Transcripts: Wednesday Training Camp (8/17)


Opening Statement: "OK, good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys being here. [It was a] good day. It heated up a little bit again, so that was challenging for the guys. They had the pads on, but I thought they handled it well. Last day with fans out here, right? So, this will be the last opportunity in training camp for the fans to see us, and they've been amazing. They've been loud – all the coordinated cheers, all the sports teams, all the groups. Lots of kids have been here every day. It's really exciting. We'll miss them. So, what questions do you have?"

This is the last day for fans. Do you feel that there is going to be a shift from training camp mode to more of a regular season mode, or is that going to happen later? _(Jamison Hensley) _"We have a schedule that we're kind of sticking with, so there are different kinds of practices coming up, but it's kind of all already built in."

S Marcus Williams had a couple of interceptions today. He's already an established player, but do you see him getting more and more comfortable with what the Ravens are doing and playing freer? _(Childs Walker) _"I do, I do. When you're not thinking, and you're just reacting, obviously, that's what you go for. He [Marcus Williams] can cover some ground – you saw that today. So, I'm looking forward to seeing him play."

You're going out to Arizona a few days early. Are there any special plans that you can let us know about? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, we'll have a team dinner. We've done that every year for the last few years in training camp. And we've got practices out there [at] Arizona State [University]. They have a bubble, so we'll see Coach [Herm] Edwards out there, and they've got some ex-NFL coaches – Coach [Marvin] Lewis is out there, Coach [Brian] Billick is on that staff, so that will be kind of fun. But really, we'll just have a good Friday practice, a Saturday walk-through before the game, then we'll be there to play the game on Sunday night. Our guys know it's on national TV. Obviously, the Cardinals are a very good team. It's going to be good for us to be in that environment."

Have you made up your mind if QB Lamar Jackson will play on Sunday in Arizona? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Lamar [Jackson] is not going to play. Some of the other starters won't play. There may be a couple other starters that will play a little bit. It's kind of hard to go through every guy, but Mark Andrews isn't going to play, for instance. Tyler Linderbaum will probably be back on the field Friday doing individual. I don't anticipate him playing in the game, but he'll start working his way back in – it looks like – on Friday. We'll see, but that's how it looks right now."

How important are these next two games for you to see some separation in the left guard battle? _(Gerry Sandusky) _"It's really important. Hey, if they're both doing great, and they're not separating because they're doing great, that's great, too. Probably Ben [Powers] has been the most consistent guy there right now, so we'll kind of keep rolling from there and see what happens. We still have two more games; we still have a good week and a half – a good week – of practice left after this game, then a little bit into the next week. So, I would like to think by the third preseason game, after the Commanders game, that we'll kind of know."

Where have you seen G Ben Powers take his game from where it was last year? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"It's steady improvement. Ben [Powers] is really steady. He's stronger, lower-body strength – he's been working on that – just steady improvement across the board."

We've had a couple of practices to know that the offense doesn't look as crisp. Is that a concern at all – for the big picture? _(Childs Walker) _"Yes, well [if] it's a pattern, day-to-day … The ones are going against the ones – you've got to remember that. We're not going ones against twos or ones against a scout team, so it's going to be challenging. There's going to be some push up front. There are going to be some guys covering tight. It's one of those camp practices that's a little more challenging – kind of what you're talking about. So, it's going to be competitive that way. It's not going to look pretty all the time."

G Tyre Phillips had some really good blocks in the preseason opener and seemed to move well. What have you seen from him and his progress this year? _(Ryan Mink) _"[Tyre Phillips] is doing a really good job of – like you said – moving in pass protection back and forth, punching really well, not getting bulled. He's done a good job of that. The run game has been pretty athletic. He's a guard more than he is a tackle, but it's good to have a guy like that, that can get you out of a jam, get you through a game at tackle if you need it. So, I credit him [for] that. But he's done well. He's not out of the competition [at left guard] by any stretch."

How's T Ja'Wuan James looking in the punt return competition? (Pete Gilbert) _(laughter)"Man, they've got to go low to tackle [Ja'Wuan James] – I know that. _(laughter)The funny thing is, that drill was designed for the ball to be on the ground. We have a certain way we play that – when it's on the ground – and we tried to practice it there, but he just ruined the whole drill by catching it." (laughter – Reporter: "He [Ja'Wuan James] looked pretty smooth, though.")"He did look smooth. To do it like that is athletic. None of us could do that. Gerry [Sandusky, WBAL-TV 11 and Voice of the Ravens] maybe you. You were a tight end; maybe you could do it." (Gerry Sandusky: "Many years ago, maybe.")

There's a lot of interest with RB J.K. Dobbins' rehab and him coming back. Is there any sense from you whether or not he will be ready by the regular season? _(Jamison Hensley) _"No, I don't know. He made some good progress this week. We measure the times of how fast he runs, how fast he decelerates, how fast he accelerates, how fast he changed direction. We do that, and you can see the improvement is tangible. So, we'll see."

We saw CB Jalyn Armour-Davis come off, and T Daniel Faalele wasn't out there today. _(Luke Jones) _"Yes, [Daniel] Faalele just had a little swelling; we're taking care of that for a day. And then [Jalyn] Armour-Davis hit his head when he fell, so we'll get that checked out. Hopefully, he'll be OK."

With the availability of speed data, do you use it to make changes to how you guys practice? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"I would say minimally. We pretty much have the practices mapped out. We did a really good job of anticipating what the loads would be. But you look at it, and we've been well within range. You've got to understand, too – and sometimes the numbers people don't understand – is we are in training camp, and there are going to be back-to-back days where you've got to back it up. You can't just start taking breaks every other day; that's just not the way it works; that's not how guys get in shape. So, I feel really good about where we're at with the loads. As far as guys running like that, the speeds … Shemar [Bridges], for instance, you run a fade like that, we're not turning around looking for a back shoulder, are we? We're running fast and letting Lamar [Jackson] decide whether to put it on the back shoulder. So, that's how I look at the speeds. Are you running fast when you're supposed to?"

I know you practice a lot of situational football. Have you thought about a situation in which K Justin Tucker is holding for P Jordan Stout? (Gerry Sandusky) _"The only situation is that Mark [Andrews] didn't want to do it right there, and [James] Proche II is not out here right now. Those are our backup holders, but we needed to get the kick for [Jordan] Stout, so that was the circumstance. Maybe … No, we don't even want to mention what scenario that could happen in." _(laughter)

"I will say, though, if you go back, when I was with the Eagles, way back when, David Akers pulled his quad, tore his quad on a kickoff; Mike Bartrum had to kick off – he was a [long] snapper – for the rest of the game, and he hit ground balls like to the 50, to the 45, against the Raiders, and it came down to the end of the game. We were losing, and we had to do a two-minute drive, and Donovan [McNabb] is running the two-minute drive, and Andy [Reid] says, 'How close do we have to get?' because Akers was on the bench. 'Can he do it, can he do it?' And Akers is like, (voice imitating individual in pain) 'I'll do it, I'll do it!'

[Reid]: 'How close do you need to be, David?'

[Akers]: 'As close as you can get!'

So, we got the ball to the 30; 'That's not close enough,' [said Akers]

'How about the 15?' [Reid] says, 'Are you close enough yet?'

[Akers]: 'We've got to get it closer.'

The 10 – 'Closer.'

The 5 – 'Can we get a little closer?' [asked Akers]

"So, [Akers] comes limping out there and fluffs it through – hits the field goal. Game-winner, place goes crazy. [Akers] goes to the ground writhing in pain. Although, it was a great kick … If David is watching this right now, 'You're a hero!' They pick him up and carry him off the field, with his leg dangling off to the side." (Reporter: "Who was the punter if you ended up having the long snapper do kickoffs?")"The punter was Dirk Johnson. I guess he didn't kick – can't remember. That's a very good question. That's a very good question." (laughter)


On his chemistry with QB Lamar Jackson at this point in training camp:"I would say it's going pretty well. Obviously, we always have some things to clean up, but for the most part, I think it's looking pretty good. I'm excited about it."

On if he is eagerly looking forward to playing another team:"Yes, Marlon [Humphrey] has won some, I have won some … It's about time. I'm ready to play someone else. He kind of figured me out a little bit, I've figured him out. But, it's good work, and we definitely look forward to playing someone else, for sure."

On if his frustration after a broken play is aimed at himself first:"I criticize myself, and then I criticize the offense, just because we can't leave any money on the field. We need everything; we need every completion. There should be no balls on the field. That's definitely where my frustration comes from. I want this team to be great. I want myself to be great, but I just feel like this team can do special things this year. So, you have to chase perfection to do that. So, that's what we're chasing."

On where he is now having participated in much more of training camp this year than last year:"[I'm] definitely way further ahead than I was last year, and that feels good. I was talking the other day with someone, 'This time last year, I wasn't here.' So, [I] thank God. I'm blessed, healthy. [I] keep going, keep fighting. But, I'm definitely loving where we're going right now."

On being a very competitive person and his reaction to hearing people call him the No. 1 wide receiver:"No, not really. I'm just a competitor, so I'm going to be a competitor from wide receiver one, two, three, four, five [and] six, no matter what I am. But, I'm just blessed to be in the position that I am, and obviously I have to stay competitive, and I will stay competitive, for sure."

On if he wants to play in the preseason:"That's something that [head] Coach [John] Harbaugh [decides]. Every day out here is a game for me, and my body is definitely feeling it. So, that's definitely going to be a Coach Harbaugh decision."

On if it will be cool to see Arizona WR Marquise Brown at the game, even if he is not playing:"Yes, 'Hollywood' [Marquise] Brown, that's my brother. He will always be my brother; he's our brother. I'm definitely excited to see 'Hollywood' out in AZ."

On his reaction to his Madden face scan and rating:"No. (laughter)I'm not happy with the rating or the face scan. But, I'm more concerned about the face scan. I feel like the NFL is rigged in a lot of areas, so I'm not concerned about the numbers right now."

On if he is happier with his face scan than T Ronnie Stanley is with his:"No, I think we're about the same. (laughter)All really disappointed."

On what he thinks Madden did to mess up his face scan:"I have no idea. I don't play video games, I don't even know how to turn one on probably. (laughter)So, someone actually sent it to me, and it was funny. So, that's how that went."

On how different the wide receiver group is without WR Marquise Brown:"It hasn't affected us that much. Obviously, losing him was definitely a big loss for us, but I feel like the room has stepped up. We're close, we're working hard and we're pushing everyone to be great. I feel like that's all you can ask for from a group, so we've definitely been doing that."

On how his role has changed leadership wise:"I don't feel like it has changed at all. Ever since I came in here, I feel like I'm not a vocal guy, but I lead by example. I come in here and just work hard every single day, and I feel like that's just who I am, and that's who I'll always be."

On how he feels his body is holding up this year compared to last year:"Well, right now I'm way further than I was last year, so things look bright for me right now. I feel it."


On how he feels about the left guard competition and if he is enjoying playing less tackle:"Yes, it feels good. Obviously, I'm going against the Bens [Powers and Cleveland], and they're giving me great competition. [I'm just] putting my faith into what I do and my work, and just depending on [offensive line coach] 'Joe D' [Joe D'Alessandris] and [assistant offensive line coach] Mike [Devlin] and just trying to be the best offensive lineman I can be."

On going against the Ravens' large defensive line during practice and if that gives him extra confidence:"Yes, since being a kid it's always a good feeling to win. But just, like I said, guys like Calais [Campbell] and stuff like that, it's back and forth. He beat me, I beat him, and it's just mostly we go back and forth. So, he's my vet. I'll be like, 'Calais, how did you beat me on this?' And he'll tell me and give me pointers and stuff. So, it's always good, physical love here."

On the ways he feels like a better play this year than at this time last year:"I feel as healthy as I've ever been right now. I've been nicked up my last two years. But this year, over the offseason, I did a lot of work on my body, and I feel as healthy as ever."

On if his Week One injury last year changed his perspective at all:"No, not at all. It's football. I understand injuries happen, just like in our room, we believe in 'Next Man Up.' So, I knew that the person after me was going to either play better or the same."

On if transforming his body was a priority for him this offseason:"Yes sir, every offseason, I want to do something to perfect or [improve] my play. So, every offseason, I'm going to find a way to get better."

On if he dropped weight or added muscle:"Both. I dropped weight, and I gained some muscle."

On if he's approaching these last two games as if there is a starting job available for him to win:"Not just the last two games; I approach every game like that. I approach every week at practice like I'm the starter – if I am or not – just because it's a 'Next Man Up' room that we have. So, every week, I'm approaching it as a starter."

On if it gets hard to lock in for a position battle, given that he also plays multiple positions along the line:"No sir, I just adjust. And like you said, if all else fails, work hard. So, I practice hard, [and] no matter where they put me, I'm just going to practice [and] give it my all."


On focusing on improving his lower body strength in the offseason:"It's something I try to focus with every year in the offseason, just being an offensive lineman, lower body strength, back strength and shoulder strength are three elements that every offensive lineman needs, and there's really no ceiling to that. It's always something you're trying to work for. So, it's something I try every year. This year, I started off a little earlier in my offseason training back home, so I attribute [it to] that."

On if he has felt a difference in his strength while playing:"Oh yes, definitely. Definitely."

On taking reps at center and how comfortable he is with that:"I'm going to go out there and do whatever my coaches need me to do to make this team better."

On if he feels it is good to have experience at center has part of his repertoire:"Definitely. Versatility for an offensive lineman is something that keeps guys around in this league, for sure."

On how much better he thinks he is now than last year:"Tenfold. I think that I've gotten a lot better, in terms of my play at center and comfort."

On his relationship with the rest of the offensive line group:"Every guy in that O-Line, we're close. Those are my guys. We're friends inside of this building and outside of this building."

On how hard it is to compete with his friends to be on the field:"Competition is great. It makes a better team. It's something with this business, and there's no hiding from it."

On what he thought about getting more work at center:"Like I said earlier, anything to do to help this team. Like I said, obviously it helps me personally, as well."

On taking a veteran approach to not getting caught up in training camp position battles and just worrying about himself:"I definitely go out there every day and try to become a better player, each and every day. So, that's my approach. I worry about myself and control what I can control, definitely."

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