Transcripts: Thursday Training Camp (7/28)


*Opening Statement: *"Good to see everybody. I appreciate you being here once again. Another great day. The sun came out, it heated up a little bit. I thought the guys handled it well. Just a note, it's the second anniversary of the passing of everyone's favorite Ravens' fan – Mo Gaba. May he rest in peace. We love that kid. I'm going to show a video and talk about Mo in the team meeting tonight with the guys, so can't wait. God bless Mo. What questions do you have?"

We're not going to speak to you again before stadium practice on Saturday. All 40,000 fan passes have been claimed. How exciting is it going to be to get out and give some of the young guys experience? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, it's going to be really exciting. It's a good dress rehearsal for us. We still won't be in pads, it's still one of the ramp-up practices, early on in the first few days of practice. So, it will still be an execution and fundamental-type practice. But the opportunity to get out there with crowd noise, the fans, the excitement, going in the locker room. Specifically for the young guys, 'Where's my locker; how do I get ready for pregame?' We'll go through a pregame routine. All of those things are really valuable."

TE Isaiah Likely had another great practice. Is the key for him to just keep stacking good practices together? _(Todd Karpovich) _"No question about it. He's really showed up pretty much every practice, including the spring. So, just keep stacking them and keep learning. He has a lot to learn; he's learning the offense every day. Every day there is new stuff tacked on top of the previous stuff, but he's handling it well."

Are players expressing any feedback about the Guardian Cap helmets? Is that an individual choice whether or not they wear it? _(Jerry Coleman) _"That's a league mandate. The league mandates that the first two weeks of training camp for those positions – offensive line, the running backs, tight ends, defensive line, outside 'backers and inside 'backers. It's called the Guardian Cap."

Is G Ben Cleveland a conditioning test thing or did he tweak something? _(Luke Jones) _"Ben Cleveland's a conditioning test thing; you have to pass your conditioning test to pass your physical."

Does TE Charlie Kolar have any resolution for his sports hernia injury? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Yes, thanks. Charlie [Kolar] is going to have sports hernia surgery early next week. So, however long that's going to be … He's a young guy. It's something that was lingering from college. He actually had a sports hernia in college and had a surgery. They're going to re-do that one as well. It's just something that's not too much different than Rashod Bateman last year, who had the lingering issue coming from college. So, we'll get it cleaned up now. Would have loved to have gotten it cleaned up earlier, but we didn't have it really earlier. I think he felt like he could manage it, but it's gotten to the point where it needs to be fixed."

What do you think of LB Vince Biegel so far this offseason? _(Cordell Woodland) _"Vince Biegel is a consummate pro. Knows what he's doing, great communicator, chases perfection with his technique every single play, very physical player. [He's an] underrated talent. I think he's doing a really good job."

QB Lamar Jackson has connected with wide receivers on a few over-the-shoulder catches. What have you seen from the wideouts specifically? _(Kyle Barber) _"Yes, no question. It's the same thing that you've seen. Those things are points of emphasis for Lamar [Jackson] in the offseason. To see him come in and make those throws is really a positive thing for us. We just have to keep building on it."

We've seen more longer passes than we have in the past. Has that been a focus for the offense? _(Matt Cohen) _"Scripting-wise, we just kind of stick to our script. You have a mix of all the different types of plays and we try to work everything together at the same time. We definitely want to throw the ball downfield, so I hope it's a big part of our offense. It really just boils down to how good we are at it. If we get good at it, we'll be throwing the ball downfield a lot."

How has QB Lamar Jackson looked physically to you? _(Jamison Hensley) _"He looks good. He's strong, and he looks great. There's no doubt about it. You'll be impressed with what you see."

What have been your early impressions of DT Michael Pierce after he was away from the team in the spring? _(Luke Jones) _"Yes, the first impression was that he passed the conditioning test. He didn't really have too much of a problem with it. He did a good job. That's the starting point. As far as the rest of it, he can talk about what he wants to do in terms of shaping himself up. But, he did well with that, and he's practiced well."

TE Isaiah Likely had some nice catches today down the field. What's your take on him? _(Reeta Hubbard) _"I agree. Isaiah Likely has made a bunch of plays; he's a big target out there. He has a catch radius. You can see it. He can go get passes that aren't right on the spot, and he can extend and go get them."

How do you approach left guard? Are you going to rotate guys until you solidify it? Is there a point where you'd like to have one guy? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"It's a great question. How do you approach it? It has to resolve itself in terms of you want the decision to be made for you – somebody taking the job, taking the bull by the horns and owing the job. That's what we want to do. We'll see. How long it will take kind of depends on how long it takes. The sooner the better, for sure. All of the guys are doing well so far, and we'll see what happens."

How has C Tyler Linderbaum progressed from when he got here from rookie minicamp to now? (Cliff Brown) _"Yes, I would say Tyler [Linderbaum] is all ball. He doesn't say a lot. I say, 'Hi,' to him, and sometimes he says, 'Hi,' back. _(laughter) Sometimes he's in his 'center' world thinking about blitzes. (laughter)But, I think he's handling it well. He doesn't make very many mistakes, so far. That's a big challenge. That's going to be the rookie challenge all year, as far as the mental part of it. And then, he's thinking about when the pads come on; he wants to make sure he holds his own in there, because those big defensive tackles are going to test him. We'll see how he does."

You mentioned that QB Tyler Huntley was dealing with tendinitis, do you have any updates there? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"There definitely is. That's a really good question. [Quarterbacks coach] James [Urban] is kind of working that out. I think it's day-to-day, just a little bit. He hasn't had any issue with it; he might feel it just a little bit toward the end of practice. You have to kind of watch it."

Is there anything you can say about the contract status with QB Lamar Jackson? _(Jamison Hensley) _"My feeling on it, I guess I would just say, my feeling is, and what I hear from both [sides] – I get to talk to both sides, and both sides are very motivated to get the job done. So, I feel like that's kind of where it's at. But, Lamar [Jackson] is practicing all day. So, it's not like they're going to be in some kind of negotiation all day like they might be in a regular situation. That's part of the deal with that."


*On how he handles the outside noise: *"I guess this is what comes with it. When you're trying to be great, when you're trying to work your tail off, there's going to be negativity. But they hated Jesus, and I'm not Jesus, so I don't really worry about it."

*On if he was on vacation during the back and forth Twitter exchange: *"I was on vacation." (laughter) I saw it. It wasn't really a rant; I was just having fun. I just saw this little comment, and I'm like, 'Dang, why [do] you always [have] something to say about the Ravens or me? Like, you used to play here.' But it's all good. I don't have a problem with him."

*On if there's a reason he's responding to his critics more on Twitter this year than in past years: *"No, I really don't go at them; I just respond. They want conversation; I just give them a little conversation here and there. But it really isn't anything though. It's not serious. I'm not mad or anything like that; I'm just engaging."

*On where contract negotiations currently stand: *"We're still negotiating right now. We're still talking right now."

*On how often he plans on negotiating during training camp: *"Whenever we do, whenever we have free time – mutual free time. We're working right now. I'm in camp right now."

*On why he decided to report and participate in training camp: *"I want to win, at the end of the day. I just want to be great. I just want to work with my brothers, at the end of the day. I don't want to leave them out there hanging. That's not me; that's never been me."

*On his reaction when he hears people say he's betting on himself: *"I don't talk to those people who are saying that, so they don't know what I've got going on; they don't know what I'm thinking. That's just, 'He say, she say,' really. But nobody knows what I'm thinking, except them upstairs."

*On if he's comfortable going into the season still negotiating, or if he expects there to be a cutoff: *"No, there's probably going to be a cutoff at some point, yes."

*On if he's looking for a fully-guaranteed contract and how important that is to him: *"Like I told you, we're having mutual conversations. I'm going to keep that in-house, for sure."

*On changing his body this offseason, and if he has a new training regimen and diet: *"No, not really. Some people say, 'Oh, why are you eating that?' But I feel like I'm good. I've eaten certain foods all my life. And I'm feeling like I'm in shape; I'm running good, I'm moving good, throwing good. I feel good. So, nothing really changed; I'm just pumped up a little. Age – age changed, probably." (laughter)

*On if he's changed his grip on the ball: *"I don't think I changed my grip on the ball." (Reporter: "You were doing the finger thing last year.")"I don't know. You're telling me something new. (laughter) I really don't know. I didn't pay attention to it. I just get it and try to spin it – that's all."

*On what motivates him: *"Football. Football motivates me, and I love it with a passion. It's all I want to do, for however long I can."

*On if he feels like a deal will eventually get done between him and the Ravens: *"I think so. I think so. I think so. We'll have to see."

*On if he feels like a deal will get done between him and the Ravens before the season starts: *"I said there's going to be a cutoff, so, hopefully."

*On if he enjoys familiarizing himself with the negotiation process: *"Yes, I mean, it's cool. You know what you want; the club knows what they want – that's all. It's cool."

*On his impressions of TE Isaiah Likely: *"Isaiah [Likely] is like a receiver, but in a tight end's body. He's like a baby Mark [Andrews] right now. We're going to have to see when we put the pads on. I don't want to give him too much credit, but he's like that, for sure, right now. He's like that."

*On if he saw the comments about him from an anonymous defensive coordinator: *(laughter) "Yes, I saw it. It's anonymous, so I really don't care. He's anonymous for a reason, and it's all good. I'm good."

*On if he's more of an outspoken leader than he used to be and how his leadership style has evolved: *"A little bit. You guys are going to see me trying to engage more. Like, I [try] to. After I mess up or a guy messes up [or] we're not on the same page, I try to engage more with them. I wasn't really doing that in previous years."

*On how he feels about the new practice schedule: *"I like it. I'm cool with it. We get out a little early, so I'm cool. I'm cool." (laughter)

*On if the added muscle is causing more zip on his throws now: *"Oh, yes, for sure. Shoutout to [personal trainer] Emonee Spence, because he's the one who helped me out – for sure. That's my boy."

*On how he feels about his receiver's speed on the outside and connecting with them on deep throws, despite the departure of WR Marquise Brown: *"We've got a lot of guys who are going to grind. We've got 'Duv' [Devin Duvernay], we've got 'Pro' [James Proche II], we've got 'Bate' [Rashod Bateman], we've got [Isaiah] Likely, we've got Mark [Andrews]. We've still got guys out here. It's all good."

*On how much connecting on the back-shoulder throw was a point of emphasis for him this offseason: *"Cornerbacks in the league, sometimes they like to play over the top, and that's where the throw is sometimes. So, we had to work on that this offseason, and I did. When 'Pro' [James Proche II] and 'Bate' [Rashod Bateman] came out to California, we were working on those a lot."

*On how excited he is for his offensive line: *"Oh, I'm very excited. Those guys look good. The new additions – Tyler [Linderbaum], Ja'Wuan [James], Morgan Moses – [they're] looking good. We're looking good. We already have 'Zeit' [Kevin Zeitler], Ben [Cleveland and Powers] and those guys back – Pat [Ricard] – and we can't wait for Ronnie [Stanley] to come back. So, we're looking good."

*On if he's happy with how the contract negotiation process has gone and if that could strengthen the trust between himself and the organization: *"Oh, yes, no doubt, because I don't like people in my business at all. It's my business; if I wanted it out there, I'd put it out there myself, if anything. Yes."


*On if he planned all along to return to Baltimore: *"I just prayed and let God handle it, that's all. I was just waiting to see what my best choice was – and obviously, this was."

*On how happy he is to be back: *"I'm very happy that I'm back. I definitely didn't like the way last season went – [with] all the injuries and stuff. But I'm excited for this year. I think we've got a lot of things going – a lot of special things going. I just pray that we stay healthy."

*On how familiar he is with the new defense, seeing how defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald is now here: *"Well, it's very familiar. But I know [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] from way back when. We met in Georgia. My last year at the University of Georgia was his first year [coaching] there. So, we were able to touch base then. The face is familiar, and the scheme is similar. So, not much has changed."

*On what he remembers about defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald when he was young: *"Not much. (laughter)He came in and was quiet then. He was the 'GA' [graduate assistant] when I met him. So, he didn't say much. He was good people then – so, I'm pretty sure he's good people now."

*On the pride he takes in mentoring and teaching young players: *"I think it's a blessing to even have this opportunity to be here to instill your knowledge into a young person. There are guys out here who know just as much as I do. [They just] don't have the opportunity to spread the knowledge. So, anytime I can be in this situation to help somebody grow and become a better person, I'm all for it."

*On the sense of appreciation for how QB Lamar Jackson handles criticism: *"Oh, so much respect. It's almost to the sense of … Not as bad as [Los Angeles Laker] Lebron James, but it's getting there. No matter what this kid does, he can't do right. I love the way he's handling it. It's just motivation. So, I pray that everybody keeps talking about him because it's fire. I need that fire for my selfish point of view. But I love the way he's handling it as a man. He's very mature for his age. I think he's doing a good job handling it."

*On if he ever considered retiring this offseason: *"No, I knew I was coming back. I just didn't know where. (Reporter: "[You were] just finding the best spot?")"Yes, sir. I got too much juice to walk away."

*On if he feels he can elevate his sack total in this new-look defense: *"Not just me – I think we'll be as a team where we want to be. That's the ultimate goal. That's the main reason why I'm still playing. Selfishly, I want to continue to build on my [sack] record, but I want to accomplish that team goal – the ultimate team goal. That's so special when everyone can come together for one goal. That's a lot. That's something we want to do as a whole. That's something the world needs to do. And I think if you can watch a football team do it, that city will see that, too. So, it's not only us – it helps everybody outside of the building grow, too."

*On if he can sense the urgency in the locker room to make it back to the postseason: *"Definitely, yes, yes. You sensed that even before you left the building last year. Everyone left with a chip on their shoulder like they've got something to prove. Nobody was satisfied with the way the results ended last year. So, you've got high hopes, and you work hard, and you leave with a bad taste in your mouth. You've got that taste all offseason. It's different from week-to-week, but you've got to deal with that all offseason. That's a lot of motivation. I was praying and hoped everybody took it the way I took it."

*On if he was able to enjoy the University of Georgia's College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship as an alum and graduate: *"I definitely was. I danced all around the house all night. (laughter) I didn't get to go to the game. I wish I could've, but I'm glad I didn't. Last time I went to the game, we lost. So, I think me staying home watching it on TV was best." (laughter)

*On if he made any bets with his University of Alabama teammates in last year's College Football Playoff Championship: *"Oh, I had a lot of bets. I came up. I had a couple of bets out there. I'm not going to talk about how much, but I made some pocket change." (laughter)


*On his first impressions of training camp: *"Yes, it's been awesome. It's a blessing to be here in Baltimore. It's such a great organization. The guys and coaches here have been welcoming, and it's just a great group of people to be around. So, yes."

*On blocking for QB Lamar Jackson: *"Lamar [Jackson] is a really electric player, and you love that out of a quarterback. He can make a lot of things happen out of nothing. So, as an offensive lineman, you've just got to do your best blocking and make sure he stays well protected. And, of course, he's going to make some things happen."

*On where he feels he's at with his command of the offense: *"I think it's a day-by-day thing. Every practice, there's something I can improve on to make this offensive line better. [I'll] just continue to be more commanding, continue to slide into a leadership role, because I have to be the communicator out there. I have to be commanding, and just every day, [I'm] trying to get better at that.

*On his impressions of DT Michael Pierce and if he's ever seen anyone like him: *"I don't think I've seen anyone like him, to be honest. He's a pretty big boy, and he's a great player, but I'm in the NFL now, so you're going to see a lot of players just like him, at his skill level, so I'm looking forward to it."

*On who he will lean on for veteran leadership and teach him how to be a pro: *"Yes, there are a lot of good vets in there that have been very helpful. Obviously, Kevin Zeitler, to name one, just the guy right next to me, who's been around, played at Wisconsin, so he's played a lot of ball; a guy like him, who's been around a while. Morgan Moses is a very seasoned vet. [I'm] just trying to learn things from them and how they understand the game, and just being able to communicate so we're on the same page is important."

*On a good piece of advice he's received: *"Yes, that's a tough question. I think something [Kevin] Zeitler said over OTAs [organized team activities]; how he's been – obviously – to a lot of places, [and] he said the grass isn't greener anywhere else. We're at a great organization, [with] great coaches, great players, and it doesn't get much better than here in Baltimore."

*On if his approach is similar to G Marshal Yanda, in that rookies should be seen, not heard: *"Yes, I think … I have to say stuff, so I have to communicate. Certainly, in that aspect, you've got to communicate. But at the end of the day, I'm a rookie; I still have to earn my stripes, and I'm [going to], 'Yes sir, no sir,' and just keep my head down and keep working until I prove myself."

*On if he learned his humble demeanor and professional approach from G Marshal Yanda or if that's how he's always been: *"That's how I've always been. I must get it from my family. They've always humbled me, so I think that's where I get it."

*On the challenge for rookies of balancing being communicative leaders while being respectful of veteran players: *"I think the biggest thing is just trying to be as consistent as possible. Obviously, you're going to make some mistakes, but not trying to repeat those mistakes. Earn[ing] the trust from your coaches and players is important for any player, for any rookie coming in. Mistakes are going to happen, just try not to repeat them."

*On how he has gone about learning the playbook: *"Yes, it's just a day-by-day process. From what I felt like the Day One of OTAs when I got here to now, I feel way more comfortable with the offense. I have a really good understanding of it. Obviously, you're going to still learn more as we get through fall camp, but I like where I'm at right now."