RAVENS TRAINING CAMP: HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH, QB RYAN MALLETT AUGUST 7, 2017
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: “Good seeing everybody. The great Joe Theismann is here today. Joe, welcome, it is good to have you here. We had a good day, and we are getting ready for tomorrow. What do you have?”
We saw T Austin Howard is not out there. Is there anything? (Jamison Hensley) “That is just up to the trainers when guys get to practice. When they tell us he can practice, we will coach him.”
How much of the offense is new, or how much of the run game is new that you come to the point when you feel like QB Joe Flacco could really use some reps to work on the timing?
“The bottom line is as a coach, you want to get him there as soon as you can. That is the bottom line. I wanted him here yesterday. I wanted him here a week ago. I wanted him here the first day. As soon as he is ready to go, we will go to work and get him ready. I do not think it is going to be a problem; Joe knows the offense. But still, there is a rhythm and chemistry and timing and execution that, really, practice is valuable for. The sooner the better, but not before he is ready. Again, we just wait as coaches. When they tell us they can practice, we coach him. In the meantime, he is in meetings and all that and doing everything he can, just like all the guys.”
But is it a lot of totally new things for QB Joe Flacco in all the years that you have had him?
“No. No, it is not. He has been in the league … Gosh, how long has he been in the league? This his 10th year?” (Reporter: “Yes, just like you.”) “I guess I should know that. (laughter) It all goes by so fast. But, he knows football. Every play we are running, he has run before numerous times, so that part of it is not a problem.”
You said at the beginning about QB Joe Flacco that it would be a week, but you said it could be longer. We have gotten to a week. That does not cause concern? You are just waiting for the word from the doctors, is that what it is?
“You do not worry about that. You coach … That is not a decision you make as a coach. That is in the hands of the medical people, and they make those decisions, and you coach the guys who are out here. Joe gets coached in meetings, just like all the other guys who are not out here practicing. That is how training camp goes for every player, and that is how it should work. The doctors make the decisions about when guys practice, and then when they get out there, we coach them up.”
Just to clarify, T Austin Howard is here, but is he not practicing?
“That is correct.”
WR Quincy Adeboyejo – how is he distinguishing himself?
“Adeboyejo and other young free agents – the rookie free agent group – are good. We talked about that the other night, didn’t we? I would say him — along with a couple of other guys, pretty much every day — they come out and they follow the Steve Smith advice: They make a play every day. In his case, he is running routes really well. He has learned how to run routes very quickly; he has picked it up really quickly. He is catching the ball well so far, but we keep the pressure on him. Take the next step, be better the next day, stack another good day, don’t be looking backwards or looking forwards. A lot of those guys are doing a good job, and he is a great example of that.”
You talked in the offseason about getting the run game revved up this year. What have you seen from that group? I know it has been a short time. What have you seen from that group in practice so far and what should we expect on Thursday?
“We will see. That is the thing. Especially in the running game, you really do not know where you are at until you play somebody else. It can’t be 100-percent full-speed out here. It is just too physical, too violent in there with those guys, in terms of just football and the pads cracking and all that and bodies flying. We will know when we get out there in the games and the preseason games and really into the regular season also – we will know for sure. It is a point of emphasis. We have been working really hard at it, and I like what we are doing. I really do. I like the way it is being coached, and I like the way the guys are working on the drills, and proof will be in the outcome.”
What have you seen from RB Terrance West? He led the team in rushing last year, but he has had a full offseason now. Have you seen any difference or improvement from him coming into this year?
“Sure, he is a young player still. I think he is steadily improving. Even physically, he is improving. He’s maturing. He has worked really hard in the offseason. The mental part of it, in terms of the pass protection, is getting better. He’s trying to make a statement that way, so we will see how it looks in the games, but he has made a little statement about both the passing game – routes – and the protection the other night. He works hard at that stuff, so you expect him to improve in every area.”
A two-part question: It seems that QB Ryan Mallett has really settled in and had some good practices. Is that your take on it also? Also, does QB Joe Flacco’s status affect how much QB Ryan Mallet plays in the first preseason game?
“We will have to figure that out. I think Ryan will probably play pretty extensively. How much that ends up being will be determined. We will have a plan, but during the game, I will probably have to get a sense of that and how I feel about it during the game. But yes, it’s an opportunity for Ryan to get ready. I think that is something … He has had that chance before. Last year in the offseason before Joe got back for training camp, those reps are really huge for quarterbacks. He will want to make the most out of all those reps with the ‘ones,’ and we will see where it goes from there.”
Preseason is only a couple of days away. Is there an excitement in the locker room where everyone wants to get going?
“Yes, I think so. At this point in time, they are ready to go play against somebody else, and they have been playing against each other now for almost two weeks, and these are pretty tough practices and tough drills. They know each other pretty well right now, so they are ready to get in that environment and play a game and cut it loose a little bit and see where they are at.”
The defense appears faster to my untrained eye. Is that fair, and what does that enable you to do?
“That is the hope; that is the goal. We will see. We will find out a little bit. We are going against a really talented offense Thursday night. They have speed. They have a really good offensive line. [The Redskins have] maybe the best left tackle in football – one of them for sure – a veteran quarterback and skill players everywhere, so that will test us a little bit. We will see where we are at, and hopefully it will show up pretty well.”
Are there any concerns with CB Marlon Humphrey? I know you do not want to give timetables, but we have not seen him out here for a few days. Is it anything serious with him?
“Nothing to take … No, not really. It is just day-to-day. I was hoping he would be out here today.”
Is DB Lardarius Webb your slot corner now?
“We are working a lot of guys in there. Lardarius is in there. We have worked all … Marlon [Humphrey] was working in there earlier. Brandon [Boykin] has been there. We have not put Jimmy [Smith] in there. Jaylen [Hill] has been in there. [Anthony] Levine [Sr.] has been in there. So, everybody is working in there now. We have not settled on it.”
QB Ryan Mallett
On if he feels like he has settled in at practice: “We’re out here at training camp – I think we’re at practice by 8 or 9 – so every day we’re just trying to get better, trying to get more cohesive and get our timing down. So, I think we’re coming along.”
On the opportunity Thursday’s preseason game presents: “Every game is a big opportunity, every practice is a big opportunity. Right now, we’re worried about practice tomorrow – we’re taking it day to day. Wednesday night we’ll start gearing up for Thursday.”
On if he has talked to head coach John Harbaugh about his participation in Thursday’s game: “I’ll always prepare as if I was starting. To me, that’s the only way you can do it and try to be successful, anyway. You know, every week I prepare like the starter, just in case.”
On how he has stayed focused amidst the flurry of quarterback rumors: “Like I said, I’m just trying to get better – better in sync with my teammates, better timing, so I have tunnel vision. I’m not really worried about what’s going on outside this building.”
On the undrafted rookie wideouts’ performances: “Those guys, even since the spring, they’re improving. Every day they’re making some big plays, and it’s exciting to see from our position, to be able to throw the long ball to those guys, and they go get it, and they can get open.”
On if his performance is heightened during a game compared to practice: “I wouldn’t say that. It’s gameday; it’s just a little bit different. You have a little more juice, a little more, I don’t know, electricity in the air. It’s always fun to get out there and play.”
On if he thrives off that electricity and is able to perform better: “I like to play better all the time, but that’s why it’s practice. Gamedays are always fun to get going.”
On if it’s difficult to not practice and then perform in a game situation: “I wouldn’t say it’s difficult. I’ve done it for a few years now, so I’m used to it. During practice, I treat it as a game – just to try to stay sharp.”
On his goals for Thursday’s preseason game: “Well, first of all, we want to win the game. That’s the No. 1 goal. I don’t know. There’s not much more to say than that.”
On his personal goals for Thursday’s preseason game: “Win the game. That’s the goal, man. It’s always to win the game.”
On the run game: “It’s progressing. I think everything we’re doing is really good and we’re getting better every day – that’s the goal. It’s what training camp is for – to tighten up the little things, and those guys up there are blocking, I can tell you that. It’s fun to be able turn around and look and see the hole just wide open, you know?”
On how the run game supports the passing game: “They’re both equally as important. You know, you run the ball, you can set a play-action, and it makes the defense soften up a little bit. It’s very important to run the ball.”