CB Corey Ballentine
August 25, 2020
Q: You are sort of in a weird position as a second-year player who is one of the more experienced cornerbacks out there fighting for that spot. What can you tell us about the way all of the young guys are working through this training camp?
A: Obviously, with all the COVID stuff going on, training camp has been really different compared to last year. Everyone is handling it well. The young guys came in and they are just trying to learn as much as they can, soak it all up. We’re learning as well too, the second year, third-year players. Coming in with a new coaching staff, everything is kind of different. We’re all just soaking in information and trying to improve, trying to compete. Compete against the offense and just grow as a team.
Q: How surprising was it to come into training camp in the position you have seemed to come into. After Sam Beal obviously opted out and DeAndre Baker had his issues.
A: I wouldn’t say I was necessarily surprised or any other emotion. I’m just kind of going with it, I’m happy to play wherever they want me to play, wherever I’m needed. That’s really all it is. I’m still trying to grow as a player myself and be the best I can be. I’m not super worried about the depth chart or anything else.
Q: How much more comfortable do you feel working more on the outside?
A: I don’t mind playing inside either. As long as I’m on the field, I don’t think it really matters. I’m glad to have the opportunity to be out there. I do like playing outside. I feel like I can be a little more aggressive, being outside. I can play inside as well, it’s not really a big deal. I feel like I can do both things, which is a good thing on my end.
Q: How scary was that incident in that second practice during that drill? Especially considering your concussion history last year.
A: I wouldn’t use the word scary. I know the trainers had me in their hands and I trust them fully. I ended up finishing the practice. Everything must’ve cleared out for them to let me back in to practice. I’m still practicing, I haven’t missed a practice. I’m not super worried about what went on. I’m going to the training room and I’m practicing. I’m getting right so I should be fine.
Q: Can you put into words how much more ready you are to be an NFL player now going into your second year as opposed to last year with everything you went through before your training camp. Just mentally, physically how much more prepared you are in year two.
A: I like where I’m at mentally, l like where I’m at physically. I knew kind of what I was getting into this year because I went through last year so I knew what to expect going into training camp. I prepared myself in the offseason for that. I’m really just prepared to take whatever is thrown at me. I know we have a whole new coaching staff so there’s challenges there. Getting to know them, getting to know their play styles and their call styles and how they want us to operate as a team and as players and our technique and things like that. I’m just learning and going with the flow and really trying to do the best I can. I’m comfortable, I feel like I am thinking a little bit less. I’m just going out there and playing which is good for me. I’m enjoying myself.
Q: After your situation last year and what happened to DeAndre this offseason. Did that strike any sort of chord with you in terms of the armed robbery charges and the using of the gun. Did that bother you at all when you heard those stories about DeAndre Baker? In a way that it might not have affected other people.
A: I didn’t worry about too much. That’s my friend and I wish him the best. I don’t know what he had going on in his life and I’m not going to speak on it too much. I definitely wish him the best. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. You never know what people are going through. Like I said, I’m not going to speak on it too much. I hope he gets through whatever he is going through. I’m just going to focus on what we have going on here and trying to grow as a player.
Q: How is the communication coming on the back end of the defense. You have a lot of new faces. You have guys coming in and out of the lineup, you are working with different guys. How is that communication process gelling?
A: I think it’s going well. We text each other in the group chat whenever we have questions. It’s really just taking it day by day and learning and growing. Everyone has those bumps and bruises when you are introduced to something new. We’re just taking it day by day, going with the flow and trying to correct mistakes when the happen. Really just trying to get ready for Pittsburgh so we can go out there and be clean, be crisp and everyone be where they are supposed to be. Just play and not think to much. Go out there and have fun with each other. I feel like we have a good group. We’re getting close, we are getting to know each other. We’re trying to build that bond so we can go out there and play free. I think it’s going well. Training camp is training camp, it’s where you are supposed to make mistakes and correct them. That’s what we’re trying to do now.
Q: How important is that non-verbal communication in the back part of the defense? Especially in this particular scheme?
A: I think it’s important in any scheme. Knowing who is next to you and knowing they have your back. Knowing who they are, and you can trust them to their job and they can trust me to do my job. I don’t have to overcompensate to do things for them, I know they are going to handle it on their own so I can just focus on doing my own job. I think it’s very important and we’re trying to build that here.
Q: Let’s talk about Patrick Graham’s defense. How do you like it? How do you feel it fits in you skill set and what you bring to the table?
A: I think it fits well. I’m up to the challenge of anything they put in front of me. I think it fits well. I think he’s an aggressive coordinator and he likes to be aggressive at times. I like to be aggressive at times so I think it fits well. I have full faith in him that he is going to make the right call, he’s a smart guy. I really try not to over think it. He lets me go out there and play and really just react to whatever is going on so I can use my athletic ability and not overthink too many thing. I’m definitely enjoying myself this year.