Live from Westminster: Fabian Washington sits out, ‘Over 30 Club’ gets morning off

August 05, 2009 | Luke Jones

7:23 p.m. — The Ravens have signed a defensive tackle to the 80-man roster.  Nader Abdallah was out on the field during the afternoon special teams practice, wearing No. 61.

Abdallah is a rookie out of Ohio State and is 6-4 and 292 pounds.

5:09 p.m. — Another player slowed by injury is special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo.  The linebacker has battled a toe injury but is now walking around without a protective boot.  He has not tested the toe in cleats, so it’s anyone’s guess when he’ll return to the field.

Ayanbadejo said the toe is very sensitive, and he will take it slow in getting back.

5:05 p.m. — The Ravens will hold practices at 8:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.  Both workouts will include the full squad and are open to the public at McDaniel College.

5:03 p.m. — Harbaugh will not be present for Friday afternoon’s practice as he attends the memorial service for former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. The two men coached for a decade together in Philadelphia, and Harbaugh has referred to Johnson as a “football dad” to him.

Special teams coach Jerry Rosburg will run practice in Harbaugh’s place.

3:42 p.m. — Punter Sam Koch had quite a few reps this afternoon, and he was absolutely crushing the ball.  He continues to use the rugby-style kick to place the ball inside the 20-yard line.  On the last play of the practice, Koch put one inside the 5, but Derrick Martin could not catch the ball cleanly in the air, and it rolled into the end zone for a touchback.

3:27 p.m. — While special teams practices lack the excitement of the full-squad workouts, you will get to see some unique drills from time to time.

The Ravens practiced blocking field goals today by using volleyballs.  The rusher would come around the end with a coach throwing a volleyball from seven yards behind the line of scrimmage–the distance at which the holder will place the ball on a field goal try.  The object for each player was to either catch the volleyball or block it like a football.

Another interesting drill related to blocking kicks involved the use of towels.  The speed rusher coming around the edge on a kicking situation always wants to accelerate in a low position.  To practice this, special teams coach Jerry Rosburg has his players grab a towel on the ground as they accelerate around the edge.

3:23 p.m. — The afternoon practice lasted about an hour with the team working on a variety of drills.

The most compelling part of practice was the fun debate between members of the media, Ray Lewis, and Todd Heap over which sport has the best athletes.

Heap and Lewis logically argued for football, but they also gave credit to basketball, boxing, and hockey.  It was fun hearing the two players’ thoughts on sports other than football.

1:32 p.m. — Lardarius Webb continues to impress the coaching staff with his athleticism and coverage ability in the secondary.  The third-round selection picked off two passes this morning, one from Troy Smith and the other from John Beck.

When also considering his potential in the return game, expect Webb to be a significant factor for the Ravens in 2009.

12:50 p.m. — Rookie Paul Kruger continues to impress as he fills in for Terrell Suggs (heel) with the starting defense.  He’ll undoubtedly struggle when matched up with bigger offensive linemen, but he shows great speed off the edge.  I anticipate Kruger being a major part of the pass rush on third-down situations this season.

12:48 p.m. — Defensive back Evan Oglesby missed the morning practice after sustaining a concussion yesterday.  Oglesby is trying to win a job in a very crowded secondary.

12:45 p.m. — With Graham Gano getting the morning off from kicking, it was Steve Hauschka’s turn to shine, and he did not disappoint.  Hauschka was perfect on his attempts, including two 50-yard attempts.  The highlight of the morning was his 55-yard field goal that easily would have been good from 60+ yards.

For all of the talk about Gano’s strong kicking leg, Hauschka made a pretty strong claim today.

12:43 p.m. — Tackle Oniel Cousins and tight end Davon Drew returned to practice today.  With Adam Terry scheduled to undergo knee surgery and miss the entire season, Cousins now becomes the top reserve tackle behind Jared Gaither and Michael Oher.

12:27 p.m. — One of the best signs from the morning practice was seeing Samari Rolle working out individually during practice.  The veteran cornerback is still on the physically unable to perform list, but John Harbaugh said he could be returning in the near future.

Rolle has groin and shoulder issues dating back to last season and has been seen on the field with electronic stimulation mechanisms on his shoulder.  Today was the first time I recall him doing any real physical activity on the field.

With a healthy Rolle, this Ravens’ secondary might be as deep as it’s ever been.

12:07 p.m. — This morning’s practice lacked the intensity of yesterday’s extensive live hitting, but there were several nice plays during 11-on-11 thud action.  Joe Flacco threw a beautiful corner route to Todd Heap, hitting the tight end right over the shoulder for a touchdown.  It was definitely one of the prettier plays of camp.

Flacco also threw a nice slant to Demetrius Williams earlier in the session.

Backup quarterback Troy Smith threw an interception to safety Derrick Martin and had a difficult morning.  Smith just seemed out of sync but did have a nice sideline completion to Williams.

Not to be outdone, John Beck threw a long completion to receiver Justin Harper, as the young receiver continues to make plays in the deep passing game.

11:57 a.m. — Another morning practice is complete, and the most unexpected absence was cornerback Fabian Washington.  The starting corner has a sore knee and sat out this morning.  The injury is not expected to be serious.

The Ravens’ “Over 30 Club” sat out this morning, which includes Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Derrick Mason, Trevor Pryce, Kelly Gregg and Matt Birk.  The veteran Birk got his morning lift out of the way early, so he could join his fellow offensive linemates on the field.  Justin Bannan is technically part of the club, but his off-day is staggered due to the team needing him on the defensive line.  He will presumably get tomorrow morning’s practice off.

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