5:09 p.m. — Here’s a question for you: what would the Ravens do if long snapper Matt Katula went down in the middle of a game?
We saw our answer after practice this afternoon. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata practiced field goal snaps while running back Willis McGahee was long snapping for punting situations. Both players looked capable, but let’s hope neither has to be called into duty.
While the average fan has no idea who Katula is, he has certainly been an excellent long snapper since joining the Ravens in 2005.
5:00 p.m. — Another rookie to keep an eye on is defensive end Will VanDeSteeg. At 6-4 and 256 pounds, VanDeSteeg has good size and has received a few reps with the starting defense since Terrell Suggs is currently out with a strained heel. Paul Kruger has been taking Suggs’ place in the starting lineup.
He’s just another example of the fine work Eric DeCosta and the scouting staff do every season. While there’s no guarantee that guys like VanDeSteeg or Dannell Ellerbe will make the team, they are more than capable of coming in and competing—exactly what you want during training camp.
4:55 p.m. — With Oniel Cousins sitting out and Adam Terry now done for the season, the Ravens had Marshal Yanda getting some work at right tackle with the second offense. Yanda continues to impress in his recovery from three torn knee ligaments, but Chris Chester continues to receive most reps at right guard for the starting offense.
The coaching staff wants to bring Yanda along slowly, a smart decision considering how serious the injury was.
4:51 p.m. — Some of the highlights of the afternoon practice included a Domonique Foxworth interception on a flea flicker attempt from John Beck. Beck did bounce back, however, when he rolled out to the left and completed a nice sideline pass to Ernie Wheelwright.
Joe Flacco was picked off by Lardarius Webb in the end zone, but the starting quarterback rebounded a few plays later to hit Demetrius Williams for a touchdown with Webb covering on the play.
Rookie fullback Jason Cook had a nice catch out of the backfield with fellow rookie Paul Kruger covering on the play. Cook has a decent chance of making the team if he can show an ability to catch passes out of the backfield.
4:44 p.m. — The afternoon practice lasted a little over an hour, as the players worked out in helmets, shells, and shorts. The team spent most of practice running 11-on-11 situations with no contact.
Tackle Oniel Cousins did not practice but was out on the field unlike this morning. Cornerback Evan Oglesby also did not practice this afternoon. There were no other real status changes from the players that missed the morning practice. Tom Zbikowski was dressed to practice but was not very active during the workout.
1:45 p.m. — The NFL Network is currently replaying the “Music City Miracle” game between the Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills, and it’s on in the hotel lobby. Derrick Mason and Samari Rolle—members of the 1999 Titans—have both spent a few moments watching the game in the lobby.
You have to think both of them thought of their late teammate Steve McNair while catching a few moments of the classic playoff game.
1:41 p.m. — Some fans standing on the far upper field away from the bleachers got an up close and personal look at Derrick Mason. When Flacco threw a fade to Mason in the back corner of the end zone, the receiver’s momentum carried him all the way into the crowd of people standing just beyond the yellow rope, causing a momentary scare. Mason would prove to be fine on the play, but it was a close encounter for the fans nearby.
1:35 p.m. — Mark Clayton talked to reporters today and suggested his hamstring injury might take a little longer to heal than previously thought. The Ravens’ No. 2 receiver said it could be another week or two until he’s back on the field. With Clayton’s history of hamstring issues throughout his pro career, it would make sense for the Ravens to be extra cautious in the second week of training camp.
Suggs is still walking around the team hotel with a boot on his left foot, but the Ravens continue to show little concern. After all, we’re talking about a guy who has never missed a game and earned two sacks with a badly-injured shoulder against the Steelers in the AFC Championship last season. Also, keep in mind that Suggs earned a trip to the Pro Bowl last season after missing all of training camp due to being designated the team’s franchise player. He’s going to be fine.
12:24 p.m. — Left guard Ben Grubbs practiced this morning, but he continues to battle the same ankle injury that landed him on the PUP list at the start of training camp. After coming out to practice, he was later seen talking to trainer Bill Tessendorf and then went back inside to the training room. Grubbs later returned to practice. In his absence, the Ravens shifted Chris Chester to left guard with Marshal Yanda playing right guard.
Tight end Edgar Jones was also shaken up early in practice but later returned to the field.
12:22 p.m. — New defensive back Chris Carr has a physical nature to his game despite his small stature (5-10, 180 pounds). However, Carr tends to be overaggressive at times in the early stages of camp. He was called for pass interference this morning and has been flagged several times in the first week. While it’s certainly a plus to have a defensive back willing to get physical, but it has to come within the framework of the rules.
12:06 p.m. — Graham Gano and Steve Hauschka both looked good, though Hauschka missed a 49-yard attempt. Hauschka was given the morning off yesterday.
Once again, this battle will come down to how each performs in the four preseason games. Jerry Rosburg likes both kickers and thinks either one is capable of winning the job previously held by Matt Stover for the last 13 years.
11:54 a.m. — The Ravens spent a substantial amount of time working on their red zone packages this morning, with the first-team offense typically going against the second-team defense and the first-team D matching up against the second-team offense.
Joe Flacco hit Demetrius Williams on a slant for a touchdown, but the highlight of the session came from receiver Kelley Washington. Matching up against Domonique Foxworth, Washington caught a fade route in the corner of the end zone from backup quarterback Troy Smith. After bringing down the football, Washington broke into the Ray Lewis dance in celebration. The move brought loud cheers from the Westminster crowd.
Willis McGahee and Ray Rice both looked strong running the ball with McGahee picking up 14 yards on a play off left tackle and Rice scoring from the 5-yard-line in a rep against the starting defense. Rice appears to be the No. 1 back in most instances, but McGahee continues to get plenty of reps with the starting offense.
11:42 a.m. — Terrell Suggs (heel) and Mark Clayton (hamstring) once again missed practice, as both players are considered to be day-to-day with their respective injuries. Antwan Barnes did not practice, so we have to wonder if he’s still feeling the effects of a mild concussion on Sunday morning, though he did practice on Monday.
Tom Zbikowski came up lame early on in practice and limped off with an apparent leg injury. He spent most of the morning practice resting on a cart on the sideline.
L.J. Smith (hamstring) and Yamon Figurs (foot) returned to practice this morning. Smith had missed action since tweaking his hamstring early last week, and Figurs was on the physically unable to perform list to start training camp.
Oniel Cousins was abent from practice this morning, but no reason was given. I haven’t heard anything in terms of an injury dating back to yesterday, so it could just be a day off.
Others not practicing included Brendon Ayanbadejo (toe), Will Johnson, Davon Drew (ankle), and Lamar Divens.
11:28 a.m. — Coach John Harbaugh informed the media that Adam Terry would undergo another knee surgery and will miss the 2009 season. Terry had previously been on the physically unable to perform list recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery surgery earlier this offseason.