Ravens, in their own words

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

Head Coach John Harbaugh

On the Ravens' offense running trick plays: "We got a little creative out there today, you noticed that. Actually, a lot of that work was team stuff, too, against the defense. But, Cam's got a very creative mind, and you see some of that at practice."

On the skirmish between T Oniel Cousins and OLB Dan Cody: "Oniel's been involved in two now, hasn't he? We're not keeping track of wins or losses. We're just trying to get back on the line and learn the next play as fast as we can."

On T Jared Gaither not working in practice today: "Jared has migraines right now, so we've got to get some tests [done]. We did some tests yesterday, and we're doing some tests today, so he couldn't practice with the migraines."

On how the team is grasping everything in camp: "Great question. Where we've come from and where we are now is really night and day. And it's really that way with any football team when you start building a foundation every year. You start from the beginning, and you try to build a foundation. It's especially true when you've got a new program you're putting in. Our guys have done a really, really good job of adapting and making this program their own. Really, the program is based on who they are anyway. These are guys who like football. We talked about that. They love to work, they work really hard, and the guys who've been here have just been unbelievable. I couldn't be happier with what we've accomplished. A great example of that is Jarret Johnson. ‘Double-J' is a guy who has been here every single lift, every single run, he's made every single practice, and he's been starting for a long time in this league. He has really emerged as one of the real leaders on the defense. He's done a great job."

On whether he expects T Jonathan Ogden to make the decision about his retirement this week: "The expectation is that we're going to hear from J.O. He's got a golf tournament here on Friday, so I know he's coming in town. He's been in contact with Ozzie [Newsome] pretty regularly. I know Ozzie's got a feel for what J.O. is going to do. He hasn't shared that with me exactly yet. J.O. is going to announce it probably by the end of the week, I think."

On if the team has been practicing assuming Ogden will not be returning: "The point is we haven't had him. He hasn't been here practicing with us, so you practice [and] the fact is you don't have him. Jared Gaither has jumped into left tackle. He's young; he's not J.O., by any stretch. But, he's had a chance to watch J.O. for a year, and he's got some of the same kind of skill set that J.O. has. He's got a long way to go to become a great offensive tackle in this league, but we're really pleased with his progress."

On whether he has any major concern with the team: "Sure, you're concerned about how good you're going to be. As a coach you think about it every day – how can we get better, where can we get better, individually and schematically – you think about it every day."

On the performance of rookie T Joe Reitz having changed positions: "Joe looks more natural at tackle than he did at tight end. He's athletic for an offensive tackle. He's got a long way to go. He's got to gain a lot of weight and become a lot stronger, but he moves his feet well for an offensive tackle. He's a very smooth, fluid guy. So, he's got a chance to play offensive tackle in the NFL."

On if the fact that some of the veterans aren't in camp detracts from the quality of the practices: "It doesn't detract from practice because we're having great practices. You practice with the guys who are here. Every coach wants every player at every practice. Now, in the NFL you've got voluntary, you've got mandatory, [and] guys make decisions. Certain guys need practice at this stage more than other guys do, but we want them all here. Some guys have been unable to be here, but we're happy with the guys who've been here and the job they've done."

On what he's seen from the defensive line since he's taken over as coach: "The defensive line has been an impressive group, all the way through from Day One, in the weight room. You watch them down there hitting that buck board, that's impressive. [Defensive line coach] Clarence Brooks does an unbelievably good job with our D-line. There's probably no D-line in the league that works harder than they do, and it's been fun watching them work."

On what he's seen from the offensive line in the OTAs: "The O-line is young. [Offensive line coach] John Matsko and [assistant offensive line coach] Andy Moeller are working with the O-line. They've got them in here early, they're keeping them late. Those guys want to be here, they're working every second of the day to become a unit. The great thing about a young offensive line is that you have a chance [to mold them]. There are not a lot of bad habits in there, and our coaches have a chance to start from the ground up and mold an offensive line, really, from the ground floor up. We think we've got talent in there, but what we don't have is experience. There's not much knowledge there, and they've got a lot to learn. But, they've learned as much as they could learn in the last two months."

On whether he wants versatility or stability from the offensive line: "From a versatility standpoint, it's important to have guys, in the case of injury, that can play multiple positions. You can only activate seven or eight offensive linemen in any game, so guys have to play multiple positions. But, you need stability in the sense that they need to play together. We're not going to go into a game and start moving guys around. Our left side needs to play together, and they need to be comfortable with one another, and that's what we're working for – stability more than anything right now."

On how rookie T David Hale has done in practice: "David Hale has done a really nice job. He's a tough guy. He's another guy that likes football. He's got a ways to go in terms of bending, playing with power in a good low football position, and he knows that, and he's working on it every day. He's a tough, hard-nosed football player."

On what players have stood out in the voluntary camps: "All the quarterbacks have done a great job. We've talked about that. They're competing, and they're competing against themselves, they're competing against the offense. They've done really well. It's been good to see Todd Heap's progress. He had the hamstring [injury], and early on he was unable to do anything, and he's out here running around. He'll tell me, ‘Coach, you haven't seen anything yet.' So, I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of it, but he's had a good couple of weeks here."

On whether TE Dan Wilcox will be ready to play by the start of training camp: "We expect Dan Wilcox to be full-go the first day of training camp. He was out here running individuals this week, and he looked pretty good."

OLB Dan Cody

On returning to the field after injuries: "I think I've been getting better. The first one you have to push through it. There's always a little bit of a question mark there. I feel like I've been able to take a few shots here and there and body up with some bigger guys. It's behind me now. It's just part of it. When you get hurt so many times in a row you feel like you're jinxed, but it's behind me now."

On if he agrees with positive comments from defensive coordinator Rex Ryan about his improvement: "I do. I think the biggest thing is getting over these injuries. You have to learn the game over a little bit, to some degree. But we've been practicing for seven or eight weeks now, so now that I'm back on the field I feel like my old self."

On if time on the sideline helps development in other areas: "I suppose. It teaches you a lot of patience. But once you start playing again it feels like that time went by so quickly. The last few years have gone by like that."

G/C Jason Brown On learning from T Jonathan Ogden: "He brought me along so fast. He helped me to definitely be a better player. With him just going out there, that gave me veteran leadership. He wouldn't always tell me what to do, the right things to do, but you know what, if I ever did something wrong he would definitely let me know. He'd tell me I needed to step my game up. I was like a young pup going out there, saying to myself, ‘I just want to make this guy happy, I just want to please him.' And after every single double-block we would have I'd ask, ‘Is that good enough J.O.?' He'd be like, ‘Yeah, that's good buddy.' Coming from a guy like that, if my career could be half of what his career is – what would that be, like five Pro Bowls for me? Honestly, that's the pinnacle of our sport."

On if Ogden made playing look easy: "Of course. Things that we'd work on, the fundamentals we do day-in and day-out, it would just seem to come to him, almost as if he was made to play left tackle. Very few people in this league are like that, where you'd say that person was made for that position. Jonathan Ogden was born for left tackle."

On the definition of roles in the offensive line going into training camp: "We've had valuable time to come together. We have a lot of younger guys, and [the coaches] have made the transition to move me. We've done a pretty decent job out there, but we still have a long week to go. It's not bread and butter right now, but of course, by training camp, we'll get more comfortable with Cam Cameron's offense."

On if snapping the ball was an adjustment: "You know what, I played for three years at center in college. It's coming back pretty fast." On the time frame of his adjustment: "It's fast. Instead of playing guard where the defensive tackles are about a little more than a foot away from you, right now they're crowding the ball. They're breathing right down my throat."

On the chemistry building in the young offensive line: "We have a lot of young, eager guys out there, including myself – I just turned 25. We want to make this team great, we want to come together. We want to be a family out there. We want to be great."

On if he's grown as a player: "Definitely. At first, I didn't know what it meant to be a starter. Seeing how guys like Mike Flynn and Jonathan Ogden came in here day-in and day-out, even on the off days. They did all of the little things like watching film, getting the concepts, spending the extra time in the weight room. It's all of the little things, even off of the football field, that help you to be a better player on the football field."

On if it was a different offseason for him coming into camp: "Definitely. I knew that it was going to be a larger transition for me, especially moving to the inside. Also, [it is good] knowing that I might take on a leadership role on our offense."

On what he did differently: "First of all, getting together with every single guy in our position group, coming together so we'll be more of a family. Of course we were close before, but we need to be as one. It can't just be about fingers; we need to be a fist."

QB Joe Flacco On if he is gaining confidence as time passes: "I think so. I'm definitely getting used to everything, getting used to being out there and really getting used to translating things from the meetings to just getting out and doing it."

On the importance of getting reps: "You want to get out there and see that practice speed. Obviously, reps help. With everybody being here, obviously reps in practice are limited for all of us, so it's tough in that sense. All the reps you can get, you learn something. Every single rep, you learn something. So if you get those reps, it's huge for me. Hopefully, when camp comes, I'll continue to get those reps and continue to grow."

On how he's handling learning the offense: "I think I understand what they've given me so far. I'm not sure how much they have left to give us. I feel like I'm picking it up pretty well, and I'm trying to do my best at picking it up. I'm getting in there and trying to figure it out as fast as I can. I think it's working out pretty well right now.

"It's obviously different than being in college, when you're the starting quarterback and you know everything that's going on. You know your team and things like that. When you're the rookie and not familiar with running the offense, you try and go out there and act like you are. It's obviously different, but it's something I'm adjusting to and all of us are adjusting to. It's something that, as time goes on, we'll all get better at."

On whether throwing to his brother and dad before joining OTAs helped: "Anytime you can throw the ball, it helps you. So I throw the ball as much as I can. I've always done that my whole life. In order to throw the ball the way we need to at this level, you need to throw the ball all the time. Throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball. That's what they were doing for me, just being guys I can go out there and throw the ball to."

On if he enjoyed running trick plays in practice: "We had a little fun today. Those things are always fun to run and to show the coaches you can do them and they can trust you with them. We've got to make sure we do a good job with that in practice. The idea is to trust in us to keep them in for the games."

On getting used to the media attention: "I don't know. I'm still not used to this."

On how much time he's putting in: "I get here around 5:45 in the morning, even though we don't get out until dinnertime. During the season, it's going to be even longer than that. I'm doing as much as I can to work in the meetings and trying to learn as much as I can. Me and Brad Roach, another quarterback, are roommates together. It kind of makes it easier trying to learn. It's always good to have somebody there involved with this."

On if he's afraid to make mistakes in front of the veterans: "No, I'm not afraid to make mistakes in front of them. We're all trying to pick up the offense. All of us don't want to make mistakes, but that's part of the game. It's how you react to that. I'm getting into the huddle. I'm calling the play, so I tell everyone, ‘Let's hurry up and get to the line and have some tempo.' I'm doing what I think I have to do, and I'm going to continue to do that."

T Oniel Cousins

On making the adjustment from college to the NFL: "It's going good so far. I'm learning the offense and just trying to come out and have a good start."

On if he has a mean streak: "I just like to be physical and have fun. I go out there and I have fun. I love what I do."

On his skirmish with OLB Dan Cody: "I was just trying to finish a block. We're all out there competing. At the end of the day we're all one team. What happens on the field stays on the field."

On learning a new offense: "It is a lot to learn. You have to take it one day at a time and try to get better every day. You have to study hard and work to get better."

On whether he feels like he is improving: "Yes, I feel that's been happening. I have been getting better each practice. Definitely, it's a different level of football. You've got to be ready. You have to prepare yourself mentally and physically. You've got to be ready to go."


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