Ravens' G/C Bradley Bozeman Quotes 8.19.20
COURTESY OF BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
I know a lot of people are asking the big question – is how do the Ravens replace G Marshal Yanda? As a group that's trying to do that, how big of a challenge do you think that is collectively? (Jamison Hensley) "Marshal [Yanda] left a really big hole for our offensive line to fill. He was a great mentor to so many guys on the team – me, myself. We're just trying to work every day to step up and fill that role. We have a lot of guys in different rotations. Haven't quite figured out the combination yet, but we're going to keep working and just make sure that we're the best group that we can be."
How would you describe this camp so far? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "It's been a lot different. The ramp-up period has been, actually, kind of nice. We've been really just getting into it, taking it step-by-step and just continuing to grow every day. It's been really good for the young guys. They've gotten a lot of good reps. We're just continuing to grow. I think the practice was longer today – it was two hours. It's previously been one-hour-and-45 [minutes]. So, it continuously gets longer – which is good for us. We got to get some more team periods in today. I got a lot of really good work out there on the field today. We're just excited to be able to hit and just get after it."
You're not that far removed from the start of your career. But seeing how this spring and summer has played out with all the circumstances, how difficult would that have been for you a few years ago as a rookie offensive lineman? (Luke Jones) "It would've been really tough. Everything was virtual to start, and then we just, kind of … The rookies got here and just had to be ready to go. They were fortunate enough to have that time to be able to study, to be able to really take in the information and learn it. But they didn't get the opportunity to really put it on the field, and now they're putting it on the field and they're just learning as they go and trying to put more things together. I'm a hands-on guy. I like to run it out and rep it out, and that's just where I learn and grow as a player. So, it would've been tough on me to be able to learn it, but it's an opportunity they've got, and they have to make the best of it. Hopefully, their film will show."
It came down to the end of the preseason last year for you to get that starting job and you started all year. And then, you see G Tyre Phillips, G Ben Bredeson get drafted [and] G D.J. Fluker comes in. I know you're a team guy, but what kind of pressure does that put on you to really step up your game? (Kirk McEwen) "For me, I try to play the best that I can. It's not about 'Fluke' [D.J. Fluker], it's not about any of the guys that are around me for my personal performance. For me, it's just going out and being the best that I can be. And whoever is the best for the team deserves the job – whether it's me or not. And I'm going to continue to work and try to perfect my craft and just continue to just try to get better every single day. Whoever wins the job wins it. A lesson my dad told me a really long time ago … I think I was playing Pee Wee football … He was like … We had just lost to our rivals and I was upset, I was crying. I was like 11 or 12-years-old. And he goes, 'You know, if you can go home, look yourself in the mirror and say you gave everything you had, you have nothing to be down on yourself about.' And that's how I live my football career, and I go out and put everything that I can into it."
Now that you've had some time to reflect on your caravan across the country and speaking to so many schools, what is the big takeaway now that it's sunk in a little bit? (Pete Gilbert) "Just the trip in general?" (Reporter: Yes, what does that feel like? What does it mean to you now after some time has gone by?) "It was great. It was a great experience for [my wife] Nikki and I. We got to go cross-country with our foundation – The Bradley and Nikki Bozeman Foundation. It was cut short a little bit because of COVID[-19], but we made the best of the situation. We got to, I think, 13 different stops. We were short by four stops – four different schools that we weren't able to make the trip to. But we talked to over … I think it was over 10,000 students … No, 100,000 students – sorry – and it was just an absolutely, really great experience to be able to go and talk to so many different kids and just how open everyone was with who we were, what we were talking about and our cause. Something that we really learned was that no matter [if] you're in California, or Winnemucca, Nevada – or wherever it may be – the issues were still the same. Everyone still struggled with bullying – cyberbullying, and the videos and everything else. It really solidified in us that no matter where you go or who you are, bullying is an issue. That's our cause and we want to try to help some kids out there that grew up in my shoes – being the big [fictional character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory] 'Augustus Gloop' kid – just trying to find their place and their meaning in this world."
What lessons did you take away from last year being a 16-game starter? How have you become a better player entering this year? (Ryan Mink) "You have to put your best out on the field, no matter who you're playing, no matter what the situation is. You've heard the story before … But Marshal Yanda … We're playing the [Cleveland] Browns the first time when we had our last loss last season … And we're down by two touchdowns or three touchdowns – whatever it was – [with] like 40 seconds left on the clock. He just looks at me and he goes, 'Block your butt off.' He didn't use 'butt,' (laughter) but he was just like, 'Block your butt off. I don't care what the situation is.' It's just about a 13-year vet going in [and] we're down, and he could be like, 'Whatever, just get the job done [and] do whatever.' But he still had that same amount of intensity where as soon as we came into the game. Just learning that – just to do your best on every single play, every snap, no matter what the situation is – is definitely a key in this league."
Want to get our perspective on one of your teammates. C/G Matt Skura was carted off the field in Los Angeles [Week 12 of 2019]. Now, he's back on the field with you guys. Just to see that comeback, your thoughts? (Mark Viviano) "I think it's absolutely awesome. Matt [Skura] has been working his tail off. I was able to train with Matt for a couple weeks in the offseason and the guy … He is grinding 100 percent. He's doing everything you can. I know he's been working his tail off and just trying to get back … Get back to the player he was. I think he's pretty close to that now. He's out there running with us; he's out there going. We're excited to have him back on the field. To see him go down the way he did last year, it's terrible … No matter the position, no matter what team you're on. But he came back stronger and I think he's ready to play."
What have been your initial impressions of G D.J. Fluker – your new teammate up front? (Jamison Hensley) "So, I was fortunate enough to meet D.J. [Fluker] at some Alabama camps when I was a young guy coming out of high school. D.J. helped me out at some Alabama camps and different things like that. So, I had a small relationship with him there through recruiting. And then to come here … D.J. has a huge heart. The guy wants to do the very best that he can, no matter the situation. He's got a lot of energy. He brings the fire. He's a big, strong, physical guy. He's like six [feet], six [inches] – he's just a really big force up front. Excited to have him on our team; excited to see what we're going to do. We're just continuing to mesh every day and just try to keep working and make each other better."
You said G D.J. Fluker brings the fire [and] he's got a lot of energy. Is there anything
in particular that sticks out? (Aaron Kasinitz) "He's just always hype. We're going into a team run today and he's just going crazy. He wants to come off the ball [and] fire off. He's just that guy. He's bringing the energy right now. Excited to see that. It's always good to have that guy in your group."
I think when we see G D.J. Fluker, we know he's a physical specimen. Are there athletic feats – whether it's on the field [or] off the field – that just leave you amazed? (Jonas Shaffer) "The guy … He's huge. What is he? He's six [feet], six [inches], six [feet], seven [inches], 350 pounds and can move really well. He's just continuing to come into this offense and progressing every day – trying to learn the playbook. We run a complicated system, but I think he's doing a pretty good job with it."