Ravens, in their own words

OWINGS MILLS -- Questions and answers at the Baltimore Ravens' passing camp

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening Statement: "I just want to first of all say we want to [interview] the coordinators today, and we want to do the coaches, and we want to make them available to you as much as possible – and to the fans. Because we've got a tremendous coaching staff, probably the combination of the three best coordinators in the NFL. And having had a chance to go through this offseason so far, and we're getting toward the end of our OTAs now, to see these guys work individually and to see these guys work together is just impressive, to say the least.

I couldn't be more proud of what they're accomplishing with their various phases through this offseason. So, those three coaches are going to come up. We're going to start with [special teams coordinator] Jerry Rosburg. Also, kind of on the coaching line, a compliment to [secondary coaches] Chuck Pagano and to Mark Carrier for the job they've done with our free safety, [Dawan] Landry. He has been tremendous this spring. He's made every single workout, hasn't missed a lift, hasn't missed a run, and when you watch him play out here, you see that he's game. He's playing fast, he's all over the field, he's taking charge of that secondary back there, and he deserves special mention. He's just had a tremendous offseason. OK. So, we'll get one question – since you've already asked – and then we'll go to the coordinators."

On QB Joe Flacco being back in camp: "I don't know if you can even judge if you missed a step or not because it's so early yet. What are we evaluating from? This is really his start point. He had the five practices before. This is the start point for him. He did a nice job and we're excited to have him."

Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

On his opinion if the role of special teams goes ahead of offense and defense: "I don't think it's in reverse order necessarily, but I certainly think there's emphasis in terms of practice time, there's emphasis in terms of staff involvement, there's going to be emphasis in terms of player personnel. It's a great opportunity for us to be good on special teams because the boss knows it."

On what special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo brings to the Ravens: "He's a very skilled player. A lot of times there's a notion that the guy's a special teams player because he can't do anything else. This particular man is a highly-skilled athlete, and the knowledge that he brings to the game is really valuable. He's been in a system that is somewhat similar to John's, and our system now is kind of a complication of a lot of things – a lot of it John's, a lot of it mine. And Brendon brings not only knowledge of the system but the skill level that he has, the technique that he can demonstrate, and the leadership that we expect from him, as we get down the road, are all really valuable assets."

On what his plans are for kickoffs this season: "Well, that's still a work in progress, real honestly. We're really early in our development of that. We're actually starting practicing kickoffs tomorrow, so it's kind of early to tell what we're going to do at this point."

On what impresses him about the mixing of the new staff and the old staff: "I think John Harbaugh deserves a great deal of credit for not only forming the staff but bringing the staff together. It's a remarkable group of men. It's men that come from a variety of different teams and different backgrounds and it's meshed so well – not only in the football aspect but just the general camaraderie and togetherness of the staff is real remarkable. It's a fun place to work."

On what changes Harbaugh has imprinted on the Ravens' team: "I wasn't here previously, but I know this: There was a culture here already when coach Harbaugh [got here] that loved football. I think what John has brought to this is his own way of engaging that current culture and putting his own trademark on it. The thing that I've been really impressed with is he hasn't tried to tear anything down; he's tried to build it up. In the meeting rooms and in the locker rooms and on the practice field, there's a great amount of tempo in our practices, and he's brought that to this operation. And, real frankly, I've had to learn that tempo. It's something that's [new]. It makes practice fun. We're going fast out here, and things happen in a hurry, and our guys have to learn how to play. It's really exciting."

On coaching Matt Stover, the league's third-most accurate kicker of all time: "Well, his record speaks for itself. He's a guy that has developed a skill that is highly valuable, and he's very, very good at it. He knows himself very well. He knows how to kick the ball straight. He's got great tempo. He knows what he's doing, and that's why he's been able to do it for so long. If it were that easy, there'd be more people who'd be able to do it. He's got it figured out."

On trying out new guys on the kick return team: "At this point in time we're trying everybody. Everybody's getting an opportunity to play positions. Now, the roles at this point have not been figured out exactly who's going to play where and how much because the offensive and defensive roles haven't been defined either. As we all know, when you get to the season and the 45-man roster is determined, then roles are a lot easier to define."

On whether it would be a luxury to have Gary Stills and Ayanbadejo on special teams: "I'll take every special teams player I can get. Gary Stills has been [great]. I knew Gary from a distance because I coached against him so many times, and he was so hard to block. I just remember that [and saying], ‘This guy is so hard to block.' We always had to game-plan the guy, and now that I'm working with him, I've been trying to milk him of some of his secrets. The man has a lot of skill. He's fun to be around, he loves special teams, he loves football in general and he's been a real asset to us."

On young players making the change to special teams: "I think the first thing that has happened is a lot of these guys have come from situations where they were stars on the college team, and they haven't had to play special teams, perhaps, since they were freshmen. The first thing is that they need to understand the NFL. That being that everybody needs to be able to contribute to special teams, and if you're going to be a one-trick pony, that better be a really good trick. So, they have understood that from our early meetings, and there are a lot of guys who have not done this, and it's brand new. So, day by day, it's a process."

On whether he senses rookie RB Ray Rice's excitement with the opportunity to play special teams: "I have, generally speaking. We've had some rookie-only meetings because they have some catching up to do, and this particular group of rookies brings a lot of that mentality to it. I think that's why Ozzie [Newsome] and our personnel staff brought them here, frankly, because they have that in them."

Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan:

On contrasting the dynamic of the new coaching staff with the old coaching staff: "It's great, nobody likes each other (laughing). No, it really has been great. We've got two new coaches on defense. I'm fortunate I was around these guys. I knew [linebackers coach] Greg Mattison from a long time ago and [secondary coach] Chuck Pagano was the secondary coach when the Raiders led the NFL in pass defense for my brother. So, we're familiar there. We're just moving forward on defense, and it's going to be exciting for us having our players back and really having a group of coaches that understands this defense. [We will] tweak out some of the problems and move forward. We're really excited about it.

As far as the offensive coaches, we've got some great coaches – [offensive coordinator] Cam Cameron, [running backs coach] Wilbert Montgomery – you've got all kinds of guys over there who are fantastic. John Matsko is an old school offensive line coach, and he's about as tough as anybody I've been around. It's going to be [great]. It's a great dynamic, and [there is] a lot of excitement out here on the practice field, a lot of energy and that obviously stems from John. It's been a lot of fun. It's like being a rookie coach all over again."

On the imprint John Harbaugh has made on this team: I think it's all over it. This whole team has got his [imprint on it]. He's involved in all phases of it. He's come in the defensive meeting rooms a few times. He talks to me all the time [about] this coverage, that coverage, how he thinks we can make it better. You see it on special teams, obviously, and offensively as well. It's going to be a tough, hard-nosed football team, and that's fun to be around."

On the improvement CBs Fabian Washington and Frank Walker have made to the secondary: "I think it's huge. You've got two guys that have gotten it done. Fabian Washington, a former first-round pick, [and] Frank Walker is an outstanding corner in his own right. Obviously, when you add those guys, we can play our defense the way we want to and that's to get after people and be more aggressive. Last year, when you look at it, we weren't nearly as physical and aggressive as we normally are, and we'll be allowed to do that regardless of having an injury here or there."

On whether he's noticed an improvement in S Dawan Landry: "I definitely have. In fact, we kid him all the time, we always claim that we're going to trade him for [Dawan's brother and Redskins safety] LaRon Landry. But, he really is [great]. He's been tremendous. I don't believe there's a harder worker than Dawan Landry. Landry's been fantastic, and he's really elevated his game on the practice field as well. From a communication standpoint, that's always been something that he waits for Ed [Reed] to communicate, but now he's able to do that. We actually used to force him with the second group to make those calls so he would actually verbalize things to his guys and hand signal and all that stuff. Now, he's like an old pro out there, and we expect great things from him. He's going to be a [great player]. I could see him playing 10, 12 years. He's one of those kind of guys. Really, physically, from a physical standpoint, he looks much faster to me than he's ever been."

On the life and energy rookies safeties Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski bring: "Sometimes they make mistakes, but they're good. We call them the mixed martial arts safeties, but we put them out there. We might not be able to cover anybody, but we're going to beat up somebody (laughing). They're doing really [well]. This is a hard system to learn, and they're doing a great job in their books, studying, and you're seeing it on the field. They improve every day, and by the time we get to training camp, I expect these guys to take off and be able to roll."

On LB Ray Lewis maintaining his skill and speed at this point in his career: "When Ray was here [for the mandatory camp in May], he was outstanding. It was funny, when he could have held himself [out] and wasn't really going to practice, he was going to do individual drills [only]. Then, when we called 11-on-11, he couldn't help himself. He had to jump out there. I think he just wanted for all the new coaches to see that, hey, this is Ray Lewis. He made some spectacular plays like we always have seen. I know eventually he's going to have to slow down; I just don't see it happening in the near future. He looked tremendous. He was in great shape, and that age is just a number right now. He's an unusual guy, and hopefully he can [play] three or four more years – who knows."

On having LB Dan Cody back after his injuries: "He looks fantastic. It's tough because we've had great expectations around here in Baltimore for Dan, and then [with] the injuries, unfortunately, he's never been able to get on the field to really show everybody what he's got. But right now, we've got him with his hand in the dirt, he's rushing the passer, and he looks fantastic to me. We all know he's got great energy, and when he's healthy, this guy can really play. We're finally seeing [that]. He is healthy now, and hopefully – knock on everything – he stays that way."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

On if players are catching on to his offensive system: "Without question. I think part of that is going against this defense. Right when we think we've got the answer, we have to continue to evolve. I think our players have understood that we learn today, and then tomorrow is another challenge against our defense. So they continue to learn, continue to grow. Without question, our guys are working it and continue to learn. The good thing is we have a lot of bright guys here."

On the evolution as he learns the personnel on the team: "It is evolving, and it's never ending. And that's what you love about this profession. Every day you come out and a guy has gotten a little bit better. Or maybe a guy goes down, and another guy gets an opportunity. So, learning our personnel is almost minute by minute this time of year. But I like when I see every guy improving. And that's all we're asking of them right now – just to get better every day."

On tweaking the playbook to match the personnel: "Well, number one, [the playbook] was built over time. You evolve, and you grow every day. We've got a great starting point here, that's the key. And we're getting better because guys are working at it. Our goal, if we can stay healthy, is just to get better and better and better over time and make sure we're the kind of offense that complements our kicking game and our defense."

On QB Joe Flacco's role in the playbook: "What we try to do over the years, is take whatever plays in our system off the plays the guy ran in college. So really, for two or three months we run the same plays he ran in college. We've always done that with young quarterbacks so they really don't have to perform and learn at the same time as much. So a lot of the stuff he's doing he should be able to perform at a high level because it's stuff he's done in college. And once he gets his feet on the ground, and he starts to learn NFL defenses, starts to grasp our defenses, then we start demanding more of him in terms of what we want to do different than what he did in college. He did a lot of great things at Delaware."

On G/C Jason Brown playing at center: "Number one, he's a great leader. It's an easier transition than you might think because that's the position he played in college. He started at center for three years at North Carolina, so we felt like it was natural to move him back, because the center is the leader of your offensive line. That's just the way it works. Right now, he's the leader of our offensive line. Now, there are other guys who are leading as well, Ben Grubbs is a leader, Adam Terry is a leader. Those guys are very young, and [Brown] is a veteran guy."

On the plan to keep G/C Jason Brown at center: "We'll keep in there, without question. Now, he can play guard as well, which is a plus. Chris Chester can play center as well, and now Marshal Yanda has moved where he can play tackle, but he can also play guard. We had to develop a third center, so we said, ‘Marshal, you're the guy,' and he looked at me like I was from another planet. So we worked on his snapping for two weeks, and then we threw him in there and never looked back."

On if T Oniel Cousins has a nasty streak: "We'd like to think so. We'd like to think that's what a Raven is all about. We'd like to think all the guys have that to one degree or another. He's feeling that right off the bat."

On evaluating the quarterback competition: "All these competitions are a little bit different. They truly are day-to-day. What we want to do these next few weeks is just let it play out. Then we'll asses, we'll turn in our evaluations and talk. John [Harbaugh] will have some thoughts. I'm looking forward to hearing his thoughts. We'll talk and come up with a plan at training camp, and away we'll go."

On learning from the quarterbacks he's coached: "You learn something from all these guys. In most cases I've learned more from them than I imagine they learn from me. And that's what makes it kind of neat. Hopefully they enjoy it. Getting to coach them, with [quarterbacks coach] Hue Jackson, couldn't be more fun, because they can teach you so much. Not so much by what they say, but how they perform. And then obviously you try to impart whatever you can to them."

On WR Demetrius Williams' fit on his offense: "He plays X and Z. We're going to play him on both sides. He's been banged up. This is kind of his first week at practice, but he's had his best offseason. I think he'd tell you that. He continues to work, continues to get better, and we'll see how it plays out. Our receivers did a nice job today, and they're getting better."

On the play of WR Marcus Smith: "One thing about Marcus, he's really going to show up when the pads come on. He's physical - he's played running back. He's a football player. And I know special teams is a big part of how he's going to help us. It'll be interesting when we go to training camp and the pads come on to see which guys kind of run us up and which guys maybe fall off. I'm looking forward to it. You have to realize, this still isn't football yet. I'm not really sure what it is. It's an OTA. So that's why training camp is so critical."

On the talk and competitive spirit at the OTA: "Raven. Baltimore Ravens. That's what you love about it. You guys know them. This is a competitive group. and everybody wants to win the practice. No ifs, ands, buts about it. I've never been a part of anything as competitive as this in a practice setting."

On the "speed it up" tempo: "We don't know it any different, and truth be told [the players] don't know any different. At least the young guys don't. It's just who we are, and John [Harbaugh] set it up that way. John and I coached together a long time ago, and we really don't know any other way. In the kicking game, special teams, he's always been that way. That's just how we do it."

On the team's potential for greatness: "It's early, it's the offseason. I think every team in this league is hoping to be great, and we're no different."

On the left tackle position: "Adam Terry will be a right tackle for us, and Jared Gaither is a left tackle for us. Mike [Kracalik] has played left tackle for us. Right now we're going to do everything we can to get Adam settled at right tackle. It could be a situation where he'd move over there. But right now he'd be at right tackle and Jared at left tackle."

On the play of T Jared Gaither: "He's without question the most improved guy on offense, in my opinion. He has a long way to go. It's one of those cases where you go to training camp, and the grind at training camp is where you make the left tackles. You really don't find out about your left tackles until they give up a sack or two. Once they do that, you've got to find out how they bounce back. A left tackle has to have a little bit of a short memory. He's got to move on, because we're not going to take him out, and we're not going to move him onto the right side. So we're going to learn a lot about him, and if someone else shows up over there we'll learn a lot about him as well."

On playing with T Jonathan Ogden vs. without: "You have a lot of respect for the guy, and you enjoy watching him play. But the bottom line is you've got to move on. You just put the best guy you can over there, and you help him when you need to help him. And you still have to be productive no matter who that guy is – whether it's Jonathan Ogden or not."

On the right tackle position: "It's Adam Terry's job when he gets back and gets healthy. And we tell all those veteran guys, ‘If you let someone move ahead of you, that's on you.' We know we're going to need eight, nine, 10 guys, and we're looking forward to having him back. I know that when he gets healthy he's a good ball player. I liked him coming out of college. I liked him before he got hurt last year. I see him as a right tackle who could play left tackle. But when we get him back he'll be a right tackle."

QB Joe Flacco

On how practice is going: "I feel good, it's good to be out here, it's good to learn and it's good to get into meetings after practice and learn from what I did wrong and hopefully improve the next day."

On how difficult it was being away from the team: "It was a little frustrating. I did as much as I could back at home, but it's not like I came up with the rule. I did what I had to do and now I'm glad to be back. It was a little frustrating, but I'm here now and that's all I have to say."

On his interactions with QBs Troy Smith and Kyle Boller: "It's been good. I have only been here for a couple of days. A couple days for mini-camp, since last Friday and I have been practicing with them for five or six times. I would say that it's been as good as it can be in that little of a time."

On his ability to adjust to Cam Cameron's playbook: "I feel a lot better this time around than I did in the mini-camp. The mini-camp they threw a lot at us and it got to a certain point where I was like, ‘Whew, what's going on?' Right now they're kind of installing it a little slower for us, and I think I'm really benefiting from it. I just need to get my head in the playbook, learn as much as possible and find out what's going on in every play so that I can go out here and just play."

On taking what he learns from the classroom to the field: "You can't replace coming out here and running a play. You can go in there and study it and learn from it as much as you want, but if you don't have the experience of being out here and actually going through it, then it is going to be harder to learn it in a classroom. Once you come out here and experience it, then it's easy to go back in the classroom and learn from it."

On learning the option: "I got to learn to get out of bounds as quick as possible."

On whether playing against a competitive defense makes him more of a competitor: "Not at all. I think I'm always a competitor. What playing against a good defense is doing for me is that it's making me be the best at all times, which I want to be anyway. You have to be pretty darn good to play against our defense. They're the best defense that we think we are going to face, and we won't have to face them during the year, and I think that's where we benefit. We don't have to face them during the year and we get to play them during practice and get as good as we can since we are playing the best defense. Our offense has a huge benefit to be on the Baltimore Ravens."

On whether he continued to work out while he was away from the team: "I worked out as much as I could. I took my dad and my brother out and tried to place them in places where the routes would be and go through my dropbacks and throw to them. I tried to get my workouts in and make sure I'm in shape, and I got my head in the playbook and tried to learn as much as possible without having the coaches around and being able to sit down and watch film with them."

On whether his dad runs good routes: "Well, he's getting a little old, so we would kind of just place him in an area."

On what he's learned from the wide receivers: "The veteran guys, they know what's going on. Even though it's a new offense for them, they've been in the league for 10 years plus, or however long they've been in the league. Anybody that's been in the league that long you can learn from, so you try to take in as much as possible."

On working/training with collegiate quarterbacks instructor Scott Bruner: "It was great. Before the Combine I worked with him, just working on my dropbacks and all that kind of stuff. Scott was great. We still have a great relationship. He's a guy that I can go to whenever I want, and I would feel comfortable doing that."

On working with Cam Cameron: "It's been great. He knows a lot. He's tough on you in the meetings. He makes sure you're going to understand him when you get on the field. He demands a lot out of you, and that's what you want out of a coach."

On how he can keep improving: "Continue what I've been doing. Get my head in the playbook, try to understand as much as possible and prove to the coaches that I have been getting into my playbook and I understand it. Now I have to come out here and do it."

On whether he feels stronger than when he played his last college game: "I don't know if I feel too much stronger than at my last college game. I have a lot of room to get stronger, and I will do that. At this point, I'm just working on playing football and obviously working out and trying to get stronger every day when I'm in the weight room early in the morning. So I'm going to work on that, but at this point football is the most important thing. Working out is going to come and getting stronger is going to come. I believe that I'm going to be pretty strong and ready to go."

On whether his life has changed since being drafted: "No, not at all. Other than football, no. Now I wake up at 5:00 in the morning and I'm over here all day. That's the only way my life has changed. In a personal aspect, it hasn't changed at all. I'm still the same person, and I still do the same things I always did."

On whether the veterans have been hazing the rookies: "They've been pretty easy, so they'll probably be tough on us sometime in training camp. I'm not really looking forward to that, but I'll have to put up with it."

S Dawan Landry On whether he has become faster during the offseason: "I lost a couple of pounds. I probably dropped two or three pounds."

On if being a lower-round pick has driven him to perform better each year: "You always have something to prove. It's just going out there and showing you belong and being a part of this Ravens defense."

On whether he has become a leader in the absence of the team's veterans: "With those guys not here right now, I take it upon myself to communicate with the guys. With a lot of young guys around, I have to put that responsibility on my shoulders."

On getting to know all of the new coaches and players on the team: "It's going really well. The new coaches seem cool and it's been really fun, and it has just been a different atmosphere out here."

On whether it's fun lining up against new players on offense this season: "Everything is pretty much new to us on the defensive end. It's just fun right now."

On how he feels about his growth and the way he's been playing: "I feel pretty good right now. I just want to get better each and every day. That's the way I'm approaching it."

On which factor is helping him improve the most: "It's just coming in and working hard each and every day. I'm just taking that approach."

On how the high tempo practices are helping the team early on: "It's keeping us really fast right now. It's really keeping up the pace of the game. Coach [Cam] Cameron has those guys playing really fast right now and that's helping us right now."

On how the speed and pace of the game are helping out the defense: "It's making us make our calls a lot quicker. It's making us see the offense and reacting a lot quicker."

T Jared Gaither

On how he has prepared for the upcoming season: "I'm going to be me. I'm just going to go out there and go at it every day. Nothing is going to change. I'm going to give it 110 percent every day and go out there and work."

On Cam Cameron's belief that he was the most improved player during the offseason: "This is my season. I have been looking forward to it since the beginning of last year."

On how Jonathan Ogden's retirement decision affects his play: "I'm not sure what J.O. [Jonathan Ogden] is going to do. It would be great to have him back. He's a great player and a great guy. I'm going to put my head down, and I'm going forward, and if he does come back then we will be that much better. It would be better for the team and that's my goal, is to be there for the team."

On how Ogden's presence has made him a better player: "He's helped me out a great deal. I think anytime you can be around someone of his caliber, I think it can help you out a lot as a person and as a player on the field. He did a lot of things for me. He talked to me a lot. Just being next to him and able to ask questions has helped me a lot."

On what he has improved on the most: "I think, mentally, I learned a lot. There was a little bit of a commotion with coaches changing, but that's all smooth now, and we are on our way."

On his growth since last season and how he has matured: "I had to do that very quick when I got drafted in the Supplemental [Draft last July]. Since then it's just been about finding things out. I was getting ready then, and I have to be ready now."

On how he prepares himself to play mentally: "If you think about it, you can do it. It's like they say, "If you believe, than you can achieve." I'm going to focus on the plays and study the plays, and I'm going to go in there and look at film. That's going to help me mentally. Anywhere I can get ahead and anytime I can put more time in to make me better, then that's me doing it mentally."

On when he believes he finally grasped how to play in the NFL last season: "I have a lot of work to do. I don't have a grasp on anything, I believe. I'm working really hard and learning the plays and nailing them down, but there's always the next step. I don't feel like I ever have a complete grasp."

On the physical play rookie T Oniel Cousins exerts on the field: "He's a tough guy. All of us are tough. When they look to draft somebody, I believe they look to draft someone tough. He's definitely tough. He keeps up on the defense and he's a good guy."


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