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End of camp thoughts

Posted on 14 August 2008 by caseywillett

So the first John Harbaugh training camp has officially come to end today, and there are more questions than answers twenty something days later.
Here are some of the questions that I have as camp has ended:
          Who is going to be your starting quarterback, and are they truly the best guy for the job? One thing is crystal clear to me, it will not be Joe Flacco.
          What do you do with the running back position with Willis McGahee now on crutches and possibly 2-4 weeks from returning? Ray Rice has had a nice training camp, but he is not ready to be a feature back in the NFL.
          Who is your offensive tackles? With Adam Terry and Jared Gaither working their way back to field, and Mike Kracalik and Oneil Cousins taking snaps along with Chad Slaughter, are the Ravens comfortable with some form of that combination going into the season? To me Adam Terry and Jared Gaither are still very unproven at the NFL level. Who would have thought that maybe in retrospect that we would be looking back wondering if John Welbourne would have helped this team.
          Who is going to be your number three receiver? With Demetrius Williams yet to take a snap on the field at wide receiver and Marcus Smith turning heads with his play at camp, what does that means for Demetrius?
          What will this team do at the tight end position? With Todd Heap nursing a calf injury and Dan Wilcox trying to get back on the field, what does this team do? They lost two tight ends before they ever moved into the Best Western. Heap and Wilcox both battled injuries last year that cost them time as well as battling injuries during camp.
          What is going on with Kelly Gregg? Kelly has not practiced since early in training camp. Kelly was walking around the team hotel this afternoon with his left knee wrapped up pretty heavily. Kelly is hands down one of the best at his position and a huge part of the Ravens defense.
          Who is going to be playing in the secondary? With Chris McAlister, Ed Reed, and Samari Rolle all nursing injuries, some such as Ed’s which are a huge question mark for the season, what does the team do ? Fabian Washington was a nice pick up in the off season, but he will miss week 1 due to his suspension, is Derrick Martin, Ronnie Prude, and Corey Ivy the answers? Tom Zbikowski, Harauki Nakamura, and Jim Leonhard, have all had good camps, but are they ready to step in for Ed Reed with the starters? My guess is that they will have to be.
Here are a couple of things that I saw from camp that were impressive:
          Marcus Smith had a great camp and really turned some heads and opened some eyes. He seemed to step up to the opportunity of Demetrius Williams not practicing and made the most out of his chance.
          Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura both showed that they were not overwhelmed when they ran with the first team defense at safety.
          Brendon Ayanbadejo is a tremendous football player. Brandon has amazing speed and is a very hard hitting and probably underrated defensive player. He will make some plays for this team this year.
          Jarrett Johnson and Justin Bannan look like they could have big years for this defense. They both have had very good training camps and played well in the first preseason game. Justin has been a very solid backup on the interior defensive line and the defense does not miss a beat with him in there. Jarrett is playing with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder after a disappointing year by his standards last season.
          Nick Greisen is a tremendous football player and a huge asset to this football team. He has such an understanding of what Rex Ryan is doing with the defense and is complete control of the defense when he is in the game. He has proven to be a very nice pickup by the Ravens last year that went under the radar.
Thanks to all of the people who gave me nice comments during the coverage of Ravens camp this year. It has been a fun and entertaining camp to cover and I am sure will only get more interesting as the preseason and regular season go along.

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Ravens Camp 8/5/08

Posted on 05 August 2008 by caseywillett

So Kyle Boller will be the starting quarterback for the Ravens on Thursday night versus the Patriots. I think it has zero relevance in the race to be the starting quarterback on September 7. I still think that spot will still belong to Troy Smith.
Here are some notes from practice today:
          The Ravens concluded all of their on the field practices for the media and public this afternoon with a special teams practice. The Ravens will hold a walk thru tomorrow morning and then board planes that afternoon headed to New England.
          Adam Terry was on the field this morning and not wearing the walking boot that he has had on for the last week.
          With Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle both out of practice this morning, Fabian Washington and Frank Walker played the corner positions. Once Fabian stopped practicing this morning, Corey Ivy took over for him.
          Jm Leonhard was out there as the other safety along with Dawan Landry in place of Ed Reed. Coach Harbaugh has said that Leonhard, Haruki Nakamura, and Tom Zbikowski will all rotate through that position.
          Bart Scott came out for practice this morning and then went back inside after a brief time and did not return for the rest of practice. Bart missed yesterday afternoon’s practice with a thigh issue.
          Chris McAlister and Mark Clayton joined the walking wounded today at practice.
          Gary Stills missed the morning practice, but returned for the afternoon special teams practice.

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Ravens Camp Day 5

Posted on 25 July 2008 by caseywillett

The first day of full team practice concluded this afternoon with the team in soft shell shoulder pads. Here are some notes from practice:
          There were several scuffles this afternoon that featured guest appearances from Jason Brown, J’Vonne Parker, Edgar Jones, Mike Kracalik, Joe Reitz, and Gary Stills
          Dan Cody who was banged up this morning but returned for special teams practice this morning was out on the field for practice this afternoon
          P.J. Daniels who left the practice this morning with a injury was at practice this afternoon in shorts and shirt watching practice
          Kyle Boller took the snaps with the first team offense this afternoon
          On one on one drills, Antwan Barnes schooled Mike Kracalik several times with a rip and swim move which lead to Kracalik being very upset
          Other highlight from one on one drills was a strong performance by Jared Gaither against Dan Cody
          Haruki Nakamura had a nice afternoon when he picked off both Joe Flacco and Kyle Boller. While returning one of them one of the coaches yelled out “that is the Bearcat in him.” Referring to Haruki’s days at Cincinnati.
          With no Chris McAlister or Samari Rolle to play in the secondary, Frank Walker and Corey Ivy filled in at that position.
          Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton took turns returning punts in the afternoon practice.
          Adam Terry was favoring his left ankle during practice today, but stayed out for the majority of the plays
          Derrick Martin left practice around 4:25p.m. with the trainers but did not return
          Yamon Figurs also left practice at 4:35 p.m. with the trainers and did not return
          Practice ran for a little over 2 hours this afternoon
          Kyle Boller does some extra running after practice from sideline to sideline after the afternoon practices
          Former Ravens running back coach Matt Simon was at practice and the team hotel this afternoon
          Several of the Ravens players will board a plane tomorrow morning here in Westminster and head to south Florida to attend the funeral of Samari Rolle’s father. Ozzie Newsome will lead a contingent of players that will include Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Chris McAlister, and a couple other players to attend the funeral. The players will leave tomorrow morning and not return till tomorrow evening. No word yet on when Samari will report to camp.


It was a hard hitting fast paced first practice for the Ravens here are couple of notes from this morning:
          Kyle Boller had a good morning with several of his passes , but then had a couple of fumbles on the exchange from the center
          Troy Smith took the reps this morning as the first quarterback out with the offense
          Chris McAlister, David Pittman, Dan Wilcox, Demetrius Williams, and Ed Reed all did not participate in practice today
          P.J. Daniels left the field with the trainers after taking a hit during the contact drills and did not return to the field. No official word on his injury status.
          Jim Leonhard and Dawan Landry were the safeties on first team defense with Ed Reed not practicing
          Jonathan Ogden was here at practice along with Mike Flynn, Spencer Folau, and Wally Williams. Ogden even stepped in and showed some technique and gave some pointers to O’Neil Cousins and Jared Gaither
          Ray Rice had a tremendous day running the ball. You see his explosiveness and he can make defenders miss him. Ray Lewis pulled Ray Rice to the side and gave him some pointers about running the ball north and south. One of the defensive coaches went on a very profane tirade at defensive players after a couple of the runs by Ray
          Joe Reitz got his welcome to training camp today when he started a scuffle with the defense which was quickly equaled him being out numbered.
          Sam Koch ran a fake field goal when he was the holder and completed a pass to Todd Heap who was covered by Corey Ivy. Todd tipped the ball in the air and came down with it.
          Yamon Figurs took some reps with the second team offense at wide receiver
          O’Neil Cousins,and Jared Gaither, had rough days at practice. Dan Cody man handled Cousins on 1 on 1 drill.
          The Ravens retrun to the field at 2:45 this afternoon
          The Ravens want everyone to know that there was an issue today with single ticket sales, and the plan is that they will go on sale tomorrow at 11 a.m. through ticketmaster. The Ravens said there are single tickets remaining to all of the home games.


Today is the day where the full team will practice for the first time for the media and public as the 2008 Ravens. It looks like they will be in full pads when they hit the field this morning. It will be interesting to see how the rookies will act now with the veterans out at practice.
I will be back after practice with a report.
Former Raven Mike Flynn and Jonathan Ogden are here picking up credentials to go watch practice.

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Notes from practice

Posted on 02 May 2008 by caseywillett

Here are some notes from this morning’s practice:
          Marshal Yanda and Jason Brown will take some snaps at the center position.
          Coach Harbaugh made it a point to mention that no one is winning starting jobs at these camps
          The Ravens have giants play clocks on both ends of the field to help the qb’s simulate game type situations
          The quarterbacks are getting plays called into their headset’s by Cam Cameron even while they are at practice
          There is a slogan hanging around the facility almost every door you walk past that say’s W.I.N. today. It stands for: What’s Important Now.
          Art Modell spoke to the team after practice today and said he thinks this team has the makings of being a good time. As usual, Art cracked a few jokes while talking to the team.
          The weight room for the Ravens has been redone and the eyes of the Raven bird are some bright red glowing eyes. Pretty interesting to see.
          Everything during a John Harbaugh’s practice is done with a purpose and a sense of urgency. There is no sitting around and everyone is there for the whole practice, including the special team’s guys such as the punters and kickers.
          New corner Fabian Washington is wearing # 31. Here are the rookies and new additions  numbers as they appear on the Ravens roster right now:
Joe Flacco #5
Justin Harper #14
Kerry Reed #18
Jim Leonhard #36 (Jim is a safety Ravens signed, been in league 4 years)
Allen Patrick #38
Ray Rice #39
Tom Zbikowski #40
Frank Walker #41 (Cornerback who came from the Packers)
Haruki Nakamura #43
Tavares Gooden #49
Oniel Cousins #64
David Hale #76
Marcus Smith #81

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