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Posted on 20 August 2013 by WNST Staff
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Posted on 12 August 2013 by Luke Jones
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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With plenty of uncertainty surrounding their starting offense, the Ravens received good news Monday with the return of Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda to the practice field.
The 28-year-old took part in the workout in a limited capacity, doing individual work and taking some reps with the starting offense in the non-contact practice.
“It was great to see him back out there in a limited amount in terms of what he was able to do,” offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. “It’s always great to have him out there. He’s a great leader. Obviously, he’s been in meetings and things of that nature, but he brings a lot of experience and certainly a lot of toughness to our guys upfront.”
Sidelined for the entire spring after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, Yanda was taking part in practice for the first time this summer. The seventh-year lineman had made good progress in his rehab and had been taking part in morning walk-throughs for quite some time, according to head coach John Harbaugh.
Yanda hadn’t been in pads since Super Bowl XLVII in February as he underwent a procedure to repair a torn rotator cuff, forcing him to miss organized team activities and mandatory minicamp in the spring. However, the Ravens never expressed concern that the 2007 third-round pick wouldn’t be ready for the start of the regular season despite acknowledging that he’d miss a substantial portion of training camp before returning.
“I don’t want to put an exact date on it, but it will be in training camp pretty good,” Harbaugh said about the standout guard on July 31. “We aren’t in a rush with him. [He is] very much on schedule. He’s doing certain things. He does things in the morning. He goes through the morning workout. He goes through some individual stuff, so he’s practicing. He’s just not going through the contact stuff, but he’s doing very, very well.”
Yanda was working with the first-team offensive line in a lighter practice that featured helmets, shells, and shorts on Monday afternoon, but it would appear he won’t make his live-game debut until at least the third preseason game next week against the Carolina Panthers.
Newly-signed veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley was also taking part in his first practice after officially signing a one-year deal with Baltimore on Sunday. However, veteran tight end Dallas Clark was not on the field for the early portion of practice as he was undergoing a physical and finalizing his deal with the Ravens.
Second-year running back Bernard Pierce (knee) also returned to practice after missing the last two workouts since the preseason opener when he injured his knee in the second quarter. Harbaugh said Sunday that Pierce has a chance to play in Thursday’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Linebacker Bryan Hall (hamstring) also returned to the practice field after being sidelined since the preseason opener.
A number of players were still missing from the practice field on Monday including linebacker Courtney Upshaw, cornerbacks Chykie Brown (undisclosed) and Chris Johnson (undisclosed), defensive tackle Marcus Spears (undisclosed), wide receivers Deonte Thompson (foot) and Marlon Brown (undisclosed), offensive linemen Ramon Harewood (knee) and Ryan Jensen (foot), and tight ends Ed Dickson (hamstring) and Dennis Pitta (hip).
Linebacker Jameel McClain (neck) remains on the active physically unable to perform list and defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee) is still on the non-football injury list.
Caldwell excited to have Stokley, Clark in fold
Jim Caldwell had his first opportunity to comment on the veteran additions of Stokley and Clark, who worked with the Baltimore offensive coordinator in Indianapolis.
Stokley played with the Colts from 2003 through 2006 when Caldwell was the quarterbacks coach while Clark spent the first nine years of his career in Indianapolis, which included Caldwell’s three-year tenure as head coach. Despite being at the tail end of their respective careers, both players are expected to provide the Ravens with middle-of-the-field options they’re looking for with Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta no longer in the picture.
“You can see that they’ve been productive,” Caldwell said. “Obviously, their roles have changed over the years — maybe haven’t played quite as much in certain situations. We have a good blend of personnel groupings that we use and we certainly would be able to get them in the mix and give them an opportunity to show what they can do.”
Clark’s best season came in 2009 — Caldwell’s first season as the Indianapolis head man — when he caught 100 passes for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns to earn his first and only trip to the Pro Bowl.
Caldwell had stayed in contact in recent days with his former tight end through text messaging but hadn’t spoken to Clark over the last couple days as an agreement was reached.
“John [Harbaugh] and Ozzie [Newsome] take a look at all the possibilities and make determinations as such,” said Caldwell, who downplayed the impact of his relationships with Clark and Stokley in the Ravens’ decision to sign each player. “Every once in a while they’ll ask for what [my] opinion is on certain situations, but it does not carry the predominance of the weight. They look at it all, see if it’s a good fit for us, and make the decision from there.”
Upshaw excused from practice
Upshaw’s absence from the practice Sunday M&T Bank Stadium remained a mystery until his social media activity early on Monday.
The second-year linebacker wrote on his official Twitter account about a new addition to his family and defensive coordinator Dean Pees confirmed after Monday’s practice that the second-year linebacker was excused from the team for the birth of his son.
Upshaw has worked as the starting strongside outside linebacker with veteran Elvis Dumervil serving as more of a pass-rush specialist to this point in the summer, which would also free him up to occasionally spell Terrell Suggs at the rush linebacker position as well.
“They’ll all play. They all have a role on this team,” Pees said. “It’s a game-to-game thing, and a lot depend one the packages we have in and what we’re doing for that particular game. They’re all good players and they’re ll going to play.”
Upshaw made two tackles against the Buccaneers in the preseason opener.
Stokley worked with both the first and second offenses and ran a crisp sideline route to beat cornerback Corey Graham for a touchdown from quarterback Joe Flacco early in the practice session. However, the quarterback and receiver weren’t on the same page a few plays later as Stokley appeared to run the wrong route and the pass sailed into the arms of cornerback Lardarius Webb. Needless to say, Stokley was doing plenty of learning on the fly as he tried to get up to speed in Caldwell’s offensive system. … Webb still isn’t a full participant in team drills, but the fifth-year cornerback continues to increase his level of activity in team drills and recorded two interceptions on Monday. Pees was noncommittal about Webb’s potential participation in the preseason, deferring to Harbaugh and the training staff in describing where the cornerback is physically at this stage. … Wide receiver Torrey Smith made a nifty touchdown catch over cornerback Asa Jackson on a fade route during an 11-on-11 red-zone drill on Monday. … The practice marked the first time all summer that the projected starting offensive line was able to work together as left tackle Bryant McKinnie, left guard Kelechi Osemele, center Gino Gradkowski, Yanda, and right tackle Michael Oher worked a limited number of plays together in team drills.
Posted on 31 July 2013 by Luke Jones
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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Though linebacker Jameel McClain’s status remains in serious doubt, the Ravens once again expressed optimism Wednesday over the recovery of Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda.
Yanda has yet to take part in practice this summer after undergoing shoulder surgery earlier in the offseason. Coach John Harbaugh revealed the news of Yanda’s surgery during the team’s mandatory minicamp in mid-June and suggested at the time that the offensive lineman could be limited at the start of training camp.
Despite passing his physical late last week, Yanda remains on the active physically unable to perform list along with McClain, who still hasn’t been cleared for contact after suffering a spinal cord contusion last December. Yanda has increased his activity level, but Harbaugh wasn’t ready to pinpoint when we’ll see the seventh-year lineman take part in afternoon practices.
“I don’t want to put an exact date on it, but it will be in training camp pretty good,” Harbaugh said. “We aren’t in a rush with him. [He is] very much on schedule. He’s doing certain things. He does things in the morning. He goes through the morning workout. He goes through some individual stuff, so he’s practicing. He’s just not going through the contact stuff, but he’s doing very, very well.”
The expectation remains that Yanda will be ready long before the season opener against Denver on Sept. 5.
Offensive lineman Ramon Harewood remained sidelined on Wednesday after seeing a doctor because of continued swelling in his knee. According to Harbaugh, he will receive an injection to relieve some of the friction in hopes of getting him back on the practice field sooner rather than later.
Rookie cornerback Marc Anthony left the field with a left shoulder strain during practice that isn’t considered serious.
Other players not participating in Wednesday’s practice included offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (broken foot) and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) as well as defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), who remains on the non-football injury list.
Returning to the practice field were wide receivers LaQuan Williams (arm), Tommy Streeter (heat-related sickness), and Marlon Brown (knee).
The returning Vonta Leach participated in his first workout of training camp after signing a two-year deal on Monday and walked onto the practice field with backfield partner Ray Rice.
Posted on 29 July 2013 by Luke Jones
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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens saw a key member of their starting offensive line return to the practice field Monday as left guard Kelechi Osemele practiced for the first time since late last week.
The second-year lineman strained his right hamstring in the first full-squad workout of the summer on Thursday and was sidelined through the weekend. Only right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder) remains out of action among the projected five starters along the line, but the two-time Pro Bowl selection passed his physical over the weekend, a sure sign that he is moving closer to returning to practice after offseason shoulder surgery.
Osemele took part in a very limited capacity, only working during positional drills before sitting out the team portions of practice.
“It’s still early. We just want to make sure we have everybody healthy,” Osemele said after practice. “We don’t want to lose any of our starters right now. Today went well, it felt great. It was good to be out there with the guys again and get all the mental things going on.”
Others missing from Monday’s workout in Owings Mills included offensive linemen Ramon Harewood (knee) and Ryan Jensen (leg), wide receivers Tommy Streeter (heat-related), Marlon Brown (knee), and LaQuan Williams (arm), and linebacker Spencer Adkins (undisclosed).
According to The Sun, the sixth-round linemen Jensen suffered a broken foot and will undergo surgery to repair the damage. This development will presumably land the Colorado State-Pueblo product on season-ending injured reserve, which would be a convenient way for the Ravens to keep Jensen in the organization.
Linebacker Jameel McClain (neck) was absent and remains on the physically unable to perform list along with Yanda while rookie defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee) was present but not working while remaining on the non-football injury list.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata tweaked his knee during an 11-on-11 session at the end of practice, but coach John Harbaugh confirmed that it wasn’t a concern after the Pro Bowl lineman was seen flexing his left knee on the sideline. Ngata walked to the sideline gingerly after appearing to be rolled up by another player in the offensive backfield.
Tight end Dennis Pitta, of course, has been ruled out for the season after suffering a dislocated hip.
Inside linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) and fullback Kyle Juszczyk (foot) were both practicing despite being nicked up in Sunday’s workout.
Pitta MRI yields positive results
As the Ravens accept the reality of Pitta being lost for the season, an MRI on the tight end’s surgically-repaired dislocated hip revealed good news for his long-term prognosis in making it back to the field.
Harbaugh reiterated that nothing has changed in terms of Pitta being sidelined for the entire 2013 season, but he could begin the rehab process in six to eight weeks.
“Basically, the ball was pushed out of the socket and pushed backwards,” Harbaugh said. “It’s an injury that happens a lot of times in car accidents. He got his knee caught up under him in an awkward way when he fell. I think there are only eight documented cases of this injury in football that I’ve read about.”
With the memory of former Los Angeles Raiders running back Bo Jackson suffering a similar injury and developing avascular necrosis, which is the premature cellular death of bone components due to the interruption of blood supply. It resulted in Jackson needing to have his hip replaced, which ended his NFL career prematurely.
The vigilant decision to get Pitta to surgery and the details offered by Harbaugh provide a positive outlook that Pitta will be able to continue his career next season after an extensive rehab process in the coming months.
“The good news is that there’s a fracture, but it’s in the back part of the bone,” Harbaugh said. “It’s in the big part of the bone, and it’s a very tight fracture. So, it didn’t move at all. There’s no ligament damage, no cartilage damage. It’s a clean break if you want to use that term.”
The starting defense continued the early-camp trend of dominating over the offense as quarterback Joe Flacco once again played behind a makeshift offensive line missing Yanda and Osemele. Jah Reid and Antoine McClain served as the first-team guards with Gino Gradkowski and A.Q. Shipley splitting time at the center position with the first unit.
Outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil put pressure on the Baltimore signal-caller several times as the offensive line struggled to hold up at the point of attack and receivers struggled to consistently gain separation.
One of the highlight plays of the afternoon came from rookie safety Matt Elam, who nearly intercepted a Flacco pass intended for Tandon Doss in the end zone while showing good athleticism to make a leaping deflection.
Tight end Ed Dickson made a sparkling 25-yard catch down the middle of the field for one of the lone offensive highlights of 11-on-11 drills.
Defensive players were rewarded with ice cream after winning Monday’s battle as two ice cream trucks drove onto the field in the closing minutes of the afternoon practice. Nose tackle Terrence Cody offered the memorable quote of the day to Osemele, using his best Forrest Gump voice while saying, “K.O., ice cream!”
The Ravens are off on Tuesday before returning to the field for a full-squad workout on Wednesday afternoon.
Posted on 27 July 2013 by Glenn Clark
OWINGS MILLS – The Baltimore Ravens suffered a major blow during practice Saturday.
“Dennis (Pitta) has a dislocated hip” head coach John Harbaugh announced following practice. “We’ll have to take a look at that and see exactly what it is. It’s a serious injury. He’s going to be out for awhile, he will not be in the Denver game (Week 1). We’ll just have to play it from there to see how long it goes.”
ESPN reported Saturday night that Pitta, who was transported to a local hospital and underwent surgery immediately, is expected to miss the entire season.
The injury occurred after the tight end collided with S James Ihedigbo on a pass play in the back of the end zone. Saturday’s practice was the first padded practice of this year’s Training Camp.
The injury is a major blow for the Baltimore Ravens, who traded WR Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers in the offseason. Pitta had been hoped to build on his 2012 season (61 catches, 669 yards, seven touchdowns) to help replace Boldin.
Ed Dickson, Billy Bajema and rookie Matt Furstenburg all saw snaps with the first team offense after Pitta’s departure. Free agent TE Visanthe Shiancoe (Morgan State) visited the Ravens’ facility earlier in the week but did not sign. Rookie FB Kyle Juszczek could also be asked to help out in the process, especially if the Ravens were to re-sign current free agent FB Vonta Leach as the Newark Star-Ledger reported Thursday night they are expected to do.
Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell suggested the Ravens would continue their “next man up” mentality.
“Somebody’s going to have to step up and we do have some capable guys. All across the flanks we do have some weapons. We’re just going to have to have some guys make some plays for us.”
Dickson-a fellow fourth year tight end-moves to the top of the tight end depth chart in Pitta’s absence. Dickson told WNST.net “it’s on me to go out there and build chemistry with (QB) Joe (Flacco) and to do the things that I do to the best of my ability.”
Dickson also told WNST.net he sent Pitta a text after practice saying “Keep your head up…the injury’s not going to hold you down. We need you. Praying for you…I’m holding down the fort for you.”
Dickson’s 2012 numbers were disappointing as he fought through injuries. The tight end played in just 13 games and caught 21 balls for 225 yards without a touchdown grab. “Ed has been playing and performing extremely well” Caldwell said. “He’s had a good camp thus far. He’s moving well, he’s catching the ball for us, he has a lot of big play potential. Ed is a very capable guy. We’re going to have to have some other guys step up as well.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a dislocated hip usually takes upwards of 2-3 months for recovery and rehabilitation.
Making matters worse for the Ravens is their lack of depth at receiver as well. Without Boldin, only Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones have more than even 123 career receiving yards. Doss has those 123, David Reed 66, Deonte Thompson 51, LaQuan Williams 46. Neither Tommy Streeter nor rookie Aaron Mellette has ever played in a NFL game.
YANDA REMAINS OUT: Despite being removed from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list Friday, OL Marshal Yanda (shoulder) was not present Saturday, but is expected to return shortly. S Anthony Levine (shoulder) was on the practice for a second straight day after being removed from the PUP list. LB Jameel McClain (back) remains on the PUP list and did not practice Saturday.
OT Bryant McKinnie (conditioning) left practice early Friday as coach John Harbaugh had concerns for how he’d hold up in the heat, he was back on the practice field Saturday afternoon. OL Kelechi Osemele (hamstring) and Ryan Jensen (leg) were not present for Saturday’s practice. WR LaQuan Williams (arm) and Marlon Brown (knee) were not present as well.
DL Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee) remains on the non-football injury list and is not expected to practice during Training Camp.
OTHER PRACTICE NOTES: S Omar Brown appears to have switched jersey numbers, going from number 38 to number 31.
K Justin Tucker stood out during Saturday’s practice, including makes from 60 yards and 65 yards out. After the make from 65, Tucker let out an exclamation of “Come on!”
LB Terrell Suggs had the quote of the day. After making a tackle on a goal line stop against the first team offense, Suggs yelled out “Where the f*ck is Vonta Leach when you need him?”
Posted on 26 July 2013 by WNST Staff
Day 2 of Ravens Training Camp held some big storylines, especially concerning the Offensive Line. The team’s Super Bowl run in 2012 was predicated on the blocking emergence of a unit that was shuffled all season long. With Bryant McKinnie reinserted into that core, Baltimore seemed to find the best fit for its five lineman; as Kelechi Osemele moved to Guard and Michael Oher transitioned back to RT.
The team already had concerns at Center, with the retirement of Matt Birk, but it was expected Gino Gradkowski would be handed the starting job. Though, with the acquisition of former Colt, A.Q. Shipley, the competition seems to be in full swing. Both split time throughout drills on Friday, yet Shipley was in place with the first team for most of the 11-on-11 portion of practice. Shipley also saw some time next to Gradkowski, filling in at Guard. You can hear Gradkowski’s thoughts on the competition here, in a interview with Glenn Clark, on the Reality Check, after Friday’s practice.
The key concern for the next couple weeks will be the health of both starting Guards, Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele. Yanda was placed on the PUP list, but passed his physical on Friday, making a return in the upcoming days likely. On the other side, Osemele was held out of Thursday’s 2nd practice and was a no-show on Friday, with concerns of a hamstring injury.
In the place of the those two standouts, were several combinations of players varying in experience. Jah Reid took the most snaps at LG (Osemele’s position) with the first team, while RG was a mixed bag of former practice squad players and rookies. Ryan Jensen, a 6th round pick out of Colorado State-Pueblo, initially spent time with the first team, until he was shook up with a leg “tweak,” during running game drills. As mentioned before, A.Q. Shipley filled in at one point, but Ramon Harewood covered the position, while Shipley played Center. Jack Cornell and Antoine McClain also rotated in that spot at points during practice.
It may not be an actual injury, but there still has to be concern at the LT position as well. Though Bryant McKinnie was cleared to practice on Friday, after being sat down Thursday for “conditioning issues,” he did not see much time on the field. He was involved in all position drills, but was held out in most the team exercises (7-on-7, 11-on-11, Two Minute). Rookie fifth round pick, Ricky Wagner (from Wisconsin), settled in with the first team, while McKinnie was on the sidelines. He performed admirably against Elvis Dumervil, but did struggle against the former Defensive Player of the Year, Terrell Suggs.
The key acquisition for the line may be having Offensive Assistant, Juan Castillo, around for an entire season. He not only brought an intensity to practice, but was pulling players aside between plays. Castillo was recognized as one of the best Offensive Line coaches in the league, while in Philadelphia (before his failed experiment calling defensive plays), where he utilized big men in the trenches to control the defensive front 7. He has plenty of size on this roster to play with and can be a real asset in developing some of the younger players on the team.
By the end of practice, the first team Offensive Line looked as follows: LT-Wagner, LG-Reid, C-Shipley, RG-Harewood, RT-Oher. That is vastly different than last season’s Super Bowl winners and the expectation for the starters, come Week 1.
The defensive rookie class of Matt Elam, Arthur Brown and Brandon Williams all worked with the second team, even though there is high expectations for that trio.
Chykie Brown worked in with the first team, essentially holding down Lardarius Webb’s spot until he is ready to participate in practice.
Torrey Smith had to leave the field at one point, during 7-on-7 drills, with an apparent lower leg/ankle/foot injury. He did have a noticeable limp for the rest of practice, but continued to participate, until the end.
The defensive line showed some versatility, during Two-Minute drills, where OLB Courtney Upshaw and DE Pernell McPhee lined up inside at the DT spots; Dumervil and Suggs held down the DE positions, in that alignment.
Posted on 22 July 2013 by Luke Jones
Having kicked off their 2013 training camp with rookies, quarterbacks, and injured veterans reporting to Owings Mills on Sunday, the Ravens announced they’ve placed Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda and inside linebacker Jameel McClain on the physically unable to perform list.
The use of the active PUP list is a common occurrence for any player with a preexisting injury from the offseason, and both Yanda and McClain were considered likely candidates for the designation at the beginning of the summer. Yanda is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery while McClain continues to work his way back to full strength from the season-ending spinal cord contusion he suffered last December.
Yanda missed mandatory minicamp back in the spring as coach John Harbaugh said the offensive lineman could be limited at the start of training camp. However, there is little concern that the seventh-year guard won’t be ready to go long before the start of the regular season.
McClain continues to make strong progress but is at the mercy of doctors for medical clearance. Both the Ravens and McClain have expressed countless times that they expect him to be cleared to play again, and the veteran linebacker did individual work during spring practices.
A more surprising move came in the form of the Ravens placing wide receiver Jacoby Jones on the non-football injury list. That designation can be used for any player suffering an injury away from the team’s training facility or for those who fail the conditioning test upon reporting to camp. Those individuals remain on the non-football injury list until they can pass, which then clears them to begin practicing.
According to The Sun, Jones did indeed fail the team’s conditioning test, but no official word has come from the Ravens about it.
Jones missed the early portion of the offseason training program due to his participation on “Dancing With the Stars” but returned to take part in spring workouts and mandatory minicamp without any health concerns.
The Ravens did not make any formal announcements regarding the status of a number of other notable veterans including cornerback Lardarius Webb (ACL surgery), defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (sprained MCL) and Terrence Cody (hip surgery), and linebackers Arthur Brown (sports hernia surgery) and Albert McClellan (shoulder surgery).
Center Antoine McClain missed organized team activites and minicamp after undergoing foot surgery and is another candidate for the designation.
Baltimore also announced that rookie defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (ACL surgery) was placed on the non-football injury list, but that wasn’t a surprise as his status remains up in the air for the 2013 season after he suffered a serious knee injury in the BCS title game as a member of the Notre Dame defensive line in January.
The Ravens also waived rookie wide receiver Omarius Hines on Monday.
Players placed on either the active PUP list or the non-football injury list still count against the 90-man roster limit but may be removed at any time to begin practicing. These lists are often confused with the reserve versions on which a player can be placed before the start of the regular season that removes him from the 53-man roster but sidelines him for at least the first six weeks of the season.
Here is the more technical descriptions of the designation:
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.
If a player beginning the season on active PUP would then come off to participate in a practice and suffer a new injury or re-injure a preexisting condition, he would no longer be eligible for the PUP list in either capacity.
Any player who begins training camp without any designation but injures himself in even the first practice of the summer is ineligible for the PUP list.
To put it simply, the active PUP list is the necessary procedure for potentially placing any player on the reserve PUP list in which he’d miss the start of the regular season. With most players, this doesn’t even come close to happening and they’re able to return to the practice field at some point during the early portion of training camp.
Posted on 08 July 2013 by brianbower
The Super Bowl Champion Yanda was honored by over 400 fans, friends and family members at his former high school where they named their weight room the Marshal Yanda Weight Room. They also retired his #77 jersey.
During a ceremony many of Yanda’s former football coaches spoke about Marshal and the kind of layer he was, including Yanda’s high school coach, Dan Kiley, and his Iowa Hawkeyes coach, Kirk Ferentz.
Marshal’s journey to the NFL was not an easy one for a small town football player. The son of a fourth-generation dairy cow farmer didn’t have the grades to play major-college football out of high school. Not giving up on that goal, he enrolled at North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City. NIACC doesn’t even have football anymore.
“At NIACC, we had 122 guys on the football team,” Yanda told the crowd. “Our coach said ‘How many of you want to play Division I ball?’ Everybody raised their hand. Then he said less than one percent of you would make it.
“I buckled down and took that to heart. I was the one guy who made it out of 122, by working hard and sacrificing.” Yanda told the Gazette in Iowa.
After playing for NIACC for two years the Ravens guard enrolled at the University of Iowa. There Yanda was selected as a 3rd-team All-American choice by The NFL Draft Report in 2006 and earned 2nd-team All-Big Ten honors from the league’s coaches.
Marshal has been a rock with the Ravens since his arrival in Baltimore in 2007 when the team drafted him 86th overall. On July 26, 2011, the Ravens re-signed Yanda to a five year, $32 million contract, solidifying his place along the Baltimore offensive line.
Marshal’s story is the kind of story that warms the heart. From a small town in Iowa to the bright lights of M&T Bank Stadium, he proves that dreams can come true with hard work and lots of heart.
Information obtained via the Gazette in Anamosa, Iowa.
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Posted on 13 June 2013 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the Ravens concluded their final day of mandatory minicamp, tight end Ed Dickson was absent from the field for a second straight day.
“Ed had a groin strain,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We are resting him. He wasn’t able to practice.”
Several others were absent from the field including Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder surgery), offensive lineman Antoine McClain (foot surgery), safety Omar Brown (undisclosed), and running back Damien Berry (undisclosed). Harbaugh said Tuesday that Yanda should be ready to go for training camp on at least a limited basis to start.
Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, nose tackle Terrence Cody (hip surgery), defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (ACL surgery), and wide receiver Marlon Brown (knee) were all present but not participating. Ngata appeared to be receiving the day off as he continues to work on his conditioning after rehabbing his injured knee for a large portion of the offseason.
Cornerback Lardarius Webb and linebackers Jameel McClain and Albert McClellan continued to work on a limited basis while rookie linebacker Arthur Brown (sports hernia surgery) appeared to be close to 100 percent as he took part in most individual and team drills.
The Ravens received another health scare during Friday’s midday practice as outside linebacker Adrian Hamilton went down with a lower back injury during an 11-on-11 session. However, all signs point to it only being a minor issue despite the second-year linebacker being in noticeable pain for a few minutes before walking off the indoor field gingerly.
“[We] got a quick report,” Harbaugh said. “It doesn’t seem serious. It was all muscular, so he should be fine. That’s early.”
Players dealing with injuries will now received a lengthy break as the Ravens will have the next several weeks off before reconvening in Owings Mills for the start of training camp in the final week of July.
Posted on 11 June 2013 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the Ravens convened for the start of their mandatory three-day minicamp on Tuesday, a critical piece of their offensive line was nowhere to be found as Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda was absent from the field.
Coach John Harbaugh wouldn’t disclose the exact ailment from which Yanda is recovering, but The Sun reports that the seventh-year lineman underwent offseason shoulder surgery. Yanda was present for the Ravens’ trip to the White House and the ring ceremony last week but will not return to the practice field until training camp as he continues to rehab.
“We expect him back by camp to some degree,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s done a great job. Marshal Yanda has done a great job with the rehab. He’s right on schedule, probably ahead of schedule. He’s doing really well.”
Yanda missed two games last year after suffering an ankle injury against the Washington Redskins on Dec. 9 but recovered to play in all four of the Ravens’ postseason games en route to the franchise’s second Super Bowl championship. Two years ago, Yanda suffered chest and leg injuries in the penultimate game of the regular season but played the following week as he helped the Ravens clinch a division title and first-round bye in a win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
He was elected to the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons and is not only regarded as one of the toughest players on the team but also as one of the best guards in the NFL.
The long-term prognosis for Yanda doesn’t appear to be concerning, but the 28-year-old would be eligible to begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list should he not be ready to practice by late July. Jah Reid and Ramon Harewood split time filling in for Yanda as the starting right guard on Tuesday.
Ngata feeling “80 percent”
Speaking to reporters in Owings Mills for the first time since he sprained the MCL of his left knee at the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata declared himself to be 80 to 85 percent of where he needs to be after spending much of the offseason rehabbing the injury.
Ngata did not need to undergo surgery, but the eighth-year defensive lineman acknowledged feeling frustrated after dealing with a plethora injuries over the last two seasons, including knee, shoulder, thigh, and ankle ailments at different points. He just began running a few weeks ago after rehabbing the knee injury that knocked him out of the second half of Super Bowl XLVII.
“It’s been real tough,” Ngata said. “Especially towards the end of the season, it just limited me. What I wanted to do was be an explosive player, and not being able to really come off or getting off blocks as well … It definitely was tough towards the end of the season, but you just fight through it, and we got a Super Bowl out of it.”
Much was made of Ngata’s noticeable weight gain last season as he played with 10 extra pounds after complaining of wearing down during the latter half of the 2011 season. Ngata doesn’t appear lighter than he did at the end of last season, but Harbaugh didn’t express concern over the defensive tackle’s level of conditioning with training camp roughly six weeks away.
“He’s in good shape. He’s fine,” Harbaugh said. “He’s right where he needs to be at this time. He’s doing well.”
With the offseason signings of Chris Canty and Marcus Spears, Ngata will not be asked to play defensive end this year and will instead play inside at nose tackle and defensive tackle where he feels he can take better advantage of interior linemen with his strength and quickness.
Ngata didn’t offer any predictions or specifics when asked about a specific weight goal he has in mind for this season, but the Ravens privately hope he’ll be in better condition than he was last season.
“We’ll see what it is. I definitely just want to come in in great shape,” Ngata said. “After this minicamp, these next five weeks are going to be really important for me to make sure I’m in really good shape to come in and participate in camp.”
The four-time Pro Bowl selection signed a five-year, $61 million contract early in the 2011 season and carries an $11.5 million salary cap number for 2013.
Leach’s presence will be missed
With the official release of Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach on Tuesday, there was plenty of talk about how the veteran will be missed not only on the field but in the locker room.
Leach was scheduled to make a $3 million base salary and was released when he and the Ravens were unable to work out a restructured contract.
“Vonta [Leach] has been as much of the heart and soul of this team as anybody since he’s been here,” Harbaugh said. “He’s been a great leader. He’s been a tremendous performer. I’ve never had more fun with a player since he’s been here, personally as a coach, than I have had with Vonta.”
Attention will now turn toward rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who is expected to inherit Leach’s starting role despite possessing different skills than the traditional blocking back. Teammates are looking forward to the versatility the fourth-round pick can provide at the position after gaining a reputation as an excellent receiver out of the backfield at Harvard.
Juszczyk caught a team-high 52 passes for 706 yards and eight touchdowns in his senior season.
“I would just say his athleticism and the ways you can use him,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “Catching the football, blocking, running the football, lining him up in diesel formations and having him run routes. Obviously, we’re going to have to wait to see when we put on the pads in training camp to get a good sense for what he does with that kind of stuff.”
The Ravens began shying away from using Leach on a regular basis as the offense became more pass-heavy last season, but that doesn’t mean the 31-year-old’s departure and Juszczyk’s increased presence will dramatically change Baltimore’s plans on the offensive side of the ball.
“It doesn’t,” run-game coordinator Juan Castillo said. “[Running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery] is working with Kyle to get him so he can learn our schemes. He’s a rookie. He’s been working hard to learn our schemes. He should be able to do a good job once he gets some experience.”