RAVENS FIRST MINICAMP MEDIA AVAILABILITY
Head Coach John Harbaugh, OLB Elvis Dumervil, WR Breshad Perriman, OLB Terrell Suggs and G Marshal Yanda
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "OK, good to see everybody here and we really appreciate you coming out on a beautiful day. Apologize for the lateness of the hour – some guys are getting hungry here; our guys feel the same way – but it's good to have you here. We had a good practice, fast practice. It was great to have everybody back. First mandatory minicamp, and seeing the whole team out here together is exciting. I told the team it seems like every stretch, every point along the way during this stretch when something new happens, it's exciting for all of us, whether it's starting the offseason program, whether it's starting the football school, starting the OTAs. Now it's the mandatory minicamp, and it's thrilling. It's the most excited we've been so far, but we have a lot of excitement to come. So, I'm happy about our guys."
John, OLB Terrell Suggs, how did he look to you weight-wise and whatever, and would you now say he's the face of the defense with DT Haloti Ngata gone? (Dave Ginsburg) "I never liked that term, 'face of anything,' you know? Defenses don't have a face. They have … We have a lot of leaders. Terrell Suggs is definitely a huge part of this team, huge leader on this team – emotional leader, vocal leader, great football player. He is going to be a leader; he is going lead; he always has. But I'm not going to single one guy out and say he's the leader, and the other guys aren't. The other guys are great leaders, too. You look at Elvis [Dumervil] and Daryl [Smith] and Chris Canty – just to name a couple guys – Lardarius Webb off of the top of my head. Jimmy Smith is becoming a great leader. So, your defense or your team is built on leaders. Football teams are built on a bunch of leaders. There are a bunch of leaders out there, but Terrell Suggs, obviously, takes a backseat to nobody."
You mentioned CB Jimmy Smith being a leader. How has he grown and matured into that leadership role? (Ryan Mink) "How has he done it? He has done it by working hard. He has done it by honing his craft and becoming the very best corner he can be. I love the way he pays attention to detail, but he has also done it by overcoming adversity. He has worked hard as far as the injury front this year. He is getting closer and closer to being 100 percent. He's not there, yet, but nobody has worked harder than he has. He has been here every day since the season was over, so it probably starts that way in terms of leading by example."
**With WR Breshad Perriman, is this about learning the playbook here? [Is he] impressing you at all at this point in his career? What's this about for him? *(Dave Ginsburg) *"It's about all that. It's about learning the playbook, it's about learning how to get in a good stance, getting a good takeoff, running a good route, and then you try to put it all together and make a play. All those guys had a challenge today as far as rookies, because this was a new phase. The minicamp is faster than the OTAs, just like training camp will be faster than minicamp, just like preseason games, regular season games, playoff games, etc. It all speeds up all the time, so they have to make an adjustment, because it's the first time they've done this. Every day is a new day for those guys. So, Breshad is doing a really good job and working to put it all together, and that's the challenge for every rookie, but he has all the talent in the world. He's very determined, he's very talented, and he's going to do really well."
With the braids, does he remind you a little bit about WR Torrey Smith way back when?* (Dave Ginsburg)* "Yes, inevitable comparison. Sure, [Breshad] has the same … [Breshad] has braids just like Torrey did. But I'll tell you, the other thing I would compare to Torrey is the work ethic. They both have that kind of work ethic."
John, what have you seen from QB Matt Schaub now having a few weeks of OTAs and now minicamp? (Luke Jones) "I see a veteran quarterback, a guy that knows how to run things. It's funny, because I read [how the media] always wants to write about the interceptions that Matt throws. It seems like whenever you guys are out here, he throws an interception, you know? I looked at whoever was standing next to me, I said, 'Gosh darn, the media is here, and Matt threw an interception.' He didn't throw one since the last time you guys were here! I want to get that on the record. (laughter) But he's having a very good camp, and I think he's a very, very good quarterback. Obviously, he's a starter-quality player – a very good starter, had a lot of success – and we're happy to have him."
John, is TE Dennis Pitta just … How do you proceed with him and his status? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Well, I guess like we said all along, a couple things are going to have to happen for him to play, ultimately. No. 1, he's going to have to be cleared by the doctors, and No. 2, he's going to have to decide he wants to play, because, obviously, there will be some risk involved. The first thing hasn't happened, yet. He hasn't been cleared by the doctors. He has been going through – as you saw before – the individual part of practice. [In] minicamp, unless you're cleared, you can't come out to practice. I don't know if that's a rule or a policy, but that's the way it goes. Until he gets cleared by the doctors, he won't be able to practice, and we'll just have to see where that goes from here."
**Coach, what unit do you think has the most potential for growth from last year to this year? *(Matt Stevens) *"I don't even have that answer. I don't have it. You'll have to decide on that one – too complicated for me."
John, not to jinx it, quiet offseason, do you think the way you guys have buckled down on what [the players] can do and what [the players] shouldn't do has helped? (Dave Ginsburg) "As far as improvement, things like that?" *(Reporter: "I mean in terms of off-the-field trouble.") *"I haven't even thought about that. Our guys have done a great job with that. I mean, [don't] start patting yourself on the back. [Director of player engagement] Harry [Swayne] does a great job. I give Harry a lot of credit. He's our player personnel director in terms of player development. We have a bunch of young guys, they all love football, and that's what they're thinking about. It seems to me that the guys that get in trouble sometimes are the guys that have other things on their mind besides football, and they need to grow out of that. Not to make excuses, but a lot of those things that happened two years ago – and then even earlier – were either guys that weren't … Some of those guys weren't even here or were already gone. So, no sweating that, and those other things were cleared up. But that doesn't say we don't want to be perfect. We want to chase perfection, and we have good guys, and we'll try to continue to do that as best we can."
John, how does CB Lardarius Webb look to you having a healthy offseason, picking up where he was leaving off from last season? (Cliff Brown) "We'll see. I thought 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] looked good out here today. All those guys look good, moved around well. It looked like they've been working hard. Obviously, 'Webby' is very important to us. We could have a pretty darn good corner group with the guys we have here. We'll keep building toward that and make it happen."
*Coach, on a personal note, you look good. Do you feel good? *(Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti) *"Thank you. We have an owner here that models [why] looking good is really important, and having a good tan. Remember the old saying, 'It's better to look good than to feel good.'? Was that Billy Crystal, Saturday Night Live?" *(Reporter: "You look marvelous.") "You look marvelous." (laughter)
John, with G Robert Myers, is that for his shoulder that he's not practicing today? (Aaron Wilson) "I don't really remember what it is. It might be the shoulder. But all those guys that weren't practicing today have some tweak. They're not practicing."
OLB Elvis Dumervil
On where he wants to go this year after having a career year in sacks last season:"I matched my career [high last year with 17 sacks]. Just like 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs said], you try to win games, you try to win championships. To me, there's nothing more important, because you can have the stats and accolades, but if you're sitting home, it really doesn't do any justice."
On how falling just short of a Super Bowl affects him as a veteran player and if he thinks about it much during the offseason:"You've got to take advantage of every moment. You never know when the next time [will be]. So, I do consider it sacred. That's why every offseason you train as hard as you can, go into minicamps and training camp and you just try to be your best you. And then hopefully that can help the team get to where we all want to get to."
On if he feels like people will approach him differently on the field after the success he had last season:"I have [career] 90 sacks. It's not like … I've been in the league almost 10 years now, so I don't think I catch anybody by surprise. It's all about just working on your craft, being around good teammates and good play-calling, and you just go out and execute."
On if he is thinking about getting his 100th career sack:"Yeah, absolutely. I think that's a great achievement to try to reach. So, the opportunity is there and that's not always the case with everybody. I'm grateful for that. It just shows the consistency, and I don't take that lightly."
On the pass rush being a strength for the Ravens last season and if he thinks it can continue to be so with the departure of guys like OLB Pernell McPhee:"Losing Pernell … He's a great player and I wish him the best, but we've got guys like Jimmy [Smith] coming back, and additional guys we've got coming in to help the secondary to come off the injuries. With that, pass rush doesn't go without coverage, and vice versa. With those two things, I think we create a great synergy."
On his thoughts on rookie OLB Za'Darius Smith and if he reminds him of McPhee a little bit:"Because he looks like him? *(laughter) *I mean, I guess they're dark-skinned and have dreads. *(laughter) *I haven't seen much of Za'Darius, but I watched him when he was in Kentucky, and I'm sure [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] brings nothing but great talent here. With that being said, he's just got to follow the lead, man. We've got guys who can lead him – myself, [Terrell] Suggs – and so far he works hard, so that's a great thing."
On OLB Terrell Suggs saying he approaches his game differently at this point in his career, and whether he too has a different approach to this time of the year now that he's been in the league for a while:"Everybody is different. We may be the same cloth, but we're cut different. For me, I go about it differently. That doesn't mean it's right or wrong. We all have different ways we prepare, so for me, I just like to go out and … You never know when it's your day, so I just try to go every day. I can't afford to pace it."
On Suggs saying he didn't know how much time he had left to play and if he still sees Suggs playing at his highest level:"You've got to respect what he's done – Defensive Player of the Year, Super Bowl Champion, over 100 sacks. To me, that's a Hall of Fame-type of career. He's been doing it for almost 13 years, so I'm sure he has some really good insight."
On what he has learned from Suggs:"He's a student of the game. I think more than his physical gifts, I think he's a really smart player and his awareness is really … At this point, even if his physical [aspect] started to diminish, that'll carry him out, because he's a smart football player."
On having Michael Strahan's single-season sack record of 22.5 posted in his locker last season, and if that will remain for this season:"I didn't get the job done – individually or as a team – so, that'll be something. If I can hit that number, that'll mean we'll be in the Super Bowl, for sure."
WR Breshad Perriman
On the changes from OTAs to minicamp with the arrival of every veteran:"It is a little different for the most part. With all the vets here, you can tell the speed has gone up tremendously. It was already fast – before they came – with the vets that were here, but now that everyone is here, you can tell the speed is much faster."
On what he attributes the drops he committed during practice to:"Just really paying attention, getting too tired and really not focusing. I don't really make excuses for it. They should have been caught, but that's something that won't happen too often."
On working hard and taking reps with the first, second and third teams during practice:"They are working me. It's good work. I'm getting used to it. [It is] great conditioning, and I'm glad I'm taking the reps that I'm taking now."
On where is play is right now:"I feel like I'm doing good. I feel like I've got a lot of work to do, though. At the same time, I'm not nearly satisfied with how I'm playing. I feel like I'm doing a good job at the same time, but I'm striving for more. I expect more from myself. I feel like I'm doing a decent job, but at the same time [I] just want to keep working so I can improve my craft."
On how he refocuses after a dropped ball in practice:"I really just talk to myself. It's really all mental. I talk to myself, tell myself the things that I need to do to complete those passes and just try to step it up a notch more."
On the biggest transition from the college to the pro game:"For the most part, probably the speed of the game. From OTAs, the rookies were here a long time. Now that minicamp is here, we're really here all day, so that's another major change for me."
On the best lesson he has learned since joining the team:"The best lesson I've learned would have to be, 'You get in what you put out,' for the most part. That's what I like about the Ravens. Everybody on the team, they work and work tremendously hard, and, I guess, I like that a lot."
On building chemistry with QB Joe Flacco and making connections on the deep ball:"I feel like we're coming together pretty well. I feel like we still have some growing to do, and we'll get there eventually."
On how much he thinks about being a starter Week 1:"It's a goal of mine, but at the same time, it's not really on my mind. I'm just really trying to focus on getting better every day, just going out there, take it day by day and see how it plays out."
On how he keeps from pressing too much despite the expectations surrounding a first-round pick:"Like I said, again, I just take it day by day – try to not think about the starting job or anything like that, because I feel like I'd get thrown off track. For the most part, I just try to come out and compete at an all-high [level] and work on [my] craft [and] the little things I need to work on to make me become a good receiver."
On what he likes about offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's offense and how it matches his abilities:"I just like how they have the ability to move all the receivers around. For me, I'm decent at going deep, but at the same time, they have the ability to move me around and put all the receivers in different positions. Everyone can be a slot receiver and run different routes. That's what I like about it."
On his goals and what he wants to work on before training camp begins:"For the most part, just tightening up my routes, but really, everything. I feel like I really don't overlook anything. I feel like even the things that I'm good at, I continue to work on. So really, [it is] my whole game in general."
On whether he will train in Florida prior to training camp:"Yes, I'll probably be back in Orlando."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On how he feels now that DT Haloti Ngata is no longer with the Ravens: "Me and Haloti are very close, so it definitely was kind of weird coming back and him not being here. But, the show must go on. We wish Haloti the most tremendous success, until [the Lions] play us. He'll always be a Raven in spirit, but I'm just trying to cope with it for right now."
On whether he was surprised when DT Haloti Ngata was traded: "Yes, I was. I was. I thought he was going to be one of those guys that kind of get to retire a Raven, but it didn't happen that way. It's unfortunate, but he's still a great player. He's going to go do some good things for Detroit, but we have capable guys here though. We get a chance to kind of let Brandon Williams come into his own and Timmy Jernigan and all the other young, new guys we have."
On how the younger players are playing from his perspective as a veteran: "It seems like they're catching on pretty fast. That just goes to say what kind of coaches we have around here. They're bringing the guys along, and they're doing good with fitting in [with] the Ravens' persona. So, they're doing really good."
On whether he feels like the last man standing for the defensive veterans with the departure of DT Haloti Ngata and retirements of LB Ray Lewis and S Ed Reed:"Yes, I do. I do. It's [Year] 13, so it's weird. It's a whole new look, whole new team. Like I said, I'm just trying to enjoy it. It's a whole new feel. But it's definitely weird having everybody kind of just go on."
On whether he needs to be a leader on the team: "I never had a problem with that. I'm just going to be myself. I'm just going to be 'Sizz,' and hopefully the guys can follow my lead, and we're going to do some great things. We have a lot of tremendous, young talent. We have 'Half-Man/Half-Amazing' [C.J. Mosley]. When he gets healthy, we get him back. We have Jimmy Smith back. We have a lot of guys, and this team is definitely going to be special. But it all starts with minicamp Day One. We have Day One in the books, and we're going to come out and work tomorrow."
On who has the locker next to his now that DT Haloti Ngata is gone: "Right now, James Hurst has it. I'm looking at him kind of funny, looking kind of weird, and he's looking at me kind of weird. He didn't ask for it, but it is what it is. (laughter) You get to have some fun with it."
On what the focus was for him this offseason: "I think it was really just taking my time. I kind of let my body heal from the physical abuse of last season. Usually around this time I'm ready to go. I didn't want to stress about anything coming in. I just kind of wanted to let my body heal, take a little bit of time. But I think come July, I'll be ready to go."
On what kind of shape he is in now: "I'm definitely not … I'm not out of shape. As you can clearly see, I can participate in practice without getting hurt and without getting tired, but I'm definitely not at my fighting weight. I'm pretty much at my walking around weight. Like I said, this is Year 13 for me. I can't really by stressing. I used to always [say], 'I need to be ready by minicamp,' and it used to weigh on me; it used to bother me. I didn't want to let it bother me this year. I just figured at the 13th year, I owe it to myself to sit, pace yourself. Therefore, when you do come in [for] camp [and] come down to the tail end of the season – Week 9, Week 10 – I still have something left in the tank. I'm just trying to pace myself and really not try to do too much right now."
On how much he thinks about retirement: "When you get into the teens, you kind of just take it year by year how your body feels, especially when you have a team like this and you do some special things. We lost in the Divisional last year, and [it is] like, 'OK, now we're starting to get back to the success we're used to.' You kind of just take it from there. I'm really looking forward to this year. At the end of this year, we'll talk, but you just kind of take it year by year and see what you can do."
On only being 32 years old: "I am only 32. But you know, we play a different kind of football here. We have a different kind of training camp, so my 32 may not be the next guy's 32. I am 32, but like I said, it all depends on how you feel at the end of the year."
On whether he is an "old" 32-year-old or a "young" 32-year-old: "I'm a young 32. But 32 … 13 years in the NFL is still 13 years in the NFL, even though I'm still a young 32."
On whether he thinks about retirement: "Well, I'm definitely on the back nine, so you can't say, 'Oh man, Suggs is [the same player as in] 2011,' even though we had a good year last year. Like I said, I think things change, and the situation is different. I see things different. How I'm preparing now is different. It's different now. Thirteen is definitely different."
On whether the defense will still be dominant with new talent: "No doubt. We have tremendous faith in them. When you see the young guys that we already had – I mentioned Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan earlier – you're very confident about that. In my eyes, there will never be another Haloti Ngata, but that comes from a bias perspective from me. But are those guys capable of being special players in the NFL? Absolutely. And [are they capable of being special players] on this team? Absolutely. [I] mentioned those guys [and] the new draft pick [Za'Darius Smith], the guy looks good. He looks really good. I think our coach, [linebackers coach] Ted Monachino, does a good job of making sure he's prepared and ready to play, and we expect some good things out of him."
On where his play is going into this season: "I'm comfortable, man. I'm happy. Like I said, I'm just comfortable, and I'm just gradually going."
On how much last season's ending affects him: "Last season's ending? You don't really think about last season's ending too much, because it was last season. It's over. You pretty much have the opportunity to do everything you want to do as a team now – win the division, win the AFC and potentially go on and play in the Super Bowl. [The] opportunities are endless right now. You just have to go to work every day and capitalize [on the opportunities]."
On whether QB Tom Brady's legacy has been tarnished: "That's a good bait question. I like it, I like it. But I don't think it can. The guy is a winner. He has won with whatever kind of personnel he has had, so I don't think it really tarnishes [his legacy]. But people … [The media needs] something to write about. Everybody needs something to write about, needs something to talk about. I guess [the Patriots' storyline] is that. Our [storyline] was the deer antler, so it's always something." (Reporter: "Say something.") "I'm not stepping into that puddle, OK? (laughter) I'm leaving it alone. They have people to handle that. I'm just going to stick to what we have to do here. But it's whatever."
On his personal goals for this season: "I don't know, man. Do better than I did last year. Two years ago I had 10 sacks, last year I have 12.5. Who knows? Who knows what we can do this year? Who knows? Let's just play football. Let's start by winning some games in the division. We'll go there, and then we'll trickle down to the personal stuff."
G/T Marshal Yanda
On how it feels to be back together as a full team:"It feels good. It felt good to get back out there and knock the rust off a little bit, but I was just excited to be back playing football again. It was fun."
On his expectations for the offensive line with all of the starters returning:"I think we should have a great year. That's the expectation. Obviously, we did well last year. We want to build on that and be better this year – just keep working the fundamentals and technique and everybody just keep growing and getting better as a player. Everybody has things to work on, and it's nice to have … Hopefully, everybody comes back healthy. Rick [Wagner] and Jeremy [Zuttah] – they should be fine, and we can just build on what we did last year. We're all excited to go get after teams this fall."
On whether there is a comfort level with having all of the starters return and not having anyone move on the line like in previous seasons:"I think that provides stability as far as guys playing the same positions. They're going to hopefully be more comfortable in their position and just become better players, because they get the reps and they keep getting the experience. I think that says something, and we should be really good."
On whether the offensive line is the deepest it has been since he joined the team:"It definitely feels like it. As far as – like you said – with the starting five and then 'Ursch' [John Urschel] and [James] Hurst. They have been doing a good job, and Juan [Castillo] has been doing a good job of developing them in the individual period. There are a lot of guys on the offensive line that can play football, not just the starters. That's a credit to the organization getting the good guys in here."
On how much pride he would take in having the best offensive line in the NFL:"I'm not much for words. We'll do our talking in September when the games count. Obviously, that's running the football and protecting Joe [Flacco], so I'm not getting into that. We'll let the pads do the talking."
On what he has seen from T Eugene Monroe this offseason coming off injury:"He looks like he's in good shape, and he's a hard worker. I think that Eugene is going to, hopefully, stay healthy and have a good year. He just needs to stay healthy, not have those bumps and bruises and just get in a groove and stay in a groove. We know that he can do that, because he definitely takes it seriously, and he's a pro, and we're counting on him to have a great year."
On how much he thinks about a contract extension with the Ravens:"I'm focused on the mandatory minicamp right now and stuff like that. We'll worry about that when the time comes. But right now, I'm focused on getting better as a football player and stuff like that. I'm not too worried about it. We'll get it done when we get it done. I'm not too worried about it."