Ravens' Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris Quotes 8.22.20
COURTESY OF BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
I know you obviously have a history with G D.J. Fluker, but just in general, how would you assess the competition there at right guard and on the interior of the offensive line? (Aaron Kasinitz) "Right now going through this phase … This is our what, fourth day in pads? We're just breaking the ice right now. Each guy is just getting a little bit more familiar with his position and the technique and the fundamentals involved. So, right now we're in the growth pattern. It's encouraging though, because we see good growth in all of the guys."
What is the major difference between this scheme and some others that you've been involved in? And why does it work? (Mike Preston) "I started off my career many, many, many years ago running the 'Split Back Veer.' So, we have a little … I've been fortunate enough to be exposed to quite a few offenses over time; zones, power, gap schemes, pivot pools – all of those kinds of schemes. We have … [offensive coordinator] Greg [Roman] does a great job of having a variety of offensive run plays and pass protections, and we'll build that all up together. We try to fit it all as a puzzle for us."
Can you talk about your coaching style? What have you picked up from some other coaches? What do you try to get across to your players? (Mike Preston) "I try to come across, first of all, to be a teacher, and teach, and educate and share knowledge. To me, that's the most important thing, because if I can do that, I can share some of the things that I know, that I've done and [that] have worked for me, and then I know how to fix those problems when we have them. Or I'll have a pretty good idea how to fix those problems. So, that's how I look at it; try to become a teacher first and educate the guys, give shared knowledge and then each day is a new day with each player. Some days, we have to motivate a little bit more than others, and some days, you don't have to. So, that's just part of coaching."
How do you see the rookies developing? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "The rookies are really developing very well. They are really a very good group. All of them have come in here … We started rookie camp and they did wonderful. They've jumped in with the veterans and they're starting to learn. They're really growing in all areas of fundamentals, technique, knowledge and communication."
T Ronnie Stanley had a great year last year. Have you seen anything, any parts of his game where he has even improved or he's trying to focus on this year? (Jamison Hensley) "I think what he's done is … I think Ronnie [Stanley], like all players, we all get back [to fundamentals]. And that's basketball, that's hockey, that's football, that's baseball. You've got to get back to the fundamentals again. You've got to build the base, and I think Ronnie is doing the same thing, like the rest of the linemen. Right now, we're trying to knock the rust off, so they can begin to play more spontaneous in their reactions. As I say, we're building motor skills. So, those motor skills become very functionable quickly, because of sight recognition."
We've all seen G D.J. Fluker's physical transformation this offseason, and he looks great out there. How is he adjusting to a new scheme? Is there overlap that you can help him with, because of your time coaching him prior? (Ryan Mink) "I think with 'Fluke' [D.J. Fluker], he is a willing, willing young man. He will work. He's a big, imposing, physical body. Now, we're trying to channel that physicality in all his fundamentals and technique, and again, try to develop those skills and get him up to speed with quickness, changing direction and those things. He's working diligently at it, so that's a plus. And I had him for three years, and he's a pleasure to work with. I'm telling you; his heart is as big as our auditorium. He's got a heart of gold. He will … He did things around San Diego without us ever knowing. He went out on Christmas Day and went to a detention center and spent the whole day with those kids, just trying to be a mentor. He went out and bought his own pizzas and shared it with those kids. But that's D.J. Fluker – like I said, he's got a heart of gold."
How do you see G/C Matt Skura moving around after the injury? (Todd Karpovich)"It's nice to see him back from that injury. He came out there and we've got him in some drills; start him off in fundamentals and technique. From there, we start putting him in plays, like today. He practiced really well for us today. So, he's coming on. The medical people, I'll leave that up to them – I coach. I let that department do their job, and when they tell me, 'Joe, he can do more.' We follow protocol here."