Tag Archive | "Media"

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Harbaugh’s handling of C-Mac situation is suspect

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

So this is where new head coach John Harbaugh is learning the pain, instead of the joy, of being an NFL head coach.

There are only 32 of these jobs in world – captains of America’s favorite sports teams – and each of them brings a unique management structure and issues way beyond football. It’s about a LOT more than just drawing up the X’s and O’s and having a whistle on a string and being a gameday strategist.

It’s truly a VERY-high profile corporate C.E.O. (and babysitting) position and when this week’s “off the field” activity of Chris McAlister and Terrell Suggs has led to the “on the field” benching of the team’s highest-paid player and resident passive-aggressive cornerback, unlike at Legg Mason or Aerotek, the media asks the questions the fans (customers) want answers to and they expect a straight answer.

Or, like the other night on WBAL, some big-monied sponsor can call in directly to the coach to try to get an honest answer.

And, honestly, as much as we realize the Ravens do have some rights to the privacy of their employees and how it’s handled, we don’t want to be lied to either. I get that discipline should be a private matter, but don’t pass off the disciplining of a player as an injury, a lack of talent or a dress code issue.

Sure, if you’re Harbaugh or Joe Six Pack Ravens Fan, you’d like to think that guys who are making millions of dollars as players and have all of the talent in the world would just show up and graciously do their jobs. Especially for the amount of dough and the lifestyle they get to live. Forgive us for thinking that they’d actually consider 100% effort and winning football games the REAL priority in their lives. But, as my 24 years of doing this professionally as a media member has taught me, that’s not always the case.

Unfortunately, Harbaugh didn’t inherit a room full of professionals and choir boys when Brian Billick was fired. He inherited every problem Billick had and is doing the job for a third of the price and without nine years of experience dealing with it and trying to overcome it.

And Harbaugh is doing it pretty well if the only thing matters is the record: they’re 3-3, which is plenty good enough for me.

But the same problems that Billick dealt with differently or privately are now – as predicted here months ago –squarely onto the new rookie coach’s shoulders to address. The radio shows, the mudslinging, the “X” factor of off-the-field shenanigans along with Ray Lewis in his walk year thinking money, a rookie quarterback who’s learning as he goes, the various injuries, personnel issues, egos, etc. All the same crap that goes on in YOUR office, except that these guys aren’t as smart as they think they are, all are making a lot of money and are famous and every week a three-hour soap opera plays out on Sundays and you either win or lose.

And the city all talks about it (which is why they make the big bucks) and asks lots of questions, some of them a little “uncomfortable” for private matters such as human resources and employee behavioral issues.

And, as the coach, you have to answer for EVERYTHING. That’s the deal.

The NFL’s pretty straightforward like that. Win, and all is well. Lose, and well you’re where Mike Nolan or Brian Billick or Scott Linehan or Lane Kiffin are and where Marvin Lewis and some others might soon be.

Oh, and the owner is ALWAYS right. Just ask Al Davis or Dan Snyder or Jerry Jones.

The Ravens are 3-3 and playing decently for the most part, especially considering the injuries, rookie quarterback and lack of depth combined with aging players in key spots. I’m a HUGE Ravens fan. I’m perfectly pleased with where the team sits at this point. As a matter of fact, I’m more than mildly shocked that it’s gone this well.

Harbaugh has done a nice job by any measurement. The team is fun to watch, like a box of chocolates, Flacco is likeable, Ray Lewis is playing his ass off…it’s been a fun year so far!

So far, they’ve played five very good games and laid one turd. The turd just happened to be a road game in Indianapolis (and if you’re from Baltimore just the word “Indianapolis” has its own connotation) against the best player in the league in Peyton Manning. It happens. Many of the “good” teams in the league have gotten walloped already.

The team could easily be 5-1. But they’re not. They’re 3-3 and in decent shape to make a surprising playoff run over the next few weeks if they can beat some turd teams (Oakland, Cleveland and Houston). These are winnable games against current 2-4 teams. If they are going to go 10-6 and be a wild card, they’ll need to win at least two of these three. With the pending matchups against stronger NFC East teams at the end (not to mention Steelers and Jaguars), the wins must come now for any hope. The colder it gets the harder the schedule gets.

So it’s here where Harbaugh’s leadership is going to make or break the season. It’s not even Halloween but the cat’s out of the bag and the malcontents and loose-lipped rabble rousers are coming back to the forefront by saying and doing stupid things. Billick, essentially, was fired for this stuff happening (and the offensive woes, of course).

Chris McAlister not wanting to work out and/or practice and have the ability to run loose in Baltimore or miss meetings on road trips.

Terrell Suggs going on radio shows and throwing the starting quarterback under the bus.

Ray Lewis screaming for money. (We’re about 10 weeks away from that…trust me!)

It’s Harbaugh’s baby to deal with now, and despite the relative prosperity of 3-3, the baby is crying so to speak.

I think we’re all hard-pressed to believe that with Frank Walker and Fabian Washington as starters in the secondary for the remainder of the season, the Ravens will finish 10-6 and be a playoff team.  And we’re not at all hard-pressed to think that they’re not “outworking” or “outhustling” or “outstructuring” McAlister from Monday through Saturday.

McAlister is a pain in the ass to manage for them, no doubt, but he’s one of the most significant players in the organization. How do I know? Well, they’re paying him $8 million so I’m assuming they think he’s significant, too.

In my opinion, thus far Harbaugh has really botched this McAlister situation and continues to show his “green” side with every answer to the media. He seems as though answering these questions is a field of mines. And perhaps, if you keep changing your story every other day, it is.

Either Harbaugh’s getting bad advice or isn’t taking the good advice he’s been given. On Sunday after the game, it seemed like he didn’t even consider that the question was coming about McAlister when by the organization’s own admittance, he knew this was coming last Wednesday.

So, now four days later, we in the media have heard more conflicting stories, excuses, doubletalk and curious explanations to fill any reporter’s notebook (or fans’ water cooler) with head-scratchers.

If the Orioles gave answers like these – and they have before and apparently will continue to do so as well – I’d be laughing. Or writing these blogs of criticism/straightforwardness.

I don’t understand why there wasn’t just one story: the truth. And that is that McAlister is acting like a turd and isn’t doing what he’s supposed to be doing so he isn’t playing. Oh, and it’s a PRIVATE matter. He’s been bending team rules and we’re spanking him until he gets his act together.

There? Is that so hard? Some old-fashioned, “Hard Ass” love for the baller from Pasadena!

They didn’t fine him. Or suspend him. And they certainly didn’t want the NFLPA breathing down their necks like what’s happening in Cleveland with their resident talented malcontent, Kellen Winslow. (The league seems full of them, with PacMan Jones, Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, etc…I guess if they “shut up and played” perhaps we’d have less interest?)

But I certainly can’t ignore what I’m hearing and seeing this week.

So far, we know:

* McAlister didn’t like Harbaugh’s practices in Westminster and there were reports of some words
* McAlister had a knee injury – or not – during training camp
* McAlister played pretty decently the first four weeks of the season (certainly nothing to think he was benched solely on “merit” for the first five games)
* McAlister allegedly missed a meeting in Indianapolis on Saturday, Oct. 11
* McAlister played “below par” in Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 12 (but so did the whole team)
* McAlister was told on he wouldn’t start in Miami on Wednesday, Oct. 15
* McAlister was inappropriately dressed (among other things) before the game in Miami on Sunday, Oct. 19
* McAlister played sparingly against the Dolphins on Sunday, Oct. 19

There are various other factors, rumors and pretty-well substantiated issues regarding McAlister’s off the field activities and work ethic. And the show he put on in the lobby of the team hotel with those three girls in front of $18 million dollars worth of corporate sponsors was biblical. Only a fool could be around the team a significant amount of time and not notice people’s whispers and gossip. It’s just a fact of life. His teammates have gone to media members (and each other) at various points for years with negative comments about him, his work ethic and chicanery.

He’s a super smart guy but a bit of a Lone Wolf. Personally, I’ve never had a problem with him (I actually kinda like him for the most part although I wouldn’t hire him to work for me) but I’ve known better than to ever count on him. I’ve enjoyed our conversations over the years because I think he’s so intelligent. And I’ve clearly known how other people feel about him. Most would just say he’s “unreliable” or “inconsistent.” But I wouldn’t say he’s a “bad person” at all. But some have questioned his character, for sure.

But the answers and the list of reasons the team has given to the media for him not being on the field on Sunday – not just me or WNST but the entire media position on this – has smelled like four-day old fish.

It’s more weird and kinda paranoid than anything I’ve seen recently and I’m kinda shocked that Harbaugh hasn’t been more transparent.

Geez, if they’re actually disciplining Chris McAlister for his off the field behavior there are many in the organization would say: “It’s about time!”

On Sunday, the question was: “Is Chris being disciplined?”

Harbaugh said:

“No (he was not being disciplined). Not at all. Chris has played well. I’ll tell you what, Chris has really worked hard this year to work through the knee. We’ve talked about the knee a lot. It hasn’t been a situation where it’s an injury but it is a knee that has had some wear and tear on it. And we think if we can manage the packages from here on out…It’s not a matter of starting or not starting it’s what packages we put him in where he can be most effective for us. Which helps his practice reps a little bit which keeps him as effective as he can be on Sunday because you’ve got to practice all week to be effective on Sunday. But we can’t overload that knee. Whatever package we’re in next week, he could be out there starting next week. And that’s what it really comes down to. We’re always going to put our best package on the field.”

Later, when pressed ever-so-gently by Brent Harris:

“Chris is a professional. Chris is always going to want his role to be expanded and there’s no reason to think that next week his role won’t be expanded. It’s going to be whatever Rex determines it’s gonna be as far as what’s best for our football team…Chris is a good example of what happened to our football team (after Indy loss)…Chris came back and had a great week of practice last week and there’s no reason he’s not going to have a good season this year.”

On Monday, he told WBAL this:

“I can’t speak to stuff in the past. I’ve had a chance to get to know Chris over these months that I’ve been here. Chris is a good person. We’ve got a really good relationship and I respect him a lot. As far as the dress for the bus it was wrong. It was a mistake. It’s been addressed.”

Being asked about playing vs. the Dolphins:

“He WAS playing last week. The term ‘benching’ I’m not sure exactly what that means. He was in our packages last week. We talked about it yesterday and it’s obvious and clear cut. You put the best 11 players out there for the package. We put the best players out there in the coverages . That’s what a football decision is.”

So, McAlister isn’t one of the best 11 players on the defense? C’mon, Harbs?

I just wish that Harbaugh would give me and you and everyone one story: the truth.

He’ll learn that the truth ALWAYS comes out and making the media “guess” or thinking we’re not going to ask questions (or that the fans won’t ask questions) about his $8 million a year franchise starting cornerback being on the field for eight plays in a pivotal road game is just foolish.

So, it’s kind of a “pick three” message from Harbs:

1.    (Miami Sunday) McAlister is injured, but he’s not really injured.  But it’s not a discipline issue. And he’s practiced and played really well. But he’s not one of our best 11 players.
2.    (WBAL Tuesday) He should’ve dressed better in Miami but I like him a lot. Rex Ryan made the decision. He wasn’t “benched” after starting for nine years in the league, but he only played eight plays.

Or, perhaps the truth:

3.    He’s not doing the stuff that we need him to do or living his life in a fashion that we agree with and it’s contributing to hurting our team overall even though he’s one of the most important guys on the team. We can’t have him acting like a jack ass any more. It’s hurting the team. And sitting his ass out ought to be a message to him – and the rest of the team — to shape up or ship out. The team comes first and we can (and will) win without him!

Or at least they’ll try to if they can’t get him to fall in line. Which is, I guess, where they are now. They’re going to try to win without him. Or not. But maybe that will change before Sunday, who knows?

This is Coach “Hard Ass” – and I say that as a compliment, in some respect — doing it HIS way. And, apparently, Rex Ryan is also at the heart of this decision.

Let’s see if it works.

Because, in the end, what he tells the media and the fans doesn’t have anything to do with whether they’re going to win football games over the next 10 weeks.

Or does it?

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Brian Billick joins the WNST family as an owner and partner

Posted on 04 September 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BRIAN BILLICK PARTNERS WITH WNST SPORTS MEDIA
TO LAUNCH WNST.net, AN ONLINE SPORTS COMMUNITY
TO BENEFIT THE LIVING CLASSROOMS FOUNDATION

Baltimore’s WNST Sports Media announces the formation of a new media sports endeavor turning WNST-AM 1570 radio into WNST.net, a place where fans of all Baltimore sports teams will turn online for sports information, news, feedback, expert analysis, participation and social networking. Former World Champion head coach Brian Billick is a key member and contributor to the new partnership, led by company CEO Nestor Aparicio.

Next week’s launch of the all-new WNST.net will transcend all other local media outlets in the marketplace as a one-stop place on the web to talk, chat, hear and see all that Baltimore sports has to offer. WNST.net will essentially be an around-the-clock sports newspaper, and a complete radio and television “on demand” home for the most robust collection of authentic and user-generated local sports content.

Specializing in news and analysis of the Ravens, Orioles, Terps and other participatory local sports from recreation councils to high schools and local colleges, WNST.net seeks to be the preeminent home on the web for anything and everything pertaining to sports in Baltimore and Maryland. It hopes to bring together all local sports enthusiasts into one community with freedom of speech, local authenticity and quality and depth of opinions and analysis.

WNST – the acronym stands for “We Never Stop Talking” Baltimore Sports – is a 10-year brand that began as an AM radio station led by Aparicio’s ownership and fueled by his local passion. WNST-AM 1570 will continue to thrive and serve as the audio focal point for all of WNST.net’s future marketing endeavors with all radio content being made available online via podcasts.

“After nine great years in Baltimore, my wife Kim and I knew that Baltimore is where we were going to stay,” said Billick, who will blog regularly, do three weekly radio segments as well as a live local radio show in the community on the first Wednesday of each month on WNST-AM 1570. “I can’t think of a better way to stay in touch with the passionate football fans here in Charm City than to share my opinions and observations about the game we all love. And, I can’t think of a more authentic forum to do it than with WNST.”

Aparicio, a former sportswriter for The Evening Sun, has been a tireless follower and advocate for Baltimore sports fans for his entire life and has shared his love of local sports with other fans on Baltimore radio since 1991. Billick coached the Ravens for nine seasons, leading the team to a World Championship in 2001 in Super Bowl XXXV and will be working with Fox Sports nationally during the 2008 NFL season as a game analyst.

The two met in Minnesota in early 1999 prior to Billick’s tenure as Ravens coach, and Billick penned the foreword to Aparicio’s 2001 chronicle of the team’s championship season called, “Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac.” Their relationship and mutual love of Baltimore sports, football, business, media and the local community spawned this partnership.

“This isn’t about Brian or Nestor or WNST or the current state of ‘old’ media as much as it’s about Baltimore sports fans having an honest and easily accessible place on the web to share their mutual love of the community, Baltimore sports and outline the fun of being a fan or a participant in local sports,” Aparicio said. “We’re building an online sports media property that in the future will be the way local people communicate and interact, with local sports and the local teams being the focal point. And we’re doing this at a grassroots level that no out-of-town conglomerate could possibly attempt. We are thrilled to have a partner with the substance, intellect and benevolence of Brian Billick.”

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Ed Reed talks about his injury

Posted on 29 August 2008 by caseywillett

Ed Reed is fast, but today he was not fast enough to escape the media in the locker room. Actually Ed was very gracious with his time and shed some light on his injury. You can listen to the whole interview in the audio vault, but here are some of the highlights:
 
On how he is feeling
Reed “Right now I am still day today, hopefully I can get back, but health is more important right now. It is a long season and I feel like the team is going to need me more down the line than earlier and having to get hurt or something like that and can’t play again. Right now we are just taking it day to day.”
 
On exact injury:
“It is a nerve impingement and couple other things going on in there, some soreness, tightness, or what not. Just trying to loosen it up and take it one day at a time.”
 
Is injury in neck or should or both:
“It is both”
 
On if he would have to have surgery:
“If I had surgery now, you all would not be interviewing me ever again. If I had surgery, I would not be playing anymore.”
 
On if injury limit’s causes his arm and shoulder problems:
“You see me; I get a little jiggy man (then does a dance). It is a little bit more in depth than that. It is something I just have to deal with. It will not go away, but I can do some things to prevent a lot.”
 
What he has done to get treatment for injury:
“I have traveled to North Carolina, Detroit, New Jersey, doing treatments. It has been tough I have been to different places, Miami doing treatment. It is just making sure it is getting right, seeing every doctor that you can possibly see to get it checked out to make sure there is nothing catastrophic that can happen, that is what I was really taking care of.”

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My thoughts on Ravens injuries

Posted on 27 August 2008 by caseywillett

Here are a couple of my thoughts as it relates to some of the Ravens key players who have not practiced:
 
          Ed Reed – I have been saying for several weeks and will continue to say that I do not think you will be seeing Ed Reed to start the season. I find it interesting from the point that Ed has still not had contact in any of the team drills, and has not been seen during the media portion of practice the last couple of days. Now could Ed be coming out after the media goes in, sure, but I do not know that Coach Harbaugh would try and pull one over like that. I am still sticking to what I have said all along; there is more to this Ed Reed injury than what we are hearing. If I was a gambling man, the only #20 you will see week 1 versus Cincinnati will be someone wearing it in the stands.
 
          Kelly Gregg -is another injury that has really had me interested the last couple of weeks. Kelly has been out for the majority of training camp and all of the preseason games with a knee injury. Coach Harbaugh said yesterday that he is optimistic that Kelly will be ready to start the season. I do not think Kelly will be ready to start the season. I do think you will see him at some point during the season, but for how long? Kelly not practicing and not playing just makes me wonder how is he going to be ready for September 7? Again I just have questions about his availability to start the season. (*UPDATE: The signings of Marques Douglas makes me think that there are questions about Kelly Gregg for the season)
 
 
          Kyle Boller – early indications are that Kyle has a shoulder issue on his throwing arm that could be severe.  If that is the case, this could be a huge blow to the offense, as crazy as I know that may sound to people. I think Kyle is a very good backup, and regardless of who started this year, would be needed at some point in time. I am not very optimistic we will see Kyle.
 
          Todd Heap – I have no concerns that Todd will be ready to start the season. I think some people are out of their minds for calling him injury prone like he has missed a ton of time due to injuries every year. He has played in every game 4 out of the last 6 years.
 
 
          Willis McGahee – I am not sure what to think about him. Some days you see Willis and he looks like he could go out and play that day, yesterday he had more of a limp than I have seen him with all of camp. If I had to say right now, I would say that Willis does not play in week 1.
 
          Chris McAlister – Again, much like Willis, McAlister makes you wonder almost every time you see him. One day he looks like he is ready then a day later he doesn’t, then next think you know he is out at practice. I will say I think McAlister is ready to start the season, but have concerns about how his knee holds up throughout the year.
 
 
          Dan Cody – I know this might sound like a broken record, but I think this year is the year Dan Cody makes it. I had a chance to catch up with him yesterday for a pretty lengthy 1 on 1 which you can find in the audio vault.
 
          Derrick Martin –Derrick suffered a shoulder injury during the Vikings game and has been out ever since. Derrick has not been in the practices with the team since the injury, and I think has to be a concern going into the regular season. Derrick I felt really solidified his place on the team with a solid camp and preseason. Now he still has a little incident at an airport to get cleared up, but the league will handle that.

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Ravens Camp 8-11-08

Posted on 11 August 2008 by caseywillett

It has been news worthy day here at Ravens training camp;
 
          Prescott Burgess and P.J. Daniels were both place on injured reserve today. Burgess, who missed eight games with a hip injury, is out with a broken wrist.  P.J. Daniels is out due to a separated shoulder. P.J. was on 53 man roster all of 2006, but was inactive for every game. He also missed the 2007 season with a hamstring injury.
 
          The Ravens parted ways today with 2005 5th round draft pick Justin Green. Justin never scored a touchdown with the Ravens while totaling 4yds rushing in 39 games while having 13 catches for 65 yards.
 
 
          Ed Reed discussed his shoulder injury today when he meet with the media and said that there is more to the injury than what is being told. I have said all along that there is more to Ed’s injury than what is being told, and Ed basically said the same thing today. You can listen to the audio in the audio vault on the website
 
          Willis McGahee is in Florida to have his left knee scoped to “clean it out” as Coach Harbaugh put it and to see exactly what is going on with his knee. There is no word as to when Willis will return to practice.
 
          The Ravens also added two new players this morning in defensive lineman Darrell Campbell and linebacker Terrence Melton.
 
          The offensive line took another hit this morning when Mike Kracalik left the field with a trainer while holding his left hand.
 
 
          Adam Terry, Haloti Ngata, Dan Cody, Dan Wilcox, and Chris McAlister were all working out on the side today during practice and look like they could be getting closer to returning to practice with the team.
 
          The Ravens will end training camp as it relates to fans and media on Thursday. Friday is closed to the public and media as it is a walk thru for the players

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Ravens Q&A

Posted on 06 August 2008 by caseywillett

Since the Ravens are closed to the public and media for a walk thru/ travel day, I thought today would be another good opportunity for a Ravens questions and answers blog.

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When will Suggs show ? No reason to show for fans tomorrow morning

Posted on 29 July 2008 by caseywillett

So today the discussion of when Terrell Suggs will return to camp came up among members of the media. Several people said next week some said the last week of the preseason. So here is my prediction, August 18th.
 
I pick that day, because the Ravens will have just finished playing their second preseason game versus the Vikings and will have ended camp that Friday, Aug. 15th. That is the day that makes sense to me. Suggs would have missed all the fun and not so fun things that comes with training camp, yet be back in time to play in the last two preseason games and be at the facility in Owings Mills everyday.
 
So there is my prediction Monday Aug 18th, I think Terrell Suggs will return to the Ravens.
 
 
– Tomorrow’s morning session of practice is closed the public, as it will only be open for special invited guest. They will however have an afternoon session starting at 2:45.

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Ravens Q&A time

Posted on 24 July 2008 by caseywillett

With today being a day at training camp that is off limits to fans and media, I thought this would be an opportunity for readers to submit questions and I will answer them as they regard the Ravens. This again will be a weekly and sometimes twice a week blog I will have here on the website.
 
Here are a couple of notes from late yesterday evening:
 
          Willis McGahee appeared to be in better shape than what he was when he was in town for the mandatory camps.
 
          Chris McAlister may be the happiest guy to be back at camp. Chris was smiling and joking with the media about how much he loves us, saying hello to everyone that works for the Ravens or the Best Western that was within 100 feet of him.
 
 
          Ray Lewis was wearing a new shirt he came up with. Ray usually has shirts that say Team 52 on the front. In the past on the back slogans such as Prayed up have been on there. Yesterday it said T52 on the front and Heart of a Lion on the back.
 
          As was predicted and I wrote last week, Terrell Suggs did not report to camp yesterday.
 
 
          Although it is called an Administrative Day today, the Ravens will have meetings most of the morning than a practice this afternoon. Reminder today is closed to the media.
 
          People at S.A.F.E. might want to learn what Ravens coaches and players look like. I can not count the amount of times over the last two days that coaches, players, and even veterans reporting have complained about getting interrogated by the security at the team hotel. The fact that someone had to verify John Harbaugh was the coach to let him into the hotel is crazy. Several of the coaches either walk or run from practice back to hotel and a couple of gotten stopped by security asking them for identification.
 
 
          John Harbaugh is so much about the team and not letting one person have the spot light, I wonder if he will allow the usual King Ugly contest to take place this year?
 
          Tomorrow morning will be the first time fans and media will get a chance to see the entire 2008 Ravens team on the field at 8:45 a.m. Of course Terrell Suggs will not be there as well as Samari Rolle as he prepares for his fathers funeral.
 
          It was funny yesterday to see several of the defensive veteran players walk in and run into Dan Cody and ask him what the practices have been like and have then been hitting and trying to get the details on what to expect. They were reminded that there was only 25 players there so there was not a lot that they could do.
 
           
          If I was taking a prediction, I think Dan Wilcox and Demetrius Williams, both start out on the physically unable to perform list (p.u.p.). I don’t think they will stay on it long, but it will allow them a week or so to recover to get back onto the field.
 
So fire away with any questions you might have.
 

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Ravens Camp Day 3

Posted on 23 July 2008 by caseywillett

 

5:30
 
The last day of training camp for the rookies ended with Joe Flacco as the holder for field goals and trying to run trick plays out of it. After practice Patrick Carter practiced with special teams coach Jerry Rosburg on his holding of the ball for field goals.
 
After practice, several of the Ravens veterans including Todd Heap, Willis McGahee, Jarrett Johnson, and others were talking with one another before they headed off to a team meeting for the first time as a full team this evening. As was expected, Terrell Suggs has not shown up at the Best Western to report for camp.
 
Part of the talk going into this camp is that the veterans will have to stay at the team hotel during the whole camp. For Tavares Gooden, he has been compared to Ray Lewis in several ways: they both went to Miami, they both wore #52, and now they both will be sharing a hotel room in Westminster.
 
Do you think he tells Ray to turn the t.v. down at night so he can go to sleep?
 
Remember that there is nothing here for fans or media tomorrow, so the first chance you will have to see the whole team will be at 8:45 a.m. on Friday.
2:15
 
Players are starting to come in quickly here as the Ravens veterans have to be in for 3 p.m. practice.
 
Ed Reed, Ben Grubbs, Justin Bannan, Justin Green, Antwan Barnes, Yamon Figurs, Gary Stills, and Adam Terry are just some of the veterans who have reported here to camp in the last hour.
 
As for the rookies, qb’s, and injured veterans, are getting ready for an afternoon practice that will start at 3:30 p.m. on the lower fields this afternoon.
 
More after the afternoon practice.
12:51
 
So the Ravens need your help. They are having a poll to help determine music that will be played during the pre game music. This week it is the rock version battle. Here are the choices for you to vote for:
 
Head over to the Ravens website if you want to vote. I would personally vote for Linkin Park. Can you think of any rock songs that would be good intro songs?
 
Here is a couple I would suggest:
Thousand Foot Krutch – Move (thanks to John Rallo for recommending this song to me)
 
 
 
As I wrote about on Monday, I did not think that Coach Harbaugh’s name would make it long on the billboard outside, and sure enough it has not. His name has been taken off of the sign out on the street.
 
Ben Grubbs and Jason Brown have arrived and checked into the team hotel. The vets have physicals starting this afternoon.

12:07

 
So far only Todd Heap has been the only veteran today seen at the team hotel. Dan Wilcox came in earlier today, but he was here when the rookies, quarterbacks and injured vets reported.
 
In case of inclement weather this afternoon during or before the 3:30 p.m. workout, the Ravens would likely just use the gym here at McDaniel College to get their work done.
 
Over 1300 fans attended practice yesterday for the first day. That is still an impressive number figuring that is was mostly rookies here. The rookies have all been very good about signing autographs after practice, although that amount of fans and number of autographs will grow greatly once the veterans are on the field with the team on Friday.
 
Really appreciate all the kind words and compliments from all of the readers of the blog.

10:57

 
So the morning session of the practice is over and here are a few of the highlights from this morning:
 
          Todd Heap was on the field as practices begin, but then walked off with Ozzie Newsome. Veterans do not have to report till today but Todd was here very early. Just so no one worries, Todd walked off with Ozzie just talking to him.
 
          Kyle Boller took the snaps with the 1st team when they did team drills as he did yesterday. Troy Smith was next followed by Joe Flacco. All of the quarterbacks had a decent day; no one had an exceptionally good or bad day.
 
 
          While doing a drill where the running back throws their shoulder into the goal post padding on a blocking drill, Allen Patrick throw his shoulder into the goal post then fell and took out some equipment. He got up and was ok.
 
          Ravens offensive line coach John Matsko is an intense coach to watch and was constantly in the ear of O Neil Cousins and David Hale this morning. Matsko was getting onto cousins for constant mistakes and being out of breath. For David Hale, it was much more about him getting his back side beat constantly during drills.
 
 
          Coach Harbaugh said he was looking forward to getting back to the team hotel after practice so he could be there when the “varsity” players report to camp.
 
          Dan Cody was kind enough to join Bob Haynie for a few minutes this morning. Dan is going to see some playing time at defensive end, and looks impressive so far. Dan is very motivated to prove that he is still a good football player and can contribute to this team. Dan’s change of roles is partly due to the fact that it was going to be an up hill battle for him to try and make the team as a backup linebacker and special team’s guy. One of the factors working against Dan is his height when it comes to special teams. Dan will get a lot of extra reps this camp with Terrell Suggs not attending camp. Dan is expected to be a guy that will be a 3rd down pass rusher.
 
          Coach Harbaugh had a scare as he was burned while playing corner back by Patrick Carter. A little bit later Marcus Smith turned Mark Carrier so bad when he was playing corner that Mark Carrier came out of his shoe.

7:53 a.m.

 
Today is the last day of the rookies, quarterbacks, and injured veterans camp here at Westminster. Throughout the day, the veterans of the Ravens will begin to report here to the Best Western in Westminster to begin the full team portion of camp. As I mentioned late last week and has been confirmed through several other sources, Terrell Suggs is not expected here today as well as Samari Rolle who has been given approval from the team to miss due to the death of his father.
 
Last night NFL Network ran a story on O.J. Brigance of the Ravens. If you did not get a chance to watch it on television last night, here is the video from the NFL website. O.J. is an inspirational person and makes you really think about how precious life is. Having seen and got to know O.J. over the last 3 or 4 years, he is always positive and upbeat, even now here at training camp as he comes passing by the lobby in his motorized wheelchair, he always has a smile on his face and says hello to everyone.
 
As of right now, the plans are still for practice to get going as planned at 8:45 a.m.

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Ravens Camp Day 2

Posted on 22 July 2008 by caseywillett

5:45
 
So the first day of camp is done as far as on the field goes for the Ravens, this afternoon concluded the first of the two-a-days for the team.
 
Here are a couple of notes from the afternoon practice:
 
          Watching Trevor Pryce play cornerback is an interesting thing to watch. He got turned around by Marcus Smith on a play that resulted in Trevor falling to the ground which caused some of Pryce’s defensive teammates to critique his cover skills.
 
          Dan Cody is getting a lot of work on learning the defensive end position
 
 
          The Ravens added another tight end to the roster this afternoon as they signed #84 Adam Bergen 6-4 from Lehigh who has three years of NFL experience
 
          Although it is early in camp, Haruki Nakamura has made some impressive plays in the secondary. Earlier this morning, Haruki tipped a Troy Smith pass that was intercepted by Tom Zbikowski. This afternoon Haruki made a diving deflection that prevented a catch that would have resulted in a touchdown.
 
 
          Joe Flacco shows flashes with some of his throws, just how strong and accurate his arm is.
 
The Ravens return to practice tomorrow morning when they have an 8:45 a.m. practice. Also tomorrow will be the day when the veterans will report to the team hotel. Samari Rolle will not be reporting as he has been allowed to miss to deal with the passing of his father with a funeral planned for Saturday. As I mentioned last week, I do not expect Terrell Suggs to report to the Westminster facility.

 

1:49

 
The Ravens have released cornerback Lenny Walls from the roster. The Ravens this morning added Aaron Walker and could possibly be adding some other players in the next day or so.
 
Here is what Coach Harbaugh had to say about the first days of camp “It’s not an evaluation time right now. It’s rookie camp. It’s the same thing we did for three days in June. It’s a chance to get these guys re-acclimated and go through the offense for the fifth time, give them a chance to compete come Friday.”
 
Coach Harbaugh also had a interesting comment about the attitudes of the quarterbacks: “They’re doing a nice job, all three of them. They look fluid. The fact that they’re friends and the fact that they’re good guys taking the attitude that they want to be as good as they can be and help the other guys be as good as they can be, that’s just them being good guys. Make no mistake about it, every one of those three guys wants the job. It’s not really a nice guy contest. We’re all nice guys, but it’s a quarterbacks contest.”
 
Check back later for a report from the afternoon 3:30 p.m. practice.

 

8:11

 
So a quick blog before heading to practice, I was a little late this morning after the top notch SAFE security thought media were not allowed at the team hotel although I have a parking pass and a credential with my name and all camp written on it, but it is what it is.
Its S.A.F.E. management, what can you expect? They even stopped a Ravens employee and questioned if they were suppose to be here.
 
When the players get ready to walk out of the doors here at the hotel there is a friendly reminder waiting on them. There is a note on the door that reminds players to sign autographs after practice and to show appreciation to the fans who come out to support them during camp. Also on the flyer is a note to tell players to not leave a teammate alone signings autographs.
 

Well off to watch the first practice of 2008 training camp with rookies and some injured vets. I will be doing updates every hour on the radio, but not on blog till later this afternoon.

11:04
 
So the first practice under John Harbaugh of the 2008 training camp has concluded. The practices did not run as long today due to the limited number of players available for him to use.
 
Here are some notes from practice today:
 
          Troy Smith did not have a very good practice this morning. He was picked off three times during the morning session. Chuck Pagano one of the Ravens coaches, Prescott Burgess, and Tom Zbikowski all intercepted Troy today.
 
          The Ravens parted ways with quarterback Brad Roach last night and signed Aaron Walker, a tight end.
 
 
          Trevor Pryce took his conditioning test today and as was told to us by the staff, he “crushed” it.
 
          Several of the players were wearing arm and hammer patches on their uniforms today and will during camp. The patch is to signify guys that attended 85% of the voluntary off season workouts.
 
          Coach Harbaugh pointed out that this is just like the rookie camp that the team had at the Owings Mills facility.
 

Tune into the Bob Haynie Show to hear audio from Coach Harbaugh, Troy Smith, Kyle Boller, and Joe Flacco.

12:45
 
News has circulated here at Owings Mills that Samari Rolle’s father passed away last week and will not be here for the begging of camp for the veterans. The funeral for Samari’s father will be on Saturday, and he has been told to take as much time as he needs. No matter what you think of Samari, you have to feel for the guy for everything that he has been through lately.
 
Here is the ESPN article courtesy of James Walker.
 

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