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Transcripts: Saturday Training Camp (8/6)


Opening statement: "I appreciate you guys being here, and really, we've dwindled; a lot of people had plans for the weekend, apparently. Training camp does not stop for the weekend, does it?" (Reporter: "It was a media vet day off, it seems like.") "Yes, media vet day off; that's a good point. (laughter)It's good seeing you guys. We had a good day, and I would say we're heat acclimated, at this point. We had a hot week, and the guys handled it pretty well. What questions do you have?"

Does the gameplan and structure with training camp before the game next week change, as you prepare to play Tennessee? (Kyle Barber) _"Next week, after the game, you mean, or during the week?" _(Reporter: "During the week.") "We work into the game, so we have a regular camp practice on Monday, we have one of our rotational camp practices on Tuesday, which will be not in pads, and then we have our normal day before the game type of a practice on Wednesday. [It'll] be a little extended, and we do more situations in that practice. So, it changes in that sense, as you get close to the game."

We've seen a lot of guys get first-team reps at running back. Would you consider that to be one of the more competitive, wide-open position groups, as you approach the first preseason game? _(Childs Walker) _"Yes, it couldn't be much more wide open than the running back position right now. We're going to play the guys and see who does well, and they've all done well in practice. And like we said, the games ae big for the running backs, I think, so they're all excited to play."

We saw two big plays from WR Jaylon Moore and WR Slade Bolden – guys who are competing to be in that wide receiver room. What have you seen from some of those guys who are competing for that fifth receiver spot? _(Ryan Mink) _"Yes, that's exactly right. They've kind of all made plays, at one point in time or another, and they're reps are so spread out, because they're all getting a chance now. And then we had some guys [who] were out or whatever, and we pulled some guys back, and those guys were getting the reps now. So, I think that kind of ends up being the plan a little bit; we have to give all those guys a shot, because we don't know who's going to step forward. So, they'll all play a lot in the game, and we'll see what you see."

TE Mark Andrews created a big divot when he went down low to catch a ball, and he didn't participate after that. Did everything seem OK? (Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, I had seen enough. I had seen enough of Mark [Andrews]. I told Mark … He's like, 'I'm fine.' He's like, 'I've been practicing my slide.' Well, it wasn't one of your better slides. _(laughter)But he's had so many reps this week. He's had plenty of reps, and that was really my call just to back him off."

With guys like TE Mark Andrews and CB Marlon Humphrey, who seem to want to be out there all the time, do you have to tell them to back off a little bit? _(Childs Walker) _"Yes, yes, we did that with Marlon [Humphrey] today, too. It's just … That's how it works with those guys; they just want to be out there, and they want to always practice, which you appreciate, but I guess it's my responsibility then to make sure they don't get too much work."

TE Nick Boyle has participated in basically every other practice. Is that just precaution early in practice, and how are you seeing him come along? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Yes, he's looking good. That was the plan; we had a rotation. [Head certified athletic trainer] Adrian Dixon put it together. It was every other [practice] up to a certain point, then he's going to be two out of every three [practices] at a certain point. That's kind of just a building process there. He's done well with it. He's done a good job."

With QB Lamar Jackson, he's elusive, and you want to have him being a playmaker, but then there's always the aspect of you not wanting him to take too many hits, as well. Do you think he's progressed throughout his career, to where he's kind of understanding that balance of wanting to extend plays and create plays, but not wanting to put himself at more risk? _(Jamison Hensley) _"I really think he's always understood it. In all honesty, I feel like Lamar [Jackson] has always been really good about avoiding getting hit hard. The only time he really gets hit is if he doesn't see it, and that's pretty rare, too. I know we see that … And you're going to be concerned about that with any quarterback – quarterbacks can get hit in the pocket – but he's got a knack. He's done it his whole life; I think he's just good at it, and he doesn't really get hit that much and that hard. Now, of course, it's football, and I think he's going to have to manage and play the long game that way, certainly, but he's done a good job of that thus far, and I kind of trust him with that."

We saw OLB Steven Means walk off the field. Did you get any update on him? _(Child Walker) _"We're waiting to see – nothing definitive at this point in time. He walked off, so that's good, and we'll just see where he's at with that. I didn't see what happened."

With T Daniel Faalele, do you want to get a look at him at left tackle and see if he can be a depth option for you there? _(Ryan Mink) _"Yes, we just kind of want to get a feel for him. He's never played there before, and we've got an opportunity with some reps over there. It kind of makes sense just to put him over there and see how he does – A. And then B, work him in training camp, because during the season, you never know who might have to go where and play what. And he did a good job, actually. Now, he gets a little tired; his technique fell off toward the end of practice today, but that's something just to focus on – the opportunity of fatigue. When you're tired, you focus on your technique even that much more."

QB Lamar Jackson said he's up to 230 pounds now, but as you watch him run around, he can still plant his foot and go, just like anyone out there. Does he look like the explosive athlete that he was 20 pounds ago? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"I think so. He was actually … In '19, he was a little heavier. He was between 212 [pounds] and 215 in '19. So, I think he's back more in that direction a little bit. With the COVID and all the different crazy things that happened the last two years, he probably ended up slimming down – he just did – for whatever reason. But I like him. I like the way he looks. I like what he's done with himself. And yes, it hasn't slowed him down at all."

We're seeing CBs Kevon Seymour and David Vereen always battle it out in practice. What have you seen from them?  _(Kyle Barber) _"Those two … The young corners have done a really nice job. There are a couple more guys you could put in that group, too. I can't wait to see those guys in the game. And Kevon [Seymour] is kind of proven; like, Kevon, he's a proven special teams player in the NFL. We know what he is, as a teamer, and then his issue is he's had some hamstring issues, which he's worked really hard at – along with our people – and he's taken a lot of reps, and the hamstring has been good. Now, I just keep telling our guys, 'Let's remember, this guy has taken a lot of reps, and we've got to be mindful of that.' But he's had a heck of a camp. He's one of those guys … Man, they've been covering. How many passes have they covered? So, we may need to bring another corner in here pretty soon to help us numbers-wise."

For next week, with the preseason game, have you made a decision on whether you'll play QB Lamar Jackson and a lot of the other veterans? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, yes, we won't be playing Lamar [Jackson]. I think you can kind of extrapolate who will play and who won't, and then there will be some decisions with some guys that we haven't completely made yet. But certain guys … Like, Lamar is not going to play; Mark [Andrews] is not going to play. Those experienced starters … Justin Houston, Marcus Williams [aren't] going to play. Marlon [Humphrey] is not going to play – just to give you an example of the guys who aren't going to play." (Reporter: "Is that for this game or … Specifically about Lamar?")"I mean, can't you just be happy that you got an unbelievable bone right there?" (laughter – Reporter: "But you're so awesome.")"Yes, right. It only goes so far. I'm starting to become not awesome again." (laughter)


On if he knows exactly how long the teams' current preseason winning streak is:"I think since I've been here in 2017, we haven't lost a game in preseason. So, it's been five-plus years – and I hope we keep it going. I don't even want to talk about it, because I don't want anything to happen. I think it's a really cool streak. I think it just proves the depth we have here, the type of scouting and the draft that the front office has. It just shows that we're always a ready team when it comes to preseason. We've had a five-plus … I don't even know … Maybe six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years – I don't even know how long [or] how many games we've won. But, it's pretty impressive."

On how challenging the workload can be during training camp:"Yes, I think the first week was kind of warm, but not too bad. I was actually … I thought it was kind of nice. A couple of [training] camps I've had here have been extremely hot. So, this past week has definitely turned up. I think we need it. I think it just helps the team get conditioned, get used to the heat, and I'm definitely ready for this day off to get out of the heat for a little bit, but I think we're getting used to it. It's only going to benefit the team by playing in it."

On the status of the run game with still some missing pieces:"We've had a couple of days of pads. I think whenever you start installing an offense, you don't have the whole playbook in right away. You're not running all your different schemes, and stuff like that. But I think it's going well. I think our chemistry is building every day, and I think the younger guys are starting to understand the offense more and more. And hopefully, I've heard J.K. [Dobbins] will hopefully be coming back soon, and all the other guys who are rehabbing are only going to help the team, and only the numbers that we have is going to help our run game. [I'm] definitely excited about where it's going right now."

On how much of a boost it will be to the run game with the return of RB J.K. Dobbins:"J.K. [Dobbins] is a very energetic guy. So, whenever he's on the field, it only helps us. Definitely excited to have him back out there. He's an unbelievable player. He's a great guy. He's been rehabbing incredibly hard. I'm very excited to have him back on the field – even if it's just for individuals [drills]. I think it's just a positive thing for himself and the team."

On how impressed he's been with QB Lamar Jackson's ability to not only sustain, but to avoid contact:"Whenever people ask me about running quarterbacks, I always think Lamar [Jackson] is in a different category. He is not … I feel like typical quarterbacks, who are running quarterbacks, have really good linear speed. Lamar can move in so many directions and not decrease his speed. So, I think that's why his durability is so well, because he's not taking direct hits. He's able to move and make guys shake and he's taking hits with maybe half his body, and he's just falling off of tackles. So, he's not taking them head on as much. So, I think that's a big reason why he's able to run the ball so much and withstand all the hit he's been taking. And he's just a strong guy – I mean, you see how he looks right now?" (laughter)

On if QB Lamar Jackson looks faster to him:"Yes, it's hard in practice, because he's not really giving everything he has, because he has to run every single play. And in a game, he's going to give everything he has. So, it's still Lamar Jackson – he just looks better than he's always looked before. So, it's definitely exciting."

On how good he feels physically now:"The injuries that I had at the end of the year, I've rehabbed them and I feel just as good as I've ever felt, for the most part. Right now, it's just [training] camp, it's just a grind. Today is Day 11. We've had 10 days of practice – so, 11 days. Definitely just sore from practicing. You've just got to keep doing my prehab stuff, make sure I'm doing exercises to make sure my body is still nice and strong and can withstand a whole season again."


On if it's frustrating to ease into training camp on his personal "ramp up" schedule:"I think it's a really great plan, to be honest. They thought about it – trainers, everyone, staff – prior to coming in for training camp. Reporting the first day, they had this all planned out. I just think it's the smart way to go about it with ramping up, being in pads and getting back to actual football stuff while feeling good. And just going out there and making sure that every time I go out to practice, I feel good and I'm getting better."

On if he feels just as strong in the blocking game after slimming down some:"Yes, I'm just as strong. I need to get better, just getting back to football stuff again. I think it starts with the mentality of just wanting to get after somebody, and then it comes down to technique, like getting a little lower, coming off this, footwork here and there. So, the first day in pads was a little frustrating, because I'm like, 'Why am I not holding this dude right here like I always do.' But I'll get better at that – I know I will – and just go out and play like I did before."

On if he's still in much better health now than he was last year:"Oh, yes. For sure. The plan helps, like I said, ramping it up. That's really smart. And it's just night and day, running, sitting, sinking, driving off of it. It's so much better, and thankfully it did get better, and when I go out there, I feel good."

On what some of the biggest challenges have been coming back from injury:"Some of it is just a mindset and a mentality, becoming the player you once were. I think, really, the challenging thing for me is just getting back to technique, getting back to hitting people, driving my feet through contact – simple things like that – which I know I'll get done. It's just like when I go out there and practice, I want to be perfect. I want to do this; I want to do this. (snapping)I'm very impatient with it. So, when I go out there and I don't do it, I'm like, 'Man, I'm awful.' That's just how I feel. And then I look at it and it's not as bad, but that also fuels me to go out there every day and get way, way better. I think just wanting to be perfect in everything, especially blocking-wise, that just makes me want to go out and keep practicing more."

On if he wants to play in preseason games:"Oh, yes. For sure. I need to play in the preseason games. I think that would be really good for me. I wouldn't want to not play in those. I think those are kind of reps you can't get out on the practice field, although you're in pads. I'm looking forward to playing."

On his thoughts about the Ravens' preseason winning streak:"We haven't lost in a while, right?" (Reporter: "No.")"It's cool. It's a cool thing; you always want to win, obviously. Everything you do you always want to win in. So, I think it's something special. To be honest, I haven't really thought about it until you just brought it up, but I think it's special. It shows something with all of the guys we have, before people leave or before we bring new people in. [Look at] what we can accomplish before all of that. Every time you go out there and line up, you want to win."

On if he ever tries to talk TE Mark Andrews into taking a veteran rest day:"His competitive nature is so impressive to me. He's always out there wanting to compete. He's always out there wanting to get better. For him to get a vet day … I think he wants to go out there and practice, which is great. That's what inspires me about him, is just how hard he works. He just has this edge to him; he just has this competitive nature. If one play doesn't go right, he gets fired up, or if he makes a play he gets fired up. That stuff is kind of contagious."

On his previous comments about overcoming the mental struggles related to an injury:"I think it's really consistency and taking it day-by-day, because some days you don't feel great, and some day you [do] feel great. So, you do take it day-by-day, and you've just got to really hone-in and work on it. You've got to be able to do everything you can in your power to get back on the field, to feel like you did before. I thought this offseason was really good kind of with the plan and everything we did. From here on out in camp, like I said, just take it day-by-day, and now, for me, transitioning when my knee feels better. Like, 'Alright, let's get this football stuff back down. Let me get my technique down. Let me rage off the ball with confidence and get this foot down and have low pad level.' Stuff like that. I know that will come with time, and I'm just looking forward to playing."


Opening statement:"Hey guys, good to see you all. In the interest of getting you guys out of the heat, and myself as well, we'll try to follow the [head coach] John Harbaugh three Bs; we'll be bold, brief and brilliant. So, let's do this." (laughter)

On the pressure of knowing his field goal kick would end practice early yesterday if he made it:"Absolutely. I would say that's one of the top high-pressure moments that you can experience at any level of football. To be able to send the guys in early, especially on a really hot day … Considering the alternative, if we all had to stay out here for another 40 minutes, I would have been public enemy Number One in that locker room. (laughter) I certainly don't want that. It's great that 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] gives us those opportunities. It's great that, truly, we get to work on putting ourselves in a high-stakes moment like that. As silly as it may sound, the feelings are very similar to when you're lining up that kick to walk off a game. So, thanks to 'Harbs' for giving us the opportunity, and more than anything thanks to 'Harbs' for throwing us a bone and letting us get out of practice a little bit early yesterday, that was quite nice of him."

On CB Damarion Williams trying to distract him during his practice-ending field goal kick but then celebrating when he made it:"I think more than anything, 'Pepe' [Damarion Williams] seems like he's just a high energy guy. Just getting to talk to him a couple of mornings at the lunch table, the breakfast table, he has this great energy about him, this great air about him. [He's] humble, confident, happy. All of the things that we're all encouraged to be here. We're encouraged to let our light shine within the framework of something bigger than ourselves. 'Pepe' no doubt fits right into that mold, and we're happy to have him."

On how P Jordan Stout has been acclimating to how the special teams unit operates and what the dynamic is between him and special teams consultant Sam Koch:"Yes, so the first part of that question; Jordan [Stout] is doing an excellent job drinking from the firehose, so to speak. We've thrown so many detail things at him. I liken it to breaking him down into a puddle [of] just mud, so we can build him – and he can build himself – up into a little clay pot. It's hot enough, we might as well put the pot in the kiln and get him really ready to go for Week One when it really, really matters. (laughter) But Jordan is doing an excellent job of being coachable, and just being the athlete that we all know him to be. He's come quite a long way in a very short period of time. The dynamic between him and Sam [Koch], and Sam and really all of us out here when we're working separately from the rest of the team. When we're out there working on snaps, holds and kicks, the value that Sam is able to add to our operation and what we do on a typical practice day, and even in the meeting room watching our own video and evaluating from a place of he's been there and done that in every single circumstance that you could possibly imagine. And, he's done it really, really well. So, to have that experience from the inside out, now he's able to take the 10,000-foot view and apply all of that to what we're doing now. The value that Sam has added to our operation has been … It's immeasurable. I'll leave it at that."

On if he has a very specific way that he wants the ball held every time and if he wants P Jordan Stout to do it exactly how Sam Koch used to:"It really is. Some kickers have a different approach where depending on the wind, or the field or whatever it may be, one hold may be slightly different than the next, and that's their preference. The way I like to kick the ball, the way I like our operation to be, I like it to be the same every single time. I like the lean of the ball to be just so, almost straight up and down, as far as going up and down the field, and then, slightly leaned toward Jordan [Stout]. That's pretty typical of most kickers. The way we operate where we trust Jordan to use his hands as a holder. We don't encourage a guy to catch the ball on the body, because when he's able to see the ball out here, I'm able to see the ball out here. I see the ball from Nick [Moore]'s fingertips all the way to Jordan's hands, where ideally, he's catching the ball after just so many rotations from Nick's hands. He's catching it with the laces here, and we refer to that as 12 o'clock laces. The goal is to replicate that time, and time and time again, so much so that it's boring watching us kick field goals, because we're doing the same thing every single time. Hopefully that means we're making a lot of kicks. So, long story still long, yes. I have a very specific way I like to do things. (laughter)It all kind of started for me with [former Ravens special teams coordinator] Jerry Rosburg, and even before him, Morten Anderson. But [special teams coach] Randy Brown really helping us hone-in this operation. And now, you throw Sam into the mix, and one could say there might be too many 'Kochs' in the kitchen. (laughter)Thanks for laughing at that. But it's not like that at all. It really is the more the merrier, and everything that we're working toward is to give us those good end results."

On how he has adjusted his kicking routine as he has gotten older to preserve his leg:"Thanks for letting me know that I am getting a little bit older. (laughter)I tend to hear that more frequently now that I'm on the other side of 30. But the short answer is yes. There are adjustments that have to be made. I think you hit it right on the head; it's basically like being a pitcher. You have to watch your pitch count. You're using kind of similar joints, and tendons, and muscles and ligaments and all of that stuff, it's just from the hip instead of the shoulder. So, yes there has been a little bit more of an emphasis recently. But this training camp is a little bit more specific, because there are only the three specialists as of right now, as opposed to having another kicker, or another punter, or another snapper or whatever it may be. Ultimately, it's still the same principle of focusing on the quality over the quantity."

On being considered by some as a sure-fire Hall of Famer when it's all said and done:"Well, I appreciate you saying that. I really try to think about … I really try not to think about that stuff. I really try to make it a point to take it one kick at a time. That's something that I heard from my agent coming out of college, and it's some of the best advice I've ever gotten, right next to my grandfather when I was trying out for the high school varsity team at Westlake (HS) in Austin; he said, 'Justin, just kick the damn ball.' (laughter)So, between those two principles – less is more, simple is better, I guess … It really is more of a … My focus is much more on just taking it one kick at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time. And the individual honors, they are really cool, and you can turn those into a career, and you can turn those into a great life for your family – all of those wonderful blessings – but the only way I feel like I can even get to that point, where people are saying nice stuff like that about me … They're not even just saying it about me; they're saying it about us; they're saying it about what the Ravens' specialists and their coaches have been able to put together, as a whole, collectively. So, yes, I think about it as, 'Oh, that's nice,' but I've still got to take it one kick at a time, and there is a lot more than just me kicking the ball. We make kicks; every once in a while, I let one get away from me. Even if Jordan [Stout] doesn't get it down exactly how I like, it's still me. I kick the ball. But no, I really just try to take it one at a time."

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