Live From Owings Mills: No More Answers Before Chiefs Game

September 11, 2009 | Glenn Clark

4:36-Here’s the official injury report:

RAVENS:

TE L.J. Smith (hamstring) DID NOT PRACTICE, DOUBTFUL
DT Haloti Ngata (knee) LIMITED, PROBABLE
LB Dannell Ellerbe (knee) FULL, QUESTIONABLE
LB Brendon Ayanbadejo FULL, PROBABLE

CHIEFS:

QB Matt Cassel LIMITED, QUESTIONABLE
WR Terrance Copper LIMITED, QUESTIONABLE
CB Brandon Flowers LIMITED, QUESTIONABLE

2:11-I spoke briefly with rookie OT Michael Oher following practice, and he told me he was feeling “just a little” butterflies leading up to his first regular season game Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Oher also told me he thought the team was “well-prepared” for Sunday’s opener. He said he had friends and family coming in from down south to see him make his NFL debut.

You can hear from Michael Oher and John Harbaugh right now in the Audio Vault at WNST.net.

Harbaugh decided to address Haloti Ngata following his chat with the media, saying simply about Ngata’s injur(ies), “We’re very open, we’re very honest with our injury report, we think that’s the way to do it. And any little thing is going to be on our injury report.”

Helpful.

2:08-We did not hear from Haloti Ngata or LJ Smith following practice today, so we will have to work with what we’ve heard from them before. Ngata maintained that his injury would not limit him Sunday; and LJ Smith said he “hoped” he would be back Sunday. I expect Ngata should be good to go (with his ankle and knee issues), but I doubt we’ll see LJ Smith.

1:57-The answers we were hoping would come this afternoon? Didn’t necessarily get them.

-John Harbaugh told us TE LJ Smith would be a “game time decision” Sunday, saying “if he’s ready to go Sunday he will, and if he’s not, he won’t.”
-John Harbaugh had former majority owner Art Modell speak to the team following practice today. Modell told the team this will be his 48th opener in his NFL career. Harbs described the should-be Hall of Famer as “a big part of the Ravens.”
-Coach said he watched the 2nd half of last night’s Titans/Steelers game and described the game play as “football we’re familiar with.”
-When asked if there was any chance of CB Chris McAlister (who told the LA Times yesterday that he would be returning to the NFL next week) coming back to Baltimore, Harbaugh simply replied “No.”
-When asked about the team’s new media policy, Harbaugh said “there’s no cell phones, there never has been. There’s no cell phones at practice for anybody. We don’t have cell phones in meetings, we don’t have cell phones anywhere.”

One particular blogger (umm……me) found this out the hard way, as I was informed by a member of the Ravens’ PR staff that the policy-which addressed practice as I posted earlier-also extended to Coach Harbaugh’s media availability. This is why my Twitter updates came later than usual today.

12:39-We’ve talked both on here and on-air over the past two days about the Ravens’ attempts to remain secretive with the work they’re doing in practice. On Wednesday, John Harbaugh unleashed a few choice words for a cameraman who was shooting part of practice that he didn’t want shot; and yesterday the Ravens informed us that cell phones would no longer be allowed at practice.

Today I received the official description of exactly what the rules are for practice. For those of you interested (I don’t know, 3 or 4 of you?), it reads like this…..

“Basically, there is one rule: Videographers and photographers cannot shoot anything that is tactical, strategic, or schematic. In other words, no part of game plans can be shot. That means that position drills that involve 1-on-1 and 1-on-2 activities can be shot. (Any full-team including special teams, and 7-on-7 drills may not be shot.)

REMINDER: Use of laptops and cell phones is not permitted during Ravens regular season practices. We ask that you please leave that equipment in the media room.

One more note: Since almost all Friday practices are dress rehearsals of plays planned to be used in that week’s game, no shooting is permitted without the okay and supervision from Chad Steele, Patrick Gleason, or Kevin Byrne. (One of those PR staff members attends the open part of every practice.)”

So there you go. Is it paranoia? Probably. But as Drew and I have discussed, all the Ravens care about is winning football games. As long as they continue to win football games, acting out on such paranoia will be irrelevant.

11:58-I’m scheduled to join Bob Haynie momentarily. John Harbaugh is scheduled to speak to the media at 1pm today, with an open locker room session after that. Hopefully Haloti Ngata will be amongst the players who makes himself available in the locker room.

11:49-There was a Cowboys Stadium-type moment today at 1 Winning Drive. With the Ravens practicing indoors, Sam Koch’s ability to punt during special teams drills was limited by the fact that a number of his kicks hit the roof of the indoor facility.

Also, I got a chuckle when Ray Lewis walked into practice and stopped to chat with Rich Gannon-the former Raiders QB and NFL MVP-who is here preparing to do color for Sunday’s game on CBS. I couldn’t help but to think of the 2001 AFC Championship Game; and whether or not Gannon was thinking about it as he talked with Ray.

11:35-The Ravens are practicing INDOORS today, here are a couple early notes:

-TE LJ Smith (hamstring) was again working on the side during the part of practice that was open to the media. In fairness, a few other veterans were also working on the side-including Ray Lewis, Mark Clayton, etc. With just one field indoors (and the practice in shorts and shells), it is a bit more difficult to determine if a player will try to give it a go once practice closes for media members.
-Haloti Ngata had his left knee wrapped, and was throwing a football on the sidelines. Ngata told us yesterday he was dealing with an ankle (that he tweaked last week in practice), but showed up on yesterday’s injury report as “Limited” with a knee injury. Haloti has maintained that he will be fine for Sunday, but we’ll hope for more information regarding the knee later today.

11:09-Schedule is a bit different today at 1 Winning Drive as the Ravens hold a “dress rehearsal” for Sunday’s game against Kansas City at M&T Bank Stadium.

Practice starts shortly (no word on whether or not it will be indoors, although John Harbaugh has been willing to hold practice in the rain before), and then John Harbaugh and Ravens players meet the media this afternoon.

One of the more interesting storylines playing out this morning is the reaction to the comments of Joe Flacco from Wednesday. While speaking at the podium here at 1 Winning Drive, Flacco spoke (in a very matter-of-fact tone) about the Chiefs. Apparently those comments have become bulletin board material in the KC locker room, according to the Kansas City Star.

Flacco’s (rather tame) comments included:

“I don’t think it’s a good way to begin it. We’re going to come in here and play well, and I don’t think they’re really going to want to play us by the end of the game.”

“I’m a Baltimore Raven. I’m obviously not going to say it’s a good thing for the Kansas City Chiefs to come in here (and start their season).”

Joe has shown a bit more confidence coming into this season, but I was a BIT taken back by the comments when he made them, thinking they might end up on a bulletin board somewhere. Does it mean the Chiefs will suddenly play like AFC contenders Sunday? Probably not. But for a team that likes getting after the QB, offering any sort of prodding could be a mistake.

-G

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