't have a choice but to play to it unless you're [willing] to hear about it. I definitely think they're going to come out and dominate. We're all working hard, competing every day, and we're pushing one another. It shouldn't matter who is in the game, [there] should never be a drop off."

On what he learned last season that will help in his second year: "I learned a lot. I definitely feel comfortable picking up where I left off at last year. I feel really good. Everything is starting to seem kind of second nature to me. The biggest thing now is just to keep it going and building on top of what I did last year. You can't get complacent with what you did and feel comfortable with where you're at. I'm just trying to take it to the next level."

On what the next level is to him: "I want to go to the Pro Bowl. I'm not even going to sit here and lie to you. I definitely want to win more games – that's first. I definitely want to win more games, help the defense get even better. I know a lot of eyes are not just going to be on me, but the whole group. We have huge shoes to fill with Haloti [Ngata] missing, and it's definitely going to be a group effort for all of us, not just me."

On what he learned from DT Haloti Ngata: "Definitely how to practice and how to be perfect – with the way that he steps, with his technique, his hands and all of that little stuff, knowing when he can take a chance and go inside on a play, the little things like that. The guy knew plays before they even happened, and that's definitely what I learned from the way that he prepared and got ready for games."

On how difficult it is to practice without wearing pads: "It's very hard, especially playing defensive line, it's very hard. With me, I like to just take off the ball, get in the backfield and play like that, but it's tough. And at the end of the day, we have to take care of one another. We're just in shorts and shirts right now, but the blessing about playing here and playing for the Ravens is I get to go against Kelechi [Osemele] and [Marshal] Yanda every day. To me, I think, they're the two best guards in the league. I think they're better than everybody. So when game time comes, it's easy for me."

On what he considers a victory in practice without being able to tackle: "Definitely just running to the ball – making sure that when the ball is thrown, getting away, getting out of the stack and getting to the ball. When [the offense] is zoning, your feet, where are your feet, not getting cut off by the tackle. Little things like that. When it's pass rush time – when you're clubbing and ripping – where is your hand placement, when you're doing the little things like that. That's definitely a victory for me."

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