Live From Westminster: Emotional Day for Ravens as Team Honors Nation’s Military

August 19, 2009 | Glenn Clark

9:35-I spent the better part of the day doing “fantasy radio”, as I Tweeted, Facebooked, and talked on-air about the idea of the Ravens pursuing Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe. The important thing to keep in mind here is that everything I’ve said is PURE speculation. The New York Daily News’ Rich Cimini reported this morning that the Jets could be interested in Brandon Marshall or Bowe; which made me wonder if the Ravens are interested in Bowe.

Bowe has had a rough start to his season in Kansas City; and was actually benched last week by new Chiefs coach Todd Haley. He’s back with the starters this week; but Haley has been known to bang heads with receivers in the past (see Terrell Owens, Anquan Boldin). Should Haley decide he and Bowe can’t co-exist; Scott Pioli may well use the Patriots’ system of “who’s next?” and part ways with Bowe to help rebuild. Bowe did have over 1,000 receiving yards last season, and would be a GREAT addition for a Ravens team that I still firmly believe needs receivers.

Bowe was a 1st round pick himself; so any deal would have to involve a 1st round pick at LEAST. I’m gonna guess a 1st and a 3rd. It is WAY too easy to say that Ozzie Newsome shouldn’t be trading future picks; but the Ravens are in a position where they may be just a piece away from Super Bowl contention.

Again…..all speculation.

But thoughts?

8:43-Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison ended up being the only person to speak at the podium following practice; after John Harbaugh and Derrick Mason were each rumored to be speaking but declined. Mattison did not spend much time speaking about Rex Ryan, as the Ravens continue to not get involved in any sort of “smack talk” before the Jets game. Mattison also said Terrell Suggs “wants” to be practicing, but does not have a time table for Sizzle’s return.

8:08-Ravens Running Back Matt Lawrence (who I affectionately know as Matt “Jack Hunter” Lawrence…..if you don’t know the reference, you didn’t watch “Boy Meets World” enough) spent a few minutes chatting with me after practice as he noticed that I was a Maryland Terrapins fan. Lawrence played his college ball at UMass, where his head coach was new Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown. Lawrence is a big fan of the Terps’ decision to hire Brown; who he thinks will have no problem making the transition to the FBS level. Matt referenced the VERY narrow defeat the Minutemen suffered to Matt Ryan’s Boston College Eagles in 2007. The Minutemen lost 24-14 but held down the current Atlanta Falcons star and then Heisman Trophy candidate for most of the game, and almost took a 2nd half lead before a TD return was overturned on replay.

I didn’t get the chance to talk to Lawrence about my nickname for him, but I’ll make sure to do it before long. Lawrence is in a hotly contested battle for what most analysts believe will be the 3rd and final RB spot on the roster. Between RB’s and FB’s, I believe Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and Le’Ron McClain are locks; while Lawrence, Jalen Parmele, Cedric Peerman and Jason Cook are battling for one or two more spots on the roster.

7:57-Graham Gano handled all of the field goal kicking today; finishing the day 7 for 11. Here are his kicks in order…..

51 yards……good
55 yards……good
53 yards……missed (short, right)
49 yards……missed (off right upright)
54 yards……good
60 yards…..missed (on target but short)
19 yards (extra point)……good
40 yards……good
44 yards……good
50 yards……good
57 yards…….missed (poorly struck line drive; short and left)

With Gano handling all duties today, you would imagine Hauschka will probably get the bulk of the kicks tomorrow.

7:52-The offense really appearaed to catch up with the defense today, especially in one-on-one passing drills. The offense converted 7 of 11 such attempts; although Bradon Godfrey was guilty of 2 failures to haul in passes (and didn’t give much of an effort on the others). Before you get too concerned about the struggles of the secondary in such drills, remember that there’s a certain safety who will certainly have something to say about passes, and that the Ravens can provide more help if Greg Mattison continues to stress his base defense theory.

Kelley Washington continued to impress in practice. It might be a bit early; but I’ll say right now that I won’t be surprised if Washington ends up being this team’s #2 receiver of record vs. the Chiefs September 13.

7:46-S Haruki Nakamura and OL Chris Chester both needed assistance from trainers at different times today, but neither appeared to suffer an injury that could be deemed serious. If more information becomes available on either player, I will be sure to pass along.

7:40-Former Ravens OT Orlando “Zeus” Brown was amongst the guests seen out at practice today. Zeus had some fun with the current offensive linemen, including guard Ben Grubbs. Zeus is still a mammoth man (and a fun guy); but admitted that he doesn’t miss Training Camp.

7:29-Continued positive developments for the Ravens on the injury front today. Practice did not include live hitting (I had previously speculated it could make things a bit chippy given the heat and the players having the night off); and Demetrius Williams was out on the field in a shell and shorts. The WR is battling a right hamstring injury; and may have only missed yesterday’s practice as a precaution due to the fact that the team was hitting.

KR/CB Chris Carr (who joined Nestor Aparicio on “Limited Access” this afternoon) was back in the CB rotation as well as returning kicks. On Tuesday, he had only participated in the special teams portion of practice. Carr said after practice that he felt good; and didn’t appear to have any noticeable lingering effects of the back spasms he had suffered recently.

Terrell Suggs and Mark Clayton each made appearances on the field today, although neither actually practiced. Clayton worked on the sidelines for a 2nd consecutive day; with his workout including a number of receiving drills. Clayton is battling back from a hamstring injury; that John Harbaugh had previously mentioned included blood in the hamstring. Suggs was seen running from side to side on the secondary practice field, and also spent some time riding the exercise bike on the sidelines. Suggs took time to greet some members of the media after practice (including myself); but wouldn’t give a timetable for a return (heel bruise/achilles straing).

Recently banged up WR’s Biren Ealy and Yamon Figurs were also back on the practice field today.

7:16-Derrick Mason wore his heart on his jersey today, as he debuted a #9 jersey he wore in honor of fallen former teammate Steve McNair.

mason

Mason did not choose to speak at the podium following today’s practice; but he did convey that he plans to wear the jersey in practice throughout the season, but there were no plans publicly made for him to petition the NFL to be allowed to wear the jersey in games. The jersey had no name on the back.

6:57-This afternoon’s session was particularly emotionally charged. Today was Military Appreciation Day at Ravens Camp, and hundreds of service men and women attended practice. Following today’s practice, the team invited the service personnel on the field to join them in a huddle. After a long talk, the players and military members joined together in a chant of “Family!” to break the huddle. Players and coaches stayed for almost an hour to talk, take pictures with, and sign autographs for the military members.

The Ravens have done a good job of honoring the military in the past; but it has been particularly evident this year following John Harbaugh’s USO trip to the Middle East. This was a very nice gesture on behalf of the organization, and the type of event that you could tell clearly touched many players as much as it touched the personnel in attendance.

8:09-I’m not out in Westminster yet, as practice is AFTERNOON EARLY today. Don’t plan on heading out to McDaniel until 2:45, when the Ravens will honor our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen with a Military Day.

In the meantime; I’m sitting in with my radio partner Drew Forrester on The Comcast Morning Show; and thought it would be an appropriate time for a Training Camp Q&A.

Questions about the receivers? Questions about which rookies are on the bubble? Questions about whether or not Jerry Coleman is really as hideous as I make him out to be?

Fire away……..

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