Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, I appreciate you guys coming out. What questions do you have?"
We saw WR Marquise Brown and WR Sammy Watkins out there running around. How did you think they looked coming back to practice? (Jamison Hensley) "I thought they looked good. It's good to have them back, and we're going to work now."
What is the atmosphere like the day after cuts? Is there anything different in the feel to the practice? (Kyle Barber) "I think the players feel like, 'Hey, let's go. It's the season.' You feel like the team is kind of consolidated, and the season is imminent. We have a daily sign, you guys have seen it here – [days left] until the next opponent – and that number is pretty tight right now. So, I think everybody starts feeling the sense of urgency toward playing the first game."
I think it's after 4 p.m. now. Is there a plan to bring a couple guys that were cut yesterday back to the 53-man roster? Where is that at in the process? (Jeff Zrebiec) "The best way I could say that is that those roster moves are an ongoing process, as you said. I don't think it'd be good to comment on them right now. They'll play out in the next couple of days. Really, it'll be ongoing throughout the season with the way you work your roster."
How happy were you to get QB Trace McSorley [signed back to the practice squad]? How tough of a decision was it to … Typically, over the past two years, you've been keeping three quarterbacks [on the 53-man roster]. How difficult was it to make that decision? (Jamison Hensley) "All the decisions are tough. Really, they are. There are none more tough than another; they're just all tough. You asked about what it's like; [it's] probably toughest on the 'GM' [general manager] and the head coach more than anybody, because you're dealing with the guys. So, those aspects of it are … They're part of it."
You've talked about RB Ty'Son Williams before. Obviously, the big hole [left by RB J.K. Dobbins' injury] could be pretty prominent, and RB Ty'Son Williams has kind of stepped up. What have you seen in his growth over the last year? He was on the practice squad, but it seems like he's really made a big leap between then and now. (Cliff Brown) "He jumped out right away last year in the practices. You guys saw him in the public scrimmage we had last year. Really, all throughout the year, he just got better and better. He was practicing every day, and he developed. So, what he is now is what he's worked to become, and now he goes from here. We'll see what he does. I think he's going to do really well."
You've got a couple guys – Justin Harper at Towson and Jacoby Jones at Morgan State – who are going to face off this weekend. I know you coached them. Just how meaningful is it to see guys you coached find their own way as coaches? (Jonas Shaffer) "Yes, it's awesome to see guys that you coached go coach. That's something that really … It's probably like my dad feels when he sees his two sons go coach. I feel the same way about those guys, and I'll be rooting for them and pulling for them, big time – all those guys. Plus, I'll be pulling for Michigan, big time, and some other programs that we've got friends at.
"People talk about, 'Who are you a fan of?' I'm a fan of wherever my friends are coaching or playing. That's who I'm a fan of."
Down in Tampa Bay, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said whether his players are vaccinated or unvaccinated, when they go on the road, everyone is staying at the hotel. Basically, no one is going out. Have you thought about any kinds of plans for when you go on the road this year? The league has its protocols; will you have your own protocols, as well? (Jamison Hensley) "We're going to go with the NFL protocols. We're going to go with what the NFL recommends, and that's what we'll do."
Is FB/TE Ben Mason still in the plan? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I'm not going to comment on those things. I'm sure he can announce his own plans himself."
The first practice squad of 2020, of last year, had five players on this roster now elevated from the practice squad to the current roster. How exciting is it that you have a program that allows you to develop players from the practice squad and now have five of them on this year's initial 53-man roster? (Kyle Barber) "That's a great stat. I didn't realize that. It's nice to hear that stat. It is what we strive for, no doubt about it, and I'm just happy for the guys, individually. Every single guy is an individual story, and each of those stories is fascinating – when you get to know these guys – and I'm excited for each one of them."
DB Brandon Stephens
On what it means to him to make the 53-man roster: "Man, it's truly a blessing. Just to be here and just to be included on the 53 [-man roster], it's a dream come true for me and my family. So, I'm just excited for the season, excited for Week One of the season and getting started."
On what's stuck out to him the most on making the transition to the NFL: "Just going into it, as a rookie, you tend to overthink what it will be like. But at the end of the day, it was just ball. Everything was … It was everything I thought it would be, and like I said, it's just ball at the end of the day. So, that's really the main thing that stuck out to me."
On if there's a position or role he feels most comfortable playing: "I feel comfortable at each spot that Coach 'Wink' [defensive coordinator Don Martindale] puts me in. Whether that's nickel, safety [or] corner, I'm just trying to prove my versatility every day. A lot of our coaches trust that I can get the job done at any place."
On why he felt switching positions from running back to defensive back was in his best interest: "I just had that feeling that this would be my best opportunity to get to the League, get to the NFL. I felt like that was where I could contribute to a team the best. So, that's kind of what inspired my thought process to switch positions."
On if having played offense helps him now on defense: "Absolutely. Absolutely. Back when I was at UCLA, my running backs coach would have us learn the route concepts that the receivers would run. So, that definitely has helped me with the transition to defense."
On what the biggest challenge is in transitioning to safety: "The biggest thing for me is just overcommunicating. That's something that I didn't really do in college being at corner. … But I'm just trying to overcommunicate to the guys on the field, so that's definitely one thing that I'm progressing with every single day."
On what he's learned from guys like CB Marlon Humphrey, CB Marcus Peters and S Chuck Clark: "I try to stay in their ear all the time, each and every day. They tell me something new every day that I would never think about. Just being with a great group of guys [in] the 'DB' [defensive backs] room that we have, it's only going to make each and every one of us better."
On how confident he is he'll be able to make a quick impact based off of his preseason performance: "I've always been confident in my skillset and what I bring to the table. All I need is an opportunity, and I'm sure I'll get that at some point during the season. So, once I get it, I just have to get it and run with it."
On if he's had an opportunity to realize how unique his journey to the NFL has been: "Yes, man … Shoot. Every day I come through the parking lot and go through the gates, I always just think about my journey and how blessed I am to be here. It's been a long road. [I] still have work to do; the job is not finished. But like I said before, I'm blessed to be here [and] blessed to go through the journey that I went through just to get to this point."
On if it feels like being with the Ravens is the best spot for him: "Absolutely. I feel like God put me here for a reason. This is where I was supposed to be. Being picked [No.] 104 overall, that's where I was supposed to be picked. So, I feel like this is the best place for me. It fits my skillset, and I'm just around a great group of guys – both offense and defense. The guys, we just get along. It's one big family."
RB Ty'Son Williams
On his emotions when he found out that he made the Ravens' 53-man roster: "It felt good, man. I put in the work, day-in and day-out, but you don't really control those factors. All you try to do is just put yourself in the best position, and I feel like I did that."
On how he found out that he made the team: "I had a talk with Coach [John] Harbaugh, going into the last game, and then some things were kind of said to me pre-game in Washington. I just went out there and continued to do what I did to put myself in position to make the 53 [-man roster]. So, those were just some of the conversations, but it wasn't solidified until, like you said, yesterday."
On whom he called after finding out he made the team: "I didn't really make a call. It was crazy, because I saw my mom – she came up to visit – and I was just trying to see if she would say anything about it, but she didn't even say anything about it. A couple of my friends had reached out, just saying they were proud of me and stuff like that. So, those things just meant a lot to me."
On what his journey has been like: "It's crazy, man. Really, words just can't describe it. But like I said, you just keep pressing forward, keep putting in the work, and you let everything else take care of itself."
On where his confidence and work ethic come from: "Probably, just from my family, from my mom. She joined the military – she's like 20 years in now – so I just got that work ethic from her, and she played sports early on. When she went to college, she played basketball. So, I'd probably just say that I got it from her."
On if he's always been a physical runner: "I think as a player, you continue to grow, and it's probably just something I've started to lean more on as I've grown as a player. But yes, it's a physical game we're playing. So, why not?"
On being expected to contribute this season: "It's very exciting, very exciting. But, like I said, I just try to keep the same approach – doing the things that got me here – and I know they'll take me far."
On if he ever doubted his chances of getting an audition with an NFL team before last season: "No, I don't think so. Like I said, I don't really try to think about outside things; I just try to control what I can control. I felt like, even from last year, I did what was asked, and outside of that, I don't really have any control."
On when he felt that he had turned a corner and had shown enough to make the team: "Camp and practices are good, and like I said, you go out there and work hard, but I feel like games are probably the most important. Those are real, live reps against another team. And then once the games started, I started playing in the games, and I started playing at a high level. I've been practicing that way, also, but I think games are really important to kind of instill that confidence in you."
On if he molds his game after any other NFL players: "Not really. I kind of look at a couple different guys, like Alvin Kamara, Aaron Jones, Le'Veon Bell, previously. Yes, I just kind of look at guys, see how they play, and just take pieces of their game and try to add it to mine."
On his pass-catching abilities: "Yes, that's always been a part of my game – just trying to be a complete back. Catching the ball out of the backfield, I feel like, is very important."
On working with QB Lamar Jackson and the read option: "Yes, it's very exciting, very exciting. He's a big part of the offense, and like I said, they have to devote a lot of attention to him. So, as [running] backs, we kind of have to exploit that."
On the tandem of himself and RB Gus Edwards: "We both have similar games, at some points, but Gus [Edwards] kind of does his thing, and I kind of do mine, as well. He's a great back and kind of went through the same journey I did, so a lot of questions that I had early on, I would ask him. But I think we're ready."