Corner back Jimmy Smith
Smith shared his love for the game of football. Injuries in the past caused his success to lag-missing rookie minicamps and OTAs-and stated that he's been sticking with the same regiment to keep his body in shape.
I think I started coming to my own as the season progressed, obviously going back I'm the worst critic on myself, and I think that I could have played a lot better, I could have had a lot more turnovers. It was an OK year, I should build off of it. I feel like in the League you get more comfortable, learn concepts more, understand the scheme of the defense more, right now I am very comfortable in the defense. Right now, I’m trying to understand more offense than I try understanding my own position.
How to improve his game:
As a corner, you want to have 15 interceptions, I mean it may not happen being a man-to-man cornerback. ... I've been playing a lot of off-coverage, so now I look for certain things about how I'm playing and what I can do so that teams could throw my way to get more interceptions.
How he’s studying opposing offenses:
Concepts, depending on what teams are running. Get a few plays... watch how offenses line up and focused on mastering the concepts.
As the years stack up, more comfortable you get. Matt Elam made a big leap from Year One to Year Two. Elam's back there with big eyes, now making the calls and checks; our safeties make a ton of calls.
Smith expressed his personal goal to make another Super Bowl appearance.
Safety Matt Elam
No he didn't just use the word confident, Elam ab-used the positive word. I cannot tell a lie--I've never seen this much confidence ooze from somebody's lips in 25 years until today. I'm confidently confident that Elam is the most confident player on the entire confident Raven's roster.... confidence
I feel like I got a lot more confident than I was last year because this is the second year, and I'm more confident in the playbook and I've been studying a lot this offseason so I'm very confident and I feel like I know what I'm doing, ready to take the next step.
On how he feels about rookie campaign:
Not happy with my rookie campaign at all, that's why I approached the offseason the way I did, getting my shape in shape, losing weight, getting myself fit, in shape physically, mentally. That's why I feel like I'm more confident.
On toning up and weight:
I just felt like getting my body right, last year I came in heavier. Be confident and take the next step. At 200 pounds right now, feeling very good.
On if it was a goal to become the quarterback of the defense:
That's one of the reasons why they brought me in, to make the calls and get guys lined up, and be confident in the backend and take control, I feel like I can take the next step.
On playing with cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith:
That’s an honor to play for two good corners, Webb's been in the year for six years; learning from him. When he tells me that I'm playing [well] it allows me play with more swag in the backend. We can allow them to be aggressive to make plays.
On playing free safety or strong safety:
It really doesn't matter, it got to the point that I’ve studied the game so much that I’m ready to help us make plays and the team… whether it’s free safety or strong safety if it's rock and roll, whatever. I'm here to help the team win.
Is there anyone in the League right now more self-confident than Matt Elam? Because I don't believe you.
On Terrence Brooks and keeping the rookie stay motivated:
He needs confidence. He's a very smart guy, he needs confidence and he is going to be great. ... He's very athletic. I'm just trying to keep him positive.
Apparently, Brooks could use a few sprays of cologne-fidence.
The day Brooks was drafted, Elam sent a text message saying, "It's not that different from college, you just gotta study a little more, understand the game, don't overwhelm yourself and enjoy the time, and continue to get better."
Tackle Eugene Monroe
It's a good situation to be here the entire offseason, knowing who you're going to play with, and getting better together, it's been fun, I've enjoyed it.
On high school friend C Jeremy Zuttah:
I’ve known him for a while, I've seen him on film, he's a good player. He's taken command of what we're doing on the o-line, and doing his best to give us the direction that he has to. He's going to grind, he's going to work, I'm glad to have him. You’ve gotta be ready to move, to run, he excels at that and everyone in our group does.
On offensive line adjusting to OC Gary Kubiak's schemes:
It's a little different, last year, we were lining up in a lot of one-back stuff, empty stuff, tossing the ball out there, coming out throwing on first down. I don't think that's the history with [OC] Gary, he wants to run a little more, which will be fun.
By the time the season starts we’ll be ready to run anywhere.
I love that conf...aplomb.
On comradery/chemistry issues:
I haven’t really sensed any issues, everybody’s getting along, everyone's working together and everyone’s having fun working here everyday.
On reestablishing the running game:
I don't think we're reestablishing anything. everything is new, he's [Kubiak] new here, we've just gotta run the ball to win. That's what it comes down to, and I believe we'll do a good job of that.
Impressions on the unit in general:
There’s no contact, but we can still work key things, a lot of footwork things and hand placement things, even though we’re not as combative we can get a lot of work done and I'm sure that's happening.
On rookie Timmy Jernigan:
Kid is really quick-twitched, really explosive and strong, when they introduced all the rookies at our first meeting they put on a clip of him and he just bench pressed the guy, threw him off and made a tackle and hopefully we can get a lot of that out of him.
My favorite quote from Monroe was, "This offense is similar to what I’ve done before, I’m an athlete, regardless of what I’m asked to do I’ll get it done."
Guard Kelechi Osemele
I’m excited to be back, really sucked being out last year, you know when you lose something you appreciate it more and more so I’m excited to be out here playing with my teammates.
On when he realized he was ready to play:
I would probably say about two and half months, at about three months I started training hard again, right on schedule with what the doctor was saying, but honestly after about a month I really felt fine.
On preference between LG or RT:
Obviously left guard, because of the ridiculous amount of reps we have at practice every day, it's muscle memory, obviously getting the best five out there is what we’re going to do.
On what he went through mentally if he could continue playing:
My mind set I’m pretty stubborn, I was already telling myself I'd be back out there, even to the point I was sneaking in workouts, so to me in my mind, it never crossed my mind that I wouldn't be playing.
On confidence in Coach Kubiak's system:
Pretty confident, with coach Kubiak's zone scheme coming in here, getting on the ball fast, flying around and getting to our landmarks. ... the pace that we move at is really good to get the guys up on the run and move downfield.
On versatility of the offensive line's personnel:
It’s been coming together well, obviously we’re not where we need to be; I feel like we’ll get there. Everybody is building blocks everyday getting comfortable with the season. I feel like that midway through camp that we’ll get it down. To be honest it is pretty complicated, and it's an extensive playbook, but at the same time it's just football.
On his athleticism and if it's underrated:
I don’t really know, I don’t pay attention to what people say.
On Eugene Monroe:
With Eugene, he’s really athletic, there’s not a lot of times where I have to come off my guy and slide and help Eugene, obviously that will help us be stout in the middle.
K.O. blamed himself for how poorly he trained over the years--bad form and all--and lamented how getting multiple MRIs and his injuries negatively affected the team. His initial injury came in college and he admitted that he played through it his rookie season and ignored the back pain heading into the next offseason. We forgive you, K.O.
On how he's feeling and finishing punch:
This is the best I’ve felt since I was 19 or 20. I feel great.