Attendance down for Ravens’ second week of OTA workouts

May 30, 2012 | Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With this week’s organized team activities remaining voluntary for Ravens players, it was only natural to see fewer attendees after such a strong showing during last week’s workouts.

Of the seven players missing from last week’s practices, only veteran center Matt Birk was back in Owings Mills for the second week of practices. Linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs (Achilles tendon surgery), safety Ed Reed, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, running back Ray Rice (unsigned franchise tag designation), and rookie cornerback Asa Jackson (school in session) were once again absent this week.

After attending workouts last week, guard Marshal Yanda, offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, safety Bernard Pollard, fullback Vonta Leach, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, and wide receiver Anquan Boldin elected not to be present for this week’s practices.

A veteran choosing to skip voluntary workouts is hardly surprising — even though it draws the ire of some fans — but a number of young players were also absent on Wednesday. Offensive lineman Jah Reid, cornerback Jimmy Smith, defensive end Pernell McPhee, wide receiver Rodney Bradley, linebacker Cody Glenn, and defensive tackle Bryan Hall were not on the field during Wednesday’s workout.

Since Reid is competing with rookie Kelechi Osemele for the left guard position and Smith and McPhee are looking for more playing time on the defensive side of the football, their absences were less expected than experienced players like the 17-year veteran Lewis, who is essentially going through the motions during OTAs.

It’s important to stress these workouts are voluntary, but coaches certainly make mental notes of players not attending these practices — even though they generally won’t admit it.

“Any time that they can be here is always a benefit for them,” said defensive coordinator Dean Pees when asked about Smith and McPhee not being present. “It’s a benefit for us too. It gives us a chance to evaluate them further. It’s also good for them because they pick up whatever we’re doing scheme-wise, because we’re adding a lot all the time. The whole part about OTAs is to try to get the whole package in — even sometimes when it doesn’t look good.”

Cornerback Cary Williams (hip surgery), wide receiver and return specialist David Reed (ACL surgery), and offensive lineman Howard Barbieri (unspecified) were present but not working during Wednesday’s practice. Williams will have another doctor appointment later this week to see how his surgically-repaired hip is progressing and hopes to increase his level of participation during next month’s minicamp.

The fifth-year cornerback is expected to be 100 percent by the time training camp begins in late July. He has been working on conditioning on the side field during OTAs.

“I’ll be out there doing individual drills, running around, doing a lot more cutting, doing a lot more jumping around, catching the balls,” said Williams about his goals for mandatory minicamp. “I might even do one-on-one’s; it just depends on how well it goes. I see the doctor on Friday, so hopefully we’ll come back with some good news.”

Osemele left the field during the early portion of Wednesday’s practice and returned wearing street clothes in the final minutes of the workout. The 333-pound lineman did not appear to be favoring any particular body part as he jogged off the field.

When asked about the rookie’s status following practice, coach John Harbaugh was in mid-season form by not revealing any specifics.

“Like all these guys, they’ve got little bumps and bruises and stuff like that for this time of year,” Harbaugh said. “I’m really not going to get into injuries in May, but he’s fine.”

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