Ravens' HC John Harbaugh Quotes 8.19.20
COURTESY OF BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
Opening statement: "I appreciate you guys being here. Most of you, I saw you out on the sideline today, and I know you enjoyed that practice. That was fun, competitive and [there was] a lot of enthusiasm. It came down to the last play – a two-point play – and that play is under review right now. So, the defense feels that they got the stop; that's how it was ruled, as a stop. But we'll find out once we go to review, once we see the tape. So, it's a lot of fun. And I appreciate the effort of our guys – the enthusiasm. Third day in pads, [and we're] starting to really ramp that part of it up, and I was really pleased with the way they practiced and how they executed for this early in that style of practice.
"With that, we had a couple things come up. Eli Wolf – you saw at the end – had a collision deal where he didn't finish. There were two plays left in practice, so I don't know the extent of that right now. I don't think it's going to be a big, serious thing, but we will see once he gets in the training room with the doctors. Chris Moore still has his finger [injury], and Antoine Wesley had a shoulder situation that is still being evaluated. I believe he is going to see a shoulder specialist on that. That could be a few weeks, and whether he'll need surgery or something like that, I really don't know. We'll see where that goes. So, with that, we'll open it up to questions."
Talking about that hit, how good is it to see CB Jimmy Smith out there, being physical like that and have him back after being a free agent and coming back?(Jamison Hensley) "Jimmy [Smith] is legit. It's interesting, he hasn't really been talked about, but he took off 10, 12 pounds, and it was muscle. He was a very big, thick guy in his low-220's. He's maybe 207 [pounds] now, 208, somewhere in there, and I really think it's helped him. I think he looks quick and fast and really, really looks good out there. Jimmy's having a really good camp."
Like you said would happen, we're seeing a lot of offensive linemen rotating around and playing different positions. Obviously, that's a key part for chemistry and getting a rhythm together. Is there a time you'd like to have that set by? Or where are you in that process? (Jeff Zrebiec) "The latest would be the game week. That would be the very latest we'd want to have it set. We'd like to have it set before that. I think our goal would be the week before – the week leading into the game week, which is really only a week and a half away. So, by that Monday, we'd probably like to have that set up and organized. Whether we'll announce it or not, I don't know. We might; we might not. It just depends whether we think it helps us not to or helps us to. We don't know, but I would like to have it set by that week."
I saw you spend some time with special teams this morning – giving instructions and looking at them. How do you think the rookies are progressing and getting up to speed in what they need to do on special teams? (Todd Karpovich) "I think they're doing a great job. I really do. This rookie class is very football oriented. They're quick learners, and they're all ball, and you really appreciate that about them. So, they're picking it up very quickly. Whether they're picking it up quickly enough to have winning reps in a game against special teams players, who are veteran specials teams players, who know how to play, that's always a question mark, because that's really tough. It's a tough ask, but they're doing as well as could be expected by every stretch, and I think they're doing a really good job. So, a number of those guys will have a chance to play special teams for us. We'll just have to see – as we get even more competitive reps – see how they hold up in practice through those more competitive reps."
If defensive-minded coaches – when they become head coaches – want to see the defense win practices, and offensive-minded coaches – when they become head coaches – want to run their plays, you coming from special teams, what side do you come down on? (Kirk McEwen) "I get accused by the offense of being a defensive coach, and by the defense of being an offensive coach, of course. I'm probably more involved with the defense as far as a schematic point of view and day-to-day stuff, so I watch that more from that perspective. Offensively, [I watch] more from a fundamental and an execution standpoint. Then, special teams, [I watch] from both. I told the team after practice, 'The one viewpoint that really is the unbiased, in-the-middle perspective is the head coach.' I'm the one guy that really doesn't have a 'dog' in it other than the team. I look at it from the team perspective, so, when there's a good rep, both sides execute well, somebody makes a play, somebody doesn't, that's what I really root for. So, those coverages where a defensive back is all over the receiver, great coverage, everything is done right, [but] the receiver makes the play, I'm happy, and I'll tell the 'DB' [defensive back], 'Hey, that's great coverage. That's great coverage. Keep doing that.' Same thing the other way. So, I'm rooting for execution on both sides."
Can you talk about CB Marlon Humphrey and what you've seen from him so far in training camp, especially with his attitude and coming off the strong season he had last year? (Mike Preston) "That's a really good question, because he's a young guy [and] came off a season where he began to get the accolades, right? Well, he started to recognize how well he's playing, and I would say he's notched it up one more notch from an attention to detail and intensity perspective. Marlon is all over the field. He's physical, he's running to the ball, [and his] eyes are where they are supposed to be in coverage. I would say he's taking it up another notch, which is really impressive, because some guys aren't mature enough to handle the attention, and he's really done a good job of that so far in training camp. And I don't think for one second anything will change going forward, because that's just the type of person he is."
You talked about TE Eli Wolf and what happened at the end of practice. That aside, do you still see the guys competing for the third tight end job as neck-and-neck? And, what have you like from what you've seen from each one so far? (Childs Walker)"I would say that. They've both played well to their skillsets. Eli has been really good in the passing game downfield, and he's hanging tough with the blocking. Charles [Scarff] is actually a big, big guy, but he was more of a receiving tight end in college at Rutgers, and he's shown that, but his blocking is really coming on. He's blocking into his size now, so he's done a really good job of that. Jerell [Adams], this is a veteran player. He has a reputation for blocking, but I saw a play today in the passing game that was tremendous. And as the pads come on, I think we'll see him in the … As he gets more opportunities in the blocking, with the heavy stuff that we're going [into] the next few days, I think we'll see his blocking. So, I would say, absolutely, those guys are in a real-tight race there."
G D.J. Fluker has talked about how he has tried to lose a lot of weight this offseason. How has he looked from your perspective, physically? (Jamison Hensley) "He [D.J. Fluker] has looked excellent. [He's] moving very well. This is a big guy, and it's all muscle, as you guys know; you saw the body comp stuff there that he put out. And he's moving very well. I'm really impressed with him. He's done a great job. His attitude has been excellent. His work ethic, we had heard it was good, and I would say it's been better than good. It's been an 'A,' 'A-plus.' So, everything's thumbs up with D.J."
We make a big deal about replacing G Marshal Yanda. Is Marshal's name even brought up at all at camp right now? Or are you just trying to move forward? (Shawn Stepner) "Sure, we talk about Marshal [Yanda], because he's on tape. So, we show the training tape, and you see Marshal making the plays and making the blocks and doing the technique, and we're coaching off of that every day. And 'Joe D.' [offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris] always is coaching off of Marshal's technique and the outcomes of the plays and all of it. But the other side of the coin is we're moving on. This is the offensive line we have now. They're moving forward. Marshal's not here – Marshal's always here, [and] he's always a Raven – but this is our offensive line now, the way it's constituted. And we love these guys. I think they're doing a heck of a job so far."
There's been talk about TE Nick Boyle's improvement as a receiver. I'm just curious what you've seen with that, and also, how that may play into this year, particularly with TE Hayden Hurst gone? (Cliff Brown) "I really appreciate the question, because I do appreciate Nick [Boyle] getting recognized that way, but I've always thought he was a really good receiver – all the way back to Delaware. You watch the tape, you watch the Combine; Nick has always been able to adjust to balls, he's always had good hands, [and] he's always made plays in the passing game. To see him make those plays, I don't … I think he's improved – absolutely. He's gotten better, just as you'd expect, but I don't think he was ever a minus in the passing game to start with. I just don't think he got thrown the ball much in college, and he's been blocking so well for us, it takes over the attention. So, he's definitely a weapon in the passing game, and for you to recognize that is really great, because I think he's a well-rounded tight end. I really do."
We can see LB Patrick Queen's speed just by watching, but when you asses his communication and the stuff he needs to do in the middle of the defense, how would you asses how he's handled that in the first few days? (Aaron Kasinitz) "Good question. I think he's right on schedule. He wants to be right, he really studies, he's very conscientious, and he's a rookie at the same time – without reps in the offseason. So, I would say he's doing really well – better than anticipated, but he's not there yet. He has a lot to learn, and that's going to be the case all year. Throughout the course of the season, for rookies, every day is a new day. There is not going to be one day from now until the end of the season that will be something that they've seen before – not until the second year. [If] you talk to the second-year guys, they'll tell you that. They feel so much more in-tune because they know what to expect. So, that'll be part of it, but I also think he's going to be a real, major contributor this year, right where he's at."
Even in the rain this morning, you're not seeing picks, you're not seeing balls on the turf. There's been really good ball control. In the three days we've watched you, that's certainly been a theme from you guys. (Pete Gilbert) "[It's] definitely a theme. It's a major point of emphasis. We worked really hard on it when we didn't have pads on. And when we were doing just ball-handling and the stuff on air, we worked really hard on that; we'll continue to do it. It was a big plus – to your point – to have the rain today [and] to get out with the rain [and] the wet field. We had one other drizzly day we went out also. I love it when it rains. That's an opportunity for us to work on that ball handling."
Piggybacking off the LB Patrick Queen question, I saw LB Malik Harrison with a couple nice reps in pass coverage in those one-on-one drills. Can you talk about what you've seen from Malik so far, especially in his movement in pass coverage?(Ryan Mink) "To the physicality, the way he moves and his size, he's really talented. He's a really big person, and he moves really fluidly and smoothly. He has great body control. He's a guy that [when] you teach him footwork, he picks it up quickly – whether it's defense or special teams. That's a gift. And then, he's learning how to operate in the coverage stuff. To see that today, was good stuff for him, because for the rookies, the pass coverages aren't as sophisticated [in college]. Even as Ohio State has a sophisticated defense, it's not like here. So, the ability to adjust and feel and know where the routes are at, it takes a lifetime of playing linebacker. He made a big step from yesterday to today, and to see – like you said – the plays that he made, that was good to see."
Given all the differences in how things are being run and no preseason, there's been a lot of talk about how coaches will handle the roster numbers. Do they cut down early? Have you guys made a decision on that? Do you feel like you're going to go down with … I know you have 79 now, but do you feel like you're going to be there until the last day, or could you make a series of cuts? (Jeff Zrebiec) "That's a very good question, and it's one we have not answered yet. I think it'll depend on where we're at with the players, basically, and how we feel about the rhythm of this camp. As a head coach, finding the rhythm of this camp is a little different; it's not the same. So, you just have to use your extra-sensory perception up here – your antenna – and try to get a feel for where we're at. So, between [executive vice president & general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and myself and [executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] and the coaches, we'll be able to try to figure that out, but we have not decided that yet."