Transcripts: Wednesday Training Camp (8/31)


Opening statement:"OK, good to see everyone. Thanks for coming out. That will be our final camp practice right there. Guys will be away after tonight. They'll have four days off: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They'll be back Monday for meetings and Jets preparation. So, what questions do you have?"

I believe that RB Kenyan Drake was out there today. What does he add to the running back group? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Kenyan Drake joined us today, and he's a back who has had a lot of exciting plays in this league. He's a big, strong, fast, kind of slasher-type back [with] experience in pass protection. [He] catches the ball well out of the back field. [He's] a great guy, in talking to him. So, he'll be taking more of the next four days to get up to speed and get ready to go."

We saw you let go of G/T Tyre Phillips today. Over the last two years, he began each season as a starter. What do you think led to it not happening for him this summer? _(Luke Jones) _"It's just part of the roster moves right now. Without getting too deep into all of that, there's a lot of moving parts to all of that. I'm still hopeful as a coach that we'll get him back. We'll try to get him back to the practice squad. We'll see; it may not happen. But that's what I'm hoping for."

What do you see from LB Del'Shawn Phillips, whom the Ravens were awarded off waivers today? _(Todd Karpovich) _"Yes, that's still … I'll say this; there's a lot of moving parts to that one still. Physicals have to be passed, those kinds of things. So, before we start talking about that, maybe we make sure it's all set up."

How cool is it for undrafted rookie free agent ILB Josh Ross to make the initial 53-man roster? (Luke Jones) _"He earned it. He earned it. He played really well – he played well on defense, he played well on special teams. He came in, he started off well. He just kind of kept the momentum going all through camp. So, in the games, he made plays. So, he earned his spot. The one thing, I told Jim [Harbaugh] like two or three days ago that he was going to make it. Then, Jim came out and made the announcement. _(laughter)So, it wasn't a surprise to anybody.

(Reporter: "He [Jim Harbaugh] announced his whole lineup, so I guess he decided to announce yours, too.") (laughter)

"Yes, right.

(Reporter: "If you want to get back at him, you can tell us who is starting quarterback is.")

"Well, I know they're splitting them for the first two games, right? He went full Ecclesiastes on that one, which I thought was very impressive."(laughter)

Was there anyone that made the roster who played on Saturday night and whose performance pushed them over the edge? _(Cordell Woodland) _"I would say performances confirmed, but I don't think anyone that was out got in, or that anyone who was in got out. It just kind of confirmed where we were at, and it was kind of a progression into it."

You kept five tight ends, including TE Josh Oliver. Can you talk about what you saw from Josh during training camp that made you feel good about him? _(Ryan Mink) _"He just kept getting better and better. Josh [Oliver], when you watch him play – you guys saw it – he's blocking very well, he's running routes, he's catching the ball, he has some juice after the catch. So, it's just all-around good tight end play."

With T Ja'Wuan James making the transition to left tackle, what has stood out to you about him playing on that side? _(Jamison Hensley) _"I would say the same thing; he's gotten better every day at it. He's a good athlete. Everything that he's doing with the other hand, the other side of his body. He has shown steady improvement with it. The good thing is, here's a high-quality, high-caliber player doing a tough thing. But, because he has that kind of talent, he's able to do it."

We're supposed to talk to CB Marcus Peters next. How exciting has his progression throughout camp been, and what kind of impact will he have? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Very excited, really all the way through. Even when we came back in May/June, he looked really good. So, you could tell he had really put the work in. He's been in that weight room. I'll tell you, the guy has been living in the weight room, he's been living in the training room, he's been living out here running all the way through, even through training camp when he wasn't practicing. Then, he kind of pushed his way out to practice and has looked good at practice. So, he's done a great job."

CB Marcus Peters' ability to get interceptions is well known. How much opportunity does this secondary have to create turnovers? _(Cliff Brown) _"I want it to be a big part of it. I'm really hopeful. I want to see interceptions, and batted-down balls and tackles, caused fumbles and then recovered fumbles by us. I want to see all that stuff, just like you do and just like the fans do."

You have RB Tyler Badie back on the practice squad now, reuniting with your rookie draft class. What has impressed you about them all so far, and how much of an impact do you think this class will have this year? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"It remains to be seen, I would say, but I really do think that they'll contribute a lot. It's a lot of guys in the class, and we still have some guys to come back. Travis [Jones] is coming back, Davis [Jalyn Armour-Davis] has to come back still. So, there's still pieces to that thing that aren't even out there. But, again, I expect a lot from those guys and I really think they are going to have a good year, but they have to go out and do it."

We haven't seen T Ronnie Stanley at practice. Is there anything you can add on his expectations for Week 1? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Yes, he was out there before you guys got out here. He was out there doing the individual stuff. So, I'll just say again, it's really not a set timetable. It's going to be in terms of when they tell us, and when he feels like he wants to get out there and do it. He knows his ankle, and I know that Ronnie [Stanley] is very determined to be really at his very best when he comes back. That's kind of part of his thinking on it. So, I trust him with it. I know he's going to do the right thing and be out there as soon as he can. I'm hopeful for sooner rather than later, for sure. He's off PUP now, so you're talking about it's in the realm now where it should happen."

You had a '10-10-10' execution practice yesterday. What exactly does that mean? _(Jamison Hensley) _"10-10-10 is something that goes back to Bill Walsh, through Mike Holmgren, through Andy Reid. So, the tree of coaches uses those practices. They're mostly team execution practices. There are not a lot of group periods; there are not a lot of individual periods. You basically kind of get warmed up, and you go right into teams. So, it's 10 plays of offense, 10 defense, 10 offense, 10 defense, 10 offense, 10 defense … 30 plays a side. You're looking for fast, perfect execution. That's the goal."

If OLB David Ojabo goes on IR, you will have two outside linebackers and two outside guys on the edge on the roster. You'll obviously have some on the practice squad, but does ILB Malik Harrison's versatility allow you to do that, or is that a position where there will be more moving pieces? (Jeff Zrebiec) _"There are more guys who can play there than meets the eye on the depth chart. Malik Harrison definitely – if you've watched practice – he's been out there quite a bit. He plays out there, so he can do that. Then, other guys can play on the edge as well. Linebackers go out there, Patrick Queen goes out there quite a bit in different fronts and different looks. Calais [Campbell] even goes out there in some of our bigger looks. So, we'll definitely have 11 guys. There will be someone on the edge of the defense. _(laughter)If there's not, then I'm going to be mad about that."

You've been open about not knowing the timetable for RB J.K. Dobbins right now. How much is that a part of getting RB Kenyan Drake here, keeping RB Tyler Badie here and getting as many guys as you can? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"It's part of it, but J.K. [Dobbins] has looked better every day. You guys, again, you saw him earlier in practice. He looks better every day; he looks good. His quickness is kind of back. So, I'm excited about where he's at, but the other part of it is also good players are available. When good players are available – and we've been known to run the ball a little bit – so you get a running back out there that we feel like fits what we do, a talented guy that wants to be here, and we felt like it was a good move for us."


On how good it feels to be back on the field:"It feels good to get back on the field. I missed it."

On if he learned anything about himself while he couldn't play last year:"No, I had football taken away from me earlier in my life. I couldn't play football my 10th-grade year. Football is just a game. It's something that I love to do, but I just couldn't do it last year."

On how tough it was to see the team's lack of takeaways last season, given that's a strength of his:"It was tough to start off with losing L.J. [Fort] in Carolina and then coming back and then losing Justice [Hill] and then losing J.K. [Dobbins], then me and Gus [Edwards] went out. So, we kind of had us a hard little end of camp going into the season. But I applaud the guys, because we fought hard together last year, by going out there and sticking together and doing what we're supposed to do."

On how much he's had to exercise patience throughout his road to recovery:"That's the game. You've got to wait until your body allows for you to get back out there and do what you're supposed to do – do what you can do. So, patience is the game."

On the toughest part of his rehab and recovery to get back to this point:"I guess just not being able to be on the field with my guys. I went to almost every home game last year and was there, present, with my family and with the team. Like I said, I wouldn't say I really missed anything; it's just I just missed being on the field with them."

On if he feels fully back and 100%:"I feel like I'm doing what I need to do is necessary to get me back on the field. It's been a process that myself and this training staff and the coaching staff have come up with, and we're going to stick to it until I can get back out there."

On if he's even thinking about Week 1:"Whenever my body tells me [I'm] ready to go, we're going to go."

On how important it was for him to give younger players tips from what he saw on film during his absence:"It's very important. Like I said, I'm one of those guys that … I come from giving out game, and you always love to see a young guy be able to be successful, because I was a young guy at a point. I came into a great veteran leadership group. I had Eric Berry as my vet; I had Sean Smith, Ron Parker, Hussain Abdullah. I had a whole lot of guys who looked out for me and gave me game, and I still use that game to this day."

On his impressions of defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald:"I like it. I was excited when he got the job. I got to work with [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] when I first got here, and I just love what he allowed for us to do out there. It's going to be special."

On his 10th-grade injury that forced him to sit out the season:"This is my first injury ever, in life. My injury was that my momma told me I couldn't play. (laughter) So, yes, what momma says goes."

On why his mom didn't allow him to play football in 10th grade:"I was doing some things I wasn't supposed to be doing. (laughter) My mom, she took it away from me, and I got to play [again] my junior year, and things got rolling for me. I had some scholarships going on, and I'm here now."


On if he found out he made the Ravens' 53-man roster through Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh:"Honestly … So, I guess, Coach Jim [Harbaugh] made the announcement beforehand, but I knew it was real when it was real. And it was kind of funny, but I knew it was real when it was real, and it's exciting to be a part of this team and keep working."

On what this process has been like for him:"So, this process has been a lot of work, just from last season – doing what we did – getting to the offseason, training for Pro Day, training for Combine, doing all these things, playing in the NFLPA game. And now, I find myself in the perfect situation, being an undrafted free agent and picking the Ravens, and working my butt off in camp every single day, trying to be the best player I can be, showing everybody, proving to myself, showing everybody what I'm capable of. And now I'm in the fight, and now I keep fighting, and now I keep getting better to make myself the best player I can make myself."

On his relationship with inside linebackers coach Zach Orr:"[Inside linebackers coach] Coach Zach [Orr], he's just a great, great, great coach, great guy, great mentor. And it's funny because he kind of reminds me of my older brother in a way, like an older-brother figure. [He's] a guy that's literally done everything I want to do, and some, with his career – being an undrafted guy. And I heard right before doing this interview, in 2014, he had an interview right after he made the team – at the podium. Just having guys like that as your coach, as a mentor, as a guy who can critique your game, as a guy who can help you, it's literally the best thing you can ask for, because it's a guy who's done what you want to do. So, I love Coach Orr, for sure."

On how much the Ravens spoke to him about the legacy of undrafted rookie linebackers here, and if that was ringing in the back of his head during the tougher days of training camp:"Yes, just the legacy of the undrafted free agent, specifically, the linebacker undrafted free agent, it makes me so excited for [practice], every single day. I'm not going to say I was thinking [about that]; I was just thinking about getting better and making my next rep the best rep, and still continuing to do that, because it's still ever going. A chapter closed, and now it's another chapter that's opened of keep getting better. But it's just a blessing to be in the situation I'm in; it's a blessing to be at this organization and keep fighting my butt off, keep getting better, because that's exactly the type of guy I am. I'm going to keep striving to get better – as good as I can – and we're going to see what happens."

On how he reacted to officially making the team, and if he allowed himself to enjoy the moment:"So, it's funny because … [There were] a lot of emotions, I'm not going to lie – that was kind of around the 4 p.m. time after finding out I made the team – just because I've really been working my butt off, and my head has been down the whole time, and it's going to stay down. It's like, 'Man, it's paying off,' but now it's just another opportunity to go out there and keep getting better and keep adding a resume to my name and keep proving myself every single day and keep proving myself at practice, so when we get into the game, I have my best games, and that's what it's really all about. That's what the undrafted free agent linebacker at the Ravens is about – it's about grit, and it's about working your butt off every day and getting what you earn."

On if there are similarities to defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald's defense here and his defense at Michigan:"So, it's somewhat similar, some not – some a little different, for sure. But like I said, it's a blessing just to be around [defensive coordinator] Coach Mike [Macdonald] again. We had a lot of great moments in college, for sure, and we have a really, really good relationship. But for him to be the DC [defensive coordinator] now, for me to learn directly from him … Learn some stuff from last season and kind of build off of it and learn new and learn from just everybody around me – the vets, all the just magnificent people who are around this building – man, it's a blessing, for real. So, I love it."

On if defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald teaches the defense differently to NFL players than he did at Michigan:"Like I said, there are similarities and there are differences. This is the NFL; it's the pros; dudes have got to come with it every day, and dudes have got to come with it in college. But like I said, it's just a blessing to be able to be a part of this organization. It's a blessing to keep continuing to be able to get better, to be able to keep stacking days and be here, because this is really a beautiful place and the best place."

On if he was surprised or frustrated when he wasn't drafted:"It definitely ticked me off a little bit, I'm not going to lie to you. Because every player who doesn't get drafted, you see the guys that were drafted before you and it's just like, 'Ah.' But, at the end of the day, honestly, I knew even not getting drafted, I was still going to have one of my best opportunities and be able to come here. The opportunity was there, and I took that opportunity. I came here and stood on my ten toes and worked my butt off. That's what I'm going to continue to do every day, because that's what I'm about."

On if he got any advice from ILB Josh Bynes, who was also an undrafted rookie free agent here:"Great advice. Great advice. It's just God's work, all the sort of people, the beautiful people, the magnificent motivation across this whole building. It's beautiful. But specifically, Josh Bynes, he's a 12-year vet, and he was an undrafted guy. He's one of the smartest players I've ever met in my life. That dude [can] see something before it even happens, especially in coverage. He's a really, really smart player, and just listening to him and how he moves every day, just the words he has to say. One of the biggest pieces of advice he's given me was really like, 'Enjoy this moment. Of course, work you butt off,' and he knows the situation; he's been in my shoes. But, 'Enjoy the moment as well. Don't let the moment be bigger than you; enjoy this moment, because you're in the NFL. And keep working your butt off.'"

On where he has seen his game improve the most since the end of college to now:"Honestly, just the way that I use my hands. Inside the box, the way I move, how instinctive I am. I've kind of always been that, but I've grown to where I'm at now, just based off certain experiences. Also, the majority is my football intelligence. Being in the position where I was a signal caller for my college team and calling everything – being a leader [and] being a captain – and then coming into an environment where you're a rookie and you have to learn. It's all about learning; it's all about getting better and not making the same mistake. It's a beautiful thing, but yes, just my football intelligence definitely grew up into this moment for sure. And it's going to continue to grow, because I'm going to keep getting better."

On looking forward to carving out a spot for himself on special teams and defense:"Honestly, wherever the team needs me to be, that's where I'm going to be fighting, fighting, because I want to help this team win a championship at the end of the day. That's my goal, any way, shape or form I can. My role is special teams, and my goal right now is to perfect my technique as good as I can, and just keep getting better. When opportunities come, opportunities come. You take advantage of those. But you can only worry about the next play, the next day, the next down, the next opportunity, and that's what I'm going to be about."

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