8:04-Only a morning practice scheduled for Tuesday. 8:45am. On Wednesday, there is only a 2:45pm practice scheduled. These things are always subject to change; but nothing surprising about a scaled back practice schedule the final week of Training Camp.
5:48-A Ravens team source declined comment when I asked him about Rex Ryan’s comments regarding the number 99. I wasn’t surprised by the “no comment”, as the Ravens certainly don’t want to start a war of words with their former Defensive Coordinator.
The team did remind me that no NFL can physically retire the jersey number of any player; not even a Ring of Honor player.
The source also laughed at the idea, remembering other great players whose jersey numbers were quickly re-issued by the team they previously played for. For example, Chaz Schilens is wearing the #81 jersey previously worn by Raiders great Tim Brown.
Nestor made a group point when discussing the fact that this likely has more to do with Rex’s disappointment that he isn’t the head coach in Baltimore. Rex clearly has to look at the legacy this organization has carved out for itself and REALLY think “that should be me.” This IS a “disrespect” issue for him, clearly.
5:07-The Ravens spent the afternoon session of Camp working out in shells and shorts; and it wasn’t exactly a thrilling practice. The highlights of practice were the gadget plays; which included pitch back runs from receivers like Jayson Foster.
While working on goal line formations, Dwan Edwards actually caught a TD pass. I expect to see more players having flex roles on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. David Hale has been moved to center on the offensive line; and certainly other players (Edgar Jones comes to mind) have been asked to move positions before. Dwan Edwards won’t be switching positions necessarily; but with a number of D-Linemen already on the roster, this could be a way for Edwards to help make himself continue to stand out.
2:10-Jets Coach Rex Ryan isn’t happy the Ravens are allowing Paul Kruger to wear Michael McCrary’s former #99. Check the story out here.
I didn’t expect any “trash talk” from Rex this week leading up to a preseason game; but he’s amongst the best talkers in football. He may have a point here; but certainly the Ravens are not trying to diminish McCrary’s legacy.
1:40-Some other sights from this morning’s practice session:
-Ernie Wheelwright skying for a sideline grab in 11-on-11’s
-Frank Walker jarring with the refs after he believed he was pushed off on by camp WR body Bradon Godfrey
-Justin Harper fighting for yards and making a pretty sideline grab as he continues to fight the “inconsistent” knock that many think will keep him from making the roster
-Troy Smith finding Godfrey over the middle on one of the nicer balls thrown during 11-on-11’s
-WR Biren Ealy wearing #36 (#8 went to Cleo Lemon), and Godfrey wearing #37
1:35-If you’re considering heading out to Westminster for this afternoon’s practice; please keep in mind that you will not see the likes of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Derrick Mason, etc. on the practice field. Those guys have off today for the “Over 30” club; so you will be out of luck if that’s who you’re coming up to see. You will however see a number of 29-year-olds, including Todd Heap, LJ Smith, and Kelley Washington; who will join the club next season.
1:28-As you may have heard about this morning on “The Comcast Morning Show” with Drew Forrester; I was pulled over this morning and cited for not wearing a seat belt by a member of the Maryland State Police. Being that it was the MSP, it will be completely useless for me to call our friend Kevin Utz-the Mayor of Westminster-to help out with the $25 fine.
I would like to take this time to remind you to slow down, and to buckle up. I know I certainly will. I had heard previously that there had been speed traps set up throughout Westminster, and I was actually pulled over right on 140 heading towards Camp.
Seriously, I knew better. Buckle up! Not worth it……
1:18-Following this morning’s session, Willis McGahee made a $2,500 donation to the “Prepare for Success” organization via his Willis McGahee Foundation. The money will go to providing school supplies to disadvantaged children in Howard County; and McGahee also donated 350 calculators.
Much has been made regarding McGahee being a “changed” or “different” player coming into this year’s Training Camp; especially considering his status as the “#2” back in Cam Cameron’s offense. I asked Willis about that during a brief meeting with the media following the presentation; you can hear what he said by checking out the Audio Vault at WNST.net.
For what it’s worth; I really thought McGahee’s role of “change of pace back” was very effective in the Ravens’ first preseason game against the Redskins. I maintain that McGahee is probably the only back on the roster capable of rishing for 1,400 yards this season; but given the success the team had with multiple backs last season, I think they’ll find a very adequate way to use McGahee, Rice, Le’Ron McClain and possibly even Jalen Parmele and/or Cedric Peerman.
12:58-No Chris Carr in today’s morning session. He’s dealing with back spasms but expects to be back this week.
Kelley Washington was Joe Flacco’s primary target, and Washington didn’t cease to entertain the crowd at McDaniel College with his dance moves following a long TD catch and a first down haul along the sideline.
Speaking of McDaniel, the Terror’s own football team kicked off their fall practice this morning. As they walked along the sideline; a few fans appeared confused, thinking the green and white jerseys were those of the New York Jets.
12:39-Some separation in the kicking contest? Steve Hauschka (who was kicking with the Field Goal “1” unit), connected on just 2/5 attempts today. Meanwhile, rookie Graham Gano had his best practice recently; connecting on all 5 attempts. This included a 58-yarder, which needed an assist from the left upright to go through. Hauschka’s misses were attempts from 46, 52, and 58 yards. The miss from 52 was particularly short and to the right.
The Ravens also executed two fake field goals. On the first, holder Sam Koch hit Edgar Jones for an 18 yard TD pass to the corner of the end zone. Jones was wide open on the play, leading to the defense drawing the ire of several members of the coaching staff. Koch also hit Gano on a pass to the left that would have gone for a 10 yard gain on another fake. Koch was also seen trying field goal attempts himself. Harbaugh said Koch’s tries were for nothing more than an “emergency” situation; noting Mark Simoneau’s use as an emergency kicker while Harbaugh was with the Eagles.
12:24-Couldn’t help but notice an abundance of red jerseys today; and none of them belonged to Ed Reed-who sat this morning’s session out as part of John Harbaugh’s “30 & Over” club.
The Ravens currently have 5 active quarterbacks on their roster. Joe Flacco and Troy Smith are the clear #1 and 2 respectively; but the Ravens also have John Beck, Cleo Lemon, and Drew Willy taking snaps under center.
Beck-who was rumored to possibly be gone for the season with a crack in his collarbone over the weekend-was throwing solid screens, fades, and mid-range (16-18 yard) balls during the morning session. He is likely to test his arm more as each day goes this week; and could very well be ready to play Monday against the Jets. If so, expect Drew Willy (who the Ravens re-acquired after originally signing him as a UFA from Buffalo) to probably be gone before Rex Ryan and company come to town.
Cleo Lemon-who has previously camped with the Ravens as a 4th string QB-seems like a possibility to stick around until final cuts. I was surprised to see the Ravens had not gone with 4 QB’s this preseason; especially after Kyle Boller’s injury and Troy Smith’s…..black plague?……left them with just one healthy quarterback last August; forcing them to scramble and find Casey Bramlet. I would imagine the Ravens will not need to see much from any of their QB’s in the final preseason game (the roles are very well defined), and could afford to have Cleo Lemon take the majority of the snaps in the 2nd half.