Tag Archive | "Tavares Gooden"

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Live from Westminster: The swan song from McDaniel College

Posted on 22 August 2009 by Luke Jones

4:05 p.m. – I chatted with Frank Walker as he walked off the field, and he was definitely glad to be breaking camp, though he emphasized it was a great experience in Westminster.

Even though the players were eager to leave summer camp behind, they continued to sign autographs for the fans out here in Westminster this afternoon.  You can tell these guys genuinely enjoy interacting with the fans.  The organization does things the right way, and it’s why the Ravens are king in this town.

4:00 p.m. – The special teams practice has concluded, as has the Ravens’ 2009 training camp here in Westminster.  The team will hold a walk-through tomorrow morning (closed to the media and public) before breaking camp.

The hour-long afternoon practice was uneventful, but tackle Oniel Cousins did not practice with the other young offensive linemen.  There was no word on any injury, but I did overhear offensive line coach John Matsko asking Cousins if he’d be able to play Monday as they were leaving the field toward the end of practice.

Cousins is the team’s top reserve tackle, so this will definitely be a situation to monitor leading up to Monday night’s game with the Jets.  The Ravens are thin at the position with veteran tackle Adam Terry already on injured reserve.

1:33 p.m. – I’m getting ready to head out to the field for the last public workout of the summer.  If the hotel lobby is any indication, I may be the only member of the local media out there this afternoon.

The ESPN Monday Night Football crew is here, as they prepare to broadcast Monday night’s game.  I saw Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden chatting with Harbaugh and Joe Flacco during lunch.

12:03 p.m. – As previously mentioned below, Suggs and Clayton were again absent from practice.

Harbaugh once again described Suggs’ Achilles strain as a “nagging injury” but admitted he thought the star linebacker would have returned by this point.  Suggs has been riding the exercise bike to maintain his conditioning.

Suggs injured the heel on Aug. 2 and has missed the last 20 days of training camp.

Clayton was working out after practice, catching passes from quarterback John Beck.  He appears to be making progress, but it’s doubtful we’ll see the receiver before the last preseason game, if not the regular season opener.

12:00 p.m. – When asked how long the first team would play against the Jets on Monday night, Harbaugh suggested we’ll see the starting units into the second quarter if not the entire half.  It will all depend on the number of plays they receive in the first quarter or so.

Of course, Harbaugh did say the amount of time will vary from player to player, so one would think veterans like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will not play as long as younger starters such as Tavares Gooden or Michael Oher.

11:56 a.m. – The last Ravens practice open to the public and media will take place at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.  It will only be a special teams practice, so many of the big names will not be present.

The team will hold a walk-through tomorrow (closed to the media and general public) before breaking camp and returning to the Owings Mills facility.  It’s obvious to see how eager the players are to break camp and get back to their normal lives and routines without the two-a-days in the August heat.

11:47 a.m. – I spoke to Kevin Byrne after practice, and while there is no official number yet, the Ravens expect to set a new record for a camp that did not include a scrimmage.  The overall record of 111,492 fans was set in 2001—the year following the Super Bowl XXXV victory.

If you ever wondered how the team comes up with those training camp attendance figures, no, it’s not the job of a new intern or long snapper Matt Katula, as it was suggested by one reporter.

The team uses the number of parked cars and multiplies it by 3 to get their estimated figures.

11:42 a.m. – Derrick Mason was once again wearing No. 85 in practice.  There was no word on whether the NFL has squashed his plan to honor the late Steve McNair by wearing No. 9 during practices.

11:37 a.m. – Harbaugh speculated with reporters about having the longest camp in the NFL.  When Philadelphia was mentioned as having a longer camp, the Ravens head coach jokingly suggested they’ll try to have the longest one next year.

He was pleased with the work his players have completed this summer and described the defense’s transition from Ryan to Mattison as “seamless.”

11:27 a.m. – Willis McGahee is expecting the second preseason game to be more intense than usual when considering who will be coaching on the other sideline.

With Rex Ryan returning to Baltimore as the head coach of the New York Jets, McGahee expects both sides to really go after each other compared to what you would normally see in the preseason.

When asked about his former teammate Bart Scott and his propensity for trash talk, McGahee playfully replied, “Bart’s going to be Bart.”

Monday night clearly won’t resemble a postseason game, but it’s definitely  more compelling than what you’ll typically find during an August football game.  As Glenn Clark has said all week, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ryan mix in more blitzing than normal in a preseason game.

11:22 a.m. – When asked about the differences between Rex Ryan and new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, Pryce noted that Mattison gives the defense more time to meet with positional coaches.  The defensive schemes are very similar with just a few minor tweaks.

The veteran defensive lineman also noted that both men clearly have a passion for football, but everyone’s personality is different.

11:18 a.m. – Pryce spoke to reporters after practice and said this is the deepest defensive line on which he has ever played, an impressive statement considering Pryce played on two Super Bowl-winning defenses in Denver.

He emphasized how big the return of Dwan Edwards to the rotation will be for the defense.  Edwards missed the entire 2008 season with a back injury.

11:16 a.m. – The defensive play of the morning came from cornerback Domonique Foxworth when he picked off a Cleo Lemon pass.

The former Terp has had a very solid training camp and looks very comfortable playing in the Ravens defense.

11:13 a.m. – Rookie Eron Riley had the catch of the morning, grabbing a jump ball in a crowd on a pass thrown by John Beck.

The former Duke receiver has good size at 6-3 but hasn’t really done enough to warrant serious consideration for a roster spot.

11:08 a.m. – It will be interesting to see where Jayson Foster fits into the plans on Monday night.  Though mostly working with the second offense, he continues to receive a few reps with the first unit.

His shining play of the morning was a 33-yard touchdown reception from Troy Smith.

While he still may be on the outside looking in when the team trims the roster to 53, Foster is certainly one of the biggest surprises of training camp, even earning comparisons to Wes Welker from offensive coordinator Cam Cameron earlier this week.

11:04 a.m. – The Ravens worked on fake field goals at the beginning of practice before focusing on various third-down packages on defense.

The scout team offense showed a few Wildcat looks to the defense, but they were not very impressive.  Cedric Peerman will never be confused with Ronnie Brown as he threw a wounded duck that was easily picked off by Ed Reed (sporting the red jersey today).

On the next play, Yamon Figurs tried to take the shotgun snap but fumbled.  Needless to say, it was a comedy of errors from the Wildcat scout team.

11:02 a.m. – Terrell Suggs (Achilles heel), Mark Clayton (hamstring), and Dannell Ellerbe (knee) did not practice today, and Trevor Pryce did not participate in any team drills.

Pryce spoke to the media after practice and basically equated it to a morning off with no significant injury.

10:58 a.m. – The Ravens held their last full-squad workout this morning, a brief hour and a half practice in shorts and shells.

John Harbaugh eliminated the individual portions of practice, leaving only the team drills to execute.  The team practiced on the lower field due to the torrential rains that swept through the area last night, leaving the upper grass fields very slick.

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Getting down to 53: The final days of training camp

Posted on 18 August 2009 by Luke Jones

We’re in the final week of training camp in Westminster, but the Ravens do not need to make any cuts until Sept. 1, when they must trim the roster to 75 players.  The team must then narrow down to the regular season number of 53 by Sept. 5.

For those begging for help at the wide receiver position, the late cut dates mean any veteran receiver that could possibly shake free and help the cause in Baltimore probably won’t be available until right before the regular season.

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

QUARTERBACKS (3)
LOCK: Joe Flacco, Troy Smith, John Beck
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: Cleo Lemon, Drew Willy
Skinny: It’s been an interesting week regarding quarterbacks, but Cam Cameron made it clear the Ravens are still committed to Beck as the No. 3 guy.  Smith’s play in the preseason has further cemented his status as the backup to Flacco.

RUNNING BACKS (5)
LOCK: Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Le’Ron McClain
BUBBLE: Jalen Parmele, Matt Lawrence, Cedric Peerman
LONGSHOT: Jason Cook
Skinny: Parmele is a favorite of Cameron, and Lawrence impressed during the preseason opener last week.  Peerman appears to currently trail these two on the depth chart.  Despite being the only other fullback behind McClain on the roster, Cook appears to be a candidate for the practice squad at this point.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)
LOCK: Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams, Kelley Washington
BUBBLE: Justin Harper, Yamon Figurs, Jayson Foster
LONG SHOT: Biren Ealy, Bradon Godfrey, Eron Riley, Ernie Wheelwright
Skinny: Losing Marcus Smith for the season is a major blow to the special teams units, an area in which the second-year receiver thrived.  Williams’ inability to remain healthy continues to frustrate the staff.  Harper has a ton of potential but is very inconsistent.  Foster has put his name into consideration with a good performance against the Redskins and an ability to make plays during practice.

TIGHT ENDS (3)
LOCK: Todd Heap, L.J. Smith
BUBBLE: Edgar Jones, Davon Drew
LONG SHOT: Isaac Smolko
Skinny: Drew continues to be very quiet on the practice field.  Jones is a good special teams player and has played some H-back during camp.  His ability to play linebacker if needed makes him a valuable commodity on the 53-man roster.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
LOCK: Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs, Matt Birk, Chris Chester, Michael Oher, Marshal Yanda, Oniel Cousins
BUBBLE: David Hale, Tre Stallings, Joe Reitz
LONG SHOT: Robby Felix, Stefan Rodgers, Bryan Mattison
Skinny: The team should definitely look to add a veteran tackle, because Cousins is too inconsistent as the third tackle, but he’s improved from last season. Hale’s ability to play both guard and center will likely land him on the roster.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)
LOCK: Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce, Justin Bannan
BUBBLE: Dwan Edwards, Brandon McKinney, Kelly Talavou
LONG SHOT: Will Johnson, Nader Abdallah
Skinny: Edwards and McKinney are the favorites to land the final two defensive line spots on the roster.

LINEBACKERS (10)
LOCK: Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Tavares Gooden, Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, Paul Kruger, Brendon Ayanbadejo
BUBBLE: Jason Phillips, Dannell Ellerbe, Prescott Burgess
LONG SHOT: Tony Fein, Will VanDeSteeg
Skinny: Ellerbe’s knee sprain was a disappointment considering how much he’s impressed over the last two weeks.  Burgess has been around for a couple years, but will it be enough?

CORNERBACKS (6)
LOCK: Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington, Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb, Samari Rolle, Frank Walker
BUBBLE: K.J. Gerard, Evan Oglesby, Derrick Martin
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Rolle’s health continues to be a concern.  Walker is probably safe because his physical style is much different than the other pure cover guys in the secondary.  Considering how many talented, young linebackers are currently on the roster, I predict the Ravens will go with 10 backers and only six corners.  If they go with seven corners, Gerard, Oglesby, and Martin are all in the mix.  Martin has seen reps at both safety and corner this summer.

SAFETIES (4)
LOCK: Ed Reed, Dawan Landry, Haruki Nakamura, Tom Zbikowski
BUBBLE:
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: No drama at this position.  These four are locks.

KICKER (1)
LOCK: None
BUBBLE: Graham Gano, Steve Hauschka
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: It’s been a very close race so far, with Hauschka possibly holding the slightest of edges.  There are still three preseason games to clarify the picture.

PUNTER (1)
LOCK: Sam Koch
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Koch practiced some field goals this week to be prepared in an emergency situation.

LONG SNAPPER (1)
LOCK: Matt Katula
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Ngata is the backup field goal snapper, and McGahee is the No. 2 long snapper for punts.  Let’s hope neither has to be called into action.

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Ravens spank Redskins in preseason opener

Posted on 14 August 2009 by Luke Jones

In a thoroughly dominating performance, the Baltimore Ravens upended their neighbors to the south, beating the Washington Redskins, 23-0.

Though the starting unit failed to put the ball in the end zone, quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense moved the ball consistently against the Redskins’ defense.  Flacco finished his night going 9 of 15 for 103 yards.

His longest pass came on a 34-yard completion to Ray Rice out of the backfield.  Rice and Willis McGahee both looked strong running the ball, combining for 48 yards on only nine carries.

“I thought they ran hard,” coach John Harbaugh said.  “You know they got the ball north and south.  It’s good to see the checkdowns [from the quarterbacks].”

Despite moving the ball deep inside Washington territory twice, the Ravens had to settle for two Steve Hauschka field goals.

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

The Ravens finally found the end zone at the end of the first half when backup quarterback Troy Smith hit a wide-open Justin Harper for a 19-yard touchdown.  Harper had dropped two passes before redeeming himself on the scoring play.

“I thought that was pretty tough coverage,” Smith said.  “It was a key catch he made.  Harper can catch anything that he puts his mind to.”

The Ravens finished the night with 500 total yards, including 399 in the air.  Smith finished with 200 passing yards while John Beck added 105.

The defense—regardless of whether it was the first-, second-, or third-string unit—dominated the Washington offense throughout the night, holding the Redskins to only 11 first downs and 196 yards of total offense while forcing two turnovers.  It was a stellar debut for new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who was presented the game ball by Ray Lewis at the end of the game.

Jameel McClain led the team in tackles with six while Tavares Gooden added five stops.

“I don’t think we’ve skipped a beat,” defensive tackle Kelly Gregg said.  “The goal is to always get off the field as fast as possible.  It makes things that much better when you see your offense drive the ball and get first downs.”

The black mark on an otherwise satisfying performance was the number of penalties committed throughout the night.  The Ravens had nine penalties, costing themselves 70 yards in the process.  Harbaugh voiced his displeasure with the miscues after the game.

“We have to find a way to work it out,” Harbaugh said.  “All types of penalties.  And that’s probably the most disappointing thing.”

First-round pick Michael Oher had a stellar debut at right tackle, despite sustaining a gash on his forehead early in the game.  After receiving two stitches he returned to the field and even took some reps with the second offense.

“He’s ready to play,” Rice said.  “He’s physical.  He got out there and got a jump on people.  He just needs to continue to get better each game.”

In the second half, the defensive dominance continued as Paul Kruger and Tom Zbikowski added sacks and Derrick Martin picked off a Colt Brennan pass in Baltimore territory.

Rookie running back Cedric Peerman added a seven-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to put the Ravens up by 23 points.

Despite the positive outcome of the preseason opener, the Ravens took another hit at the wide receiver position, as Marcus Smith went down with a serious knee injury.  Harbaugh speculated that the injury involves the ACL.  Smith will have further examination on the knee.

Smith was in the mix to compete for the third or fourth receiver spot on the roster, but his season now appears in jeopardy.

In the kicking game, Hauschka gained the upper hand, making field goals from 21 and 37 yards.  Graham Gano hit a 39-yarder in the third quarter but missed a 28-yard attempt as time expired.

Harbaugh savored the win but emphasized how much improvement is needed between now and the regular season opener on Sept. 13.

“It was a good start, and obviously we have a whole lot of work to do.  Our guys realize that.”

The team will take tomorrow off before returning to Westminster for practice on Saturday morning at 8:45 a.m.  The practice is open to the general public.

Injury Updates:

In addition to Smith going down with a knee injury and Oher sustaining a cut on his forehead, safety Haruki Nakamura suffered a stinger and Beck left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury to his throwing shoulder.

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Ravens vs. Redskins Preseason – What to watch for

Posted on 13 August 2009 by Derek Arnold

Football season is back!

Finally, after seven months of the bad taste in our mouths that came with the AFC Championship game loss in Pittsburgh, we get to see our Ravens take the field once again.

Seeing those ugly burgundy and….yellow(?) uniforms lining up at M&T Bank Stadium will bring back fond memories of last December 7, when the Ravens beat up on the Redskins in sub-zero temperatures in prime time.

The thermometer won’t be the only thing drastically different when Washington and B’More knock heads at 7:30 this evening though. Sure, kickoff temps will be about 60 degrees warmer, but much more interesting is that instead of seeing teams fighting for playoff spots, this time around we will be watching individual players competing for jobs.

So what are some of the most interesting position battles to watch for the Ravens? Let’s take a look…

Kicker

While many NFL towns would give a collective yawn at the prospect of a battle for the placekicker position, here in B’More, where we have grown all too used to winning games 3 points at a time over the years, we know the importance of a good leg.

But in 2009, for the first time in franchise history, that good leg won’t be attached to the hip of Matt Stover. Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano will vie for one spot all preseason, and their performances in these games will go a long way to determining which of the two dons purple on September 13, and which is hoping to be picked up off the waiver wire.

By all accounts, the two have been neck-and-neck in Westminster, making the four “exhibition” contests all the more crucial. Hauschka is set to work the first half, with Gano doing the honors in quarters three and four. They will be judged on kickoff distance (Matt Stover’s weakest point late in his career), and on, of course, making their field goal attempts. Keep a close eye on both kickers, and how they perform both tasks tonight.

Inside Linebacker

While it seemed a given entering training camp that Ray Lewis would be lining up next to “Little Ray,” Tavares Gooden against Kansas City on Opening Day, but Jameel McClain and rookie Dannell Ellerbe have other ideas. The two have both played well in training camp, and have made it a three-horse race in the battle to replace the departed (*tear*) Bart Scott.

According to Mike Preston, Ellerbe has been extremely impressive “between the tackles” (read – against the run), while McClain is the best of the three at pressuring the quarterback, and Gooden has the most range. It will be interesting to see which of the three has their name called the most on broadcasts tonight and over the next few weeks.

Running Back

The bulked-up Ray Rice has been getting most of the reps with the starters in training camp, and was expected to win the job of #1 back. However, Willis McGahee has shown an improved work ethic in 2009, and has not let himself be pushed to the back burner quite yet. And of course, there is last season’s leading rusher, Le’Ron “Pain Train” McClain, who, despite promises from Cam Cameron to be used more in the traditional fullback role this year, will demand his share of touches.

The Ravens will undoubtedly be a RB-by-committee again in ‘09, but the three will engage in a healthy competition to determine who receives the lion’s share of the carries.

For the third RB spot, Jalen Parmelee has had a good showing at McDaniel College, but will be challenged by 6th-round draft pick Cedric Peerman.

Wide Receiver

Saving the most talked about position on the Ravens for last, we come to the WR situation.

With starters Mark Clayton (hamstring-out), Derrick Mason (finger – questionable), and Demetrius Williams (hamstring – questionable), set to see minimal reps, Kelley Washington, Justin Harper and Marcus Smith will see plenty of “burn” tonight, and have the chance to catch passes from Joe Flacco in live game action.

With those three playing early, the lower rungs of the depth chart will get more chances than they usually would. Jason Foster, Eron Riley, and Ernie Wheelright will have plenty of opportunities in the second half to show that they belong in purple and black.

A very interesting guy to watch will be Yamon Figurs. Figurs, the Ravens’ former unquestioned return specialist, seems to be out of a job, and a roster spot, with the signing of Chris Carr. He will have to prove that he can line up and run routes, something he has thus far been unable to do, save for a long TD reception in Houston last season.

While admittedly not completely exhaustive, that’s probably a long enough list of things to pay attention to in tonight’s game. Because, hey, even with so much going on, it’s still preseason, after all, and nobody expects you to watch four quarters with your notebooks out.

Unless, of course, your name is Luke Jones or Glenn Clark. Full reports, boys!

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Ray Lewis and Snoop Dogg in Westminster

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Live from Snoop-minster: Pics & vids of Snoop Dogg in the hizzouse at Ravens camp here!

Posted on 06 August 2009 by Luke Jones

7:46 p.m. — Practice will get underway at 8:45 a.m. on Friday morning.  The team will have a special teams practice at 2 p.m. with special teams coordinator/assistant head coach Jerry Rosburg running the show.

Harbaugh will be attending the memorial service of former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.  The two men coached together in Philadelphia for a decade before Harbaugh became the head coach of the Ravens in 2008.

5:28 p.m. — Happy birthday to Frank Walker.  In honor of his 28th birthday, he was allowed to break the team huddle at the end of the afternoon practice.

How did he celebrate?  Walker worked on his conditioning by running laps around the field after practice.

5:19 p.m. — Just when we thought Marcus Smith’s weight fluctuation problem was settled, the wide receiver did not practice this afternoon, though he was running on his own out on the field.

With Smith having problems staying on the practice field and Clayton sidelined for the next few weeks, Kelley Washington and Justin Harper will both get looks at the No. 3 position.  Washington is a little more polished while running his routes, but Harper continues to stretch the field unlike any other receiver on the roster.

5:10 p.m. — Another interesting competition to watch this summer is the battle for the kick and punt returner jobs.

At this point in camp, Chris Carr is No. 1 on the depth chart at kick returner and punt returner, but we’ve seen a plethora of other players returning punts, including Ed Reed, Yamon Figurs, Jayson Foster, and Lardarius Webb.

Much like we’ve seen over the last couple years, Reed continues to lobby to return punts, but it’s hard to envision the coaching staff allowing him to do it on a consistent basis.

Webb has been more of a factor returning kickoffs

4:51 p.m. — The Snoop Dogg video of the “What Time Is It?” is here…

4:32 p.m. — In Gaither’s absence, rookie right tackle Michael Oher shifted over to the left side with Marshal Yanda lining up at right tackle.  David Hale (in for Ben Grubbs) and Chris Chester were the guards with Matt Birk at his customary center position.

Oniel Cousins lined up at left tackle for the second team.

4:29 p.m. — The other significant name not to practice was Tavares Gooden.  The inside linebacker was not participating at the very end of the morning session, but I asked him about it after practice (The interview is up in the WNST.net audio vault), and he downplayed it as simply getting some rest and allowing some other players to get some first-team reps.

While we have no official word on any injury, he did appear to be favoring his right leg as he walked up the steps and back into the McDaniel gym.

4:25 p.m. — The afternoon practice lasted a little over an hour, as the team completed what was little more than a glorified walk-through.  Players were dressed in shorts, helmets, and shells, and there was no contact.

Gaither did not practice but was out on the field for the afternoon session.  Right now, we’re speculating that it has something to do with his left arm or shoulder, but we have received no further word from the Ravens on any injury.  Harbaugh said after the morning practice that Gaither was not on the trainer’s report, but it looks like there’s a little more to this story.  We’ll see if he’s out on the field tomorrow morning.

2:55 p.m. — Tavares Gooden and Jared Gaither are not practicing this afternoon. Demetrius Williams is out on the field. Brendon Ayanbadejo is also on the field with a helmet but hasn’t participated as much.

12:13 p.m. — Harbaugh continues to allow his special teams roots to shine.  At the end of practice, Harbaugh sported a yellow helmet beanie over his cap and sprinted down with the kickoff team, earning the cheers of the crowd and his players.

It’s easy to see the passion that Harbaugh has for the game, and it’s contagious with his players.

12:06 p.m. — Domonique Foxworth made one of the finer defensive plays of the morning, picking off Flacco as he tried to get the ball to Marcus Smith.

Staying in the secondary, Frank Walker had a nice day, breaking up passes on several occasions.

12:03 p.m. — The kicking battle was fairly equal today, but I’d give the slightest edge to Hauschka.  Early in practice, both kickers were perfect in a series of attempts from inside 40 yards.  As they moved further out, Gano missed a 40-yard attempt but made one from 49.  Hauschka hit a field goal from 44 but missed from 54 yards out.

11:59 a.m. — Justin Harper continues to impress on a daily basis.  Today, he battled for the football with Fabian Washington but wrestled it away for the reception.  Later in  practice, he beat Lardarius Webb for a long touchdown pass from John Beck.

Time and time again, we’ve seen Harper beat a plethora of defensive backs on the deep ball over the first two weeks of camp.

11:54 a.m. — The team spent some time early in practice working on the no-huddle offense.  On the very first play, Joe Flacco’s pass was batted up in the air and intercepted by Haloti Ngata.  Despite his massive size, Ngata is very active at the line of scrimmage as we saw last season.

Flacco rebounded after the miscue and completed a nice timing route to Derrick Mason.

The highlight of Flacco’s morning was a touchdown pass thrown to Kelley Washington on a nice fade route.  Washington worked out as the No. 2 receiver today with Clayton and Williams both missing from practice.

11:52 a.m. — Justin Bannan received the morning off since he is in the “Over 30” club.  Due to the Ravens needing him on the defensive line for practice, his off day is staggered from the rest of the veterans who were off yesterday.

11:44 a.m. — Grubbs will be out for a few days as he rehabs the ankle to get back on the field, according to Harbaugh.

11:42 a.m. — Samari Rolle worked out in shorts and a helmet this morning and appears to be working his way back to getting on the practice field.  He will sport a red jersey and will not participate in contact drills, much like Ed Reed.

11:21 a.m. — Jared Gaither limped off the field during the morning practice, but John Harbaugh said he was not on the trainer report after practice, so he should be fine.  Demetrius Williams did not practice this morning after suffering a mild concussion when he landed hard during drills yesterday.  Ben Grubbs sat out practice as he continues to deal with the same ankle issue that landed him on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp.

Harbaugh also said Mark Clayton’s injured hamstring will keep him sidelined for at least two or three preseason games.  He had some significant bleeding in the hamstring, according to Harbaugh.

11:03 a.m. — Snoop Dogg and Ray Lewis made their way over to the media area. It’s been quite the scene.

Ray Lewis and Snoop Dogg in Westminster

10:38 a.m. — Our favorite line so far about the Snoop Dogg appearance here: “It’s the Westminster Dogg Show!”

Ray and Snoop

10:34 a.m. — Snoop Dogg is apparently a guest of Ray Lewis this morning in Westminster. It has been said that he will not be meeting with the fans or the media. We’ll see how he sneaks off the field. Everyone here knows he’s here and he’s had way more eyeballs than anything on the field. And, we’re sure you’ve noticed, it’s not the greatest weather day here at camp.

Fabian Washington is back on the field after a minor tweak earlier in practice. Jared Gaither has limped off the field and Ben Grubbs did not practice this morning.

10 a.m. — First things first…Twitter is screwed up this morning. No one can get on to tweet the biggest news of camp: Snoop Dogg is standing on the sidelines, running between the raindrops. He played at Merriweather Post Pavilion last night and WNST.net’s own Ray Bachman was in hizzouse. Now Snoop is at McDaniel College.

Also: in an unrelated, non-celebrity note of football, cornerback Fabian Washington pulled up lame today and sat out for a few plays but is now back on the field.

I’ll be on every :30 after the hour today on AM 1570. Check out my reports from Snoop-minster!

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“Baby Ray” likely to make an impact for the Ravens

Posted on 06 August 2009 by Marco Romanell

 Ravens fans traveling to Westminster will see a linebacker who wears the number 56  flying all over the field making play after play. A third round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft; University of Miami linebacker Tavares Gooden became the first linebacker from the “U” selected by the Ravens since some guy named Ray Lewis. Gooden – whose nickname is “Baby Ray”- brings strong skills to the football field which has many comparing him to Lewis. After being injured for much the season last year, Gooden should be able to live his dream and start alongside his boyhood idol at middle linebacker.

When Gooden was selected in the third round, the Ravens acknowledged they were shocked to see him there and drafted him based on the best player available mantra rather then need. After an injury plagued season in which he recorded only 5 tackles, Gooden is looking to avoid the fate of another high touted defender who slipped to the Ravens a round later then he was supposed, Dan Cody.

 The Ravens are looking for someone to replace Bart Scott and truly believe Gooden is the guy who can do this. Athletically, Gooden is second to none, but in just his second year, his football sense is what will determine his level of success. Luckily for Gooden he is playing along side one of the smartest linebackers to ever play the game and it would behoove him to soak up every piece of wisdom Ray Lewis gives him. It is hard to replace everything that Bart Scott brought to this defense but Gooden seems to have all the tools to be as good, if not better, then Scott was.

Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis, left, and Tavares Gooden share a laugh during NFL football minicamp, Friday, May 8, 2009 in Owings Mills, Md.

For years the Ravens defensive success has been marked by players that were unheralded. Players like Adalius Thomas (6th round), Jarrett Johnson (4th round), and Dawan Landry (5th round) were passed over by many teams before being selected by the Ravens. Every year Ozzie Newsome and Company seemed to pick that “diamond in the rough” which not many other teams seem to do as often. While a 3rd round pick is hardly considered to be a “diamond in the rough” Gooden flew under the radar on many team’s draft boards outside of the Ravens, a move those teams are likely to regret. The Ravens hope that Gooden can follow in the success of Thomas, Johnson and Landry and be a staple on this defense for years to come.

While Joe Flacco is looking to avoid the dreaded “sophomore slump” Gooden can only improve on his rookie season. Being thrust into the starting lineup should not intimidate him in the least and he is poised to have a big year.

Don’t discount the fact that Gooden is playing alongside Ray Lewis. Not only will Lewis impart his knowledge on Gooden both on and off the field, he seems to make the players playing next to him that much better on the field. For a 24 year old first year starter, having number 52 next to him is the best thing for him to progress.

 Perhaps it is fitting that Gooden’s nickname is “Baby Ray” since many people view him to be Lewis’ replacement when he ends his career in the next couple years. If Gooden has even half the career of his “idol” then the Ravens franchise will be set for the next few years.

Hopefully Tavares Gooden can avoid the fate of Dan Cody and live up to all of his potential. Either way I will enjoy watching him.

By the time his career is over; let’s hope Gooden’s number 56 could be in the Ravens Ring of Honor with our number 52; for now I will just take an injury free season.

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Getting down to 53: An early projection

Posted on 05 August 2009 by Luke Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Live from Westminster: Suggs, Clayton do not practice

Posted on 03 August 2009 by Luke Jones

4:51 p.m. — One player I haven’t discussed too much is tight end Todd Heap.  The veteran has looked good out there with no lingering effects from the back injury apparent.  He looks quick getting in and out of his cuts and is hoping to once again become a major factor in the passing game.

“Todd has done a really good job in the offseason getting himself ready,” coach John Harbaugh said.  “He looks like he’s getting himself ready to have a really good season.  He’ll be the first to tell you that he’s got a lot of work to do betwen now and then, but he’s done well.”

4:45 p.m. — Dannell Ellerbe is a player to keep an eye on if you’re going to make your way out to Westminster.  An undrafted rookie inside linebacker out of Georgia, Ellerbe was considered a mid-round draft prospect before battling knee issues in 2008.  Ellerbe was 2nd team All-SEC in 2007.

He has been so impressive that he received a few reps with some of the defensive starters at the end of practice this morning.  While he clearly won’t challenge Ray Lewis or Tavares Gooden for a starting spot, he could be making a strong case for the 53-man roster, especially if he can perform well on special teams.

4:02 p.m. — One offensive lineman looking strong during camp is Oniel Cousins.  After largely being considered a disappointment last year, the 2008 third-round pick has impressed.  However, his kryptonite on the defense is linebacker Antwan Barnes.  Whenever the two face off, whether in individual drills or live 11-on-11 situations, Barnes seemingly gets the best of Cousins every time.

With Terry still recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and on the PUP list, Cousins is making a charge for that third tackle spot behind Michael Oher and Jared Gaither.

3:56 p.m. — Just to recap the Ravens’ injury situations, the big names missing from this morning were Terrell Suggs (left heel) and Mark Clayton (left hamstring), both considered day-to-day.

Lamar Divens, Davon Drew (right ankle), L.J. Smith (hamstring), and Brendon Ayanbadejo (toe) were other significant players not practicing today.

Samari Rolle (groin/shoulder), Adam Terry (knee), and Yamon Figurs (foot) are still listed on the physical unable to perform list.

3:47 p.m. — The kick returner competition will also be another interesting battle to follow.  Chris Carr and Lardarius Webb appear to be the early favorites with Yamon Figurs still on the PUP list with a foot issue.

Carr fits the mold of a Jim Leonhard-like returner.  He won’t be a home run hitter back there, but he’ll field kicks cleanly and gain positive yardage.  Webb shows outstanding speed and returned a kickoff for a touchdown last week.  He has great instincts and will be interesting to watch when the Ravens get into the preseason schedule.

When you consider that both players can contribute to the secondary’s depth and Figurs is rather limited as a wide receiver, I think Figurs may have a difficult time winning this job, even when he finally is healthy.

3:40 p.m. — The afternoon practice is complete, as the Ravens focused on their special teams on the upper fields at McDaniel College.  The team spent a considerable amount of time working on kick return blocking assignments.

While these practices aren’t the most exciting to observe if you’re a fan, this is the area where those fringe players can stake a claim for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Moving to the kicking battle, Graham Gano had the opportunity to get the reps—with Steve Hauschka having the day off—and he did not disappoint.  Gano was perfect on five attempts, hitting from 33, 36, 45, 47, and 53 yards.  I spoke to him after the afternoon session, and he was really please with how he was hitting the ball.

12:48 p.m. — The highlight of the morning was a long completion to Demetrius Williams from Joe Flacco the sideline, drawing the loud cheers of the Westminster fans.  Defensive back Chris Carr was guarding closely, but Flacco dropped the ball right into Williams’ hands as he reached over the defender.

Another highlight came when the offense was practicing its goal line sets.  Willis McGahee took the hand-off to the right side and was met by Ray Lewis who wrapped him up and appeared to have the running back stopped.  McGahee kept fighting and crossed the goal line, giving the offense a touchdown on the final play of the drill.

Both Ray Rice and McGahee continue to impresse onlookers, as both men have run with strength in the early stages of training camp.

12:20 p.m. — Ben Grubbs was hobbling around toward the end of practice and was not participating in team drills.  He had previously been on the PUP list with an ankle injury.  Justin Bannan did not practice this morning, but the reason was not disclosed.  Brendon Ayanbadejo continues to recover from a toe injury but was not wearing a walking boot as he walked out to the field at the end of practice.

12:07 p.m. — I have some other injury notes to pass along.  Tight ends L.J. Smith and Davon Drew did not practice, as Smith continues to recover from a hamstring strain and Drew has a right ankle injury.  The rookie tight end Drew was walking with a significant limp today, so it may take some time for him to get back on the field.

Antwan Barnes suffered a mild concussion on Sunday morning, but he was back on the field practicing today.

Samari Rolle, Adam Terry, and Yamon Figurs are still on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Jason Phillips was cleared to practice yesterday and is off the list.

11:52 a.m. — The morning practice has come to an end, and there were two notable absences from the field.

Terrell Suggs has a sore left heel and will be out for a short period of time.  Both Suggs and coach John Harbaugh told reporters after practice that the injury was not serious.  Harbaugh expressed little concern with Suggs missing some time, pointing out that he had three solid days of reps in a row before the heel flared up on Sunday.

Suggs had been seen walking through the hotel Sunday afternoon with a walking boot.

Mark Clayton also did not practice, still recovering from a hamstring tweak.  Harbaugh said the team will be extra cautious with it, citing Clayton’s history of hamstring issues.  It is not believed to be a major strain, but the training staff wants to play it safe for at least a couple days.

Rookie Paul Kruger took Suggs’ place on the starting defense while Demetrius Williams, who had his own hamstring issue yesterday, took Clayton’s place with the starting unit.

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Live from Westminster: Yanda practices, Reed wearing red jersey (no contact)

Posted on 31 July 2009 by Luke Jones

7:09 p.m. — The Ravens will practice on Saturday at 8:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.  Both practices are open to the public.

5:45 p.m. — Domonique Foxworth had a nice play in the afternoon, breaking up a pass intended for Demetrius Williams.

Foxworth signed a huge contract to come to Baltimore, so the expectations are high for the fifth-year player.

5:40 p.m. — Defensive linemen Trevor Pryce and Will Johnson and receiver Marcus Smith did not practice this afternoon.  Pryce had his foot stepped on in the morning and was even carted off the field, but he should be back to practice as early as tomorrow.  Johnson has a right leg issue, and Smith sat out with cramps.

5:25 p.m. — Despite the rain delay, the Ravens did make it outside to the lower field for practice this afternoon.  Several hundred people hung around to watch the workout despite the terrible storm that came through Westminster in the 2 o’clock hour.

There were two major highlights in the afternoon.  The first was Dawan Landry swiping a Troy Smith pass and returning it for a touchdown.  He looks to be 100 percent healthy and has not shied away from contact in the early going.

The second occurred during punt return drills when Ray Rice broke free and was off to the races.  The second-year back figures to be mostly used at running back, but he definitely shows an ability in the return game should he be needed.

2:45 p.m. — I’m currently in the Best Western hotel waiting out a severe storm.  The team is currently conducting a walk-through and is hoping to go outside at 3:15 p.m if the weather improves.  The area is currently under a tornado watch.

2:20 p.m. — Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron spoke to reporters after practice and talked about the progress of Joe Flacco.  He said that Flacco simply needs to focus on the little things that will make him an elite quarterback.

Cameron went on to say that Flacco will be expected to do much more in his second year as starting quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens.

As far as any wrinkles in the playbook, the Ravens ran some plays out of the pistol formation, a shotgun look in which the running back lines up behind the quarterback.  The offense ran the option out of this formation a few times.

2:17 p.m. — In case you’re debating whether to come out to Westminster for the afternoon practice, it is currently pouring as I look out the window of the team hotel.  Looks like it will be a wet afternoon, but I’ll be out there giving you all the updates!

2:09 p.m. — Regarding Ed Reed, Harbaugh explained they do not want to take a chance with Reed’s shoulder and neck.

“Ed knows how to tackle.  He’ll pick his spots a little bit that way, but we want to be smart.”

2:06 p.m. — The coach’s best comments were about Terrell Suggs, who did not participate in Harbaugh’s first training camp last season.

“Yeah, ’55’ is in shock right now.  This is his first training camp in awhile, so he’s feeling his way around.  We’ve assigned a couple of veterans to ‘Sizzle’ to make sure he knows where to go and how to get there.”

Funny stuff from the Ravens head coach.

2:01 p.m. — Harbaugh was very impressed with the huge crowd in Westminster to watch the Ravens’ first full-squad workout.

“I don’t know how many [fans] were here, but the place is absolutely stuffed…Guys are excited about that.  It makes it fun to get out here.  We have great fans.  It’s been a good day so far.”

1:54 p.m. — Michael Oher was the starting right tackle with the first-team offense and was very impressive.  At 6-4 and 310 pounds, Oher is a menacing figure and manhandled defenders on several occasions.  His strength appeared to be run blocking, and he will need to improve his pass blocking technique, but that’s just an early observation after the morning practice.

Overall, you can easily see why the Ravens were so enamored with the rookie tackle.

1:21 p.m. — Just a couple injury updates to pass along to you.  As I reported on The Bob Haynie Show, Trevor Pryce was carted off the field, but it turned out he simply got stepped on, according to John Harbaugh.

L.J. Smith failed to practice again, still bothered by a hamstring tweak he sustained on Tuesday.

1:17 p.m. — It was good seeing Dawan Landry out on the field, going live.  His recovery from last season’s neck injury went well, but you just never know how the neck will respond until he starts going live again.  So far, so good.

With Reed not participating in any live contact, Haruki Nakamura lined up at free safety next to Landry in 11-on-11 live situations.

1:13 p.m. — Tavares Gooden looks to be in excellent condition and simply flies to the football.  He lined up as the starting inside linebacker next to Ray Lewis, and he definitely looks like he belongs.  In an early drill, he filled a hole and stood up Willis McGahee at the line of scrimmage.

If Gooden can play with discipline and not overpursue, he’ll be a youthful asset at the linebacker position.

1:10 p.m. — A battle at kicker is rarely an exciting story, but the showdown between Graham Gano and Steve Hauschka will be crucial this summer.  Gano has the early lead, as he was perfect on all of his attempts.  Hauschka struggled, missing two kicks.  Ravens officials tell me the real evaluation between the two kickers will take place during the team’s preseason games.

1:08 p.m. — Former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Al Saunders is here and has sat in on the Ravens’ team meetings.  It’s expected that Saunders will join the coaching staff as an offensive consultant.

It will be interesting to see how involved he is with the Ravens’ offensive game plan.

1:06 p.m. — Willis McGahee is off the PUP list and looks very strong.  One of the highlights of the morning was a collision between him and 350-pound defensive tackle Kelly Talavou.  The running back won the battle.

He and Ray Rice shared time with the first-team offense.

12:50 p.m. — Mark Clayton struggled today, dropping a couple passes and being called for pass interference, pushing off Frank Walker during 11-on-11’s.

Staying with the wide receivers, Justin Harper continues to impress, catching a touchdown pass from John Beck with Domonique Foxworth in coverage.

Freshly-signed wideout Biren Ealy made the catch of the day, snagging a one-handed catch with Lardarius Webb covering.

12:42 p.m. — Ray Lewis spoke to reporters after practice and has shed 15 pounds, wanting to be lighter to maintain speed.

He feels blessed to be in his 14th year with the Ravens and still feels a strong passion for the game.

The defensive line is very deep according to Lewis.  He’s happy to have Kelly Gregg back out there in front of him.

12:36 p.m. — The Ravens have completed their first full-squad practice this morning before a lively crowd at McDaniel College.  It was clear to see Ravens fans were waiting for the big names to arrive here in Westminster.

The big news of the morning was Marshal Yanda practicing.  There had been concerns that Yanda would not take part in training camp while still recovering from the severe knee injury sustained last season against Indianapolis.  Yanda did not participate in 11-on-11 live drills, but he practiced individually with his fellow offensive line mates.

Ed Reed practiced in a red jersey, signaling no contact for the All-Pro safety.  Considering Reed’s shoulder and neck issues dating back to last season, this is not an entirely surprising move.

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Live from Westminster: Ravens put 11 on “active” PUP to start camp

Posted on 28 July 2009 by Luke Jones

7:23 p.m. — The Ravens have waived former Terps receiver Isaiah Williams.

6:44 p.m. — Defensive back Derrick Martin made the defensive play of the afternoon, picking off a pass from John Beck during 7-on-7 drills.

Only two offensive linemen practiced today, Robby Felix and Bryan Mattison (the defensive coordinator’s son).  Offensive line coach John Matsko really worked the two linemen hard.

Newly-signed Jayson Foster jumped right in, snagging a pass after signing with the team today.  Foster’s signing was such a secret that many of the assistant coaches had to ask his name on the field.  He wore No. 18 today—with no name on the back.

Though Marshal Yanda is sporting a bulky brace on his knee, he was moving around fairly well on the sideline today.  He wasn’t as active as Ben Grubbs or Adam Terry in his running, but it was good seeing him moving around after the horrific knee injury he suffered in Indianapolis last season.

6:23 p.m. — The afternoon practice was pretty uneventful and similar to the morning workout.  It lasted about an hour and 15 minutes, though rookies stuck around for a little longer to work with special teams coach Jerry Rosburg.

The most exciting moments came from 7-on-7 drills when Joe Flacco connected on a 15-yard fade route to Demetrius Williams over defensive back Frank Walker.  With Williams now the projected No. 2 receiver, it was nice to see him making a play after spending a large portion of last season on injured reserve.

More to come in just a few moments.  Time to make my last Ravens Report of the day.

3:31 p.m. — The Ravens have just signed diminutive WR (hey, he’s 5-foot-7) Jayson Foster. Foster went to Georgia Southern and here’s his mini bio. He spent time in Denver and Pittsburgh and we’re still researching him. Even the PR folks in Westminster don’t know much about him. More to come…

2:52 p.m. — If you’re following WNST on Twitter, you just saw that free agent wide receiver Robert Ferguson told Glenn Clark he wants to play for the Ravens.  Ferguson will join Drew on the Comcast Morning Show on Wednesday at 9:40 a.m.

We give live “Tweets” from the field at McDaniel College throughout the morning and afternoon practices.  You can follow it here.

2:45 p.m. — We have less than an hour to go until the players are back out on the field for the afternoon workout.

Veterans will be reporting tomorrow and are scheduled to take their physicals at 3:00 p.m.  If you’re planning on attending training camp tomorrow, remember it will only be rookies, quarterbacks, and select veterans.  The remaining veterans will not be practicing on Wednesday.

1:48 p.m. — A name to keep an eye on during training camp is Jameel McClain.  The Syracuse linebacker came to Baltimore as a rookie free agent last season and really impressed coaches, earning a roster spot and playing time in the second-rated defense in the NFL.  His two safeties—a blocked punt and a sack of JaMarcus Russell—was a franchise record.

McClain has been moved to the inside linebacker position and will compete with Tavares Gooden.  While Gooden is the favorite to start next to Ray Lewis, McClain’s endless motor will make it nearly impossible to keep him off the field.

“The guys that work hard at this program are the guys that do the best and are [guys] who can have a chance to play,” Mattison said.  “That’s a real endorsement to our personnel people.  They saw some great things in him, and he just proved it throughout the year.  And I think he’s going to take off from here.”

1:42 p.m. — We heard from new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison after this morning’s practice.  He is pleased with the mix of experience and youth in his defense.  His top priority is to get the defense to play at the same high level the fans have come to expect every season.

He mentioned the “Raven” mentality and bar that has been set over the past decade.

Mattison also touched on the health of a secondary that had several players recovering from injuries dating back to last season.  He thought several of the players looked bigger and healthy.

12:18 p.m. — McGahee looks trimmer and feels healthy entering the preseason.  He emphasized to reporters that his placement on the PUP list is strictly precautionary.  The running back simply doesn’t want a repeat of last season.

When asked whether he lost weight, McGahee jokingly said “no comment.”  You can check out this interview in the WNST audio vault.

12:02 p.m. — John Harbaugh spoke to the media after the morning practice, describing the first workout as “good” and “crisp.”

Harbaugh talked about the improved strength and size of receiver Demetrius Williams.  It was Williams’ goal to become stronger and build muscle mass around the joints.  Harbaugh was pleased with how Williams looked in the morning.  With Derrick Mason currently retired, Williams is the project No. 2 receiver behind Mark Clayton.

The Ravens coach said the placement of McGahee on the PUP list is strickly a precautionary move after the running back underwent knee surgery in the offseason.

11:54 a.m. — The morning practice was very brief, lasting only 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Players were dressed in shorts, and there was no full-speed contact.

The player who drew the loudest applause from the crowd was wide receiver Mark Clayton who caught a long touchdown pass during offensive drills.  Rookie running back Cedric Peerman also grabbed a nifty one-handed catch.

Quarterback Joe Flacco looked pretty sharp in his first training camp workout, but the keystone moment for the former Delaware Blue Hen was actually an incomplete pass to running back Matt Lawrence who ran the incorrect pattern.  The second-year quarterback corrected his teammate, ran the play again, and completed the pass to Lawrence.  It was a simple example of the leadership Flacco has with this offense.

Veteran Kelly Gregg was back on the field and looks to be in great shape.  The nose tackle’s surgically-repaired knee was only wrapped in an ace bandage, a good sign for Greg Mattison’s defense.

11:43 a.m. — To clarify the PUP list a bit more, this list is referred to as the active PUP list.  These players are eligible to practice any time, and John Harbaugh even said some of them could be ready to go as early as tomorrow.  The purpose of this list is to keep these players eligible for the reserve PUP list—the one where players do not count against the 53-man roster but must miss the first six weeks of the regular season.

PUP list players still count against the 80-man training camp roster, so there is no added roster flexibility in regards to the preseason.

11:21 a.m. — The Ravens initial PUP’ers are Willis McGahee, Lamar Divens, Davon Drew, Yamon Figurs, Ben Grubbs, Adam Terry, Jason Phillips, Samari Rolle, Lou Saucedo, Marshal Yanda and Joe Reitz.

Definition of “physically unable to perform”: This List designates players with serious injuries that will keep them from being able to start a season on the 53-man protected list but may be able to return to the roster during the regular season. The players must be placed on this roster at or before the league-wide 65-man summer roster cutdown to be eligible for this designation, and they must stay on this list for at least the first six weeks of the regular season. After this time teams have 3 weeks to evaluate such players after which each such player must be placed on the 53-man roster, season-ending Injured Reserve (IR) or waivers.

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