COURTESY OF BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
Now that you're here from the start of training camp, how much more comfortable are you feeling? And how much do you take it upon yourself to be a leader for a very young position group? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, I'm a lot more comfortable with the defense and the scheme and everything this year. Getting those Zoom meetings in OTAs, and actually getting the full install of the plays and everything, it's been great. So, [there's] definitely a lot less thinking on the field and just flying around and playing."
What kind of advice are you giving to LB Patrick Queen and LB Malik Harrison?(Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "I think the biggest thing, just coming from college to the pros, is how much you have to emphasize technique. So, just working with little things here. They've done a great job already. You can tell the jumps they've made from Day One to now – like two weeks into it. They're progressing really well. It's basically just technique, and the speed of the game you'll adjust to quickly."
Talking about those two rookie linebackers [Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison], what has stood out to you about them skill-wise? (Childs Walker) "The talent's there. Like I said, it's just working on technique and everything. With Patrick Queen, he's what you want in a first-round pick. He has the talent, he understands defensive concepts, he has some 'dog' in him, so he's going to be as good as he wants to be. Malik [Harrison] is right there. He has a big frame, and he just has to work on his technique and being able to use it, and he's going to be a great player as well."
Were you surprised that the Ravens locked you up and not ILB Josh Bynes? You guys came in at the same time, and the Ravens had a history with Bynes, yet they chose to go ahead and sign you. What were your thoughts, and were you surprised? (Kirk McEwen) "I [wasn't] too surprised, just for the simple fact that I embraced special teams. I know that's a big priority for the Ravens here, and it's a staple of my game, and I'm sure I'm going to continue to do that. So, I think special teams was the tipping point there."
What are your expectations for yourself this season? You talked about being more comfortable now that you know the system a little bit better. What are you looking to prove this year? (Ryan Mink) "I'm looking to go out to play. It's whatever the coaches want me to do. If it's to play linebacker at a high level, I'm preparing to do that. If it's [to] be a special teams ace, I'll be ready to do that. Anything to help this team win, that's what I'm about."
Take us on the field: It's teammates against teammates in practice, but it gets heated. How does that happen, and how do you handle it? (Mark Viviano) "Especially when you don't have pads on, and people are going at different tempos, you get into it here and there. But at the end of the day, it's just football; stuff like that is going to happen. You want stuff like that to happen – the aggressive, little squabbles here and there. And at the end of the day, there's no ill-will towards anybody; it's just what it is."
What are you doing when players fight during training camp? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre)"[I] just focus on the next play – the next rep. It's not like a huge thing. It happens. It's part of the game – part of practice. I don't think I've ever had a camp without a fight or a squabble."
People always talk about the speed of this defense and how complex it can be with defensive coordinator Don 'Wink' Martindale. You've played different places. What do you think sets apart this defense compared to some other ones that you've played with? (Jamison Hensley) "I think just the aggression. You're not over-coached here. You're allowed to be yourself and make plays, [and] at the same time, staying within the scheme of everything. You're not [harping] on the tiniest details that keep you trapped in a box. 'Wink' [defensive coordinator Don Martindale] and [linebackers coach] Mike [Macdonald], they let you make plays, so I feel like that's the best thing. And just being aggressive; we're playing man, we're pressing you, we're blitzing you, we're getting after you."