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Cutdown day live updates: Ravens trimming to 53

Posted on 03 September 2011 by Luke Jones

***Stay right here for updates throughout the day as the Ravens form their 53-man roster for the start of the regular season. Follow us on Twitter and be sure to subscribe to the WNST Text Service for all updates sent directly to your mobile device.***

3:10 p.m. — Three hours ahead of the 6 p.m. deadline, the Ravens have announced their remaining cuts, which include QB Hunter Cantwell, FB Ryan Mahaffey, C Jason Murphy, CB Talmadge Jackson, DT Bryan Hall, LS Patrick Scales, OT Andre Ramsey, S Mana Silva, LB Chavis Williams, CB Josh Victorian, LB Josh Bynes, CB Danny Gorrer, and WR James Hardy.

This means the Ravens have decided to keep — for now — rookie defensive end Michael McAdoo and inebackers Jason Phillips and Albert McClellan.

The roster currently has 53 players, which is a bit peculiar with David Reed’s spot not counting against the roster for Week 1. However, it’s of little consequence with the Ravens expected to sign a veteran backup for quarterback Joe Flacco.

2:11 p.m. — By my count, the Ravens have cleared 14 players from the roster, meaning there are 12 unaccounted for to get down to 54 players (David Reed’s spot won’t count in the opener).

The following players are no longer on the roster:

WR Marcus Smith
WR Brandon Jones
RB Damien Berry
RB Jalen Parmele
TE Davon Drew
TE Johdrick Morris
C Tim Barnes
G/C Justin Boren
OT Ramon Harewood (placed on IR – ankle)
S Nate Williams
LB Tavares Gooden
LB Prescott Burgess
DT Derek Simmons
DT Lamar Divens

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1:49 p.m. — After learning rookie receiver LaQuan Williams had made the team, it spelled possible bad news for Marcus Smith. The fourth-year receiver has been cut by the Ravens, according to MASN.

The Ravens have also cleared another roster spot by placing offensive tackle Ramon Harewood on injured reserve with an ankle injury, according to Scout.com.

1:30 p.m. — Rookie cornerback Chykie Brown just informed me via text message that he has made the 53-man roster. The Ravens liked his talent, but there was doubt whether they would ultimately be able to keep him with such a deep group of cornerbacks ahead of him.

1:16 p.m. — Rookie running back Damien Berry has been released and is a possible candidate for the practice squad, according to Scout.com.

With Parmele already gone and Berry joining him, it appears the Ravens will have a total of four running backs (Ray Rice, Vonta Leach, Ricky Williams, and Anthony Allen) when they announce the departure of rookie fullback Ryan Mahaffey.

12:49 p.m. — The names are still trickling in as the Ravens have cut interior offensive lineman Justin Boren, defensive tackle Derek Simmons and veteran receiver Brandon Jones, according to Scout.com. The latter two were not in serious consideration for a roster spot.

I thought Boren might initially sneak on the roster before the Ravens add a backup quarterback or possibly a veteran interior lineman, but the former Ohio State lineman is a prime candidate for the practice squad.

12:12 p.m. — As we hit lunchtime, here’s the recap of what we know so far regarding the Ravens’ cuts:

DT Lamar Divens (first reported by WNST.net)
LB Prescott Burgess
LB Tavares Gooden
RB Jalen Parmele
TE Davon Drew
TE Johdrick Morris
C Tim Barnes
S Nate Williams

That leaves 18 cuts unaccounted for as the Ravens have to trim down to 54 players (David Reed will not count against the roster for Week 1).

12:01 p.m. — Defensive tackle Lamar Divens has been released, as first reported by WNST.net.

WNST’s Glenn Clark can also confirm that former Maryland wide receiver LaQuan Williams has made the 53-man roster, making plenty of local fans happy. Williams may be in the plans as a punt returner as well as the kick returner for Week 1 with David Reed’s suspension.

11:54 a.m. — As we await more difficult decisions on a number of bubble players, Scout.com reports the Ravens have released rookie tight end Johdrick Morris and rookie safety Nate Williams. Neither player was in consideration for a roster spot.

Morris’ release means the Ravens are down to three tight ends

11:13 a.m. — It’s important to point out the Ravens only have to get down to 54 players today. With David Reed suspended for the regular-season opener for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, the second-year receiver will not count against the 53-man roster.

With Gooden, Burgess, Parmele, Barnes, and Drew already waived, that means the Ravens must release 21 more players to get down to 54.

11:04 a.m. — The Ravens have decided to forgo a potential trade and will release linebacker Tavares Gooden, according to Scout.com. He was on the roster bubble after falling behind Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe, and Brendon Ayanbadejo on the depth chart at the inside linebacker spot next to Ray Lewis.

10:43 a.m. — Scout.com is reporting the Ravens have released running back Jalen Parmele. This means rookie running back Anthony Allen is all but guaranteed a roster spot after impressing nearly everyone during the preseason. The Ravens simply couldn’t risk exposing him to the open market in trying to stash him away on the practice squad.

I thought it was possible Parmele might be spared for Week 1 with kick returner David Reed suspended for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, but the Ravens have a number of others capable of returning kicks including rookies Torrey Smith and LaQuan Williams and veterans Lardarius Webb and Tom Zbikowski.

Rookie center Tim Barnes has also been released and could be a candidate for the practice squad, according to his agent’s Twitter account.

10:30 a.m. — The Ravens have released tight end Davon Drew, according to his representation’s Twitter feed. He was pretty clearly on the outside looking in after falling behind veteran Kris Wilson on the depth chart for the No. 3 tight end spot.

NFL reporter Adam Caplan is also reporting the Ravens are shopping linebacker Tavares Gooden to other teams. If they can fetch a low-round draft pick for Gooden, who is very clearly on the bubble anyway, it would be a prudent move by the Ravens.

10:00 a.m. — With the Ravens needing to shrink their roster from 80 to 53 for the regular season by 6 p.m. on Saturday, linebacker Prescott Burgess has reportedly become the first to fall. The special teams standout was waived Saturday morning, according to Scout.com.

Given the Ravens’ depth at the linebacker position and the new kickoff rules somewhat neutralizing the impact of kick coverage, Burgess’ role as the backup strong-side linebacker on the depth chart apparently wasn’t enough to save his spot.

I had Burgess on my 53-man roster that I mocked yesterday, meaning I’ve lost my perfect game right off the bat.

Shows how much I know.

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GAMEDAY: Five compelling Ravens to watch tonight

Posted on 12 August 2010 by Luke Jones

With the pregame buzz of a nationally-televised game inevitably wearing off shortly after the actual game begins (the first preseason game always provides that letdown, doesn’t it?), fans must channel their focus on individual standouts among many with no chance of making the 53-man roster in early September.

Stars such as Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, and Ray Rice will only be making cameo appearances, but the stakes are much higher for lesser-known players yet to make their name popular in the Charm City. A few are battling for starting positions while others are simply contending for a spot on the 53-man roster, with the Ravens or one of the other 31 teams in the National Football League.

Below is a list of five players to watch in tonight’s game against the Carolina Panthers. A couple of familiar names are trying to enhance their stature while the others have stood out in training camp and can improve their position for making the squad—in Baltimore or elsewhere—with strong performances in the preseason.

1. LB Jameel McClain

We all expected a battle between Tavares Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe for the inside linebacker spot next to Lewis, but McClain has emerged as the biggest surprise of training camp. The third-year linebacker was a special teams standout in his first two seasons with the Ravens, but he’s taken an overwhelming majority of the reps with the starting defense while Gooden and Ellerbe have worked with the second team.

McClain is beginning to draw comparisons to former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott in that both went undrafted, played multiple positions in college, and earned their money via special teams in the infancy of their respective careers. McClain can play all four linebacker positions in the Ravens’ 3-4 scheme, but he credits being able to focus on the inside spot as a major factor for his new-found status as a defensive starter.

Of course, being a starter in training camp doesn’t mean he’ll start in September, but it’s apparent how far McClain has progressed from the summer of 2008 when he was a nondescript linebacker-defensive end trying to make the team. His steady play in all aspects of the game makes him a valuable asset to the defense.

“That’s what [McClain] is, he’s consistent,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s physical between the tackles. He’s solid in pass coverage.”

2. OT Oniel Cousins

The 2008 third-round draft choice has drawn the ire of many in his brief opportunities to play in his first two seasons, but this is a critical preseason—and season—for Cousins. With Jared Gaither’s status up in the air, physically and contractually, tonight will be a valuable first step for Cousins to alleviate concerns at the right tackle position and convince the coaching staff he can eventually be an NFL starter.

Cousins began training camp on the non-football illness list after having a procedure to remove a cyst in his throat earlier in the summer, but one wouldn’t know he only returned to the practice field a week ago by the way he’s played.

“I think what [Cousins] has done has been pretty amazing,” Harbaugh said. “He’s just made up so much ground in the last week that he’s practiced. He looks good, so he should play quite a bit [on Thursday].”

With Gaither still sidelined with back spasms and other tackles (Tony Moll, Ramon Harewood, and Stefan Rodgers) banged up, Cousins will receive extensive playing time against the Panthers.

3. CB Prince Miller

At 5-foot-8, the diminutive cornerback has listened to doubters throughout his football career. It didn’t stop Miller from making 31 career starts at Georgia and matching up against the best receivers the highly-competitive SEC had to offer.

Miller has struggled in camp against taller receivers such as Anquan Boldin and Demetrius Williams, but shows good athleticism and an impressive skill-set in special teams, a critical factor for any player on the roster bubble.

The rookie was away from camp for two days to witness the birth of his first child but has played the nickel and dime positions with the first-team defense, largely because of the team’s health issues in the secondary.

With Chris Carr likely out and Fabian Washington a game-time decision, Miller will likely man the nickel with the starting defense in the first quarter and play extensively when the starters are removed.

“We gave him a couple days off [to be in Georgia for his child’s birth], and he did have fresh legs [Tuesday],” Harbaugh said. “I think it helped him. He kind of had the little bounce in his step, but he’ll play a lot on Thursday night along with those other young guys.”

4. LB Albert McClellan

The Ravens scouting department manages to find an impressive “hybrid” on the rookie free agent list seemingly every year, and McClellan fits that description this summer. The defensive end-linebacker has performed admirably in Westminster, even picking off Troy Smith and returning it for a touchdown in a red zone drill.

It’s no secret McClellan faces an uphill battle to make the team with such a deep linebacker unit already in place, but the same was said about McClain in 2008 before the Syracuse rookie won a roster spot with big performances in the preseason.

McClellan was a three-time captain at Marshall and accumulated 19.5 sacks in his collegiate career as a defensive end, earning second team All-Conference USA honors as a senior and first-team honors as a junior. Even if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster, McClellan figures to have a good chance to catch on elsewhere or make the developmental squad.

5. DT Lamar Divens

With the Ravens drafting defensive linemen Terrence Cody and Arthur Jones in April, the 343-pound Divens has become a forgotten man in a very deep group of defensive linemen. Durability is an issue with the third-year tackle, finishing the season on Injured Reserve in 2008 (shoulder) and spending the entire 2009 campaign on IR (shoulder).

Divens has impressed during training camp, constantly getting to the offensive backfield while playing on the second and third defensive units. With so many defensive tackles on the roster, he is a long-shot to stick with the Ravens, but a strong preseason improves his chances to catch on elsewhere.

He will receive extensive playing time in the second half.

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Clarifying the Physically Unable to Perform List

Posted on 27 July 2010 by Luke Jones

With so much discussion over the PUP (physically unable to perform) list over the last couple weeks regarding Ed Reed and today’s announcement that 10 players—including second-round pick Terrence Cody—have been placed on PUP, it’s easy to get confused with the meaning of the designatioin.

In Reed’s case, the discussion in recent weeks is in regards to the reserve PUP list, which states:

This list designates players with serious injuries that will keep them from being able to start a season on the 53-man roster but may be able to return to the roster during the regular season. The players must be placed on this roster at or before the league-wide 65-man summer roster cutdown to be eligible for this designation, and they must stay on this list for at least the first six weeks of the regular season. After this time, teams have three weeks to evaluate such players, after which each such player must be placed on the 53-man roster, injured reserve, or waivers.

This morning’s designation (Reed, Cody, Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Oniel Cousins, Walt Harris, Matt Lawrence, Prince Miller, and Rodelin Anthony) was for the active PUP list, which is the first step taken to place a player on the aforementioned reserve list. It states:

Once they are designated as physically unable to perform, they are prohibited from practicing with the team. They can, however, rehabilitate individually and participate in team meetings. If a player begins training camp on the PUP list, they can be moved to the active roster at any time, even after one practice. A player is not allowed to be placed on the PUP list if they start training camp on the active roster.

The active PUP list still counts against the 80-man training camp roster, so there is no added roster flexibility but players are allowed to come off the list at any time. However, if Reed or any of the other nine players participates in a practice and would suffer a new injury or re-injure a preexisting condition, they would no longer be eligible for the PUP list in either capacity.

To put it simply, the active PUP is the necessary procedure for potentially placing any player on the reserve PUP in which he’d miss the start of the regular season. With most players, this doesn’t happen and they’re able to return to the practice field at some point during training camp.

For some perspective, the players who started on the active PUP list at the start of training camp last season were Willis McGahee, Lamar Divens, Davon Drew, Yamon Figurs, Ben Grubbs, Adam Terry, Jason Phillips, Samari Rolle, Lou Saucedo, Marshal Yanda, Kelley Washington, and Joe Reitz.

McGahee, Grubbs, Yanda, and Washington all went on to make key contributions for the 2009 Ravens.

While it certainly won’t make anyone happy seeing these 10 names on the list, it’s not always the major concern some perceive it to be.

Unless you’re talking about an All-Pro safety.

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Live from Westminster: Gaither returns to practice, Divens placed on IR

Posted on 15 August 2009 by Luke Jones

3:45 p.m. — The afternoon special teams practice lasted about an hour with the only news being the absence of returner Chris Carr.  He did not practice this afternoon and was walking very gingerly, suggesting he’s dealing with some type of leg issue.

Carr walked off the field with trainer Bill Tessendorf in the closing minutes of the morning session.

1:27 p.m. — The Ravens will hold a special teams practice at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.  Tomorrow morning’s practice has been CANCELLED.  The team will have a full-squad practice on Sunday afternoon at 2:45 p.m.

1:23 p.m. — Unofficially, Steve Hauschka was two of four in field goal attempts.  Hauschka made attempts from 20 and 41 yards but appeared to miss from 47 and 51 yards.  Both of these attempts were very close, and it was difficult to tell.  There were no officials standing underneath the goal posts, so I was just judging from my spot on the sideline.  I guess I need to hire my own personal referee to help me with this part of the blog!

Hauschka appears to have a slight edge over Graham Gano at this point, but there are three preseason games remaining before any decision needs to be made.

12:48 p.m. — Harbaugh had a blue work shirt with the name “John” on it this morning, symbolizing how he wants his team to work hard just like an average person works hard at a regular job for a living.  It was amusing seeing the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens wearing a shirt you’d typically see worn by a plumber or electrician.

Harbaugh is really big on slogans and symbolism for his football team.

12:44 p.m. — A couple other health-related notes to pass on about the morning practice.  Demetrius Williams did practice but had an ice pack on the right hamstring during the final moments of practice.  He’s battled the nagging injury for most of camp.

Chris Carr left the field with trainer Bill Tessendorf shortly before practice concluded.  There are no specifics on any potential injury at this time.

12:32 p.m. — Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe did not practice this morning.  There is no word on any injury.

Ellerbe has been one of the surprises of camp, taking reps with the first-team defense at times and gaining serious consder

12:29 p.m. — At the very end of practice, Joe Flacco brought the fans to their feet when he scrambled around while trying to find a receiver but finally found his way to the end zone on his feet.  He spiked the football after scoring, gaining a loud cheer in the process.

Not to be outdone, Troy Smith connected with Matt Lawrence for a touchdown, scoring for the second-team offense.

12:27 p.m. — Receiver Kelley Washington had one of the highlights of the morning, making a long, one-handed touchdown reception, beating Fabian Washington on the play.

12:24 p.m. — Ray Rice continues to impress with his ability to catch the ball coming out of the backfield.  During 7-on-7 drills, he made a nifty one-handed grab.

Another lesser-known running back, Matt Lawrence, continues to make a name for himself after an impressive performance against the Redskins.  Lawrence beat Oglesby on a long pass reception.

Both Lawrence and Jalen Parmele—a player liked by offensive coordinator Cam Cameron—clearly appear to be ahead of sixth-round pick Cedric Peerman on the depth chart.  Peerman hasn’t had a bad camp, but he’s done little to really stand out among his peers at the running back position.

12:09 p.m. — Cornerback Evan Oglesby dropped a sure interception thrown by Troy Smith this morning.  For a player like Oglesby trying to make the 53-man roster, you want to make every possible play you can to impress the coaching staff.

12:06 p.m. — Terrell Suggs and Mark Clayton were both absent from practice, though I saw both players out on the field working on some light conditioning.  Despite Suggs not practicing in two weeks, no one really seems too concerned about his status for the regular season.  He is not wearing any boot or apparent brace for the injured heel.

Clayton is expected to miss at least one or two more preseason games as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

Marcus Smith made an appearance during practice on crutches.  He is out for the year with a torn ACL and will undergo surgery next week.  Doctors must wait for the swelling to subside before repairing the knee.

You have to feel badly for Smith.  While fans tend to view professional athletes as little more than millionaires, these guys are human beings, and it has to be incredibly frustrating to put in so much work throughout the offseason, only to tear up your knee in the preseason opener.  Smith will not only be a loss at the receiver position, but he is one of the best special teams players on the team.  He was a great gunner on the punt team, so the Ravens will need someone else to step up in his absence.

12:04 p.m. — The offensive line had some struggles with the snap count when they worked from their own 1-yard line this morning.  L.J. Smith jumped once and then several members of the offensive line committed a false start on the following play.  This could not have made Harbaugh happy after seeing his team commit nine penalties on Thursday night—one of the few negatives you can take from the game.

Yamon Figurs had a great morning, catching two long passes from Troy Smith, beating Frank Walker for a touchdown and grabbing a 33-yard pass against Evan Oglesby.  These are the types of practices Figurs needs to have to improve his standing with the organization.  He is one of those veterans who suddenly finds himself squarely on the bubble.

12:00 p.m. — Ed Reed did not wear the red jersey during the full-squad workout this morning, no surprise considering he played against the Redskins.

11:58 a.m. — Jared Gaither returned to the practice field this morning after sitting out Thursday night’s preseason opener.  It was more of a precautionary move to keep the big left tackle out, as he continues to battle soreness with the strained trapezius muscle.

Marshal Yanda also practiced this morning after sitting out Thursday’s game.

11:55 a.m. — John Harbaugh wanted his players to quickly forget the impressive 23-0 victory over the Washington Redskins on Thursday night, and he proved it by holding one of the longest practices of the summer this morning.  Practice lasted two hours and 20 minutes.

I have a few roster notes to pass along.  Quarterback Drew Willy has been re-signed to the 80-man training camp roster.  You may remember Willy was on the roster during OTAs and was signed after the draft.  He played his college ball at the University of Buffalo and knows the offensive system better than any other quarterback the team could sign at this point.

John Beck’s injured throwing shoulder does not have a tear, but there is still no set timetable on his return.  He obviously did not practice this morning.

If Beck must miss an extended period of time, the Ravens could be interested in quarterback Cleo Lemon.  The veteran quarterback tried out for the team after the morning practice.

The team also signed receiver Bradon Godfrey, a rookie out of Utah and Paul Kruger’s former teammate.  Godfrey is 6-3 and 197 pounds—very skinny legs.  He had been signed by the Atlanta Falcons earlier in the offseason.

The Ravens also placed defensive tackle Lamar Divens on injured reserve with a hip injury.  Divens was competing for a roster spot on a very deep defensive line and could not get healthy during training camp.

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Live from the Purple Crab Cake: Ravens blank Skins, 23-0

Posted on 13 August 2009 by Luke Jones

11:11 p.m. — Just a few injury notes to pass along.  John Harbaugh confirmed that Marcus Smith sustained a severe knee injury in tonight’s game, speculating that it could be an ACL.

Troy Smith re-entered the game late in the fourth quarter after John Beck had an undisclosed injury.  Harbaugh does not believe the injury is serious.

Safety Haruki Nakamura suffered a “stinger” but should be fine.

10:35 p.m. — Gano misses a 28-yard field goal as time expires.  Tough break for the rookie in the kicking competition.  Final score:  Ravens 23, Redskins 0.

10:28 p.m. — Troy Smith is back in at quarterback.  This is definitely an interesting development.

After Jason Cook recovered a fumble, Matt Lawrence just picked up 14 yards and a first down.

10:26 p.m. — The Redskins continue to look terrible offensively and are in danger of being shut out.

Ernie Wheelwright nearly blocked the punt.

10:24 p.m. — Paul Kruger just picked up the sack on Brennan, showing great speed off the edge.

I’ve been singing his praises during training camp, so it’s nice to see him deliver in his first preseason game.

10:19 p.m. — Beck just completed a 64-yard pass to little Jayson Foster.

Peerman scores the touchdown from seven yards out, as he made a nice cut to get into the end zone.

Ravens 23, Redskins 0

10:12 p.m. — Just to give you a picture of how much better the depth in the secondary is, Frank Walker, a starter in the AFC Championship game, is playing in the fourth quarter of a preseason game.

This is no knock on Walker, but it shows how deep the secondary is, and the team still awaits the return of Samari Rolle.

10:06 p.m. — On first down, Beck is nearly picked off by defensive end Jeremy Jarmon.

He then hits Peerman on second down for a gain of six yards.

Harper just dropped another pass on third down.  He needs to use his hands to catch the ball instead of trying to trap it with his body.

The Ravens go for it on fourth down, and Beck throws one at the feet of Ernie Wheelwright.  Washington takes over at their own 38-yard line.

10:00 p.m. — Beck just completed a 13-yard pass to sixth-round pick Cedric Peerman, but it’s seven yards shy of a first down.

Sam Koch punts it down to the six-yard line, leaving the Redskins with poor field position to start another drive.

9:58 p.m. — We’ve reached the end of three quarters, and the Ravens hold a comfortable 16-0 lead over the hated Redskins.

9:55 p.m. — Cousins was just called for a holding penalty and continues to have a tough night.

The Ravens definitely need to explore a veteran option at the tackle position to back up Jared Gaither and Michael Oher.

9:54 p.m. — John Beck is now at the helm for the Ravens offense.

Smith finished 12 of 28 for 188 yards and a touchdown.  While the completion percentage isn’t very good, Smith did a great job running the two-minute drive on the team’s lone touchdown of the night at the end of the first half.

9:51 p.m. — Colt Brennan is sacked by Tom Zbikowski on third down, forcing a Redskins punt.

9:44 p.m. — Derrick Martin just picked off Colt Brennan.  The former corner is adjusting to the safety position, and the interception will certainly help his case for a spot on the 53-man roster.

9:41 p.m. — Cam Cameron was not satisfied with his starting offense settling for field goals instead of touchdowns.

“The three penalties in the first half hurt us.  We can correct those.  We held the ball and moved the ball early, but we have to score touchdowns, not field goals.  Ball security was very good, and we’ve worked hard on that.”

9:39 p.m. — Greg Mattison had some halftime thoughts on his defense.

“The turnover at the end of the second quarter was big, and our offense took it right down the field for the touchdown.  Before that, we were sound.  We need more pressure on the quarterbacks, especially in passing situations.”

9:36 p.m. — The action is moving quickly in the second half, as the Ravens begin a drive at their own 23-yard line.  Jalen Parmele is shaken up, and we have an injury timeout.

9:33 p.m. — Here are a few quotes about the Ravens’ performance in the first half:

Flacco:  “It felt great to be out there.  As an offense, everything felt really good.  I was happy with the way our receivers and running backs were moving.  Our line did a heck of a job for being their first time out there.”

Kelly Gregg:  “It was a little nerve-racking, but it’s really great to be back.  I was just soaking everything up.  There were a few butterflies, but it was a lot of fun to be out here pounding again with the guys.”

Ray Rice talking about Michael Oher:  “He’s ready to play.  He’s physical.  He got out there and got a jump on people.  He just needs to continue to get better each game.”

9:24 p.m. — On 3rd and 15, Smith throws it away.

Graham Gano makes the 39-yard field goal, making the score 16-0.

9:22 p.m. — Smith with a 37-yard completion to Yamon Figurs who keeps his feet in-bounds.  Figurs will need more plays like that to solidify a spot on the 53-man roster.

On 3rd and 5, Smith hits Lawrence for a gain of 11, moving the chains and setting the Ravens up at the Skins’ 16-yard line.

9:20 p.m. — The second half is underway, and the Ravens begin the drive deep in their own territory.

Smith has really been impressive and just threw a first-down completion to Harper.  It’s clear these two have a solid chemistry.

Oniel Cousins gets called for holding, pushing the ball back to the 15.

9:09 p.m. — We’re still trying to find out more about Marcus Smith

Flacco was 9 of 15 for 103 yards.  A solid outing and hopefully enough to sil

9:01 p.m. — Cartwright rushes for 5 yards to close out the half.  Ravens lead, 13-0.

8:58 p.m. — Smith with a great pump fake and throws the 19-yard touchdown pass to Harper.  These two have hooked up repeatedly in Wesminster, and they find the same magic tonight.

Hauschka’s extra point makes the score 13-0.  The Ravens have thoroughly dominated this one.

The drive covers 10 plays, 69 yards, and lasts 107.  You have to be impressed with Troy Smith’s work in the two-minute drill.

8:57 p.m. — On 3rd and 4 from the 32, Smith hits a slant to Harper who makes the catch for the first down and takes it to the 19.  Smith spikes the ball with 19 seconds remaining.

On the next play, Smith tries to hit Harper in the end zone, but it falls incomplete.

8:55 p.m. — Orakpo gets in there again and hits Smith as he tries to throw.  I’m very impressed with the rookie from Texas.

Smith then completes a 14-yard pass to Lawrence, and the Ravens have the ball at the Washington 38 yard-line.

8:54 p.m. — After Smith completes passes to Edgar Jones and Matt Lawrence, the Ravens are all the way up to their own 48.  The Ravens use their final timeout with 59 seconds remaining in the half.

8:53 p.m. — On 3rd and 6 from the 30, Collins does not get the snap off in time and is called for a delay of game.

Now, 3rd and 11 from the 35, Collins completes a pass to Keith Eloi who then gets stripped by Tom Zbikowski.  The ball is recovered by Dwan Edwards.

8:47 p.m. — Fred Davis fumbles the ball after making the catch.  Prescott Burgess forced the fumble.  The Redskins recover at the Baltimore 34, and we’ve reached the two-minute warning.

8:43 p.m. — The Redskins are finally moving the ball after Malcolm Kelly makes a nice catch on third down with Chris Carr defending.  Kelly again snatches one for a gain of seven, setting up 2nd and 3 from their own 48.

8:41 p.m. — Thank goodness we can finally stop talking about the silly Michael Vick to Baltimore rumors.  Vick has signed a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

8:39 p.m. — Harper fails to bring another pass in on third down.  The Redskins are getting some heavy pressure on Troy Smith.  Cousins is having a difficult time blocking Orakpo, the Redskins’ first-round pick.

The Washington offense takes over at their own 11-yard line.  You know Jim Zorn wants to see a positive drive here.

8:36 p.m. — It’s nice seeing Michael Oher back in the game after suffering a nasty gash to the forehead.

Smith just lofted a nice touch pass to L.J. Smith for a gain of 35 yards.  A healthy L.J. Smith would give the Ravens a nice duo at the tight end position.

8:34 p.m. — The Ravens force the Redskins to go three-and-out, as the second-team defense is now in for the Ravens.

Lardarius Webb returns the 55-yard Hunter Smith punt to the 24.

8:31 p.m. — On third down, Cousins had a difficult time trying to block Brian Orakpo and gets called for holding.  The pass falls incomplete, and the Redskins decline the penalty.

After the punt, the Skins will start at the 22.

8:27 p.m. — Justin Harper can’t come up with a low—but catchable—pass from Smith.  He has blazing speed but needs to show the ability to catch the ball in traffic.

On second down, Smith throws high but Harper cannot rein it in with a defender ready to unload on the young receiver. It certainly isn’t a good start for Harper, a guy whose praises I’ve been singing over the last few weeks.

The Ravens take their second timeout on 3rd and 10.

8:26 p.m. — Troy Smith is your new quarterback.

Flacco finishes 9 of 15 for 103 yards.  A steady preseason debut that hopefully silences some critics.

Campbell was 3 of 6 for 38 yards.

8:25 p.m. — Barnes and Ellerbe combine on the tackle on the kickoff.

Todd Collins is the new Redskins quarterback.  Barnes almost picked off a pass in the flat intended for Eddie Williams.

On third down, Haruki Nakamura punches the ball away from Hagans, forcing another Washington punt.

Carr has some trouble fielding the punt but recovers and returns it to the 32-yard line.

Injury update: Washington’s Lorenzo Alexander has an abdominal strain, and his return is questionable.

8:21 p.m. — After a short pass to McGahee fails to pick up the first down, Hauschka makes the 36-yard field goal.  He’s 2-for-2 tonight.

Not a bad drive from the Ravens, but the Smith drop really hurt.  The drive lasts 14 plays and spans 71 yards.  It took 6:36.

8:19 p.m. — Flacco completes a third-down play to Marcus Smith, picking up the first down.

McGahee displays some nice moves in the open field as he picks up 16 yards.

Flacco with a beautiful pass over the defender that’s dropped by Smith.  That’s a ball that needs to be caught.  After another incompletion to Williams, it brings up 3rd and long from the 26-yard line.

8:13 p.m. — The quarter ends with a five-yard completion to Rice coming out of the backfield.

At the end of the first quarter, Ravens lead the Skins, 3-0.

8:12 p.m. — Flacco’s screen pass to Rice is blown up for a loss after Ben Grubbs could not block Byron Westbrook in the open field.

On 3rd and 9, Flacco hits Washington for a gain of 15 and a first down.  Nice start for the new Raven.

8:09 p.m. — On first down, Flacco hits Mason for a seven-yard gain on the quick out.  Le’Ron McClain lining up in the slot two plays in a row.

Kelley Washington catches a 16-yard pass, moving the chains.  The former Bengal and Patriot has been impressive in camp.

Rice picks up seven yards on first down, as the Ravens are all the way up to their own 40.

8:04 p.m. — On 3rd and 7, Antwan Barnes nearly sacks Campbell, forcing the incompletion.

During the punt return, Jameel McClain is called for holding and will move the Ravens back to their own 10-yard line.  You just know special teams penalties drive Harbaugh crazy.

8:02 p.m. — The Redskins will begin their second drive at their own 23.  Campbell completes a 15-yard pass to Antwaan Randle El.  The Ravens didn’t get much pressure up front on the play.

Ray Lewis and Ed Reed already appear finished for the night.

8:01 p.m. — Flacco’s pass is broken up by DeAngelo Hall on third down, intedned for Mason.

Steve Hauschka hits the 21-yard field goal, and the Ravens take the 3-0 lead with 6:15 remaining in the first quarter.  The highlight of the drive is the 34-yard completion to Rice coming out of the backfield.

You have to be pleased with the Ravens’ opening drive.  It lasted 13 plays, covered 67 yards, and took 5:47 off the game clock.

8:00 p.m. — Oher has been taken to the locker room with a gash on his forehead.  It appears he will need stitches after taking a shot to the head just a few minutes ago.

Joe Reitz has checked in at right tackle for the Ravens in Oher’s absence.

7:58 p.m. — After the timeout, the Ravens give it to McGahee straight up the middle for the first down.  Michael Oher comes off the field bleeding.

On 2nd and goal, Flacco cannot connect with Mason and throws it out of the end zone.  On 3rd and goal from the 3, Washington takes their first timeout.

7:52 p.m. — Willis McGahee has checked in at running back and takes the hand-off for a gain of five yards.  Despite Rice’s strong showing in training camp, the coaching staff is pleased with McGahee’s work in Westminster also.

Flacco keeps it on 3rd and 3 and takes a pretty good hit but comes up just short of the first down.  It will be 4th and 1, and John Harbaugh will use a timeout to ponder what to do.

7:48 p.m. — Rice just caught a short pass over the middle and galloped 34 yards to the Washington 17.  The 5-7 back provides so much versatility in the backfield, and it’s easy to see why the Ravens are so high on the former Rutgers star.

After Rice rushes for two yards, Kedric Golston is slow to get up for Washington.

7:46 p.m. — Flacco’s first-down attempt is batting in the air at the line of scrimmage by Andre Carter.  The ball helplessly falls incomplete.

On second down, Ray Rice shows good speed getting to the edge and picks up six yards.

Kelley Washington lines up as the No 3 receiver on third down before Demetrius Williams catches a slant for an 11-yard gain.  It’s nice seeing Williams on the field and contributing.

7:44 p.m. — The Ravens’ offense will start their first drive of the season from their own 30-yard line.  It will be interesting to watch how well Oniel Cousins performs in Jared Gaither’s absence.

Cousins has had a strong training camp so far.

7:43 p.m. — On 3rd and 6, the Ravens bring the pressure as Campbell throws incomplete, intended for Marques Hagans.

Chris Carr is back deep to return the punt.

7:39 p.m. — The Redskins’ opening play results in a first down in a swing pass to Ladell Betts.

Two plays later, Jason Campbell completes an 11-yard pass to Cooley.  Skins moving the ball well early.

7:39 p.m. — Dannell Ellerbe immediately makes his presence known by bringing down Rock Cartwright.

7:37 p.m. — The Redskins win the toss and elect to receive.

Steve Hauschka will handle all kicking duties in the first half.

7:36 p.m. — Ravens’ captains are Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Kelly Gregg, Matt Birk, Justin Bannan, and Trevor Pryce.

7:27 p.m. — The starting offense is being introduced to the customary U2 song “Where the Streets Have No Name.”

Ray Rice is the first player announced, and Micheal Oher received a nice ovation from the home crowd.

Derrick Mason is the last player announced, and it’s clear the Ravens’ faithful are glad to have him back after a brief retirement.

7:18 p.m. — Tonight’s referee will be Walt Anderson.  Rounding out the officiating crew is Scott Dawson, Phil McKinnely, Byron Boston, Jimmy Buchanan, James Coleman, and Billy Smith.

7:12 p.m. — Looking around the lower bowl of M&T Bank Stadium, there’s a sprinkling of Skins fans but not as many as I thought there would be.

The Ravens are going back to their locker room after warming up.  Fifteen minutes until kickoff!

7:08 p.m. — I’m a bit surprised to see Ed Reed out there tonight after wearing the red jersey for most of training camp.  I figured the Ravens would hold him out until the second or third preseason game.

Mason will play despite dislocating a finger only two days ago.

I’d be surprised if we see Reed or Mason for longer than a series or two.

7:02 p.m. — Oniel Cousins will start at left tackle in Gaither’s place.  Defensively, Paul Kruger will take Terrell Suggs’ spot with the first defense.

Ladell Betts will get the start at running back and Devin Thomas will line up at receiver for Washington.  On the defensive side of the ball, Fred Smoot will start at corner and Kedric Golston will take Haynesworth’s spot at defensive tackle.

6:58 p.m. — The Ravens announced they have waived receiver Thomas White.

6:56 p.m. — The Ravens have released their inactives for this evening, and they include Terrell Suggs, Mark Clayton, Jared Gaither, Marshal Yanda, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Samari Rolle (PUP), Lamar Divens, and Biren Ealy.

Sitting out for the Redskins will be Carlos Rogers, Clinton Portis, Anthony Alridge, Reuben Riley, Jeremy Bridges, Randy Thomas, Santana Moss, and Albert Haynesworth.

6:40 p.m. — The Ravens specialists are out on the field, and Ed Reed is dressed and appears to be playing.

Reed’s status throughout training camp has been a mystery with him sporting the red non-contact jersey for most practices.

6:16 p.m. — Still no word on the scratch list.

The Ravens will be dressed in all white tonight.

5:46 p.m. — Tonight marks the first time the Ravens have opened the preseason at home since 2007 when they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 29-3.

This will be the fifth preseason meeting between the Ravens and their hated neighbors to the south.  The preseason series is tied, 2-2.

In the series that really matters, the regular season, Baltimore enjoys a 3-1 all-time lead.  The most recent meeting was last season’s 24-10 victory for the men in purple on a cold Sunday night in December.

5:24 p.m. — Derrick Mason is out on the field working out and catching passes.  It seems like Mason may attempt to play, but I still suspect we won’t see him for long.

5:19 p.m. — I’m live at M&T Bank Stadium, watching a handful of players warm up—kicking around a soccer ball, no less!—after a heavy rain just passed through the area.  The sun has just peaked out as I type this.

Kickoff is just over two hours away, and we’ll update you on the injury report as soon as we get word.  At this point, Mark Clayton (hamstring) and Terrell Suggs (heel) are the only players ruled out for the game, but there are several players whose status is unknown including Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason, Demetrius Williams, Todd Heap, Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs, Trevor Pryce, and Brendon Ayanbadejo.

Stay with us throughout the game, as we’ll be offering analysis, providing injury updates, and answering your questions here at WNST.net!

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Getting down to 53: An early projection

Posted on 05 August 2009 by Luke Jones

We’re a week and a half into training camp, so I thought I would give my VERY early look at the 53-man roster.  Keep in mind, injuries are bound to occur and will change the makeup of the roster considerably.

The first preseason game will take place against the Washington Redskins next Thursday night, but here’s my roster projections based on my early observations in Westminster.

I’ve listed the number of players I predict the Ravens to keep at each position in parentheses. This list does not include the practice squad of eight players the Ravens could keep in addition to the 53-man roster.

And, remember, I’m not John Harbaugh, nor will I ever claim to be.

QUARTERBACKS (3)
LOCK: Joe Flacco, Troy Smith, John Beck
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Though Smith and Beck will continue to battle for the No. 2 job, there are no other quarterbacks currently in camp to even compete.

RUNNING BACKS (4)
LOCK: Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Le’Ron McClain
BUBBLE: Cedric Peerman, Jason Cook
LONGSHOT: Jalen Parmele, Matt Lawrence
Skinny: It will most likely come down to special teams in determining whether Peerman and Cook find their way on the roster. Cook would give the Ravens a backup fullback, but Cam Cameron could elect to use the tight end as a fullback in certain packages. The team could obviously choose to keep both, but we’ll see how it plays out in the preseason.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)
LOCK: Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams, Marcus Smith
BUBBLE: Kelley Washington, Justin Harper, Yamon Figurs
LONG SHOT: Biren Ealy, Thomas White, Eron Riley, Ernie Wheelwright, Jayson Foster
Skinny: The team still could elect to sign another veteran receiver, especially with Mark Clayton out with a hamstring injury. Washington probably makes the team since he’s a strong special teams player, and Harper has been very impressive in the early stages of camp. Considering Figurs is no longer a lock to return kicks, his roster spot is in serious jeopardy. Riley could be a candidate for the practice squad.

TIGHT ENDS (3)
LOCK: Todd Heap, L.J. Smith
BUBBLE: Edgar Jones, Davon Drew
LONG SHOT: Isaac Smolko
Skinny: The fifth-round pick Drew has been a disappointment so far after failing the initial running test at the beginning of camp and then injuring his ankle. Drew has returned to practice, but he’s currently behind Jones on the depth chart.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
LOCK: Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs, Matt Birk, Chris Chester, Michael Oher, Marshal Yanda, Oniel Cousins
BUBBLE: David Hale, Tre Stallings
LONG SHOT: Robby Felix, Stefan Rodgers, Bryan Mattison, Joe Reitz
Skinny: The Ravens will likely bring in a veteran tackle to replace Adam Terry who will miss the season with a knee injury. Hale has backed up Birk at center during camp, but Chester has the ability to play center in the event of an injury.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)
LOCK: Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce, Justin Bannan
BUBBLE: Dwan Edwards, Brandon McKinney, Kelly Talavou, Lamar Divens
LONG SHOT: Will Johnson
Skinny: This unit is very deep, and the Ravens will inevitably have to part ways with a very talented player.

LINEBACKERS (9)
LOCK: Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Tavares Gooden, Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, Paul Kruger, Brendon Ayanbadejo
BUBBLE: Jason Phillips, Dannell Ellerbe, Will VanDeSteeg, Prescott Burgess
LONG SHOT: Tony Fein
Skinny: This is another deep unit. I could envision the Ravens finding a mysterious “injury” with one or two of these young guys and stashing them on injured reserve.

CORNERBACKS (7)
LOCK: Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington, Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb, Samari Rolle
BUBBLE: Frank Walker, K.J. Gerard, Evan Oglesby
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Are you noticing a theme here at the defensive positions? Once again, the Ravens will have to part ways with some talented corners, but the numbers won’t allow them to keep everyone.

SAFETIES (4)
LOCK: Ed Reed, Dawan Landry, Haruki Nakamura, Tom Zbikowski
BUBBLE: Derrick Martin
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Martin is giving himself a chance to make the roster by shifting over to work at safety, so the team could conceivably carry him on the roster if he proves effective at his new position. Otherwise, he’s squarely on the bubble at the cornerback position, too.

KICKER (1)
LOCK: None
BUBBLE: Graham Gano, Steve Hauschka
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: This battle will last through the entire preseason. Numerous Ravens officials have told me the four preseason games will carry the most weight. Both kickers have hit 50+ yard field goals during camp, but Westminster is a far cry from a Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium or Heinz Field.

PUNTER (1)
LOCK: Sam Koch
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Koch is one of the better punters in the league, and his ability to place the ball inside the 20-yard line is a major asset. He also runs a mean fake punt play. Just ask the Cowboys.

LONG SNAPPER (1)
LOCK: Matt Katula
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Katula is one of the most anonymous players on the team, because he does a great job. The Ravens hope it stays that way.

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Live from Westminster: Adam Terry done for the season

Posted on 04 August 2009 by Luke Jones

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.

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Live from Westminster: Suggs, Clayton do not practice

Posted on 03 August 2009 by Luke Jones

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.

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Live from Westminster: Oher signs, Mason placed on reserve/did not report list

Posted on 29 July 2009 by Luke Jones

11:54 p.m. — As I’ve discussed earlier—both in the blog and on the training camp reports—the delay in Oher’s signing was likely based on the slotting system that exists for signing draft picks.

With the 21st pick (Cleveland’s Alex Mack) and the 28th pick (Buffalo’s Eric Wood) signing contracts already, it gave some basic parameters for the Oher deal to get done.  Oher is only the sixth first-round pick to sign a contract.

We’re still waiting to hear the official terms.

11:02 p.m. —  John Harbaugh’s statement to the Ravens’ official site about the signing of Michael Oher:

“We knew Michael wanted to be here.  He said that many times.  Ozzie [Newsome] wanted him to be here, and his agent [Jimmy Sexton] wanted him to be here too.  The agent wanted to make sure he did the right thing by Michael, and we wanted that.”

10:48 p.m. — With the signing of their first-round pick, the Ravens have become one of the first teams in the NFL to sign all of their 2009 draft picks.  Others to sign all of their picks include Chicago, the New York Jets, and Pittsburgh.

10:01 p.m. — The Ravens just announced that they’ve signed Michael Oher to a five-year contract. More to come…

6:03 p.m. — A reminder that tomorrow is a team administrative day as the veterans get settled into Westminster.  The team’s activities are closed to both the public and media, so we won’t get our first look at the entire team until Friday.

Several of the veterans reporting today came out to the field during the afternoon practice to greet coaches and teammates.  These players included Ed Reed, Haruki Nakamura, Jarret Johnson, and Marcus Smith.

5:57 p.m. — Marshal Yanda and Ben Grubbs were working out individually, hitting the hand-held pads after practice.  Yanda is still wearing a bulky brace on his surgically-repaired knee but looked good getting out of his stance.

5:55 p.m. — I learned this afternoon that Joe Flacco did not miss a single offseason workout.  It’s definitely an impressive feat for the starting quarterback and has to make Ravens fans feel good.

5:53 p.m. — There were no apparent injuries in the afternoon, though I did see Demetrius Williams having his right leg stretched out by the training staff in the closing minutes of practice.  It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an injury, but it’s something to keep an eye on come Friday morning.

5:48 p.m. — The Ravens have wrapped up practice for the day.  The four workouts over the last two days were very similar, resembling what you see during OTAs.

The defensive players spent quite a bit of time working on alignments, using trash cans as offensive linemen.

Mark Clayton shined during 7-on-7 drills, reining in a pair of nice catches with Fabian Washington all over him.  The Ravens’ new No. 1 receiver by default has been very consistent in the first two days of workouts.

The coaching staff really seemed to be working on Washington this afternoon.  The starting cornerback has been recovering from neck and shoulder issues dating back to last season.

Justin Harper, continuing to impress, hauled in another long throw from Troy Smith.  As I mentioned in the morning, he has easily been the best of the lesser-known receivers including Eron Riley and Jayson Smith.

2:19 p.m. — Harbaugh talked a little bit about the death of former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.  The two coached together for a decade in Philadelphia.

The Ravens coach expressed sadness, calling Johnson a “football dad” of his.  Harbaugh believes Johnson was a defensive pioneer and suggested there should be a coordinator wing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Harbaugh reminisced about Johnson’s desire for his players to tackle like “an arrow through snow” and mentioned how many techniques that the Ravens use are methods taken from Johnson.

2:00 p.m. — I predict that Lardarius Webb will quickly become a fan favorite here in Baltimore.  He met with reporters after practice this morning and told a story about media relations director Chad Steele giving him some fashion advice and suggested the rookie defensive back cut his hair—he has long dreadlocks.  Webb replied that he wanted to wait until all of the kids were wearing fake dreadlocks in honor of him.

Harbaugh expects Webb to be a huge part of the Ravens’ special teams but also said the team will have to limit his reps, depending on how much he plays on defense.

1:43 p.m. — More and more veterans are beginning to file in, as I just saw Ray Rice and Trevor Pryce walk through the lobby of the Best Western.  Other players making an appearance include Haloti Ngata and Haruki Nakamura.  I did learn that several players living in the area checked in this morning but will not return to Wesminster until their physicals at 3:00 p.m.

12:07 p.m. — Veterans are set to report this afternoon for their physicals at 3:00 p.m.  I just saw Haruki Nakamura walk through the lobby not too long ago.

Though veterans will be here this afternoon, they will not participate in this afternoon’s practice.  The public’s first chance to watch the entire squad will be on Friday morning.

11:47 a.m. — The wide receivers worked on ball control by carrying a football attached to a bungee cord.  The players started at the goal post and had to carry the ball to the goal line while maintaining control of the ball.

11:40 a.m. — Some of the highlights of 7-on-7 drills included a long completion from Joe Flacco to Justin Harper and a long touchdown pass from Troy Smith to Harper.

The Ravens’ seventh-round pick in 2008, Harper spent the entire season on injured reserve with a knee injury.  At 6-3 and 215 pounds, Harper has good size, but he will need to showcase his ability to coaches to stick on the regular season roster.

Today’s showing was a good start.

11:23 a.m. — The tempo of the practice was similar to yesterday with the players dressed in shorts and no full-go contact taking place.

It was interesting seeing Harbaugh instruct during the special teams portion of practice.  He demonstrated the proper technique to use as a gunner on punts.  Even if you’re not familiar with the head coach’s pedigree as a special teams coordinator in Philadelphia, it was clear to see where his roots lie.

11:19 a.m. — The only injury to report really dates back to yesterday.  L.J. Smith tweaked a hamstring and was held out of morning practice as a precaution.  He did not participate in drills and stood on the sideline without a helmet.

John Harbaugh did not seem concerned with the injury.

11:12 a.m. — Regarding the 10 players placed on the active PUP list (tackle Lou Saucedo was waived last night), rookie tight end Davon Drew and defensive tackle Lamar Divens practiced this morning after passing the pre-camp conditioning test.  Both players participated in the morning workout.

Willis McGahee initially came onto the field with helmet, indicating there was some chance of him practicing this morning.  However, he soon returned to the training room and came out to the field without his helmet.  He participated in some individual drills and worked on his conditioning, but he is not allowed to participate in team drills, as per the rules of being on the PUP list.

11:07 a.m. — The morning practice has concluded, and the biggest news to come out of Westminster is the announcement that the Ravens are placing Derrick Mason on the reserve/did not report list.  The designation comes as no surprise since Mason announced his retirement over two weeks ago.  Mason has not filed any paperwork with the league office, leaving the door open for his return.

With Mason on this list, it means he will not count against the current 80-man roster limit but is eligible to return to the team at any time.  The Ravens still hold onto the veteran receiver’s rights.

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Ravens kick off 2009 Training Camp

Posted on 28 July 2009 by Luke Jones

The Baltimore Ravens completed their first workouts on Tuesday with rookies, quarterbacks, and selected veterans participating.  The morning and afternoon workouts each lasted an hour and 15 minutes due to a smaller roster needing a smaller number of reps.

“Guys worked hard; it was crisp,” coach John Harbaugh said.  “But it will be a lot sharper on Thursday and Friday.”

The Ravens announced 11 players would be placed on the active PUP (physically unable to perform) list to start training camp.  The players are Lamar Divens, Davon Drew, Yamon Figurs, Ben Grubbs, Willis McGahee, Jason Phillips, Joe Reitz, Samari Rolle, Lou Saucedo, Adam Terry, and Marshal Yanda.

These players still count against the 80-man training camp roster but may come off the list at any time to practice.  Once a player practices, he is no longer eligible for the more commonly-known reserve PUP list that is used in the regular season and requires a player to miss the first six weeks of the season.

“We’ll continue to put these guys through a physical, who have had injuries in the past,” Harbaugh said.  “We’re going to make sure that certain situations react positively to the work before we put them on the regular practice field.”

McGahee was probably the most surprising addition to the list, but both he and the head coach confirmed that it was strictly a precaution to protect the running back’s knee.  He looks to be in great shape and ready to practice in the near future.

“They just want to be sure,” McGahee said.  “We don’t want the same thing we had at last year’s training camp.”

Quarterback Joe Flacco looked sharp in his training camp debut and without veteran receiver Derrick Mason.  Last year as a rookie, Flacco relied on Mason in big situations countless times.  Despite losing a target who caught 80 passes in 2008, Flacco is confident in the passing offense’s ability to move the ball.

Flacco connected with both Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams numerous times during Tuesday’s practices.

“Last year coming in at this time, I had no idea who I was going to be throwing the ball to,” Flacco quipped.  “I didn’t know what Derrick Mason or Mark Clayton even looked like…This year, we’re in much better shape than we were in last year.”

If Flacco is telling the truth, the Ravens will need to have a healthy Williams on the field.  The fourth-year receiver has battled injuries the last two years but will start opposite of Clayton in Mason’s absence.  The receiver looks noticeably bigger and stronger, setting a goal to build muscle mass around the joints.  Williams hauled in a pretty sideline catch over Frank Walker in the afternoon, drawing the cheers of the training camp crowd.

“I think his goal is to become a durable football player, along with becoming capable of doing all the things he needs to do as a receiver,” Harbaugh said.  “He looked good out there [Tuesday].  There was no indication of the Achilles [injury] at all.”

Another player returning from an injury is veteran defensive tackle Kelly Gregg.  Wearing only an ace bandage on his surgically-repaired knee, Gregg participated fully in both the morning and afternoon practices.

With a healthy Gregg, 32, joining Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce, and top reserve Justin Bannan, the Ravens are hoping to field an even better defensive line than they enjoyed a year ago.

“I feel great about our defensive line,” defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said.  “In watching a bunch of film in the offseason, the thing that keeps sticking out is that the front seven gets after it.  They have a lot of pride, and now with [Dwan] Edwards back and Kelly [Gregg] back, you’ve just added depth to that, and it should allow us to rotate guys and keeps guys fresh throughout the year.”

– The Ravens signed wide receiver Jayson Foster, a 5-7 receiver with good speed.  Foster attended Georgia Southern and spent time with Pittsburgh, Miami, and Denver on their practice squads.

Former Maryland Terp Isaiah Williams was waived on Tuesday.  The rookie wide receiver was signed by the Ravens in May.

– Veterans are set to report to Westminster on Wednesday.  Physicals are scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

The first full-squad practices open to the public will be on Friday.

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