SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR CHRIS HORTON
Opening statement:"Good afternoon, [it's] good to see everyone. Just a quick recap on the game … I thought that our guys, they came out playing hard, they were playing physical. Obviously, there are a couple of things we want to clean up on the tape, but that's what the preseason is all about. Just kind of get out there, cover kicks, allow the young guys to cover, see who's going to play our style of football as we continue to develop and look at these guys.
Second thing, [it's] a pretty exciting weekend for us this week. Obviously, it's the last preseason game, but we have our Ryan Brown [daughter of Ravens special teams coach Randy Brown] performing the national anthem for us. So, we're pretty excited about that. I know that [special teams coach] Randy [Brown] is going to be standing on the sideline, pretty fired up about it. Questions?"
How much do you stress to players that the final roster spots will probably be determined on special teams here in the last preseason game? _(Jamison Hensley) _"It's true for all of the guys, it's true for every team. I feel like as a young guy coming into the league, you're trying to establish yourself, and in order to do that, one way to get that done is through special teams. Obviously, everyone wants to play offense and defense, and I encourage guys to want to play offense and defense. But it's very important for you to find a role, and a lot of the time for young guys, that role starts on special teams. We just try to demand the most of them, and we coach them and see how it shakes out."
What was it like having [former Ravens special teams coordinator/associate head coach] Jerry Rosburg out at practice today? _(Ryan Mink) _"It was great. When I found out that he was coming to town, I was pretty fired up. I hadn't seen him in a while. I have a lot of respect for him, so just having him around and just being able to have him sit in on a meeting and not have to have him stand up there and be in that role, it was just amazing. I don't even really like talking to him about football, because he's enjoying retirement. That's what it's all about. He laid the foundation here for special teams, and I'm just trying to make sure that we keep it going."
How did K Justin Tucker's holds on Sunday look on tape? (Childs Walker) _"It looked as good as you saw it throughout the game. _(laughter)It's something that we've been working on. We kind of get out there on Field Three and we kind of allow guys to be themselves. The more you can do, it's great. Obviously, you saw Justin [Tucker]. We talk about the little nuances in holding, but as you guys know, when Sam [Koch] and Justin and those guys were around for all this period of time, that's all they work on. They all try to do each other's job better than that person can. So, it's always good to see."
What have you seen out of ILB Josh Ross on special teams? _(Kyle Barber) _"Josh [Ross] has done a good job for us. He's physical, he plays the way we want to see him play football. He's been a guy that can pick up the information, and take it, not only from the classroom to the practice field, but also in the games. That's really important for a young guy in order to make his way on this team. So, he's been doing an awesome job."
You don't often have the luxury of using a first-round pick on special teams, but we've seen S Kyle Hamilton spending time with the unit. What does his athleticism bring? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Obviously, he's a big guy, he has a lot of range, he plays the game the right way – the way you like to see safeties play. And then, he's played some special teams at Notre Dame, so to have him come out there and just give us whatever he has, and we'll try to put him in positions where it's, 'Hey, go make plays for us. It's still football.' That's what we try to preach to these guys, and he's done a great job for us."
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR GREG ROMAN
Opening Statement: "How's everybody doing? We just finished up a really good training camp practice. Guys were working hard. They had to fight through, push through mentally, and we all know that's what the game of football is all about – being able to execute when you're tired, four quarters., high-pressure situations. So, we're working through, basically, our entire installation. Everything is available, so the young guys – it's a full-speed sprint for them right now. I think they hit the wall a little bit, mentally, last week – some of them. They're coming out of it now, and we like what we see. Guys are working hard. I'm really excited. We've got a lot going on, and there's still a lot of opportunity. Any questions?"
Your offense has always been so good at establishing the run. With RB Gus Edwards out at least the first four games and J.K. Dobbins coming back, doing individuals, is there a level of concern there? _(Jamison Hensley) _"I feel great about our [running] backs. I feel like we're on track, we're always trying to get better, as far as running the ball; training camp is a big component of that. I like where we're at. [There's] always room for improvement – we know that – but I feel great about our backs, and I don't think it's going to have any effect on what we do. We're always going to do what gives us the best chance to win."
When can we expect to see from WR Demarcus Robinson and his involvement with the offense during the preseason? _(Kyle Barber) _"I'll tell you what – since the moment we met him out in Arizona, he has been on it, in terms of being a professional, preparation. [He's] very impressive. So, I think you're going to see that a little bit quicker than you might anticipate normally. He got some practice time yesterday, a lot more today, and I think we've got to get him some work in this game on Saturday, too. So, I'm excited that he's here, looking forward to collaborating with him and [have been] very impressed with him thus far."
TE Nick Boyle saw about 20 snaps on Sunday. He has said himself how much he needed to play to knock off some rust. How much was his workload about that, and how much was it about you needing to see what he can do and how his body would handle the workload? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"You're always evaluating performances on the field, so that goes without saying, but the main impetus of that was really to try to put a load on him in a game situation. It's been a really long road for him back from that injury, and it was kind of a silent celebration to see him out there in the game the other night. I think everybody was really happy for him. But I think the No. 1 thing was to get him enough work to where his confidence level started to build, and we're trying to build up a little bit of a callus for him for the regular season."
What does WR Demarcus Robinson bring to you as a player, and where do you anticipate him making an impact on the field? _(Shawn Stepner) _"Well, I think he can play anywhere on the field – inside and out; he's done that in the past. We're very familiar with him, as far as competing against him. I think he's got a really good body of work and track record, but I think you're going to see him inside and out. Really, there's no limitation to what he can do, in terms of, 'Oh, he can only run these kinds of routes,' or, 'Man, we've got to run a hinge instead of a comeback' or something like that. He can do all that stuff. So, he's getting in, [and] it's a full spring for him, mentally, now, so we'll just see where it goes. It's a day-to-day process now, but we feel really good about all the different things he can do."
Having a whole summer now to look at T Ja'Wuan James at left tackle, including in two preseason games, where are you with him, in terms of comfort level with him being a real option, with the understanding that T Ronnie Stanley is still not practicing? _(Luke Jones) _"Yes, that's still up in the air. I love how Ja'Wuan [James] is progressing. From – what – three weeks ago till now, I feel like he's become pretty ambidextrous, and he's really made strides. There are a couple little tweaks that he's got to make, we've got to make – he understands that – but that's coming, and that's going to come. So, we feel really good about him. He's a very talented individual, very smart and is a good teammate, so he's really working hard to get his job done for his buddies."
With the way TE Isaiah Likely has played in these two preseason games, how much more flexibility does that give you to get creative with multiple tight end packages? _(Ryan Mink) _"It goes without saying that the more guys you have that have that kind of flexibility, the more flexible you can get. So, I think that's definitely an option. There are definitely some new, creative, unique things we can do this year, as far as personnel packaging. And ultimately, it comes down to execution, and we really like we're Isaiah [Likely] is at. From the moment he got here, you could tell he belonged; it wasn't too big for him. There are things every day that he's learning, and [with] the tight end position, there's so much to learn – not only [in the] run game, [but also] pass protections, formations, motions, the entire passing game. So, there's a really high volume of things that a tight end in this offense has to understand, and he's progressing nicely through it, and he's not blinking. So, I think we're going to have some good options there."
In your coaching career, have you ever had a starting quarterback and most of the starting offense not play at all in the preseason, and why doesn't that concern you now as much as it may have in the past? (Jeff Zrebiec) _"I don't think that I've ever done it before, but when I sit back and try to think logically through it … I think back to a series here and a series there that we've played. What has that really gotten us? Did it make us feel better? It's like, 'I feel better; I saw him go out and execute these four basic plays and put a drive together.' _(laughter)And that's good; there's nothing wrong with that. But, I still don't know how much … I'm not worried about it. We're just full steam ahead preparing with no concerns. But, how much did that really gain us? I don't know. I'll get back to you on that."
A number of your wide receivers have missed a fairly significant number of days, such as WRs James Proche and Tylan Wallace. How much harder does that make it for them to be where they want to be Week One? _(Childs Walker) _"Right, those are discussions we have to have to see where these guys fit into the gameplans early in the season. Where are they? What role can we entrust them with? Are they ready, et cetera? I feel really good about guys like James [Proche], who has been here. He knows the system really well; he's really progressing in it. So, the sooner that we can get him out there working, I think the more they will factor into the gameplan. Now, that might be Week One, and Week Two could be completely different once they get back up to speed. We'll just have to wait and see."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE MACDONALD
Opening statement: "I don't have much of an update. It's good to have another win, obviously. Looking forward to this week. Obviously, we know what's coming down the road. Kind of battling a few fronts right now. But it's an exciting time and I think we're in the process of getting better. We're working through it a little bit this week. Kind of grinding it out, but the guys have a good attitude and we're building."
Can you talk about what you've seen from your other young defensive linemen with DT Travis Jones' injury? (Ryan Mink) "We've got a great young crew; I wouldn't leave [Justin] Madubuike out of that list. But Aaron Crawford was a guy who was here in 2020 when I was here, and you can see the makings of the ability in his work ethic. So, he fits right in. [He's] doing a great job for us. He's been stout in the middle. And then Isaiah Mack – he won the production game for us. But he's got more interior pass rush than people give him credit for, and he's also stout on the run schemes as well. So, he's doing a great job and we have quality depth at that position."
You worked with ILB Josh Ross last year at Michigan. What did you like about him, and what did you think would translate to the NFL level after what you saw from him there? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Josh [Ross] is just a great human being, man. He's just a … He's a mature, serious – but in the right way – thoughtful, very energetic, attacks everything that he goes about. Really, he's one of the favorite players at Michigan that I've coached on a day-to-day basis. So, he deserves a lot of credit for the position he's put himself in. And [inside linebackers coach] Zach [Orr] deserves a lot of credit, too. Zach is with him every day, in every meeting. They attack things as well. I'd put 'Koby' [Zakoby McClain] up there … 'Koby' is doing a great job as well as an undrafted free agent. We love Josh, and he fits just right in here. He's a true Michigan man, and he's also a Raven."
Where have you seen ILB Josh Ross make the biggest strides this offseason? _(Kyle Barber) _"Well, he's playing both positions, which is harder than people might imagine. 'Mike,' 'Will,' 'Dime' … all those things. He was just playing the 'Mike' spot for us last year. I would say his coverage ability, his reactions are faster, rather than just being in the middle and playing from the 'Mike' Position. So, really all aspects of his game, but there's growth all the way around."
Given that OLB Tyus Bowser isn't practicing yet and some of the other veteran injuries, where are you with your outside linebacker depth as we're around two and a half weeks from the start of the season? _(Luke Jones) _"Yes, you can do the math on who else we have at that position. What I would say is that there's still competition to be had. That's part of the reason that we're in it this week, and this practice is important. Going through the Washington game, that's going to be important. I think you can provide some flexibility with some other position groups too to kind of fill the void if we need it at some points."
S Tony Jefferson II has talked about how Ravens training camp was one of the hardest camps he's even been through. How has the coaching staff been able to balance making camp intense, but also prioritizing players' health this year? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Yes, it's a great question. I think that every team goes through that every year. You see different philosophies. You definitely know our philosophy here on how we operate. We're an organization built on hard work, so we're going to go put hard work in. So, that's definitely important. I think that if we knew the magic number of reps, everyone would do it. It's kind of like if there was one magical defense out there, everyone would run it the whole time. So, I think that it's something that you're just trying to work, and there's a lot of research that goes into it with all of the guys off the field, behind the scenes trying to figure out loads and things like that. Communication with the players on how they're feeling. 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh] deserves a lot of credit on knowing when to push and when to hold back as well, so he just has a great feel for that."
DB Kevon Seymour is a guy who got a ton of reps early in this preseason. What have you seen from him and his progression since the spring? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Yes, Kevon [Seymour], the first thing that sticks out with him is just his attitude every day. He's a guy that attacks everything, and he's a communicator and he wants to get it right. I haven't worked with him before this year, so I'm impressed by just his overall athleticism. He provides some position flexibility for us, too."