Ravens rookie minicamp II, in their own words

OWINGS MILLS -- Questions and answers from the Baltimore Ravens' rookie minicamp


Head Coach John Harbaugh

On what he has learned after five months of being head coach: "The biggest challenge is how big the job is. It's a big job because you're responsible to a lot of people. So far it's been exciting and fun. We've got a great organization. There are good people in the organization, so it's a good job."

On keeping four quarterbacks on the roster: "On the roster? I think that'd be really hard to do. It's always a possibility, but it would be hard to do."

On his impressions from watching T Jonathan Ogden's retirement: "It's kind of neat, I guess, in some ways, to have been here for five moths and see two of the greatest players [also QB Steve McNair] in the history of the game retire. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but it was a great experience. And to take that in and to see what Jonathan Ogden is all about, even over the last few conversations we've had, it's an honor."

On being a "hands-on" head coach: "Andy Reid was hands-on with the offense. I think football coaches like to coach. We've got a great staff, and they've been gracious enough to let me step in and coach ball a little bit."

Defensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach Rex Ryan

On the team-building aspect of playing in the NFL Softball Challenge: "It was great. John [Harbaugh] said, ‘Rex, let's play in the softball deal.' And I thought, ‘Sure, it can't be that tough.' I think I popped three up right away, and then I finally got in the groove a little bit. But, it was a lot of fun. It's just good to compete against the other teams and all that kind of stuff. It was a great time."

On how having a late rookie camp affected the defensive players: "I like the way we did it here. I don't know if it's been done anywhere else. Usually, you have the rookies in first to see what your draft class looks like, and you have a lot of tryout guys and things like that. But, they don't know anything, so here it's just the opposite. They've been with us for several weeks now, so you can actually get something accomplished.

With that being said, we had [Brad] Roach, the quarterback – a big 6-foot-7 quarterback – playing defensive end in the team period. But, other than that, it's great. They're way ahead of the curve here, and these are valuable reps, reps that a lot of times – especially the guys who are running with the third team – they might not get these kinds of reps. So, it's been fantastic."

On the versatility of rookie LB Tavares Gooden: "We're teaching him how to play the dime linebacker spot, something that Bart Scott plays in our sub-package. And, here's an unusual guy, a guy who's a sub-4.6 guy in the 40. I think he high-jumped 6-9 out of high school.

He's definitely got that athleticism, and we've really been happy with the way he's picked up our system. He's able to play multiple spots, and with the kind of athleticism he has, we'll probably be using him in the season. He ought to be a shining star on special teams as well. I can't wait to see that first kickoff when those guys are running down there."

On practicing against offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's offense: "It's great. Not as much today, we're kind of slowing it down for the rookies, but for the vets it's super high-tempo. A lot of no-huddle, a lot of shifts, motions – you name it, you get it. He's a smart football coach; you see everything, and it's great. It's like the ultimate chess match. He'll move a piece, then we move one and vice-versa.

It's a great challenge for us every day in practice, and I'm sure he feels the same way. It's been great. We're really building a football team here and the coaching staff, and I feel that closeness here that you'd think we've been here together a long time. Obviously, Cam is a great coach, and he's got a lot of great coaches with him. Hue Jackson is a coordinator in his own right. You've got John Matsko, William Montgomery, [Jim] Hostler. You've got them all, so it's an all-star staff over there, and it's great to see."

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