1:55-So much for the heat. Storms rolled through Westminster during lunch today, cancelling this afternoon’s scheduled 2:45 practice. Tomorrow’s practices remain scheduled for 8:45am and 2pm. I will be back later today with analysis as we work towards Monday Night’s game against the Jets.
12:52-Do not attempt to come out and watch practice this afternoon. Today’s 2:45 practice is closed to the public. The team will likely install some packages for Monday Night’s game against the Jets. Tomorrow’s 8:45am full practice and 2pm special teams practice are open to the public; and will be the last times you can see the Ravens here in Westminster.
12:41-Derrick Mason was back in his familiar #85 jersey today instead of the #9 jersey he wore Wednesday to honor Steve McNair. We had been under the impression that Mason would be wearing the #9 jersey in practice the rest of the year.
I spoke to Ravens VP/spokesman Kevin Byrne regarding a possible team-wide honor for McNair; and he said the team was still working on putting something together. He said that it was more likely to be a moment of silence or pre-game tribute; and wouldn’t be similar to the helmet decals the Tennessee Titans will wear this season.
12:33-Ed Reed spoke with the media after practice today (John Harbaugh turned his press conference over to him), and discussed a number of things. He mentioned that his decisions to switch from the red “no contact” jersey to the white jersey he was in today usually are based on how he feels that particular day.
He also discussed the white bracelet he wears (a Michael Jordan brand bracelet) that has the quote “Once I get the ball, you’re at my mercy” scripted on it. Seems appropriate for a guy who is dangerous whenever he touches the ball.
12:29-Frank Walker had another nice today; including an interception of a John Beck pass. Frank has played well recently; which could be crucial as some believe he is battling for a spot on the roster with the Ravens having so many CB’s-with or without Samari Rolle.
Troy Smith continued to throw sharp passes, but players like Davon Drew and Jason Cook (who are both battling for roster spots themselves) had drops. Cook was seen with other young FB’s and RB’s working on pass catching drills well after practice with QB’s Cleo Lemon and Drew Willy. Todd Heap also had back to back drops at one point during drills.
I had mentioned earlier in the week that the defense appeared to be ahead of the offense. While that is still likely true; it appears as though the first couple of offensive units have really closed the gap.
12:26-Rohan Marley (former University of Miami Hurricanes LB and son of music legend Bob Marley) was seen on the sidelines today. Marley offered hugs to his former teammate Ray Lewis and fellow Miami alum Ed Reed; and was a vocal cheerleader for the Ravens, including a Demetrius Williams TD grab. Marley apparently attended Training Camp last year as well. Marley is the husband of R&B star Lauryn Hill; formerly of the Fugees. Marley also played for a time in the CFL.
12:21-Graham Gano was your “winner” in the kicking battle today. Gano finished 6/7 with a long of 50 yards. Steve Hauschka finished 6/8 with a long also of 50 yards. Both Gano and Hauschka missed from 54, and Hauschka added a miss from 41. Here is your kick-by-kick breakdown:
Hauschka-41 yards-WIDE RIGHT
Hauschka-54 yards-SHORT, returnable
Gano-54 yards-WIDE RIGHT
Hauschka-20 yards (extra point)-good
Gano-20 yards (extra point)-good
Sam Koch also threw a TD to Edgar Jones off a fake field goal.
12:11-OL Chris Chester returned to practice today after missing yesterday’s sessions due to a strained calf. Harbaugh had said Chester had missed practice yesterday because the team just didn’t want to take any chances.
No sign of Terrell Suggs, Mark Clayton, or Dannell Ellerbe today; all of whom have put in work on the sidelines during practice at different times this week.
12:02-The heat was far and away the most obvious factor at McDaniel College today. The coaching staff of the Baltimore Ravens has taken to wearing long sleeves (with thin material); and John Harbaugh told me it was to “keep the sun of your arms.” He recommended I start wearing them in the heat too. Sounds crazy to me. D-Line coach Clarence Brooks didn’t seem so convinced that the long sleeves actually helped.
Lots of steps necessary to take care of when battling the heat in practice. I noticed both TE Isaac Smolko and DE Trevor Pryce left the field as different points during the day. I wasn’t able to talk to either after practice, so I didn’t get confirmation on what may have happened. But it certainly could have been anything ranging from an equipment issue to a battle with the heat. In fact, as Pryce was leaving the field; I heard a teammate yell “take your time, Trev!” Certainly the coaching staff would want to direct players to the locker room if they had noticed them struggling with the heat.