COURTESY OF BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
You really seemed to come on last year in your third season, and it's no secret you're going into a contract year – a big year for a player. With that in mind, where do you think you are in your career entering Year Four? (Luke Jones) "I'm nowhere [near] where I want to be. I'm still working. I still have the standard that I have that I want to get to. I'm just taking it a day at a time to get there. It's going to be a process, especially with how this camp is going. I just want to take advantage of every practice, every snap that I get to work on what I need to to be the best. So, that's just been my main focus."
What can you tell us about your training camp so far? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "It's been a rollercoaster, just with the COVID-19 and the protocols and everything that's going on, along with the short preparation, just getting ready for the season and not having any preseason games. It's all been a whirlwind, but I've been able to focus on just one thing; and that's coming into practice, going into meetings and learning what I need to. That's just kind of been my main thing; just been dialed in to practice and working hard. Whatever comes after that, I'll deal with. But my main focus is dealing with practice, being around the guys and helping us get better to achieve a certain goal."
Is this the best camp you think you've had over your career? If so, what do you attribute that to? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I don't think so. [There's] always been a thing I need to work on each year. It's been a building block for me, just coming from my rookie year to now. I've always had things to work on. So, I've just been trying to get better in each and every way. Whether that's being a better pass rusher, working on my running blocks or just getting to the football, being a better leader on the field for the younger guys. There's just various things that I've been working on this year. So, I really can't just tell you whether my second or first year has been my best. It's just kind of been all over the place, but I've definitely just been trying to be the best player that I can be, being a role model to the younger guys. [I'm] just trying to be the best player that I can be to help this team win."
Everybody's trying to figure out what it was that made you make the leap last year. I don't want to call it a wake-up call, but did you notice that you and OLB Tim Williams Jr. came in in the same year – him in the third round, you in the second – and then, in October of last year, for lack of production, he was gone? Did that do anything to you? Did you notice that? (Kirk McEwen) "I definitely noticed it, because he wasn't in the room anymore. You pay attention to all of that, and you definitely take that into consideration that you have to come in every day and produce. This is a league where you come in and do your thing, and when you're not consistent, when you're not doing what you're supposed to do, they're quick to replace you. I've just been mainly focused on me, focused on what I can do to get better. Whether I had a bad snap or a bad practice or whatever, what can I do to improve the next day to continue to help me get better?"
When we talked to head coach John Harbaugh a few minutes ago, he said he sees a more confident guy when he watches you practice this year. Do you think that's true? And if so, where do you feel like that maybe started to elevate for you? (Childs Walker) "Absolutely. I've always been confident. But, just each year, I've been able to grow, learn the game more, be around my vets, just even learn from the younger guys. A lot of these guys have a great talent and are able to make moves, do different things. I just learn from everybody. That's just helping me become wise in the game, to learn the game more, and that just helps me play confident. It slows everything down, and I'm able to go out there and do what I can. Definitely, I'm confident this year. I'm definitely confident in what I can do in the future, and I'm looking forward to it."
Getting CB Tavon Young back on the field, twice he's had season-ending injuries. To see him back out there looking as good as he does, does that surprise you? What do you see from him so far? (Pete Gilbert) "It's not a surprise. You always fall down, but the main thing is just trying to get back up, and that's what he did. He's had his injuries, he's had his fall downs, but one thing he is, he's strong. He has a strong mindset. He has great pride in himself and he's definitely confident in himself to go out there and come back and be who he is. I feel like he's even better than what he was before. You can see it out there. He's playing fast. He's moving fast, and it's great to see that. It's great to see him back on the field. I missed him from these last couple years. I'm definitely looking forward to this year to see what he can do."
You've been on the field when that M&T Bank Stadium crowd helps your defense disrupt the offense on the other side. With no crowd and no home-field advantage – as it comes to that – what impact might that have? (Mark Viviano) "It will have a pretty [big] impact. It's always great to have our fans there. They're always energized, [and] they're always ready to come and root for us. It's going to be a different vibe. Just having this last practice [at M&T Bank Stadium], it was kind of like a pre-visual of what it will be in the incoming future. But I know our guys are going to bring the energy. We have great [veterans] – along with [Matthew] Judon, 'Phee' [Pernell McPhee], Mark Ingram II. Those guys are going to bring energy to this team, and they're going to have us going. Along with us individually, we're going to come out there and take care of business, because we have a mission that we want to accomplish. So, each and every [Sunday] – whether the fans come in, or if we're away and there are fans or whatnot – we're going to come ready, we're going to come energized, [and] we're going to come focused to go and try to win each game."