Tag Archive | "training camp"

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Before we cry for Westminster and crush NFL, let us not forget what Orioles have done to Baltimore’s business community

Posted on 28 June 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

So, here’s where we call a spade a spade and separate the “righteous” from the wretched in the media. With all of the drama unfolding this week between the fans and the NFL teams in every city as the witching hour looms and there’s no labor deal and only haphazard snippets of alternating optimism and doom and gloom, I’ve remained pretty unfazed.

Let’s also call a spade a spade here and say that very few businesses in Baltimore would be greater impacted by a lost NFL season than the one I own at WNST.net. If the Ravens don’t play in 2011 the impact on my life and the lives of my employees will be devastating. It would be a virtual tsunami to my company and many others who are directly related to the NFL and fall sports in America.

So, I’m not some loud-mouthed outsider or a disgruntled fan simply throwing out an opinion, here. I’m the “affected” in this dispute between rich players and wealthy owners. And that’s before I start to discuss that I’m also a customer who buys PSL’s, all kinds of NFL purple swag and spends gobs of my hard-earned money chasing the Ravens around the country. Sports is oxygen to me — personally and  professionally — has been since I was born, really. My entire body clock and the calendar of my life revolve around sports.

The last three weeks have been very difficult on the Ravens. Unlike the baseball team, the people in Owings Mills actually care what the fans think. And they actually walk amongst the great unwashed and pump gas at the gas station and buy groceries in the supermarket and go out on the town for dinner. They hear the public sentiment above and beyond what you write on Facebook and Twitter.

The Ravens front office staff – many who’ve either had their pay cut or the threat of a pay cut over the past six months due to the labor unrest — are far more jumpy and reactionary to any news out of this maelstrom of a lockout that is now filtering down to the reality of lost money and opportunities across the board.

We’re all waiting this week for some good news but last week’s news really hit home for the tens of thousands of Baltimore football fans who make the trip up 795 and 140 a “summer rite of passage.”

The loss of training camp in Westminster is a tragedy – no doubt about it. The lost wages, income, fun, vibe, etc. is palpable. We fans feel like we’re being “punished” by the parents not being able to get along. And we watch lawyers file suits and we watch suits file press releases and we see media people reporting and Tweeting whatever birdseed the attorneys and the league honchos feel will help their cause.

It’s been a strange week. We’ve seen the Ravens fill their stadium to the brim with U2 fans and earn the city a local financial windfall in Baltimore deemed “a great Saturday night” on a Wednesday. It was Christmas in June for downtown commerce. And on Friday night, the Orioles managed a “sellout” for an inter-league game with the Reds that was won in the final stroke – a walk-off home run by Derrek Lee that set off fireworks over Camden Yards for another last-place and seemingly hopeless cause. The Orioles even had nice crowds on Saturday and Sunday and I even saw a George Foster throwback jersey at the Inner Harbor. I went through the harbor last night for a jog and saw a dozen St. Louis Cardinals caps and shirts — but sadly not one piece of Orioles swag.

I can’t help but see the city unusually filled to the brim because I live here and I love Baltimore and when it’s filled and happy, I’m filled and happy.

The Westminster situation is awful – a few weeks of commerce gone.

But before you criticize what’s clearly begging to be criticized, stop and think about what’s happened to downtown Baltimore over the last 14 years as Peter Angelos has systematically destroyed the franchise and urinated upon its history and intrinsic value to the community.

Think about the 65 nights a year downtown is virtually empty – with less than 10,000 people coming to most Orioles games. Ask the downtown bar owners and hotels and industry about the damage that’s been done here – damage that seems like it’ll never end.

When will the “traditional” (re: bought off) media examine that and write columns and tear-jerkers about what damage the Orioles have done to Baltimore?

I see it in my web traffic every June when the Orioles assume their rightful position in the cellar of the American League East and people stop calling, reading, caring. I feel it in the interest of the Orioles and baseball in general as I walk the streets from Bel Air to Severna Park, from Columbia to Towson.

So before you righteously throw Steve Bisciotti, the Ravens and the NFL under the bus for this filthy, wretched deed – and feel free to do so because what’s happened in 2011 to the NFL is awful – just remember to cry a little for the black and orange and the pain and agony of the last 5,000 days (yes, we looked it up) of empty city streets in Baltimore while Angelos sits in his ivory tower counting the hundreds of millions of dollars of profit he’s made while owning the Orioles and destroying them all at the same time.

Sure, we can pity Westminster this August.

But we must also pray for downtown Baltimore over the next decade.

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Ravens Cancel Training Camp in Westminster

Posted on 22 June 2011 by WNST Staff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RAVENS MOVE TRAINING CAMP

Because of the uncertainty as to when the NFL lockout will end, the Baltimore Ravens will move their 2011 training camp from McDaniel College to their year-round facility in Owings Mills.

Last summer, over 110,000 fans attended the open practice sessions at McDaniel, the Ravens’ training camp home since the franchise started in 1996.

“We’re disappointed we won’t be back at McDaniel and in Westminster this summer. We delayed the decision as long as we could,” Bob Eller, the Ravens’ vice president of operations, said. “There are logistics that needed to be addressed now, including McDaniel’s schedule, the hotel, the fields and other Ravens football functions. Right now, we don’t know dates for camp, and we’ve been forced to make other plans.

“One of the main issues we have is the time it takes to move our entire football operation to Westminster and then bring it back to Owings Mills. Those are days we can’t afford to lose as our team prepares for the season in what has become a condensed time period,” Eller explained.

The Ravens have spent all 15 of their training camps in Westminster. “We’ll miss being there, working with the college and the Best Western hotel. They have been very patient with us through this process,” Eller added. “We’ll also miss the interaction with the fans, which is a huge part of our camp experience.”

“We’ve appreciated the Ravens keeping us in the loop through this process,” Ethan Seidel, McDaniel College’s vice president of administration and finance, said. “We’ve had ongoing discussions internally and with the Ravens, knowing that the closer we got to a regular training camp start date, the less likely it would be logistically feasible to pull it off this year. We’re certainly not surprised by this and have been prepared for this scenario. When the NFL has its new agreement, we look forward to speaking with the Ravens about continuing our partnership with them.”

The Ravens’ lease agreement with Baltimore County does not allow for fans to attend practices in Owings Mills. “We don’t have the parking space for the fans, and the roads could not safely handle the type of crowds we attract,” team president Dick Cass explained.

Cass noted that the team has already begun discussions with McDaniel College to return to Westminster for future Ravens training camps. “We hope to have a full NFL season in 2011, but the current timing compelled us to make this decision. We waited as long as we could, but we’re beyond the dates when we could efficiently prepare for the move to McDaniel for a normal training camp start. We do fully anticipate, however, to be back at McDaniel next summer,” Cass said.

Once a new collective bargaining agreement between the franchises and the players is reached, the Ravens will announce practice schedules. “We will make every effort to have one or more practices at M&T Bank Stadium once we can determine our camp schedule. And, these sessions at M&T will be free and open to the general public,” Cass added.

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With lockout becoming very real, people are hurting

Posted on 22 June 2011 by Peter Dilutis

I woke up this morning to news that the Ravens may not be able to have training camp in Westminster this season. Later, the Ravens would confirm that training camp would indeed be taking place at their Owings Mills facility.

There will be no training camp held at McDaniel College.

Why not?

Because of the lockout.

No, but really why not?

Money.

Both sides of these lengthy negotiations want more money. They want more for themselves.

There really isn’t anything wrong with that. Even though the majority of NFL players are millionaires that will never need to earn another penny in their lives, there are some that do make somewhat of a modest living.

While the owners have even more money than the multi-million dollar players, they are businessmen at heart, and they are going to want what is best for themselves and best for their teams, which we cannot forget are also their companies.

I get all that. I really do. I’m not so much up in arms about the fact that both sides want something in this deal. I’m not even that upset that some talks and negotiations did in fact need to take place.

But at this point, it’s very, very upsetting to me that a deal has not been reached, and it’s starting to turn me off to these owners, players, and the NFL in general.

Just get a deal done. Screw all these lawyers, forget all the politics, and just negotiate man to man.

It’s one thing to skip a few OTA’s and mini-camps. Not having football in May and June is not going to be that huge of an issue.

But no training camp in Westminster for the Ravens? I realize I’m going from the NFL to strictly the Ravens here, but come on. Now the lockout is getting to be very real.

Westminster is going to hurt, and they’re going to hurt bad. Those 30 days between July and August are the Super Bowl for Carroll County. Restaurants, bars, gas stations, sub shops…all of these places count on the business that they bring in during Ravens training camp just as malls and QVC count on the business that they get during the month of December.

Heck, we’re hurting! We can only say the same thing about the Orioles so many times before we simply run out of things to say…or at least interesting things to say.

Baltimore is a football town. It’s Ravenstown. People in this city bleed purple. Period.

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Ravens insitutute kid friendly autograph policy in Westminster

Posted on 13 July 2010 by WNST Staff

The Ravens will institute a new autograph policy at training camp, which begins at McDaniel College on July 27, the first day practices are open to the public.

(Rookies and selected veterans report to “Ravens Training Camp, Connected by Verizon” on Monday, July 26, and this group practices twice each on July 27 and 28. Veterans report on July 28, and the first full-team practices open to the public will take place on July 30. There is an “Administrative Day” on July 29 that is not open to the public or media.)

Players will sign autographs for children only after all morning practices. Autographs will not be available following afternoon practices.

Safety is the key factor for the change. “We have considered changing the way we do autograph signings for a few years,” team president Dick Cass said. “Our crowds for the morning practices have become so large that we’ve had safety situations with people pushing each other to try and get closer to the players. Often times, children would be put in difficult positions with the rush for autographs, especially from our most popular players.”

Many NFL teams select a few players each day to sign a limited number of autographs in a designated area. “We want to keep the spontaneity and closeness we have with our fans who come to training camp,” Cass added. “The connectivity we have with our fans at camp is important to us and a Ravens’ tradition. We know that every person who comes to camp and wants an autograph cannot get one because of the players’ schedules. Under our new system, more children will have the opportunity, and that’s important to us.”

Children ages 6 through 15 will be allowed on the field after each morning practice. Children must wear a Ravens-issued wristband to enter the autograph area. There will be a tent adjacent to the fields where wristbands will be issued. Children can bring one item to be autographed, and adults will not be allowed to enter the autograph area.

Please note that two-thirds of the team has a post-practice football activity after every morning session. One-third of the team is required to lift weights. Another third is required to attend “Back School,” which is a core workout usually done outside. The other third is available to sign autographs. Team schedules are subject to change, and not every child is guaranteed an autograph.

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Ravens Ring

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Crab Cakes and Light Beer

Posted on 12 June 2009 by Patrick Staso

Hey guys, forgot to publish this yesterday.  Better late than never though.

While on my daily stroll of the sports blog world today I chanced upon a few Ravens offense reviews.  Needless to say I read every word of these articles. I would love it if football season went year round. But, instead I have to wait till July 28th for the start of training camp.  Here are the links.

Quarterback Review Offense Playbook

They also provided me with a reasonable excuse to zone out the gripe brothers talk about the Orioles and tune into a moral booster.

To continue today’s football post… the Steelers have unveiled their Superbowl Rings. Needless to say I’m upset.  Not only because of the Ravens’ loss to the Steelers in the playoffs… but because it looks so darn good.  Need I remind you of this goof trooped piece of pipe.

Ravens Ring

On a slightly less American football related topic –

80 MILLION POUNDS!!!!!!!

Thats all for me today.  I will leave you with a stab at Ocho Cinco’s face. It wont be the first.

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How the draft shapes the current roster

Posted on 27 April 2009 by Luke Jones

We’re exactly three months away from rookies and quarterbacks reporting to McDaniel College in Westminster for the start of training camp.  With the 2009 NFL Draft complete and the names of undrafted free agent signings beginning to leak, we will start to get a better idea of how the training camp roster will look.

Much can change between now and July 27, but here is a look at the Ravens’ selections and how they affect the competition at their respective positions.  Listed in parentheses is the projected number of players kept at the position.  Since undrafted free-agent signings are not officially announced until minicamp, I have excluded them from the current breakdown.

Round 1 (23rd overall):  Michael Oher (Mississippi), OT

OFFENSIVE TACKLE (4)

Locks:  Jared Gaither, Michael Oher

Bubble:  Willie Anderson, Adam Terry, Oniel Cousins

Longshot:  Joe Reitz, Tre Stallings

Analysis:  The selection of Michael Oher immediately transforms offensive tackle from a position of weakness to one of depth.  Gaither is firmly entrenched on the left side, so the real battle will take place on the right side between Anderson and Oher.

While Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta currently envision Anderson as a mentor for the rookie, he could be released to clear cap room if the Ravens pursue other veteran free agents that could be released before training camp.  Cutting Anderson would reportedly clear close to $3 million from the cap.

If Anderson remains on the team, Terry and Cousins would figure to battle for the last tackle spot.  Terry has the edge in experience, but Cousins can play both guard and tackle and was the team’s third round pick last year.  He is raw but promising.

*****

Round 2 (57th overall):  Paul Kruger (Utah), OLB/DE

Round 5 (137th overall):  Jason Phillips (TCU), ILB

LINEBACKER (8 or 9)

Locks:  Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Tavares Gooden, Paul Kruger, Jason Phillips, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Jameel McClain

Bubble:  Antwan Barnes, Edgar Jones

Longshot:  Prescott Burgess

Analysis:  Though the Ravens hope Kruger can put on the necessary weight to eventually move to defensive end when Trevor Pryce retires, he will likely be a hybrid-rush end in his rookie season.

Phillips will provide depth at inside linebacker after the departure of Bart Scott.  The Ravens envision him eventually becoming the replacement for Lewis in the starting lineup in a few years.  In the mean time, he will push Gooden for playing time at the other inside spot.

Despite showing much promise in his first two seasons, Barnes will need to show more versatility to make the 53-man roster.  He has great speed off the edge but fell behind McClain in the rotation last season.  Jones will be moved back to linebacker with the signing of L.J. Smith and selection of Davon Drew at tight end.  He must continue to contribute heavily on special teams to stay on the roster.

Burgess appears to be a longshot with the drafting of Phillips.  As always, special teams play will figure heavily in deciding the final spot or two.

*****

Round 3 (88th overall):  Lardarius Webb (Nicholls State), CB

CORNERBACK (6)

Lock:  Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington, Samari Rolle, Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb

Bubble:  Frank Walker, Derrick Martin

Longshot:  Anwar Phillips, Evan Oglesby

Analysis:  The selection of Lardarius Webb further increases the likelihood of Walker being cut to clear cap room in case a veteran free agent shakes loose at another position.  Releasing Walker would reportedly save $1.6 million against the cap.

Martin missed most of last season with a shoulder injury but showed promise in 2007, making three starts and grabbing two interceptions.  He would be a cheaper alternative to Walker.

Phillips and Oglesby do not figure to seriously challenge for a roster spot after the signings of Foxworth and Carr pushed them further down the depth chart.

The team could elect to keep an extra corner if they view Carr or Webb as a primary returner over Yamon Figurs.

*****

Round 5 (149th overall):  Davon Drew (East Carolina), TE

TIGHT END (3)

Lock:  Todd Heap, L.J. Smith

Bubble:  Davon Drew, Quinn Sypniewski

Longshot:  Isaac Smolko, Edgar Jones

Analysis:  Heap and Smith are obviously safe, so the real battle will be between Drew and Sypniewski.  The Ravens like Drew’s potential, as he’s only spent a few seasons as a tight end.  He could eventually develop into an H-back in the offense.  Sypniewski showed promise in his first two seasons but missed all of last season with a knee injury.

Jones will have to make the team as a linebacker and special teams contributor.  Smolko will be little more than training camp depth.

*****

Round 6 (185th overall):  Cedric Peerman (Virginia), RB

RUNNING BACK (4 or 5)

Lock:  Le’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee, Ray Rice, Cedric Peerman

Bubble:  None

Longshot:  Matt Lawrence, Jalen Parmele

Analysis:  McClain figures to play more regularly at fullback in 2009, but he will still get carries in short-yardage situations and the fourth-quarter jumbo formation.  Peerman provides more depth at running back, allowing Cam Cameron to move McClain back to the more traditional fullback spot.

The team has reportedly signed undrafted free agent Jason Cook, Oher’s teammate at Ole Miss and described as a traditional power fullback.  Veteran Lorenzo Neal does not fit in the team’s current plans, but that could change in August.

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Feelings for Ray

Posted on 01 March 2009 by caseywillett

There seems to be a lot of hard feelings from fans towards Ray Lewis. The one thing I will say sort of in his defense is that the only thing we heard straight from him was the interview at the Pro Bowl. Could he have come out and speak to some of the reports and rumors regarding things that apparently he said or where said about him from other people? Yes, but as we sort of see, Ray would have to be doing that 24 hours a day almost.

So as Ravens fans, how have your feelings changed for Lewis since he walked off the field in the AFC Championship game?

Do you want him back?

Were you ever upset with him?

Doe he owe some sort of an apology?

Will all be forgiven once training camp and regular season roll around?

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Chris McAlister and Dawan Landry added to injured reserve

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Chris McAlister and Dawan Landry added to injured reserve

Posted on 11 November 2008 by caseywillett

AS FIRST REPORTED VIA THE WNST TEXT SERVICE…The Ravens have placed CB Chris McAlister (knee) and Dawan Landry (spinal cord concussion) on injured reserve, bringing  the total of guys on  IR to 16.To fill the roster spots, the Ravens have added the following players:

Marcus Maxwell, WR. Marcus was a 7th round pick on the 49ers in 2005. He was with the Bengals in 2007 before suffering a thigh injury.

Robert McCune, LB. McCune was on the Ravens roster for the last two games last season and was with the Ravens in training camp before being waived on August 30.

Here are the 16 players now on injured reserve:

Kyle Boller

Prescott Burgess

PJ Daniels

Dwan Edwards

Tavares Gooden

Kelly Gregg

Justin Harper

Scott Kuhn

Dawan Landry

Derrick Martin

Chris McAlister

Joe Reitz

Quinn Sypniewski

Kelly Talavou

Demetrius Williams

Marshal Yanda

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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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End of camp thoughts

Posted on 14 August 2008 by caseywillett

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

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