4:51 p.m. — One player I haven’t discussed too much is tight end Todd Heap. The veteran has looked good out there with no lingering effects from the back injury apparent. He looks quick getting in and out of his cuts and is hoping to once again become a major factor in the passing game.
“Todd has done a really good job in the offseason getting himself ready,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He looks like he’s getting himself ready to have a really good season. He’ll be the first to tell you that he’s got a lot of work to do betwen now and then, but he’s done well.”
4:45 p.m. — Dannell Ellerbe is a player to keep an eye on if you’re going to make your way out to Westminster. An undrafted rookie inside linebacker out of Georgia, Ellerbe was considered a mid-round draft prospect before battling knee issues in 2008. Ellerbe was 2nd team All-SEC in 2007.
He has been so impressive that he received a few reps with some of the defensive starters at the end of practice this morning. While he clearly won’t challenge Ray Lewis or Tavares Gooden for a starting spot, he could be making a strong case for the 53-man roster, especially if he can perform well on special teams.
4:02 p.m. — One offensive lineman looking strong during camp is Oniel Cousins. After largely being considered a disappointment last year, the 2008 third-round pick has impressed. However, his kryptonite on the defense is linebacker Antwan Barnes. Whenever the two face off, whether in individual drills or live 11-on-11 situations, Barnes seemingly gets the best of Cousins every time.
With Terry still recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and on the PUP list, Cousins is making a charge for that third tackle spot behind Michael Oher and Jared Gaither.
3:56 p.m. — Just to recap the Ravens’ injury situations, the big names missing from this morning were Terrell Suggs (left heel) and Mark Clayton (left hamstring), both considered day-to-day.
Lamar Divens, Davon Drew (right ankle), L.J. Smith (hamstring), and Brendon Ayanbadejo (toe) were other significant players not practicing today.
Samari Rolle (groin/shoulder), Adam Terry (knee), and Yamon Figurs (foot) are still listed on the physical unable to perform list.
3:47 p.m. — The kick returner competition will also be another interesting battle to follow. Chris Carr and Lardarius Webb appear to be the early favorites with Yamon Figurs still on the PUP list with a foot issue.
Carr fits the mold of a Jim Leonhard-like returner. He won’t be a home run hitter back there, but he’ll field kicks cleanly and gain positive yardage. Webb shows outstanding speed and returned a kickoff for a touchdown last week. He has great instincts and will be interesting to watch when the Ravens get into the preseason schedule.
When you consider that both players can contribute to the secondary’s depth and Figurs is rather limited as a wide receiver, I think Figurs may have a difficult time winning this job, even when he finally is healthy.
3:40 p.m. — The afternoon practice is complete, as the Ravens focused on their special teams on the upper fields at McDaniel College. The team spent a considerable amount of time working on kick return blocking assignments.
While these practices aren’t the most exciting to observe if you’re a fan, this is the area where those fringe players can stake a claim for a spot on the 53-man roster.
Moving to the kicking battle, Graham Gano had the opportunity to get the reps—with Steve Hauschka having the day off—and he did not disappoint. Gano was perfect on five attempts, hitting from 33, 36, 45, 47, and 53 yards. I spoke to him after the afternoon session, and he was really please with how he was hitting the ball.
12:48 p.m. — The highlight of the morning was a long completion to Demetrius Williams from Joe Flacco the sideline, drawing the loud cheers of the Westminster fans. Defensive back Chris Carr was guarding closely, but Flacco dropped the ball right into Williams’ hands as he reached over the defender.
Another highlight came when the offense was practicing its goal line sets. Willis McGahee took the hand-off to the right side and was met by Ray Lewis who wrapped him up and appeared to have the running back stopped. McGahee kept fighting and crossed the goal line, giving the offense a touchdown on the final play of the drill.
Both Ray Rice and McGahee continue to impresse onlookers, as both men have run with strength in the early stages of training camp.
12:20 p.m. — Ben Grubbs was hobbling around toward the end of practice and was not participating in team drills. He had previously been on the PUP list with an ankle injury. Justin Bannan did not practice this morning, but the reason was not disclosed. Brendon Ayanbadejo continues to recover from a toe injury but was not wearing a walking boot as he walked out to the field at the end of practice.
12:07 p.m. — I have some other injury notes to pass along. Tight ends L.J. Smith and Davon Drew did not practice, as Smith continues to recover from a hamstring strain and Drew has a right ankle injury. The rookie tight end Drew was walking with a significant limp today, so it may take some time for him to get back on the field.
Antwan Barnes suffered a mild concussion on Sunday morning, but he was back on the field practicing today.
Samari Rolle, Adam Terry, and Yamon Figurs are still on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Jason Phillips was cleared to practice yesterday and is off the list.
11:52 a.m. — The morning practice has come to an end, and there were two notable absences from the field.
Terrell Suggs has a sore left heel and will be out for a short period of time. Both Suggs and coach John Harbaugh told reporters after practice that the injury was not serious. Harbaugh expressed little concern with Suggs missing some time, pointing out that he had three solid days of reps in a row before the heel flared up on Sunday.
Suggs had been seen walking through the hotel Sunday afternoon with a walking boot.
Mark Clayton also did not practice, still recovering from a hamstring tweak. Harbaugh said the team will be extra cautious with it, citing Clayton’s history of hamstring issues. It is not believed to be a major strain, but the training staff wants to play it safe for at least a couple days.
Rookie Paul Kruger took Suggs’ place on the starting defense while Demetrius Williams, who had his own hamstring issue yesterday, took Clayton’s place with the starting unit.