Live From Westminster: Ravens in Home Stretch of Training Camp

August 20, 2009 | Glenn Clark

5:37-Tomorrow’s morning practice is live, opening at 8:45. Tomorrow afternoon the Ravens are holding a tougher “10-10-10” practice that will NOT be open to the public. Saturday there will again be two sessions; and it will be the final time you can see the Ravens in Westminster.

5:34-John Harbaugh said he knew about Derrick Mason’s decision to wear the #9 practice jersey beforehand; and Mason handled the decision to honor former teammate Steve McNair in “a classy way.”

Harbaugh also said he was unaware of any plans to honor McNair from the organization as a whole.

5:28-The first note I wrote after being on the practice field this afternoon: “No one wants to be here.”

A number of players stopped by and shook their heads on their way out to the practice field for special teams practice this afternoon; where the Ravens got in some more work. Still no Chris Chester this afternoon. Jared Gaither walked out to the practice field without his jersey, but was summoned back to the locker room to dress for the afternoon session; which he reported to about 20 minutes late. He had a flex cast on his right arm; but that isn’t new. Nothing to be concerned about as of now.

The session ended at 3pm; but some units were dismissed even earlier than then. It was hot!

12:42-Practice this afternoon is at 2pm if you’re headed towards McDaniel College. This afternoons practice is Special Teams only, and the 30+ guys will again not be participating. Sorry to the Trevor Pryce fans of the world. A reminder that tomorrow afternoon’s practice is closed to the public.

12:35-There were NFL officials again at Camp today. John Harbaugh mentioned that he was “disappointed” with the number of penalties the team had in their win over the Redskins; and they had a few early in practice today. That number diminished as practice wore on.

Jarrett Johnson and Frank Walker each had INT’s during 11 on 11’s.

12:32-Mike Preston riled up fans yesterday by blogging that the Ravens were still interested in disgruntled Broncos WR Brandon Marshall. He floated the names Troy Smith and Demetrius Williams as possible trade candidates should the Ravens try to make a move.

I still have no confirmation from anyone in the organization that the Ravens ARE actually interested in Marshall; and have been told previously they weren’t. But as I’ve told Drew Forrester and Bob Haynie today; Mike Preston has been covering this team longer than I have, so I won’t dismiss it either.

12:29-No real reaction from any players regarding the Plaxico Burress news. The news came down during practice; so players hadn’t had much time to digest it. Athletes are usually particularly supportive of other athletes, so I imagine players are feeling for Plax.

Had Plax not received such a harsh sentence, I had speculated previously that the Ravens may be interested in him. End speculation now. Can’t look at a player who can’t get to the field.

12:27-Former Raven Jonathan Ogden was again in the house today, but did less camera mugging and analysis than in his previous appearances. The future Hall of Famer watched practice from the reserved seating area with fans.

12:23-Practice was a bit better today for Troy Smith; who certainly looked sharper throwing the ball downfield. All 5 quarterbacks (Smith, Joe Flacco, John Beck, Cleo Lemon, Drew Willy) remain in Camp; but you have to imagine that list will be trimmed in the next few days.

I saw Ray Rice split out wide quite a few times today. I get the feeling the Ravens are hoping to get the ball in his hands absolutely as much as possible.

12:21-LJ Smith made some impressive grabs today, including a tough TD grab in a goal line situation. Smith has always possessed solid hands, and certainly can be a target in the red zone. However, I was reminded by my friend Dave Carey (a former Baltimore Examiner writer) that reporters covering the Eagles have had gushing things to say about LJ Smith every year, but always qualified it with “if he’s healthy.”

12:16-Steve Hauschka was your kicker of record today; and he finished 9/11 with a long of 53 yards. He had one BAD miss-a 42 yarder that was wide left and very short. Graham Gano was 7/11 yesterday with a long of 55. Harbaugh said that the kickers would not be judged on makes and misses alone; but also on how they strike the ball. I have said before that what they offer in kickoffs will also be a consideration as to which kicker wins the job.

12:08-Full practice this morning in Westminster, with vets like Ray Lewis and Derrick Mason again off as part of John harbaugh’s 3rd day “30 and over club”. Matt Birk was again on field in shorts despite being in the Club; but he did nut participate in a full practice.

No practice again today for Terrell Suggs, Mark Clayton, or Dannell Ellerbe; but all were in attendance on the sidelines. Clayton was again doing football work; and improving his cutting. His burst is still an issue; but it has to be a positive sign to see him getting work in. John Harbaugh says Clayton is “ahead of schedule”, but still not close to returning. Suggs was back out on the sidelines again, doing some work on the bike. He also has no timetable for a return. Ellerbe (the UFA rookie LB out of Georgia) would be “doubtful” for Monday Night’s game against the Jets; but was also out at practice doing some individual work. Chris Chester (strained calf) missed practice after leaving the field yesterday, but John Harbaugh said it was just a precautionary measure.

WR Demetrius Williams was also back on the field after missing Tuesday’s practice (hamstring). This was his first “live” practice since Monday. Haruki Nakamura showed no effects of the injury that forced him to be helped off the field during yesterday’s practice.