SALT LAKE CITY -- On SportsBeat Sunday, Tom had the opportunity to sit down with former BYU and current Baltimore Ravens quarterback John Beck. Here's what they had to say.
Kirkland - "Well, update us on the things in Baltimore. Your 4th year in the NFL, second with the Ravens--another quarterback coach, but it looks like it's solidifying a little bit-- although they brought in Marc Bulger recently."
John Beck - "Yeah, you know the off-season went great--the situation I was in--I felt very confident in. I thought things were looking good for this fall. They did bring Bulger in, and that's going to change some things. That's the way the business goes, so now it's just a matter of seeing how fall camp plays out, how they play out training camp or what they do. You know, they may dangle myself and Troy Smith out to other teams and see what happens so...it's just part of the business."
Kirkland -"And you're okay with whatever is the best opportunity? You're on a great team, but you're at the moment, say, number 3 but if you get a chance to be moved and have a better chance, then you're okay with that..."
Beck - "Definitely. You know, I want to play where they want me most. And if the Ravens want me most, then they keep me. If some other team wants me more, they get me, and that's where I want to be."
Kirkland - "It's funny, the Ravens #12 was not available so you had to buy it from a teammate, right? Tell us about that one."
Beck - "Yeah, when I was in Miami, I had to wear the number 9 because 12 was retired so I wanted to make sure I got the number 12 in Baltimore. Some other guy had it and I had to pay the price to get it. I did--and I think like a few weeks later the guy got cut, so he got the better end of that deal, maybe, I don't know."
Kirkland - " But at least you're #12 now."
Beck - "Yeah."
Kirkland - "Uh, tell us about BYU's record-setting tight end Dennis Pitta. Obviously he put up huge numbers here and was a great player. So far doing well?"
Beck - "Oh yeah, he's done fantastic at camp. I was in the coach's ear a lot before, getting Dennis there, saying ‘You gotta bring this guy in. This guy's a stud. He's a great football player.' And he's proved it. You know, I can't even think of a ball the guy dropped during camp. I can remember a number of times where teammates on the Ravens turned to me and said ‘Man, that guy's a heck of a football player.' So Dennis is already showing what he can do and the Ravens I know are already very happy to have him be a part of the team and I think he's going to find himself on the field a lot this year making big plays for us.
Kirkland - "Speaking of making big plays - Haloti Ngata from Highland High who has become a superstar in the NFL at nose tackle after several years being sort of snubbed and not getting a bid to the pro bowl. I mean, what's it like being around that guy--you're lucky you don't have to play against him."
Beck - "Yeah, I play against him in practice. He destroys the---oh he's just, he's definitely a beast, and uh it's funny because every team I've been on in the NFL--when I was in my first two years with the Dolphins--we voted for Haloti Ngata to go to the pro bowl, just because---players know. But other votes go into it, you know, the fans vote, I think there's another portion of votes, but, uh, he's just a beast on the football field and I'm definitely glad he's on my team. And he's a great person too. He'll be out here for this golf tournament I've got going on and I mean, he's a heck of an athlete for how big he is."
Kirkland - "Yeah, that's no doubt. Also former Utes star, Ravens defensive end Paul Kruger, I know he's showing very well there. He'll play a lot this year."
Beck - "Yeah, the Ravens really like Paul. I think they like his mentality on the football field. You know he's kind of got that little bit of swagger about him and--you see that play right there--Paul does that a lot in practice to where he drops out and makes a play on the ball. I think that his ball skills are awesome for his position and that play right there sealed the deal for us. That was a Sunday night game there in Baltimore--a tight game--and then Paul comes up with that huge play, and, uh I know the Baltimore coaches are really happy to have Paul on the team."
Kirkland - "And it's kind of like old home week. You've got different generational stars here from this area. You're obviously from Arizona but you're kind of an honorary Utahn now. Is there a little bit of camaraderie there with you guys?
Beck - "Oh definitely. You know, we're all friends on the team and I think you share something playing the BYU/Utah rivalry just being a part of the valley. You know the Salt Lake and Utah Valley is a great place and, uh, I don't know, it's just funny because we find ourselves kind of like hanging out with each other on away games--going to dinner together. Um, me, Paul, Haloti, Kelly Talavou, who played at Utah, I mean, we all go to dinner a lot. When we're out there you just kind of find yourself hanging out together."
Kirkland - "Tell us about your impressions of Jake Heaps, now he's going to step into a situation in Provo where you haven't named the starter--it looks like maybe he'll have a shot at it--you know the world is going to change for him and also for Bronco and Robert Anai having a guy who's never handled a D-I snap. What do you see from him?"
Beck - "You know, I've only gotten to see him one practice. I was out there for spring practice. I saw a few drills but, uh, a lot's gotten back to me by word of mouth and I hear a lot of good things about him-- just about how poised he is. His fundamentals they say are off the charts for just coming in as a freshman and I'd heard that he'd been able to have some quarterback coaches throughout his time in high school and I think it shows. They say that he is just very well coached, that his fundamentals--and that's a big thing when you step into the college level. When a quarterback coach at a college level doesn't have to teach those things because they've already been taught, then you just go from there. And I know that coaches are excited about having him and Riley battle it out this year because it's going to make both of them better so..."
Kirkland - "No doubt. It will be fun to watch him develop. Max Hall, quickly, he's got a tough situation with the Arizona Cardinals, Warner retired but he's got Matt Leinert, the veteran Derek Anderson, and another kid--a big strong kid--quarterback they have. How do you see his shot? He's a lot like you, going in there, you know, with a huge college career but he's got to make the team."
Beck - "Yeah, you know I was just talking to Max the other day and he feels comfortable there in Arizona. I know he likes his position there with the quarterback coach there. That's a big thing. You've gotta have a good relationship with the coaches, especially when you're in that position where you're battling for a roster spot, and you know I think the one big thing that's gonna help Max is just his competitive nature. You have to be a fighter to make it in the NFL. If you're one of those guys that is not able to go in every day at practice and compete and fight, you're not going to make it, you know. And the reason why Max was so good at BYU is because he is a competitor and he is a fighter and that's going to help him when battling for a spot."
Kirkland - "Yeah, well said. Now tell us about your camp coming up. I know it's an important thing for you. You're picking up Joe Flacco tonight, so he'll be there. It's a great week of competition, great for the kids. So tell us about all the details here."
Beck - "As a player it's important for me to always give back and there's things I feel like I've learned from my college and pro career that I can teach these young kids. You don't have to be a high school/college kid to learn some of these fundamentals that can really help you out a lot. And it started out a couple years ago when Cameron and I got together and said let's do something for the kids in the community and let's put together a camp and we started calling all of our teammates, guys that played before. Chad Lewis (former Philadelphia Eagle)--he loves being a part of it. You know, Ty Detmer's going to be around this year, Austin Collie's back out here--Max Hall will be out here. We have a lot of guys that just enjoy it and it's a big thing for us to be able to give back to these kids that could be future Cougars."
Kirkland - "Tell us when and where and the website so people can reach out and go if they want."
Beck - "The website is gonxtlevel.com and it's going to be at Provo High School Wednesday and Thursday of next week. So the 14th and 15th of next week at Provo High School."
Kirkland - "gonxtlevel.com--go online and you can learn all about it."