Ravens' RB J.K. Dobbins Quotes 7.31.20
COURTESY OF BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
How has being at the facility and all the new protocols, being a rookie and trying to learn everything new as it is, how much different is it? Also, trying to learn all the new rules and regulations that come with the COVID-19 protocols? (Jamison Hensley) "It's definitely something different, I feel – way different than the past years for rookies. I think it's something that we're handling super, super good. The facility is set up super nice, and I feel like it's very easy though, very easy."
It looks like you've added some muscle this offseason. What was your biggest focus trying to transition from college to pro there? What did you focus on? (Todd Karpovich) "I just focused on, really, everything. I just focused on getting faster, bigger, stronger, because I know the NFL is going to be a different challenge for me. And I feel like I just want to help my team get to a Super Bowl. The way to do that is just to get this work in, look good and look the part."
The Ravens had you graded higher than you were picked [in the draft]. Does that fuel you, being around at number 55? Do you even need any fuel? (Kirk McEwen) "I don't need any fuel, but it is added fuel. I definitely thought I played last year – in college football – at a high rate, very productive. It was definitely kind of shocking, but I fell to the right team. I'm so grateful to be on this team. It's such a great program. Everything is going to go correctly, but I do have that added chip on my shoulder. I'm working hard to prove that I should've been [drafted] earlier."
In college, you're the guy. You know you're going to be the workhorse. You know you're going to get the carries. You come to the Ravens as a rookie, you're in a backfield and you're one-of-four guys. How difficult of a transition is that for you? What do you have to do to become the guy in this backfield? (Gerry Sandusky) "When you go to a new program … Just like in college when I went into Ohio State, there's always the older guys and guys that are there that are talented. I'm just working; I'm going to learn from the older guys. Mark Ingram II – he won a Heisman trophy and has been in the league for 10 years. My main objective is to come in and learn, compete, and however the chips fall, that's how they fall. That's the coaches' decision on who plays what and how much playing time someone gets. My job is to just come in and do anything I can to help this team win a Super Bowl."
What have you been able to accomplish thus far on a limited basis? Are you able to get on the field just yet and do anything? (Jerry Coleman) "I feel like, with everything going on, we've accomplished a lot. I feel like I know the playbook pretty good. I have a good chemistry with my teammates – the rookies that came in with me. I feel like everything is really going very smooth. I'm just anxious to keep going, keep getting the chemistry with my teammates, and I think it'll all work out."
What do you tell your friends, your past teammates, about the opportunity to play with QB Lamar Jackson? (Bo Smolka) "Some of my old teammates asked me about it. It's definitely a blessing to play with Lamar [Jackson], because he's such a great player – voted Number One [NFL's Top 100 list] by his peers. My job is to come in and help him, that's all I say. I feel like we have a good relationship. He's a pretty funny dude, he's cool. I'm glad I get to play with him."
You mentioned the other running backs in Mark Ingram II. How much interaction have you had with guys like Mark [Ingram II] and RB Gus Edwards and RB Justice Hill? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I've had a lot of interaction with them. Those are my guys, already. Mark [Ingram II] is my guy, as well. We talk quite a bit. I talk quite a bit to all of them. We have a good relationship. I'm honestly glad that I have four other running backs with me to help me as a rookie. But I have a good relationship with all of them."
As you go through what you went through at Ohio State and the quality of the offense in total, and in particular, the run game – compared to what you've seen thus far just playbook wise – talk about maybe some of the differences and just the complexity of the Ravens' run game that was the best ever a year ago? (Pete Gilbert)"Definitely, it's complex – that's what makes it so good. Ohio State's [run game] was pretty complex, too. It's a smooth transition for me, but I've just got to keep learning it, keep learning it inside-and-out, so I can be successful as well. It's very complex. Like you said, it was Number One in the league last year. I'm just trying to help, trying to make it stay at Number One."
We saw you working out with [Vikings] RB Dalvin Cook this offseason. What was that experience like? How did you guys link up? What did the experience kind of teach you about what it takes to be a Pro Bowl-level running back in this league? (Jonas Shaffer) "Training with Dalvin [Cook] was valuable to me, it was so good. The way we linked is we have the same agent, so we're like a family. It was very, very valuable to me. He taught me a lot of things in just a short period of time. He works hard. It was just great to be around him. He gave me some outlook. I want to be like this guy; I want to be a Pro Bowl running back. It was definitely extra motivation, as well, to work out with him."
You kind of talked about how you fit into this stable of running backs. What are your expectations for your rookie season, and what your role will be? (Ryan Mink) "My expectations – I don't really have any. My role is predicated off of how I practice and how I play. I'm just going to come in, work hard, and try to be the best I can. The chips will fall in where they fall in. I'm just happy to be with this group of guys."
Do you feel like because of the lost time that you had over the course of the offseason, do you feel like time is particularly of the essence as you get started here in [training] camp? (Garrett Downing) "Yes, definitely different, but I think it'll all work itself out. Definitely losing some time is tough on all the rookies, but if you just come in and work hard, and try to do what you're told to do, I feel like everything will fall into place. I just feel like I've got to work hard."
How do you feel, finally, meeting your teammates in person, and what comes to your mind? (Ximena Lugo-Latorre) "I feel great. The vets haven't come in yet – not all of the vets; a few of them are in. It's definitely great to be around them. I've been getting back in here, moving around with them, working out with them. It's definitely something that was needed. It's so great to be back with them, and I'm happy to be back with them."
You mentioned about RB Mark Ingram II and how you've had some interaction with him. With him specifically, because he is an older guy, and when a new guy comes in, certain veterans will react to that a different way. Do you feel that he has really embraced you and tried to help you come along in this short time? (Ryan Mink)"Definitely, definitely – Mark [Ingram II] is going to be like an older brother to me. He's definitely helped me; it's been all good. He's helping me with anything I ask. Anytime I text him, he texts back. It's been great. It's great to have someone like that in my room, because, like you said, he's a vet. He could tell me, 'Get up out of my way, you're a rookie,' but he doesn't do that. I'm so grateful to have him."
I'm curious from the perspective of a rookie during the coronavirus. You're about to accomplish a dream and play in your first NFL season, but there's so much else going on. Your first NFL game, for instance, might be without fans. How do you, kind of, reconcile that in your mind that, and on a personal level, where you're accomplishing your dream during such a weird time? (Aaron Kasinitz) "I think it makes it that much better. It's something that has never happened. If I can contribute to helping my team win a Super Bowl during times like these, where you really have to hone-in on what you do and perfect your craft, I feel like it's going to be even more special. Being without fans will definitely be different, if that happens. But I feel like we've got to bring our own juice anyways if you want to win a game on Sunday, or Thursday or Monday. So, I think it'll be special."
I wanted to ask you about one aspect of running backs, rookie running backs – the blocking, picking up blitzes and stuff like that. Sometimes, coaches worry about rookies being ready to handle that. And obviously, on this team, you've got to protect QB Lamar Jackson. How much are you focusing on showing that, if you're in the game, you can pick up blitzes, you can block and do other things other than run the football, which they already know you can do? (Cliff Brown) "At 'O-State' [Ohio State], that's all we talked about was pass protection – that came first. That really came before running the ball – other than protecting the ball and not fumbling. But pass protection, that was Number One. I think I'll be good at that. I got a lot of experience with that in college. I pass protected for a lot of guys. We were taught to learn how to read what's happening in the back end – read the safeties, read things like that before the snap is even happening, because they'll tell you where to go. I never played in the NFL, but I know they disguise things very well here, but I feel like I'll be straight. I feel like I'll be good at it."
You were down in Florida, right? With QB Lamar Jackson and some of the guys for some of the offseason workouts? (Garrett Downing) "Yes sir. Yes sir, I was."
What did you get out of those? And was that a good chance to just, kind of, build friendships and camaraderie with your teammates? (Garrett Downing) "Yes, so that was needed as well. Being drafted, you never see the guys. Usually, from what I know, is whenever you get drafted, you come right into the building maybe the next day. So, everyone coming down to Florida and working with Lamar [Jackson], working with Trace [McSorley], we all created a chemistry. It was good to see them before even coming to the facility, because we already have a relationship. We already know each other, a little bit."
Everywhere you've been, you've played right away, and you've played a lot. Do you know just how patient you can be if the opportunities aren't coming as often as they used to? (Jonas Shaffer) "I don't know how patient I can be. My thing is, I'm just going to try to work hard. I'm going to try to play. I'm going to try to get on the field someway, somehow. My goal is not to be patient. I was not taught that in college. Don't be patient; take advantage of your opportunities. [I'm] not saying that I'm going to start or anything, but I feel like if I just work hard enough and show the coaches that I can play at this level, then I'll be on the field. My goal is to help the team win the Super Bowl, not sitting on the bench."