Transcripts: Wednesday Media Availability: Week 1 at Miami

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "Alright, good seeing everybody. Appreciate you all being here – beautiful day, and we kick off the 2019 NFL and Ravens' season, so we're excited about it. A lot of work has gone into it. We've been at it for quite a while. Our players are fired up. We're, obviously, deep in preparations, and we're looking forward to a good practice. So, that's where we're at."

How's your health? (Jerry Coleman) _"I'm good. Thanks." _(Reporter: "Do you have an injury update for us?")"I had a little chest cold, but yeah, I'm feeling a lot better. Yeah – sleep, fluids, a little medication."

How much does what the Dolphins have done with their roster changes in the last week alter things? _(Jerry Coleman) _"It's hard to say. I don't know how much it alters it. Only they know that. We just have to look at it from past history, what the systems are. We understand the systems that they run, and they've been running for a while. We saw what they did in the preseason. Things that they've done in the preseason might not be the same as they were planning on doing anyway in the opening game. I'm sure they have plenty of new wrinkles for us. They're very creative coaches, and we'll just have to get out there Sunday and see what we get and play football." 

Is the opening week one of the toughest games to prepare for with the lack of film on the rookies? (Todd Karpovich) "It is. The opener is always the toughest game to prepare for, because you don't know what you're going to get. You don't know what your opponent is holding back. Nobody ever shows you everything in the preseason, and you just have to go out there and let it rip, and you're rolling from there."

With the team's lack of injuries, does this feel as ready for a Week 1 as you can be? _(Pete Gilbert) _"Probably so. We are excited. We're healthy. We already lost Tavon [Young], which is tough. And we're disappointed with that, and he'll be back next year, stronger than ever. But our guys are ready to go. We just want to go play football and see where we're at and go from there."

How difficult was the decision to put CB Tavon Young on IR? _(Jamison Hensley) _"That's a good question. I really wasn't involved in the specific conversations about it, but I know in the end it was a medical decision. I know that the medical people were heavily involved in it with Tavon and his people, and then that's the decision that I was informed of."

Will CB Tavon Young have surgery? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"I don't know. I don't think it means that for sure. It just depends on how the process goes with his healing."

QB Lamar Jackson is poised and confident. Does he ever do things off the field that remind you that he's only 22 years old? _(David Ginsburg) _"Well, sure. He's a 22-year-old guy all the time. That's what he is. He's fun to be around. He's got a lot of energy. He laughs, he makes the guys laugh. He's 22 years old, every day."

You said you loved last year's team and that it was one of your favorite teams to coach. Do you have a sense that this year's team will also be like that? (Aaron Kasinitz) _"I'm hoping to have a new favorite. I'm hoping that this team becomes the new favorite. _(laughter) That's the goal. I like this team a lot, to your point. They've done nothing to hold us back. Everybody's been all-in from Day One. We work really hard, and I'm excited about these guys."

Is there a joy or sense of renewal at the beginning of a new season, especially getting to see the first-year guys get ready for the real thing for the first time? _(Childs Walker) _"It is. It is. That's kind of deep and spring-like. That's a good analogy, I guess, but it is fun to put a new team on the field. And that's one of the beauties of what we do. Every year is a different year. Really, every week is a new week – new challenges, new players a lot of times, sometimes guys who are older players doing new things. All those kinds of things are true, so it's exciting. It's why we like doing it."

How do you feel about your pass rush heading into the season? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"I'm certainly not as worried about it as you all are. What little I read, it's all I read about. So, I appreciate your concerns. We'll see what happens."

Can you talk about the challenge of defending a guy like WR Albert Wilson and the overall speed of the Dolphins' offense? _(Jordan Schatz) _"Oh yeah, this is a fast offense. Albert Wilson is a huge part of that. You saw what he did in Kansas City. They've got fast guys everywhere. They've got a number of guys that ran over 21 miles per hour last year with a ball in their hands, a number of guys that ran under 4.4 at the Combine coming out, so they're obviously built for speed, catch-and-run players. They're going to try to free guys up in mismatches and try to free guys up, get guys wide open with different scheme things. Those are the things we've got to be ready for."

How much does depth factor into playing in hot conditions in Miami in early September? _(Jamison Hensley) _"It's really important; it's always important. Depth is always important. Conditioning is always important, but it's certainly even more important down there when you play in an opener. There's a history in Miami – Don Shula might never have lost a home opener if you go back. He had really good teams, and it was really hot down there in September. So, that's something to bear in mind. We believe we're prepared for it. We're looking forward to it. If it's going to be a conditioning contest, we're up for it. We're up for that fight. We're looking forward to it."

CB Marlon Humphrey

On media hype that he could be one of the NFL's best cornerbacks:"Hype is hype. I don't know. It is what it is." (Reporter: "That doesn't provide any motivation?")"No. It's just hype. There's not really substance behind it."

On his goals for the season:"I just want to help this team win games, and I think the best way to do that is to make plays and do your job at all times, and I think everything will work out."

On how he thinks he performed during training camp:"I thought I had a pretty good training camp. I hope my work will translate into the season."

On if he thinks teams will test him in the regular season:"I think no matter if you're the best or the worst, any cornerback is going to get tested."

On if Week 1 preparation is more about getting an evaluation of the Ravens rather than understanding the Dolphins:"I think when you have a team like Miami that kind of traded away a lot of their players, it's kind of going into the game not really knowing exactly [what to expect]. So, you kind of have to get in the game and feel out how it's going to be. As far as for us as a team, it's a good chance to go with what we know best and whatever they put up against us."

On preparing for the unpredictability of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: "It's tough. At one point, people were saying he was one of the top guys last year, and then at another point, not as good. He's a veteran quarterback, so anybody that has that many years in the league, they know what they're doing. Whether he has a good game or a bad game, his years speak for themselves."

On how QB Ryan Fitzpatrick throws the ball and how that impacts cornerbacks: "I'm kind of sizing up the way different quarterbacks throw their deep ball. You have to look at every quarterback the same. Some will try you, some won't. It just depends on the game."

RB Mark Ingram II

On how excited he is to start the regular season:"I'm excited. Week 1, we've got the squad together. We've been working. We've been grinding, so I'm super excited to make them count now."

On being excited to put the new offense on display:"Yes, we've been working on it since OTAs and, obviously, the back half of the season. So, we're just familiar with it. We've been repping it, understanding it, getting better at executing it, and so we're excited to go put our product on tape and do great."

On what's different about the run-up to this season opener being a part of a new team:"I wouldn't say there's much difference. You had your training camp, your OTAs, the guys being together, learning the plays, executing the plays, being able to go out and play fast, play physical, depend on one another. I just think that we've got a new opponent that we're getting ready for, and every single game is huge. So, I wouldn't say there's much difference. [We're] just getting prepared, getting ready to go put our best product on the field on Sunday."

On how different the offense will be compared to what was shown in the preseason:"I think you probably got a little gist of the offense [in the preseason], but I think a lot of our attack, a lot of our different schemes, we held back on from showing it, which a lot of teams do in the preseason, obviously. So, I think you guys got a little, small gist of it. But I think the full thing will come out, and we'll be attacking guys, giving guys up the best way we can have success."

On adjusting from playing with Saints QB Drew Brees to playing with QB Lamar Jackson:"Obviously, Drew Brees needs no explanation – his career, his accolades, one of the best ever to do it; but I wouldn't say there's a difference with Lamar. He's very competitive. He's a leader. He's a hard worker. He has desire to be great, and he's a great dude, a great guy to have in the huddle, always staying composed, never really gets flustered. And we're just here to help him, help his job be easier and help him have as much success as he can. He's a great player, and I'm excited to line up with him on Sunday."

On not taking Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick lightly:"I think coach has done a good job of keeping the defense and the team aware that he can look like a Hall of Fame quarterback. He can light you up when he's on, so you've got to be able to respect him. He's played a lot of snaps in the league. He's had success. Sometimes he hasn't, but you've just got to prepare for him, because he can hurt you."

On if RB Justice Hill has approached him with Week 1 questions:"Nothing really – just daily conversation, daily adjustments of plays, daily conversations of assignments. He hasn't asked me anything in particular, but we talk daily. We talk in the meetings, and we sit next to each other. So, we're always talking and communicating about things we see and our assignments."

On RB Justice Hill's running style:"He's a playmaker. He has speed; he has power. I think he's a back that … You could label him as a speed guy, but I think he's shown the ability to run in between the tackles, the ability to get speed on the outside. I think he's the complete package, and I think he's going to have a great career, and it starts on Sunday."

On enjoying his time with Ravens so far:"I've loved every second of being a Raven so far. My teammates have accepted me and welcomed me. The entire organization has welcomed me to the city, so I'm excited to be in Baltimore. I'm excited to be a Raven. I'm excited to be a part of a great organization, great offense, great team, a team that's had success and a championship team with championship pedigree. It's been great."

Closing statement:"Hold on. I've got to do a couple more shout-outs. We've got a great backfield. Gus Edwards, he's been doing a great job, so I'm excited about our backfield. I already got Justice. My coaches – Coach [Matt] Weiss, Coach Craig [Ver Steeg] – they've been doing a great job getting us prepared. I love Coach 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] and all the guys in the strength room. I just had to do a couple of my shout-outs." (Reporter: "What about the O-line?")"The O-line! The O-line! That goes without being said. They make the thing go." 

QB Lamar Jackson

On if he thinks about how much has changed over the span of a year: "I do actually think about it, especially when I make mistakes. The rookie mistakes I catch myself making, I'm like, 'Man, I did that last year. I can't do it this year.' But I'm having fun with it. I'm enjoying it. I grew a lot from last year. I just can't wait to go out there and perform."

On if he's fazed by anything entering Year Two:"Not at all, I'm just going to put on the pads and play."

On what it means to him that he is making his first start in a season opener close to his hometown: "That's pretty dope. I just can't wait to get into that environment. I know it's going to be crazy. Fans are going to be going wild. I just can't to put on a show."

On if his friends and family will be attending Sunday's game:"Yes, a lot of people keep hitting me up and telling me they're going to be out there. I probably won't see them all, but they'll see me." (laughter)

On how long it will take to get up to game speed:"[I'll be up to speed] from the jump. We've been doing it every day in practice. You have to start in practice first. So, from the jump, as soon as we get out on the field, we're going 100 miles per hour."

On if it is asking a lot of a 22-year-old to lead this team: "No, not really. I look at myself like one of the guys. I want the guys to look at me like I'm one of them. I don't treat anyone differently. I don't think I'm above anyone. It's a team game, and that's just how I embrace it – all with the team."

On what percentage of the offense has been unveiled in the preseason: "I don't know. We still get hit with new stuff. All the type of motions and stuff they're telling us about, I'm like, 'Oh, yeah?'(laughter)But it's all good. I can't wait to show it. I don't know how much, if I can give a percent, though. I don't know."

On what he hopes fans will be saying about the offense after Sunday's game:"Hopefully, that it's the best offense they've ever seen. That's what I'm going for."

On if he is looking forward to silencing the critics who claim he is a better runner than he is a passer:"Critics are going to always be there. I'm just looking to win. That's the goal: win games. Win every game you're in, and it starts with Miami. That's the goal. I don't really care what the critics say. They're going to always be there."

On how he has been studying film:"I've been watching Patriots stuff, Miami stuff. They let a lot of guys go. They had a lot of new guys come in this week and this past Saturday. So, we're going to have to see. We've been watching film on them. We're just going to have to see when we get out there."

On how the approach changes when opposing personnel changes: "We're not changing our approach at all. We're going to play ball."

On if the speculation about the Ravens' new offense could be advantageous if opponents don't know how to prepare: "That's good. When we get out there, we're going to try to hit them where it hurts. (laughter) We're trying to win, baby."

On his connection with TE Mark Andrews and what Andrews does well from the point of a quarterback:"Everything – block, run the ball. He's efficient with the ball in his hands. He protects me just like one of the linemen. That's my guy."

On what he is most excited about in WR Marquise Brown in Sunday's game:"His first game, he's debuting at home as well. So, we just have to see how he approaches it and see what he'll do. I've seen what he can do, so he just has to let everyone else see."

On S Earl Thomas III's ability to make turnovers: "It's like he's everywhere back there, like he's just freelancing, man. I could be looking one way, he comes back, and he's right in my face. I'm like, 'Bro!' I just can't wait to see him out there performing live. Let him go after other quarterbacks instead of me. (laughter)I can't wait to see it."

On rookies WR Marquise Brown, WR Miles Boykin and RB Justice Hill and what they add to the offense: "They're everything you need. We have speed. Miles [Boykin] has the length. He has speed as well. I just can't wait to perform. I don't want to put too much out there. I can't give it away. (laughter)You're going to have to see."

S Earl Thomas III

On if he feels any extra emotion going into Week 1 with a new team: "No, I just want to go out there and do my job and help this team get a win."

On the difficulty in preparing for the Dolphins due to their changing roster: "From a personnel standpoint, it could get a little … [There might be] gray areas, but we understand where this offensive coordinator comes from. We watched some clips from there. I don't think there's any gray area with that situation."

On his track record of forcing turnovers and if that is a focus for him and the defense this season: "I think that's one of the reasons why they brought me here, to make turnovers. I'm looking for my opportunities, talking to Coach 'Wink' [defensive coordinator Don Martindale] just to see when I can assert myself, when I need to be the protector, situations like that."

On what goes through his mind when he thinks about QB Ryan Fitzpatrick:"Streaky. He can get hot, and it can go the other way for him. We definitely want to make it hard on him. We know he likes to step up in the pocket. We just want to make it as hard as possible on him."

On how comfortable he feels in the Ravens' defense: "I feel great. The communication is getting better every day. Today is going to be a great situational practice for us, just to keep that thing going. We'll be ready when Sunday comes."

On his chemistry with S Tony Jefferson: "I love it. Early on, he helped me. Now, I don't really have to depend on him as much, but it's always good to hear him talk."

On his process of getting up to speed for Week 1 every year, and if the heat in Miami makes a difference in his preparation: "It's definitely going to make a difference. The heat and the up-tempo … We know they're going to try to up-tempo us, so we definitely have to be prepared for that. We've been talking about it. I've been in this league for 10 years, so I should be ready."

On the difficulties the Ravens' offense poses to opposing defenses:"Lamar [Jackson] and everything that he brings to the table … We have Mark [Ingram]. The depth that we have, I think that's what's going to separate us."

On QB Lamar Jackson's agility and passing skills:"I've heard about all of the great runs, the [Michael] Vick comparisons, but the run he had against Green Bay in the preseason game when he hurdled a guy … First, he juked somebody, then he hurdled him. That was exciting to see."

On the process that he's been involved in preparing for Week 1 as a Raven: "The process has been great. You have to pass the conditioning test, then you have to get on the field and establish the chemistry. It just makes everybody stronger. You need the process. It's a long process, but it's fair." (Reporter: "For you yourself, in terms of the transition of becoming a Raven, between being ready for Week 1 today and the day that you signed, describe that trajectory.") "It's a sense of pride. I've been through it. I've been through the offseason program with the weights, establishing the communication with my teammates. It just makes me stronger heading into Week 1."

On if he is physically where he wants to be for Week 1:"Yes, I have no complaints at this point. I'm running. I feel good. I want to watch my weight a little bit, and on Sundays, just fly around."

On WR Marquise Brown's speed and his ability to surprise opponents:"You definitely have to know where he is at all times. It's a different speed. Until you get on the football field with him and actually see him, even when you try to press him, his release … The goal ball is always a deep threat. The post ball, you have to have two people looking at him. That's going to open up a lot of chances for everybody else around him."

On the challenge of defending a player like Dolphins WR Albert Wilson, especially with CB Tavon Young injured:"We're going to miss 'Tay' [Tavon Young]. It's a big void, but we're up for the challenge. We have depth. We have veteran guys that understand concepts and understand what they're trying to do. As long as we understand that, we're fine."

On what has stuck out to him from Dolphins film: "I'm just trying to watch some New England stuff. Obviously, it's different personnel with Tom Brady and the guys around him. I'm trying to get a feel for what they like to do. It's a lot of quick game, but there's nothing out of the ordinary that we should be scared of or anything like that. We're just going to go out there and play."

On if film preparation continues until gameday: "Yes, I feel like all of the practices that we've had so far have given us the best chance to ball out, but you definitely want to know your opponent and understand what they're trying to do. With the little bit of information that we've gotten so far with the personnel issues that they're going through, we're just going to try to build everything and go from there."

On his rapport with defensive coordinator Don Martindale and how he has seen first-hand Martindale's ability to be a player's coach: "Just the communication, how he communicates with his guys – guys are very receptive to that."

G Marshal Yanda

On what it's like playing with a 22-year-old quarterback in Lamar Jackson:"Every day is an important day. Every day is a day to get those important reps. When you're a young player, those reps are really important, and obviously, at the quarterback position it's vital. So, we just can't take any steps back. Every single day we've got to build and build as fast as we can. Everybody's in a race to get better, and when you've got a young player at the quarterback position, everybody's working hard and worrying about getting better."

On if he's been impressed by QB Lamar Jackson:"Yes, he's been doing a good job. He's been commanding the huddle well, and he's taken control. And obviously, we all have room to grow. He's got room to grow, but he's doing a good job so far. We're excited about him."

On his level of excitement about the new offense:"I don't get into making lofty expectations. That's not me. We're going to go to work every single day, put the gameplan in and be ready to go on Sunday. Like today, we're worried about having a good practice. All the lofty stuff, I'll leave that to Coach [Harbaugh]. We'll just grind every single day, and we'll be ready to play our best on Sunday."

On his feeling heading into his 13*th*season in the NFL:"I would say 'excitement.' I'm excited to get to play this game for another year, and you just take it one year at a time. But I'm feeling healthy. I didn't have any offseason surgery, so I'm excited about it for sure."

On still getting excited for gamedays as a veteran:"No doubt. That's why I do it. I love this game, and I love the camaraderie of the players and doing something together as a team that you couldn't do by yourself and just competing out there on Sunday. That's what I live for. That burning desire has not left me yet, so come Sunday I'm going to be fired up to throw those pads on and get out there."

On remembering what it was like to be a young player:"I remember everybody as a young guy. Their heads are spinning more. They're more worried about their assignments and figuring out the speed of the game, and everything is just new to them. When you're an older player, it's more about the guys that you're blocking and just fine-detailing the fundamentals even more. You don't have to worry about the plays as much."

On the left guard starter decision:"Obviously, whatever guy that they go with, they've had a good amount of reps there, and we're going to roll with the guys they put in there. We're going to trust John [Harbaugh], trust the coaches, trust Greg [Roman] and Joe [D'Alessandris] that they're going to put the guys in there, and we just roll. We understand that it's part of the process, and we understand their process." 

On if it has been strange not being next to OLB Terrell Suggs in the locker room:"Yes, for sure. Him and Joe [Flacco] have definitely been the big [departures]. That's life in the NFL. But two guys that have been around – 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs] for 16 years, he's like a pillar of this organization. And Joe, obviously, too. It's different, but you also understand that that's life in the NFL, and change is part of it. And the business side is part of it, too. I'm pulling for both of those guys, because they'll always be Ravens, unless we play them."


Conference Call with Miami Media

What are some areas of improvement, particularly as a passer, that QB Lamar Jackson has made? "He's had success throwing it in the preseason. He's worked really hard on the fundamentals, the platform, the footwork, the release levels. He has a lot of different release angles that he's kind of naturally gifted at that he's worked on. So, all of those things, hopefully, translate into production."

Do you think QB Lamar Jackson still has that run-first mentality that he had at Louisville, or is he trying to level it out and see the playing field before he reacts? "I don't know. We'll see. He's going to try to make plays. His mentality is to win whatever way necessary. Obviously, throwing the ball is a big part of that, but the running is also part of it."

When you take over a new team, how do you get players to buy into what you're teaching?"If you're teaching good principles, sound principles, from a perspective of being all-in, and you believe in it yourself and you stick to it, they usually, over time, tend to buy in. And you get the right kind of people, too. That's part of it."

If players do not buy in, is that a huge deal? Can you be not all the way in, but you're a good player, so you'll work with it? "That sounds like a conversation for a business book or something like that, a leadership book. (laughter) I'll have to save all that for the book. But if you're referring to what Miami is doing, Coach [Brian] Flores obviously has a plan and a model that he's chasing, and he'll do it whatever way he feels necessary to do it. He's pursuing that plan the way he sees being the right way to do it."

Were you at all surprised that the Dolphins, in the last week, have replaced a quarter of their roster?"You never really get surprised about anything. You just try to respond to whatever it is. Our focus is us. Our focus is just putting the best team out there that we can – this week, next week, the week after that – and playing as well as we can. We know that the challenges are going to be different every single week, and they have a very talented team. [They have] a very talented team with excellent schemes, and we're looking forward to the challenge of going down there and playing."

Let me ask about your roster for a second. I think 81 percent of the guys on your team were either drafted or signed as rookie free agents. That's an incredible statistic. How did you get to that number? Was that an organizational decision over the last five years, or were those just the best 40-some players?"It's probably a little bit of both, but your circumstances dictate that. We do believe in the draft. We believe in developing players. We do a really good job of that. But we haven't had a lot of cap space, either. You have to have money to go out and sign free agents, and our cap has been under water for the last five years."

With that cap issue, you've still been able to put a competitive team on the field. How have you done that? "Our guys work really hard. We play very hard. It's how you go out there and play on Sunday. The games are won and lost on game day. It's the team that plays the best that day. We've tried to be that team as much as we can, but any deeper kind of question is probably better for another time. I'm really not thinking that way right now."

I'm guessing you've seen QB Ryan Fitzpatrick a couple of times in your career. What do you expect when you go against him? What type of player is he?"He's a fighter. He's a competitor of the first order. He goes for it. That's his M.O. He's certainly not afraid, ever. He's trying to make as many big plays as he can at all times. That's the way he plays, and we have a lot of respect for him."

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