Transcripts: Thursday Training Camp (8/4)


*Opening statement: *"Good to see everybody. I got this from Abby. (gestures to drawing) You saw her here. She's battling cancer, and doing great, doing amazing. I have her wristband, 'The squish will squash this. Team Abby.' So, check it out. A lot of great kids here, a football team over there going crazy. Did Lamar [Jackson] just come out or something? Is that what happened? (Reporters: "Yes.") Wow, that's awesome. So, we're having a lot of fun. Hot day, tough day acclimation-wise, but I thought that the guys fought through it really well. [We] had a lot of good plays on both sides. The offense was progressively getting sharper, and we're working hard.

"I have a couple of things: You saw [Tyler] Linderbaum go off; he's going to be fine. And then, we did have an injury that's going to be disappointing, in terms of Vince Biegel. He did tear his Achilles, just on a two-on-two drill and just leaned the wrong way. For Vince, he's a veteran guy, this is his third season-ending injury in three years. In New Orleans, Miami and now here. So, that's really unfortunate for him. So, we'll be with him for that journey. OK, what questions do you have?"

TE Isaiah Likely looked pretty good in his red zone drills. What is your impression of him? (Todd Karpovich) "Isaiah [Likely] looked really good in his red zone drills. I agree with you 100 percent. He had two back-to-back touchdown catches there against tight man coverage, and he was gassed. He was fighting through the heat, he was really winded and he still came up and made the play. That was impressive."

Where did the idea come from for a water break halfway through practice today? (Ryan McFadden) "That came from Dr. [Andrew] Tucker, our team doctor. With this heat, he felt like that would be like a simulation of halftime. Try to bring the body temperatures down. The players weren't so thrilled about it, the ones I talked to, because they want to keep going and get it done. But I think it was a smart thing to do, and we respect that. Respect the heat, guys were working hard, so that's what we did."

Will you continue to have breaks during practice throughout training camp? (Ryan McFadden) "No, only on a day like this. It was just 100 degrees, or something like that today. So, that was the idea today."

Was the Q&A with the fans during the break impromptu or was that planned? (Luke Jones) "Impromptu, impromptu. I'll tell you … Impressive. Impressive questions. [SVP of Communications] Chad [Steele] felt like they were high-level. (Reporter: "Is this a backhanded comment toward us?") (laughter) I didn't want to say it, but you might have some potential over there. Especially the kids, they had some tough ones."

Was C Tyler Linderbaum leaving practice early just a precaution? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes, he will be fine."

Was C Tyler Linderbaum just stepped on? (Jeff Zrebeic) "Yes, he just kind of … Didn't get stepped on, kind of just … It's a physical drill there, and [he] came up a little sore. They've looked at it, X-rayed it. They'll do an MRI on it to make sure, but all indications are it's nothing serious at all."

What does the loss of LB Vince Biegel mean for your linebacker depth? (Cordell Woodland) "Yes, we don't really have a linebacker depth. Vince [Biegel] was fighting to make the team. He would have had a great chance to make it, because he's just a solid, tough, talented guy who does everything exactly right as hard as he can. So, that's where we're at."

Is this the same Achilles that LB Vince Biegel tore while in Miami? (Jonas Shaffer) "I don't know, good question."

*How valuable has it been seeing T Ja'Wuan James out here and participating? (Morgan Adsit) *"Really valuable. Ja'Wuan [James], as you know, has been a right tackle. He switched to left tackle throughout the camp, but with Ronnie [Stanley] not practicing, we have quite a few right tackles. We need a left tackle, and for him to go over there and do that, and do a good job, is really important. I can't wait to see him in the game. He hasn't played football for a while, so to see him out there with the physicality is going to be really important. But, really important for him to get back at it."

Are there any updates on PUP list players? (Morgan Adsit) "They're doing really well. There's really no update with time. We're kind of on the trajectory for Ronnie [Stanley] and Marcus [Peters] to wait a little bit. That's not going to be anything in the next week. We're not in a hurry with those two guys, but they're doing really well. J.K. [Dobbins] is a little more of a hurry, because he's making it a hurry. He wants to get back out there. So, we'll look at it again Monday and see where we're at Monday. Maybe he starts doing something like individual – maybe not. It will be up to the doctors. Gus [Edwards] is a little further out."

Is OLB Tyus Bowser another player trying to hurry up his return? (Childs Walker) "Sometimes he is, sometimes he's not. But the thing about Tyus [Bowser] is that he's so conscientious. He wants to be perfect, and that's what you appreciate. So, he's kind of on that same thing. We don't have to have him back right now, so let's just keep letting him get stronger for now."

*On a day like today, how valuable is it to have the conditioning test as a baseline for players' recovery in this heat? (Kyle Barber) *"To me, it's exactly the point. The fact that we know that the guys have a baseline level of conditioning, to put them out here on a day like that, we feel secure in doing that. And then you just get stronger. You build calluses. You callus up. You callus up psychologically, you callus up with your ability to process oxygen through your lungs and your muscles. All of those things in this heat … You get stronger. You can't get stronger unless you push yourself and challenge yourself, so that's exactly the point."

Were you impressed with the execution during practice, given the conditions and it being the second-straight day in pads? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I was. Yesterday, honestly, it was good, but I thought it was sloppy at times. It was probably 40 percent good, 60 percent sloppy yesterday. Today was much, much crisper on both sides of the ball."

OLB Odafe Oweh had some impressive moves today where he was able to showcase a bend and get small on the edge. Is that something that he didn't really have in his repertoire last year? (Jonas Shaffer) "You see him bend that edge, and like you said, get small as he turns the corner. That's a highly freakish thing to do. There are not many [people] who can do that. So, he's shown quite a few times out here, as you're pointing out, that he's able to do that. I'm all for it. That's [a] pretty impressive pass rush, edge move."


*On practicing in today's scorching heat: *"It's definitely hot out here, but I train in Florida, so I'm used to it. But it's just good to get the guys in pads and work on scenarios and things like that, because when we start in game situations in September, this is how it's going to be."

*On where today's heat ranks among what he's practiced in throughout his career: *"Shoot, you're dating back like nine years now. (laughter) But obviously, being in Washington, it's close to here, so I'm used to this heat – being from Virginia – so it's all the same. It's just an opportunity to come out here and work and get better."

*On T Ja'Wuan James moving from right tackle to left tackle, and if he's shared any pointers throughout James' transition: *"It's like being right-handed and having to write left-handed, so it takes time. But he's a pro, he's a pro's pro. Obviously, he hasn't played football in a while, so he's getting out here and getting adjusted, as well. But he's doing a great job. And then obviously, we got drafted together, so we have mutual respect on and off the field, and any way that we can help each other, we've been able to do that."

*On what stands out about the way that T Ja'Wuan James plays: *"His composure. He doesn't get flustered out there, and that's what you want as a tackle. You want a guy that on third down, you know he's going to be there, he's going to be locked in. And I think for him, it's getting back to the opportunity to play football. I think he said something like … I think he said something crazy like this was his first time in pads in like two years or something like that. It's like re-learning how to play football all again. But he's doing a great job."

*On the similarities and differences of playing in this offense to offenses he's previously been a part of: *"I would say it's totally different … Obviously, having [No.] 8 [Lamar Jackson] back there is different. But it's a pleasure. Any time you get to go in an offense like this that has so much to look forward to, it keeps the defense on their heels. And obviously, with the playmakers that we have, the offensive line competing and getting better and gelling together, it's only a matter of time. And [when] we get all together – all 11 players out there together – we're executing the way we want to execute."

*On how exciting it is to have a quarterback who can get out of the pocket and allow the offensive lineman to get downfield: *"Any time you've got No. 8 [Lamar Jackson], and you get the chance to run downfield and get on ESPN, I think you should. (laughter) But it's just having a guy back there that's so explosive, where he can throw the ball, he can run the ball, it keeps the defense on their heels. And then obviously, he has that potential, where [if] he gets out in open space, it's over with. So, it's a great opportunity to be able to be on the team and block for a guy like that."

*On introducing his kids to QB Lamar Jackson after the stadium practice last Saturday: *"I think they will never forget that. No, they're excited, they're excited, they're excited. They're excited to be here. I got the chance to sit there and watch the fireworks with them, so that was great. But it's part of being a part of a family organization – this is what this is – so it's an opportunity for both sides – me and my family – to come out here every day and get it going."

*On his impressions of OLB Odafe Oweh: *"I think the biggest thing is that he knows he doesn't know it all, and he's not afraid to ask. And so, there are times when we're on the field, and we'll literally stop in the middle of the play, and we're talking about things, because he wants to know, 'Why did you set me like this?' And any time you get a guy like that, the sky is the limit. When I was with Washington, I had Chase Young like that, and obviously, his play speaks for itself. But I think any time you've got an athlete to come off the edge like that, and now you've got Justin Houston there in his back corner to help him progress, to get better … He wants to be great, and you can see it, and you can feel it every day in practice."

*On QB Lamar Jackson's 60-plus yard throw to WR James Proche II today: *"I think it's amazing to see that he can – without extending his arm – just [throw] with the flick of the wrist, and it's like shot-putting a ball 50, 60 yards down the field. I made a joke to him today; I said, 'Man, you look like me in high school.' (laughter) Obviously, that was false. Any time you have an elite guy like that, it's our job as the offensive line to keep him upright, keep him out there, because obviously, when he's out there, the percentage of winning the game goes up a lot. But obviously, just having a guy like that, that's polished and wants to … I'm not even going to use the word polished. But he comes in every day and wants to get better, and I think he feels that and the team feels that. And then when you have that, everybody is working hard for one goal."

*On what it says about this team that he had to take a lap for a false start in today's practice: *"Yes, it's just keeping everybody accountable – that's myself, even. I came back to the line; I said, 'Man, that's my fault,' because nobody wants to be in first-and-15 when you have the opportunity to drive the ball. We talk about starting fast, and that's one of the things that we're learning, and obviously, we've got a lot of snap counts and things like that, that we're working on. But [it's] just to keep [us] accountable. And look, it tells you that it doesn't matter if you're Year Nine [or] Year One, everybody is accountable for their stuff. So, you've got to love that."

*On if today's cool-down period came at just the right time: *"We talked about … Obviously, when it's hot like that during the games, we've got the cool benches out there and things like that, so why not work at it now – coming out of that halftime and starting fast? And those are the things that we talk about, because there are four phases of the game. In the first quarter, you've got to start fast every time. If we start with a five-yard run or a five-yard pass, we're getting the drive started, and those are the things that we're working on, and I think it's a great idea for us."


*On how it feels to be back practicing every day: *"Yes, it's great. It's great. Honestly, I think this is my first time talking since I've been here. It's been a great experience being with this organization, seeing how a first-class organization is run. 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh], has been a coach whose been here for a while – his message, his culture, the player's culture. So, it's been amazing. It's been good to be back out here – like you said – on the field and playing ball again."

*On how valuable his time rehabbing with the Ravens was last year: *"Yes, that was part of the plan. When I signed here, that's what they talked about – getting the chance to come in, build some camaraderie with the O-line, learn some of the plays ahead of time, so when we got to this phase, it wouldn't be like I was a fresh face or just [starting] to get to know the guys [and] getting to know the plays."

*On if there's part of him that's just excited to get back to being a football player: *(laughter) "Yes, for sure, for sure. It's been a journey, but we're here right now, and I'm taking it a day at a time. Like I said, I'm excited to be back, excited to be in the huddle with these guys and share a huddle with [No.] 8 [Lamar Jackson]. Seeing the young guys – Tyler [Linderbaum], Daniel [Faalele] – they're going to be good players in this league. Getting a chance to connect with Morgan [Moses] – we got drafted in the same class nine years ago, and we're on the same team now. It's good to be back out here working with these guys."

*On his adjustment from right tackle to left tackle: *"Man, it's definitely been a challenge, it's definitely been a challenge. I'm not going to lie, it was frustrating in the spring, just because – like you said – coming back for the first time in years, I wanted to be at my best. This is a new challenge, but I'm definitely embracing it. It's an opportunity. It's going to be work every day, so I'm just going to continue to work at it, continue to try to get better and stack days."

*On what makes the transition from right tackle to left tackle such a challenge: *"So, I'd say, if you do it at a younger age … I haven't played it since my senior year of high school; that was the last time I lined up at left tackle. I did a little bit my rookie year a couple times. But one of my O-line coaches explained it as trying to wipe your butt with your other hand. (laughter) Like, that's how it is. For me, it's just the changing of your hips – I've been a certain way for so long – your kick foot and stuff like that. But it's a challenge that I'm embracing."

*On why he felt it was important to file a grievance against the Broncos and take a stand on that issue: *"One of the things I did say [was that] when I was going to talk, I'm going to leave the past in the past, man. I'm a Raven right now. I'm excited to be a Raven. I'm looking towards the future. What happened in the past, happened in the past, but from now on, I want to look forward."

*On how much of an asset T Ronnie Stanley has been for him: *"Oh for sure, for sure. I've known Ronnie [Stanley] for years; we had the same college coach. [He's] a great player, but better man. He's been with me every step of the way. He's giving me little nuggets, being another coach out there. When I sit next to him in the film room, he shoots me little tips. So, it's definitely been good hearing from him."

*On his impressions of C Tyler Linderbaum in his first training camp: *"I feel like he's caught on really fast. To be a center, especially in this offense … This offense has a lot of verbiage, a lot of plays, a lot of volume. I feel like he took it on pretty well. Coming from the spring, we saw him in the summer, he came back and he knew everything that he had to do. He really showed up when the pads came on. You can tell, that wrestler in him, wanting to be physical and stuff like that. So, he's done a great job."

*On if this is the best he has felt physically in a long time: *"Yes."

*On when the last time was that he felt this good: *"For a while. I felt good, honestly, the year I wasn't playing. But, like I said, I'm happy to be here now, playing."

*On if he was at all close to playing last year when he returned to practice: *"A little bit. Part of that plan was, 'Hey, let's get you out here in pads, let's get you hitting, let's get you moving around. If you're ready, you're ready, if you're not, you're not.' They didn't want to rush anything; I didn't want to rush anything. I wanted to come back full strength on my Achilles."

*On his teammates also recovering from Achilles injuries and why it is such a difficult recovery: *"It's a slow process. It's a very slow process. You have to build a lot of strength; you have to take your time. You have to sit down for a while. So, the good and bad of it is, I didn't really have anyone to talk to. I talked to Jimmy Smith a couple of times last year, but now we have guys like Justice [Hill], 'Ty-Bo' [Tyus Bowser], I can talk to him. He comes to me and asks me questions. The new rookie that we got from Michigan, David [Ojabo], he comes to me and asks me questions. So, we can share those struggles, or what not to do, or what to expect. So, definitely, it sucks to have this many guys with Achilles [injuries], but it has helped."

Related Content