Ravens' S Geno Stone Quotes 5.5.20
COURTESY OF BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
What have you been doing during this virtual offseason? And how do you project your role with the Ravens? Do you think you can get into that backfield rotation immediately, or do you see special teams off the bat? (David Ginsburg) "As of right now, I just try to practice social distancing as much as I can. I'm trying to stay away from as many people as I can, just be around my immediate family. So, I've just been working out in my gym back at home. I found a couple places where I can work out and be by myself and not have too many people around me, so I've been doing all that. As for my role this year, I just hope I can make an impact wherever I can for the team to win no matter where it is – special teams, defensive backfield. My mindset – I want to be in the defensive backfield, but at the same time, I know where I have to start out: special teams. That's where I started out in college, and I made a name for myself. So, I definitely plan on going in, playing special teams in all four phases, wherever they need me at. So, that's probably where I'm definitely going to get ready to go first."
Everybody said you were a steal in the seventh round. How was it sitting there for so long? And is there a little chip on your shoulder to show all the other 31 teams that kept passing you up? (Kirk McEwen) "Yes, sitting there that long was kind of stressful. I'm not going to lie; I didn't even watch the sixth round at all. I was really just sitting in my room waiting for my phone call if I ever got one. That whole sixth round, I didn't watch it at all. Then I decided to watch the seventh round. It definitely puts a chip on my shoulder. I mean, I always had one my whole life. I've always been overlooked and been an underdog. I know what I have to do to be on the field. I just need an opportunity. Getting selected in the NFL Draft is a dream come true. But all I needed was an opportunity to get my foot in the door, and I'm going to show why I should stick and last in the NFL." How exciting is it to come in and learn from a guy like S Earl Thomas III back there? (Todd Karpovich) "It's crazy. I was sitting with my mentor, Will Allen. I'm pretty sure everyone knows him. But I was sitting with him and I was talking, and I was like, 'I hope I get drafted somewhere with a great mentor. A Will Allen, Tyrann Mathieu or Earl Thomas – someone like that.' It was crazy, because once I got the phone call from the Ravens ... Just to learn from a guy like that who's been playing for so many years, playing at a high level, won a Super Bowl, everything like that … It just checks all the boxes of that's someone you want to learn from. You want to follow in their footsteps."
Another guy on the Ravens who was a late round draft pick and is now a starting safety and, in fact, just got a contract extension is S Chuck Clark. Is that someone you look to and say, 'Alight, he's been where I am. I want to get to where he is.' Have you already called him or talked to him? Do you look at him as like, 'That's the path'? (Pete Gilbert) "Yes, that's someone I definitely want to look up to. No, I haven't been in contact with any of the DBs yet really, but that's someone I definitely want to look up to, someone I want to learn from. That's just an example of no matter where you were drafted or whatever it is, just going to work is really going to show if you play or not. So, that's someone I'm going to look up to, someone I'm going to try to learn from. But at the same time, it's a business. I'm going to have to do it by myself. It's my job now."
Obviously, people are selling you short in some way. You have the numbers, so what do you think the critics see? What are their knocks on you that you think you're going to prove them wrong about? And you've said that you have an instinct for the ball. Where do you think that instinct of being a playmaker comes from? (Cliff Brown)"People are going to look at the measurables. That's what everyone looks at. They say 5'10" and three fourths, whatever it is, my arm length, whatever. But if you see me in person, I definitely don't look 5'10". That's how I feel. But at the same time, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and you can't measure heart. So, every time I'm on the field, that's where all my instinctive things come out, like you said. That's the biggest part of my game – how instinctive I am for the game of football. My football IQ, everything like that, and I go 100 percent every time I'm on the field. You can't really define what a person is or if they're giving 100 percent on the field. And it's hard to take me off the field once you see me doing the things that I'm going to do out there. And I feel like I get all my instinctive things from playing baseball growing up. I played center fielder. So, just me being back there trying to read the ball off the bat, everything like that, that's where I kind of get all my instinctive abilities from."
You mentioned having a chip on your shoulder about getting drafted later. Does that extend back to your high school experience? I know some of those in-state schools [in Pennsylvania] were interested but never offered [a scholarship]. (Aaron Kasinitz)"Yes, definitely. That's definitely something I think about all the time, some of the adversity I had to get through. I've been hit with a lot of adversity throughout my whole life, and I overcame it a lot. So, it's just something that's been put on my plate that I'm going to have to get over again, and I'm ready for it. I'm ready for the whole opportunity for me to play with the Ravens organization. I'm thankful for that, but at the same time, I have to go out there and prove why I should be playing."
You said multiple times during this conversation that you want to be on the field and prove yourself. When that opportunity is now being delayed, how difficult is that for you since you can't be out on the field proving yourself? (Mark Viviano) "Yes, it's hard, but at the same time, this is where the best part of my game, I feel like, comes into effect. Where I can [have an] advantage [over] people is learning the mental part of the game. This is where you really have to study the playbook. Especially me being a rookie coming in, I have to learn a whole new playbook. This is where I should separate myself from the others coming in, trying to learn the playbook, get a head start, everything like that. So, I just have to take full advantage of this opportunity I have right now – learning and communicating with the coaches and everything like that. So, that's probably where I should take my game to the next level right now is the mental part." Earlier we heard G Ben Bredeson talk about how frustrating it was to deal with RB J.K. Dobbins [in college]. You went against him as well [in college]. What does it mean now to have him on your side? I assume that's somewhat comforting. (Pete Gilbert) "Yes, he's a great running back. The things he's done throughout his whole career – those are things that people in Ohio State history haven't done. His stats and everything speak for itself. I played against him my freshman year. I didn't get that much playing time, but just watching him go out there and perform as a freshman doing it at a high level, it was crazy. It's a great thing to have on my team."
Looking back at your college recruitment, one of the things that stuck out was your hesitation at first to leave your mom there in Pennsylvania. How difficult was that decision even once you got the offer from Iowa? (Jonas Shaffer) "That was a hard thing. Like I said earlier, I grew up in a single-parent household. That's the only person I really had as my support system growing up. I had a bunch more people, but that was who I was closest to. And once I got the, 'OK,' from her to tell me to go chase my dreams, that was something she wanted me to always do. I know it was hard for her to tell me to go, but just seeing her being that strong to let her son go 10 hours away from home, away from her to chase his dreams, it really helped me a lot and I felt way more comfortable to be able to go there."
How did your relationship with your mother change in those four years away at Iowa? (Jonas Shaffer) "I felt like we had a stronger bond. She called me every day. We talked like literally every day. She called me when I didn't want to talk to her, when I was busy doing things. But I love my mom. I know she cares about me that much, and it motivates me a lot more because I know what I want to do to give back to her."
How tough was it to not get the offer from Penn State? And how good did that pick-six feel [at Penn State in 2018]? (Ryan Mink) "It was kind of tough, but at the same time, I feel like everything happens for a reason. Iowa came in at the right moment, and everything just fell into my hands at that time. I fell into a great system, something that fit my play. And then when I went back to Happy Valley, I got the pick-six. Reality hit me all at once, and it was crazy. A bunch of things went through my mind going through the past, walking out, seeing all different people, watching them. It just hit me like I was where I was supposed to be at. God brought me to the right place. So, it was crazy, but at the same time, it was humbling. And I'm blessed to be where I was."
Everybody in your draft class has been affected by the coronavirus. As you're working out staying in shape, how much do you think about, 'When are we going to get to camp? When's the season going to start? Is there going to be a season?' How do you deal with all that? (Cliff Brown) "I feel like I'm training for the offseason no matter what. Like you said, you don't know when things are going to happen, but I just want to stay at the top of my game, make sure I stay in shape and everything like that. You just have to take it like it's the only thing you have. I just try to go out every day, make sure I get my work, don't take any shortcuts. This is a time where if people take a bunch of shortcuts, they could decline in most of the things they do. If you don't make sure your body is in shape, that's when people get hurt and things like that. So, just making sure you take care of your body, put good things in your body as you eat and everything like that." What is the program like for you guys right now? What's the routine? What are coaches doing with you guys? How are you getting up to speed? (Ryan Mink) "We haven't really started minicamp or anything like that, but I had a couple meetings with my position coach and special teams coordinator so far. So, that's a couple things I had so far, just meeting [coaches] face-to-face, getting a feel for the playbook. That's really the only thing I've done so far. I can't speak on the other things yet, because I really don't know. I'll find out more probably later in the week."