Tag Archive | "Travis Fisher"

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Ravens-Panthers Purple Haze Chat Tonight at 8!

Posted on 12 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE – Greetings from a (now) sunny M&T Bank Stadium; where the Baltimore Ravens will open their exhibition season with a nationally televised (ESPN) contest against the Carolina Panthers.

The Ravens will unveil a new offensive attack; as they traded for Pro Bowl WR Anquan Boldin and signed troubled free agent WR Donte’ Stallworth. They also drafted TE’s Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta to bolster their attack.

The Panthers are hoping to grow under starting QB Matt Moore; but former Notre Dame star Jimmy Clausen is waiting in the wings and fans in Charlotte are looking forward to seeing him make his NFL debut tonight.

The Ravens will be without a number of players tonight who are either on the PUP list or inactive for the game:

S Ed Reed (PUP-Hip)
CB Lardarius Webb (PUP-Knee)
CB Chris Carr (hamstring)
CB Marcus Paschal (leg)
CB Fabian Washington (knee-precaution)
RB Matt Lawrence (PUP-knee)
S KJ Gerard (hamstring)
LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (PUP-quads)
OT Jared Gaither (back)
OL Tony Moll (concussion)

Oniel Cousins will start for Gaither, Tom Zbikowski for Reed, Cary Williams & Travis Fisher for Chris Carr & Fabian Washington.

The Panthers will also be without a number of players:

CB Chris Gamble
CB Aaron Francisco
RB Jonathan Stewart
RB Mike Goodson
LB Jordan Senn
LB Thomas Davis
OT Garry Williams
OT Jeff Otah
WR Charly Martin
WR Trent Guy
WR Steve Smith

Kenny Moore will start for Smith, Geoff Schwartz for Otah, Captain Munnerlyn for Gamble.

We will be opening our “Purple Haze” chat tonight at 8pm. You can check it out here.

-G

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10 Things I’m Watching For vs. Panthers

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10 Things I’m Watching For vs. Panthers

Posted on 12 August 2010 by Ryan Chell

It may not be Week 1 of the regular season, but in my opinion it really doesn’t matter.

Football season is here in Baltimore, as the Ravens take on the Carolina Panthers tonight at 8 PM on WBAL and ESPN( apparently not MASN if you’ve had your head stuck in the ground).

Carolina Panthers

Over the next four games, the Ravens will do their best to evaluate the guys they have in camp right now in game situations and see who deserves to survive the roster cuts when the team has to be trimmed down to 53 come Week 1 against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.

This is the first instance we’ll see how well the Ravens did in the off-season of evaluating their draft picks-from Terrence Cody to David Reed, and how well they did in finding key free agent rookies like Prince Miller, and finally, evaluating their free agent signings that will be starting for the Ravens, such as Anquan Boldin, Donte Stallworth or Cody Redding.

I don’t care if it is a preseason game or if we only see the starters for one quarter, let alone a series, but it will be interesting to see if the Ravens come out on all cylinders or if they come out flat having not played football against another opponent in seven months.

Here are ten points, not necessarily players, but just things to keep an eye out on in the game and hope that they run smoothly for the Ravens in their evaluation process.

1. Newly Added WRs Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth

With the Ravens first team offense only playing sparingly in this game, we as Ravens fans would love to see the new toys in Cam Cameron’s arsenal. We could see them for a series or a two, or a quarter but with all the improvements made to the offense in the off-season and all the hype surrounding the unit in training camp, time is short to see how good the Ravens’ passing game can be with Joe Flacco at the helm. I would love to see the first play of the game, the Ravens going to their new addition in Boldin, the Pro-Bowl caliber WR they got in the off-season for third and fourth round picks in April’s draft, for a first down and to see the video of Jonathan Ogden up on the JumboTron to “Move Those Chains! Move those Chains!”

Boldin, the NFL’s career leader in receiving yards per game, should have a field day early if the Ravens choose to do so, as the Panthers will be without starting corner Chris Gamble, who is sitting out with an injured knee.

Anquan Boldin

And we have talked about the versatility of Donte Stallworth. He can be used in the slot, on the outside, and in a position where the Ravens can use his burning speed to their advantage. This is also the first time since 2008 that Stallworth will be playing since his year-long suspension that kept him out of the NFL for the 2009 campaign.

And while he probably will be sidelined along with the rest of the first-team unit, Stallworth could also see some playing time maybe late in the game as he is in a thick battle with current Ravens WR Mark Clayton for the third WR on the team on an already crowded wide receiver corps, combined with Demetrius Williams, David Reed, Justin Harper, Eron Riley and Marcus Smith.

But let this be clear. Donte Stallworth is making this team.

2. The Corners

The biggest storyline so far this season; the corner backs may be the biggest concern of the team. With Domonique Foxworth out for the season with a torn ACL, and with Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb coming back from their own season ending knee injuries, it’s going to be on corners on the roster other than the walking wounded to get the job done. We are probably going to see a lot of Travis Fisher, a five-year starter for the Rams and Lions.

Travis Fisher

If the Ravens are smart, they will keep Webb and Washington away from the playing field, given the lack of importance of the game, and the harsh weather conditions that came into Baltimore this morning and probably affected the field. Chris Carr and K.J. Gerard are both hurt, so it’s still a toss-up to see if they make an appearance, especially with Carr’s return skills being an asset to this team.

Two guys to keep an eye on: Prince Miller, the former Georgia Bulldog, who could follow the likes of former teammate Dannell Ellerbe to make the team as a rookie free agent, and Cary Williams, who needs to prove he still belongs on this team after being suspended the first two games of the season for violating the NFL’s Conduct Policy.

Prince Miller-Baltimore Ravens CB

3. Oniel Cousins, Ravens RT

Oniel Cousins

With all the controversy with Jared Gaither in training camp, from a new contract, to foot and back injuries, and losing 30 pounds, Gaither has become one of the bigger concerns on this team. Cousins actually started the first game of his three-year NFL career against Detroit last year, and the former UTEP tackle saw the starting lineup for two more games later in 2009 when Gaither was hurt. Cousins has often been knocked for playing smart at times, but Cousins could continue to improve if he sees more playing time.

4. Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, TE

Dennis Pitta

Heap is the starter here in Baltimore for now, but one of these two could be the tight ends of the future for the Ravens. Both have great hands, and Dickson helps his cause even more by being an even better blocker than Pitta. Pitta runs fine and crisp routes, and is more of an H-back kind of player. These two may be the only players who catch passes from Flacco, Marc Bulger, and Troy Smith.

5. Marc Bulger

Marc Bulger

The starters will be out quickly, and with Flacco taking a seat, Marc Bulger is going to be the next man up. The Ravens put a lot of faith in Bulger in case Flacco should get hurt, and it will be interesting to not only see how he does in a better team with Baltimore, but with the reserves. Are we going to get a revived Marc Bulger, or the one who has struggled the last couple of years without a supporting cast around him in St. Louis?

Also, with the recent trade of John Beck to the Redskins, this means that the Ravens have to have some sort of confidence in Troy Smith as a quarterback on this team, whether it’s as the third or backup QB is yet to be determined.  It will be interesting to see if Troy will take this sign of confidence to heart, and show himself a better quarterback to not only the Ravens, but to other NFL teams out there.

6. Tom Zbikowski and Ken Hamlin

Tom Zbikowski

Ed Reed is most likely going to start the season on PUP, or will at least miss games due to the surgery he had on his hip in the off-season. Zbikowski played well in Reed’s absences last year, actually recording several more interceptions than on his record last season due to a few timely penalties.

Ken Hamlin, once one of the highest paid safeties in the NFL, will likely back up Zbikowski but still provides great play from the position. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have him on this team as an insurance policy, and for a guy who has spent his entire career in the NFC, I will be anxious to see this guy on an American Football Conference team for once.

7. Who will eventually start next to Ray Lewis in the middle?

This involves three guys, including Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden, and Jameel McClain. Ellerbe, who fought his way onto the team last year, has actually begun to have a falling out with the coaching staff and could be playing and acting his way OFF the team.

Gooden hasn’t been able to stay healthy his whole career, and we have yet to see his full potential coming out of Miami a few years back. The next Ray Lewis huh? Not yet?

And finally, Jameel McClain has excelled the last couple of seasons playing inside and outside, and with the injuries to Sergio Kindle and the question marks surrounding several of the other OLB on the team, McClain may see time at both positions. And the good thing is, he has excelled at both positions. I think if McClain sees full time duty, he is going to be a solid player on the Ravens defense as he has shown the last couple seasons.

8. The kicking game-Shayne Graham vs. Billy Cundiff

Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said earlier in camp that each kicker would rotate after every opportunity, and Rosburg also said that real judging of how each of these kickers perform would be done in game-situations. Here we are!

It’s either the Pro-Bowl caliber kicker in Graham who could become of the league’s highest paid kickers versus the incumbent who stabilized the position last winter. Let the competition begin, and trust me, whichever one doesn’t make this team will be kicking for another team in 2010.

9. Willis McGahee, RB

Willis McGahee

The blogs are heating up today with talks that McGahee could be on the move and a decent value to another NFL team out there looking for a running back. His contract would make it difficult to move, but if he continues to play superbly, on top of the Ravens continuing want to have a shutdown corner, maybe McGahee could be running out of Baltimore instead of running behind Le’Ron McClain.

10. Ed  from Park Heights brought this one up during our show, and I hadn’t thought of it until he drew it to our attention:

INJURIES.

But I don’t want to see them. So technically, what we are looking for are healthy players. With the injuries to Gaither, Foxworth, Ngata, Chris Carr, Derrick Mason, Matt Birk, Ed Reed, Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb, and Sergio Kindle, this team cannot become the Baltimore version of the “Walking Wounded”.

I want a healthy Ravens team to finish the game tonight at M&T Bank Stadium against the Panthers, and if wins are scarce this year, let’s save them for the games that count.

But WNST and WNST.net will still follow this game as much as a regular season game! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 11 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because myself, the lovely “Boomer Sooner”, “The Luckiest Dang Roommate on the Face of the Planet” and “The Luckiest Dang Roommate’s Girlfriend on the Face of the Planet” all wandered up to Camden, New Jersey (which might be the single WORST place on the face of the planet) to check out the great Jimmy Buffett.

I would sit here and sing the praises of Jimmy Buffett (and/or the multiple Coronas we downed beforehand), but you already know just how great he is. Instead, I’ll let you know that my personal favorite Jimmy Buffett live song is “Southern Cross”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7Ah-Ch8NQ4[/youtube]

And yes, you ARE allowed to pick a cover as your favorite song to see live. Of course, now that I found out that it is ALSO Boomer Sooner’s favorite song; I think I’m going to have to consider another. I mean, this is still relatively new for me. I can’t let her think that I respect/value her opinion, can I? She’s a girl!

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP says Birds crushed 4 homers against Justin Masterson, bullpen in win over Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?!?!?!?

Felix Pie, Corey Patterson, Matt Wieters and Luke Scott all homered last night (Luke Scott did something on the road?); and the team survived a shaky performance from Jake Arrieta to win their 7th in their last 8.

I don’t know what else to say. The fact is it DOESN’T matter as the team has won 7 of 8 but STILL has the worst record in Major League Baseball-although they’re just a half game in front (behind) of the Pittsburgh Pirates in that race. However, it is really nice to have a stretch like this. They’re not going to win 87.5% of their games the rest of the way; but if they can compete to stay around .500 the rest of the way, we’d all be entertained.

But it still wouldn’t REALLY matter.

What matters is what happens this offseason, and what happens next spring.

But if we’re going to have to watch the games, I guess we might as well be entertained. It’s either this or watching YouTube clips “Come On” highlights from Arrested Development and South Park…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5BMQ-xpTog[/youtube]

Okay, that clip was more entertaining. Sorry to the O’s…

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of another win

By the way, Arrieta’s final line last night was 6IP, 6R (5ER), 6H, 2BB, 3K. I feel like I’m going to hear someone describe his start as “gutty” at some point today.

You know the (new) drill here. You actually DO want to look at the numbers now, which is stunning. Do that, then look at this picture of Nikki Mitchell from The Smoking Jacket/Busted Coverage. Win/win I call it!

nikkimitchell

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Mike Gonzalez, Koji Uehara could take save opportunities from Alfredo Simon

I know Buck Showalter is all about winning games (and trust me, I’m GRATEFUL for that); but I don’t think Uehara makes sense.

Uehara’s 2 year, $10 million deal ends in a month and a half; and I just can’t fathom Andy MacPhail having future plans for him in Charm City. Then again, MacPhail was the guy who gave him stupid money and a stupid promised start in the rotation originally.

If Showalter wants to find out whether or not he has a closer on the roster for next season (and I’m guessing he doesn’t), he should go with Simon and Gonzalez. If he’s just hellbent on making sure Steve in Homeland loses his bet with Drew Forrester; maybe it’s worth taking a shot on ol’ “Sideburns.”

4. Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker says former Mariners manager Wakamatsu could join Buck Showalter’s Orioles staff

Apparently these two have a history that dates back to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and this would be a natural fit. I’d be fine with it, but I’d prefer they go out and get an actual PLAYER from the Emerald City. For example, is Ichiro available?

This of course is part of the question surrounding what the Orioles’ staff will look like a season from now. Few in Baltimore would be saddened to see Terry Crowley depart, but baseball minds will tell you he’s still amongst the better true hitting coaches in baseball. There’s an argument that the young pitchers on the Orioles staff would be better suited to have Rick Kranitz stick around for continuity, but there’s also an argument he hasn’t earned that right just yet.

With no offense to Gary Allenson, T-Bone Shelby or Jeff Datz; those jobs really aren’t significant enough to worry about who handles them. Should Buck Showalter have someone from his past (Toronto Blue Jays 3B Coach Brian Butterfield comes to mind) that he wants to fill the role; that’s fine. Should he decide to keep one or more of the current guys in place, that would be fine as well.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Scott Moore homered in Norfolk Tides’ loss to Indianapolis Indians on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things:

-The Birds and Tribe face off again tonight, with first pitch from the Comeback City at 7:05pm on MASN. Brad Bergesen faces Josh Tomlin-whoever that is.

-Did you miss Hall of Famer Earl Weaver with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Drew and Earl talked about Buck Showalter, the anniversary of Cal Ripken’s MLB debut and much more. Head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Chorye Spoone (Bowie Baysox pitcher)-who joined Drew this morning to discuss his season in the O’s system
  • Orlando Alzugary (WQAM Miami)-who previewed the Miami Dolphins as we continue to preview AFC East teams this week in our look at the Baltimore Ravens’ schedule
  • Purple reports from Westminster with Luke Jones; as well as sound from McDaniel College Tuesday with John Harbaugh, Jameel McClain and Tom Zbikowski
  • Chris Chester (Ravens OL)-who joined Thyrl Nelson following practice Tuesday
  • Ken Singleton (YES Network)-who discussed the anniversary of Cal’s debut and some New York Yankees baseball with Rex Tuesday
  • Ryan Couture (Strikeforce fighter, son of Randy Couture) and Reed Harris (WEC General Manager)-who both joined Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo Tuesday during “The MMA Report”

It’s all there in the Audio Vault, meaning once again you have your day taken care of for you. As always, you’re welcome.

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Chris Carr, Jared Gaither likely to miss Ravens preseason opener tomorrow night vs. Carolina Panthers

We still don’t know about some of the other question marks on the roster, including Fabian Washington-who could be sat to protect him from the M&T Bank Stadium turf.

If Washington & Carr can’t play, it would be likely that Travis Fisher and Cary Williams would start. Wow.

They could still go out and make an acquisition. For example, I believe Paulina Stanek is available. (Thanks Don Chavez!)

stanek

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Domonique Foxworth underwent knee surgery Tuesday performed by Dr. James Andrews

That’s right, the ugliest name in all of sports medicine-which also so happens to be one of the best.

It’s a long road back from an ACL tear-but there’s no question in my mind that Domonique can handle it both mentally and physically. Because of the timing of it, he should be in good shape to be back in time for Training Camp next season.

In the meantime…umm…does he maybe have a cousin who can come play for the Ravens???

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says Shayne Graham, Billy Cundiff to alternate kicks tomorrow night

And before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things:

-Training Camp is CLOSED to the public (and to the media) today, so if you head up to Carroll County-a trip to Chick-Fil-A will be about your only option. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Luke Jones will still be checking in throughout the day with Thyrl Nelson and Rex Snider today on AM1570 WNST as we prepare for the Ravens’ preseason opener tomorrow night.

-This morning’s “Training Camp Top 5″ was “If you were to get in a fight with Pittsburgh Steelers fans in the upper deck at Heinz Field, which current or former Ravens would you want on your side?”

Here’s my list:

  1. Orlando Brown
  2. Steve McNair
  3. Bart Scott
  4. Tom Zbikowski
  5. Arthur Jones

Here’s Drew’s list:

  1. Rex Ryan
  2. Kelly Gregg
  3. Ray Lewis
  4. Jarret Johnson
  5. Frank Walker

And via Twitter (follow us @WNST), here’s Nestor Aparicio’s list…

  1. Orlando Brown
  2. Bob Sapp
  3. Sam Adams
  4. James Trapp
  5. Ray Lewis

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terrapins De’Onte Arnett, Taylor Watson to miss Training Camp in College Park

The Terps held their football Media Day yesterday at Byrd Stadium, and you will be able to hear from plenty of players (including Jamarr Robinson, Da’Rel Scott, Alex Wujciak, Poly’s LaQuan Williams, Antwine Perez, Torrey Smith and more) via WNSTv in the next few days/weeks.

It was a slightly awkward day at Media Day yesterday, as the cloud of last year’s 2-10 record and the uncertainty surrounding Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin (the man tabbed to be the program’s next head coach) remains. It will remain that way until (unless?) Maryland turns things around this season.

The other news to come out of Media Day was that LB Avery Murray has left the team for personal reasons, and Zach Kerr & Ronnie Tyler are still in summer school.

Patrick and I discuss Maryland’s O-Line, preview North Carolina and North Carolina State; and get into a spirited discussion regarding Navy football in this week’s “D1scast”-which you can hear now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

10. LA Times’ Chris Dufresne names Navy 24th best team in country

What Patrick and I discussed yesterday surrounded the nature that this is CLEARLY the best team in Annapolis since maybe as far back as the Roger Staubach era; but all of the positive feelings could go away should Ken Niumatalolo’s Midshipmen lose just the season opener against Maryland.

Their schedule doesn’t allow for them to make too much noise the rest of the way (they face other ACC bottom-feeders like Duke and Wake Forest as well as a Notre Dame team that may or may not be a factor in the BCS this season). Should they suffer an early costly loss, it will be hard to maintain a Top 25 (or Top 25-range) status.

That being said, this is a FANTASTIC problem for the Mids to have.

You know who won’t have trouble staying in the Top 25 this season? Sophie Reade. (Thanks Guyism!)

sophie

And finally, I leave you with this.

I named “The Greatest Song of All Time This Week” earlier this week on Facebook (you can add me as a friend-just search for “Glenn Clark” and add the goofy looking guy sipping Orange Kool-Aid because he lost a bet to Ed in Park Heights). “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison isn’t just A comeback song, it is THE comeback song…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB1D9wWxd2w[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Ravens notebook: Carr, Mason leave practice as record crowd attends

Posted on 07 August 2010 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — A record crowd of 17,861 watched a Ravens training camp practice at M&T Bank Stadium, but they couldn’t have felt any better about the team’s cornerback problems after Saturday afternoon’s workout.

Cornerback Chris Carr, now a starter after the loss of Domonique Foxworth, left practice with an undisclosed injury, which appeared to be a hamstring issue. Carr would not comment on the injury, deferring questions to coach John Harbaugh.

“I’m not sure,” said Harbaugh when asked about the defensive back’s status. “I don’t have a report yet on that. I’m not sure.”

That clears things up.

Fellow starting cornerback Fabian Washington also sat out despite being dressed to practice. Washington has been in and out of practice over the last week as he continues to work his way back from an ACL injury a season ago. With both projected starters—along with Lardarius Webb who is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list—sidelined on Saturday, the Ravens had Travis Fisher and Cary Williams working with the starting defense.

Wide receiver Derrick Mason also left practice with what he described as a bruised knee. The 36-year-old missed two days of practice with a right ankle injury earlier this week before returning on Friday.

“I just banged my knee a little bit,” Mason said. “It wasn’t critical [that] I came back in.”

Mason iced the knee after leaving practice and expects to participate in the Ravens’ next workout on Sunday afternoon.

Gaither absent again

Offensive tackle Jared Gaither failed to practice for the second straight day as he continues to deal with back spams between his shoulder blades. The Ravens sent him to a back specialist, with the initial feedback indicating the injury is not serious. Gaither was limited in practice on Thursday before sitting out the last two days.

The right tackle, who lost approximately 30 pounds before training camp began, is having difficulty lining up in a three-point stance, according to Harbaugh.

“It’s just something he’s got to fight through,” Harbaugh said. “It’s unfortunate because he’s competing for that spot, and you’ve got to stack practices. That’s what the competition is all about.”

Despite Gaither’s tepid relationship with the organization and his desire for a new contract, Harbaugh stood by the tackle’s work ethic and desire.

“[Gaither's] a hard worker. We just have to get him on the field and get him going and he’s going to be fine. That’s what we’ve got to try to do right now.”

Kicking Contenders

Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham moved the kicking competition to M&T Bank Stadium after mostly going kick for kick in their first week of practices in Westminster.

Cundiff was unofficially 7-for-9 on field goals while Graham was a masterful 10-for-10 on Saturday afternoon.

The battle has been extremely even to this point in camp, with both performing consistently unlike the up-and-down battle between Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano last summer.

“We know it’s going to be a tough decision,” Harbaugh said. “We just kind of put it on the back burner. We don’t have to make that decision yet, so we don’t want to. You see them everyday, they’re both kicking very well.”

Harbaugh expects teams to contact the Ravens later in the preseason in hopes of acquiring one of the two. The coach believes the decision will be a difficult one.

“My gut feeling is [the choice is] going to be a gut feeling.”

Walking Wounded

In addition to Carr, Mason, Washington, and Gaither, others not participating in the Saturday afternoon workout were guard David Hale (undisclosed), tackles Tony Moll (concussion) and Stefan Rodgers (ankle), defensive backs Marcus Paschal (leg) and K.J. Gerard (hamstring), and tight end Davon Drew (hamstring).

Running back Willis McGahee returned to practice after sitting out with swelling in his right knee on Friday.

The four players on the Physically Unable to Perform list (Webb, safety Ed Reed, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, and running back Matt Lawrence) did not participate.

Ayanbadejo told WNST.net there is still no timetable for his return from a torn quadriceps injury sustained last season.

Changes at M&T Bank

While rookies benefited most from the special practice at M&T Bank Stadium, young players and veterans alike had to get used to some changes at their home stadium.

This was the first time the Ravens have played on the new field turf installed in the spring. Initial feedback from players was positive, as veterans cited how much softer it was than the turf that had been used since 2003. Several players commented on how hot the turf felt to their feet, but a warm August day certainly contributed to that.

“When I first got on it, I wondered if it was going to be supportive enough, but it felt pretty good,” quarterback Joe Flacco said about the new playing surface. “Your feet were a little bit hotter than they are out in Westminster, but it was good. I enjoyed it.”

The fans in attendance also enjoyed the brand new high-definition video boards displaying a far crisper picture than the original screens.

“They were sweet,” Harbaugh said. “They looked very good. I caught myself looking up there every now and then.”

A New Tradition

The record crowd attending practice left a lasting impression on owner Steve Bisciotti and Harbaugh as both were pleased with the turnout and believe it will become an annual event in August.

“[Bisciotti] came out on the field there when we were doing one of our drills and he basically said, ‘This is a tradition now. We’re doing it because it was so good,’” Harbaugh said. “You felt it out there. It’s great for our team to get out there on the field, but it’s so good for the fans.”

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Mocking The 53: Two Weeks In, Much Has Changed

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Mocking The 53: Two Weeks In, Much Has Changed

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

It’s been just 11 days since I posted my Pre-Training Camp edition of “Mocking The 53″ here at WNST.net. In the short (almost) two weeks since the Baltimore Ravens originally reported to Westminster, there has already been some significant flux in the way the team’s roster shapes up.

Obviously the loss of Domonique Foxworth is the most significant shakeup to the team’s roster. However, he’s not the only player who has faced injury-related issues at McDaniel College (or elsewhere) thus far. For this week’s edition; I am going to take not only Foxworth out of the 53, but also the players that we believe will begin the season on PUP (if not IR).

That means that Ed Reed, Lardarius Webb and Sergio Kindle will get the asterisk treatment outside the 53. They’re clearly amongst the top 53 players on the roster, but we just don’t know if they’ll be there when the Ravens line up to face the New York Jets on Monday Night Football come September 13.

Additionally, the roster reflects the subtractions of John Beck and Walt Harris and the additions of Doug Dutch, Chris Hawkins, Daniel Sanders and Devin Tyler.

Here’s a reminder of how I explained these rankings the first time I put them together…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the roster shapes up…

(Edit from GMC: This keeps shaking. The Ravens apparently DIDN’T release Walt Harris, but instead placed him on IR. Okay…)

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. OT Michael Oher
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. LB Ray Lewis
6. RB Ray Rice
7. LB Terrell Suggs
8. LB Jarret Johnson
jj
9. WR Derrick Mason
10. OT Jared Gaither

Jarret Johnson rises a few spots in the Top 10 and looks more and more important to this team every day. Some of that has to do with Sergio Kindle‘s injury, but even more of that has to do with Jarret himself. His position is such a delicate combination of up and back, the only player I can think of who has played even similarly to him is Adalius Thomas. Jared Gaither also drops a few spots as his weight has to be considered an issue, but he’s still very important to this football team.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. G Ben Grubbs
13. DL Cory Redding
14. TE Todd Heap
15. OL Marshal Yanda
16. LB Jameel McClain
jmcclain
17. CB Fabian Washington
18. DT Terrence Cody
19. FB Le’Ron McClain
20. QB Marc Bulger

A couple of the guys in this group have been quick risers. Jameel McClain was never REALLY on the bubble to make the roster, but he wasn’t terribly far away from it. Within weeks, Jameel has joined the first team defense. He’s been taking the majority of snaps next to Ray Lewis inside, and the team hopes that he can be helpful in pressuring the quarterback with Sergio Kindle down.

Also rising is Fabian Washington-as Domonique Foxworth‘s injury leaves him the team’s top corner. Fabian joined Thyrl Nelson Tuesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST to discuss the pressure of being the top corner. Check it out in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net if you missed it.

21. C Matt Birk
22. K Shayne Graham
23. S Dawan Landry
24. DT Kelly Gregg
kellygregg
25. WR Donte’ Stallworth
26. CB Chris Carr
27. S Tom Zbikowski
28. LB Tavares Gooden
29. OL Chris Chester
30. S Haruki Nakamura

There are a couple of folks in this group worth pointing out. Had Terrence Cody come into Camp and looked like a guy who would be ready to go immediately, Kelly Gregg may have ended up being someone who had to fight to preserve his roster spot. That no longer appears to be an issue.

Chris Carr just became a much more significant part of this roster, as it appears he will be a starting CB for at least the first 6 weeks of the season. That was never the plan for Chris. Hopefully it won’t hurt Greg Mattison‘s defense.

31. TE Ed Dickson
dickson
32. WR Mark Clayton
33. TE Dennis Pitta
34. P Sam Koch
35. LB Dannell Ellerbe
36. RB Willis McGahee
37. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
38. QB Troy Smith
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. S Ken Hamlin

I don’t know how much longer I can keep Dickson and Pitta outside the Top 30. It might just be Training Camp, but both have looked very good early on. Also looking good is Clayton, who may have been at risk of finding the bubble before Camp started.

On the flip side, Dannell Ellerbe as of right now looks to be 4th amongst the team’s inside LB’s, after vaulting into a job as a starter just a season ago. Troy Smith also appears to have solidified himself a bit with John Beck gone.

41. LB Antwan Barnes
42. OT Oniel Cousins
43. LS Matt Katula
44. DT Brandon McKinney
45. DT Kelly Talavou
46. RB Jalen Parmele
47. WR David Reed
48. OL David Hale
49. CB Travis Fisher
50. DT Arthur Jones
51. CB Cary Williams
52. OL Tony Moll
53. LB Edgar Jones
jones

A few things worth mentioning in this group. I’ll move Edgar Jones (who of course now wears #48 and plays OLB after having played roughly every other position on the field) back onto the good side of the bubble, as the injury to Sergio Kindle leaves the team thin at OLB. A couple of the other guys in this group (namely David Reed and Arthur Jones) are getting the benefit of the doubt as draft picks, but probably still have something to prove to make the final 53.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(CB Walt Harris-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(CB Lardarius Webb-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. WR Demetrius Williams
56. OT Ramon Harewood
57. LB Prescott Burgess
58. RB Matt Lawrence
59. S KJ Gerard
gerard
60. LB Jason Phillips
61. TE Davon Drew
62. DT Lamar Divens
63. WR Marcus Smith
64. WR Justin Harper
65. DE Albert McClellan
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
68. CB Prince Miller
69. CB Marcus Paschal
70. RB Curtis Steele

There’s a few things about my current 53 that I don’t like. As of right now, I have just 4 true corners on the roster right now (Washington, Carr, Williams, Fisher). This could be a place where Gerard could squeeze his way back onto the roster. Also, Ramon Harewood could be in direct competition with Tony Moll for an O-Line spot.

I said before Camp that there were 70 legitimate NFL players (either guys who had been on the active roster or guys who were NFL Draft picks) fighting for 53 roster spots. That number has dwindled, but there are still some 65 legitimate players fighting for spots-and 5 current or former UFA’s also hoping to get on the team.

71. OT Joe Reitz
joereitz
72. CB Doug Dutch
73. OL Bryan Mattison
74. OT Stefan Rodgers
75. LS Morgan Cox
76. CB Chris Hawkins
77. OT Daniel Sanders
78. OT Devin Tyler

The team certainly believes there will be some practice squad guys in the final group.

There you have it. We’ll update again after the Ravens play the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

-G

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Ravens Cornerback Fabian Washington Feeling Healthy in Camp; Already Being Tested By Raven Offense

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Ravens Cornerback Fabian Washington Feeling Healthy in Camp; Already Being Tested By Raven Offense

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Ryan Chell

Fabian Washington
With all the talk lately about the injuries and issues concerning the back end of the Ravens defense, Ravens corner back Fabian Washington said that things are all good.

Washington, entering his third season with the Ravens, is actively participating in camp and said that the team is doing its best in camp to learn how to best execute their offense and defense.

“The defense is playing good, and the offense is looking amazing at practice,” Washington told Thyrl Nelson after practice on Tuesday. “We’re just going to go out and control what we can control. We can’t control injuries at this point in the game. The next person just has to step up and do their best.”

Washington mentioned the injuries. But the way Washington talked about the issue; some would forget that Washington is one of those injury concerns, as he is one of two starting corners from last year coming off season-ending ACL tears.

Washington said the knee, which he tore in the 17-15 loss in Week 11 to the Colts, is holding up very well in camp.

“I’m holding up pretty good. I’m out here practicing once a day, going full speed in most of the drills. My knee is holding up in practice. I feel like all the hard work I did in the off-season is starting to pay off.”

Most ACL tears take more than a year to heal. But both he and Lardarius Webb are expected to be ready far ahead of schedule and ready to go in Week 1.

But with those injury concerns, including another ACL tear by starting corne rback Domonique Foxworth last week, the Ravens have stuck the infamous red jersey on Washington at times, just to make sure Washington is upright throughout the rest of camp going into the regular season.

“They tried to keep me safe,” Washington said. “We’ve had some misfortunes at the corner back position the last few years. We’re trying to stay safe and healthy as possible.”

If anything, the best way to get back into football shape-both physically and getting adapted to the speed of the game-has been being thrown out their against an up and coming Ravens offense on the fields at McDaniel.

Washington feels like with the added receivers GM Ozzie Newsome went out and got this year, like Anquan Boldin, the Ravens should be able to score some points this year.

Anquan Boldin

“You’ll see that in the preseason, definitely come Week 1,” Washington said.  “We’ve got some exciting guys. Everybody knows what Anquan can do. He’s been doing that years and years now.”

Washington, even on one good knee, is still one of the fastest guys on the team. But one guy right now who he has lined up against-in receiver Donte Stallworth-has really tired Washington out at times.

“We’ve got guys like Donte who are straight burners. The guy can run…I’ve seen it. I feel like if anybody can push me deep and  get me stretching my hamstring, he can run. He’s been doing that on a daily basis.”

Washington said that if something should happen to him or one of the other corners, he does feel like the guys around and behind him should still play well and the Ravens will be fine because of the hard work he and his teammate have put in so far.

“I think all of us are going to have to step up, like myself and Chris Carr. Lardarius is working his butt off on the side tyring to get healthy and be ready for Week1. We’ve got guys like Prince Miller coming along. Travis Fisher has been playing some good football. We just need to gel, come together and play our best ball.”

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Ravens Trade QB Beck to Skins for CB Dutch

Posted on 02 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

WESTMINSTER, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens have traded QB John Beck to the Washington Redskins for 2nd year CB Doug Dutch.

Dutch is a native of Hyattsville and graduated from Gonzaga College High School in DC before attending the University of Michigan. He played in 1 preseason game with the Skins last season before being released during final cuts. He then tried out for the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL before being cut by them as well. He spent the later part of the 2009 season on the Redskins’ practice squad.

Dutch is a 5’11″ corner who weighs in at 205 pounds. He will compete for a roster spot with Walt Harris, Travis Fisher, Cary Williams and Prince Miller behind players like Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb and Chris Carr. The Ravens needed CB depth after losing Domonique Foxworth for the season with a torn ACL.

Trading Beck leaves the Ravens with Marc Bulger and Troy Smith backing up starting QB Joe Flacco.

-G

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Live from Westminster: Gaither misses practice as first fight breaks out

Posted on 31 July 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — The Ravens were back on the practice field Saturday morning, but two key starters were absent.

After being carted off the field with back cramps Friday afternoon, Jared Gaither was absent from both sessions on Saturday. We didn’t hear from John Harbaugh after practice, so we’ll assume it’s a precautionary measure at this point. However, given the Ravens’ propensity for hiding the severity of injuries, it’s certainly worth monitoring in the coming days.

Cornerback Fabian Washington did not practice after returning to the field wearing a red non-contact jersey on Friday afternoon. He did, however, return to the field in the afternoon wearing the same non-contact top. With the fragile state of the defensive backfield after the loss of Domonique Foxworth for the season, there’s no reason for the Ravens to rush Washington’s return to the field with three weeks remaining in training camp.

We also witnessed our first fight of the summer as rookie defensive tackle Art Jones mixed it up with offensive lineman Bryan Mattison after a play during passing drills. A dogpile quickly followed but order was restored and the two shook hands after the scrum.

You can hear more from Jones about the morning rumble as well as special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg and backup quarterback Marc Bulger in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) throughout the day.

__________________________________________________________

5:15 p.m. — The afternoon session has wrapped up with Fabian Washington returning to the practice field sporting the red non-contact jersey.

Jared Gaither was absent from practice again, though he walked out for the latter portion of the workout in a t-shirt and shorts. I’m beginning to wonder if the back cramps for which he was carted off on Friday afternoon are actually spasms.

Offensive tackle Tony Moll sat out in the afternoon after lining up with the first-team offense at right tackle (with Gaither’s absence). Rookie Ramon Harewood received the reps on the right side with the first team.

Cornerback Walt Harris did not practice but was out on the field with his teammates.

As for the practice itself, coach John Harbaugh was very angry with the team’s tempo during the 11-on-11 portion, verbally chastising his players and making them run off the field. The Ravens coach voiced his displeasure with some words unsuitable for this blog, but it was clear he wanted to send a message.

Workouts will resume on Sunday morning at 8:45 a.m. and an afternoon session at 2:45 p.m.

2:10 p.m. — While several of his teammates were outspoken after Marc Bulger signed a one-year, $3.8 million contract to back up starter Joe Flacco, the veteran was complimentary of his teammates’ help in learning the Baltimore offense, a system similar to what he had in St. Louis.

What remains to be learned is the different terminology and verbiage that comes with a new team.

“Troy [Smith] and [Flacco] and John [Beck] have been great to me, making some cheat sheets,” Bulger said. “I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m getting there.”

Bulger had opportunities to play elsewhere with a better opportunity to start, but his last few seasons with the Rams made him desperate to play for a winning organization. St. Louis went a combined 6-42 over the last three seasons.

“I love the [Rams] organization, but we just hadn’t been winning,” Bulger said. “It takes a lot of the fun out of it, and I wanted to win somewhere. Not that I couldn’t win other places, but I think that this team, after talking with [John Harbaugh] and his philosophy really intrigued me. … I see why they’re so proud about the organization.”

Bulger was also asked about the man who replaced him in St. Louis—rookie Sam Bradford—and the guaranteed $50 million he’ll receive from the Rams before ever taking a snap in the NFL. He didn’t have any advice for the former Oklahoma quarterback.

“No suggestions, just congratulations,” the former Rams quarterback said while laughing, “and his agents did a heck of a job. I’ve got the same ones.”

I’d say.

1:45 p.m. — With the hectic nature surrounding the Domonique Foxworth injury on Friday, I failed to provide an update on the kicking competition between Shayne Graham and Billy Cundiff.

During the morning session on Saturday, Graham connected from 30, 39, 44, and 51 yards but missed from 50 yards away. Cundiff made field goals from 30, 39, 44, 51, and 46 yards.

Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg talked about the competition between Graham and Cundiff and how different it is than the one between Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano in training camp a season ago.

“The way it’s different is we have two experienced, veteran NFL kickers in here doing that competition,” Rosburg said. “It’s going to be day to day, kick to kick, and then preseason games obviously. It’s important—as we all know—that you’re able to go kick in game environments.”

While we’ll continue to track each kicker’s daily performance in Westminster, the real key to the competition will be the four preseason games.Though Cundiff has an edge having been on the team last season, most insides believe Graham will ultimately prevail and be the team’s kicker by Week 1.

“My thinking on that is—it’s much like quarterbacks—practice is really good and it’s valuable and you learn a lot by watching guys play in practice,” Rosburg said. “For kickers, game environments are really valuable, too. That is part of the whole formula.”

12:50 p.m. — Highlights from the morning included a gorgeous pass from Joe Flacco to Derrick Mason for a long, 40-plus yard touchdown. Mason looks very sharp as he begins his 14th season in the league.

Donte’ Stallworth continues to impress in the early stages of training camp. He’s shown impressive speed with a quick burst. It’s clear he’s taking this opportunity very seriously as he tries to put the events of the last two years behind him and get his career back on track. If he can remain healthy—not a given when you look at his NFL career—he could really develop into the deep threat the Ravens have sorely lacked in their passing game for years.

The team scrimmaged live for the first time on Saturday morning with the defense doing an admirable job against the first-team offense. Ray Rice broke a Prescott Burgess tackle and gained eight yards on one play but found little running room overall in the live session.

During skeleton passing drills, Marc Bulger found a wide-open Dennis Pitta over the middle for a huge gain.

The secondary also missed an interception opportunity as Burgess and new safety Ken Hamlin battled for the ball. Neither came up with it as the football dropped harmlessly to the turf.

Despite the secondary currently being in disarray, injuries have created an opportunity for Travis Fisher, who looked more comfortable on Saturday morning after some shaky early sessions. The 30-year-old Fisher brings eight years of experience in the NFL and can really impress with Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb continuing to work their way back from knee injuries.

12:40 p.m. — After receiving the question from Nick below, I wanted to pass along a couple of number changes. Ed Dickson is now wearing No. 83, trading with Davon Drew who will now sport No. 80.

Dickson wore the number in college and will compensate his teammate an undisclosed amount, according to Drew.

Hope I cleared up some confusion if you were out in Westminster the last two days.

12:25 p.m. — With Jared Gaither sidelined this morning, reserve Tony Moll worked out at right tackle with the starting offense as Michael Oher worked exclusively on the left side.

With Fabian Washington sidelined again, the starting corners were Chris Carr and Travis Fisher. Tom Zbikowski received most reps as the starting free safety with Ed Reed continuing to rehab from offseason hip surgery.

It was a worrisome sight seeing Washington, Reed, and Lardarius Webb—three of the four projected starters in the secondary—standing on the sidelines together and not wearing the pads. Thankfully, it’s only July 31 and not Sept. 13.

In other injury news, tight end Davon Drew did not practice this morning. He said after practice on Friday he was suffering from a slight hamstring strain but didn’t seem concerned about missing a significant amount of time.

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Ravens Now Forced to Work Past “Black Cloud” Feeling

Posted on 30 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

WESTMINSTER, Md. The last 10 days have been troubling for the Baltimore Ravens, but they’re not unprecedented.

The team has gone into a season with Super Bowl aspirations and seen things go wrong very early before. Nine years ago, the Baltimore Ravens went through one of the toughest Training Camp stretches they have experienced in their short history.

On consecutive days, the team lost Pro Bowl OT Leon Searcy (triceps) and reigning 1,000 yard rusher Jamal Lewis (knee) during practices at McDaniel College. The injuries left the team without two of their most significant offensive weapons entering a season where they had replaced their Super Bowl winning QB (Trent Dilfer) with a new starter (Elvis Grbac) they had hoped would ignite what was at times a dismal offensive football team.

As the season went on, it felt as though the Ravens never really moved past those initial blows. The offense showed little improvement, the teams rotated through replacement running backs, and were eventually dismissed from the playoffs by the Pittsburgh Steelers after earning a Wild Card berth on the final night of the regular season.

“You knew we had a strong chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions with (Lewis) as our workhorse” then Ravens WR Qadry Ismail told me. “However, when he went down it really became a challenge to keep guys’ spirits up to make that special run.” Ismail-now a radio color analyst for the team-went on to add “it felt like there was a black cloud over us with those two injuries.”

Ravens Senior VP of Public and Community Relations Kevin Byrne agreed, adding that the losses were more significant considering the team had made investments specifically for the purpose of upgrading the offense.

The loss of CB Domonique Foxworth to a season-ending torn ACL and LB Sergio Kindle to a head injury that will cause him to miss an indefinite timeframe hurt this Ravens football team both on and off the field.

The injuries hurt the team off the field because it is easy to get caught up in the negative things happening around the team. Injuries have piled up at individual positions-leading Foxworth to say to the media Friday that (secondary coach) Chuck Pagano “needs to go to church more or something.”

The injuries hurt the team on the field because they had definitive roles and were being counted on to carry a heavy load for the team. Foxworth returned as the team’s top Cornerback after a tremendous stretch to end the 2009 campaign, and Kindle was expected to play behind Jarret Johnson and help improve the team’s pass rush.

Both were expected to be important parts of a unit looking to improve on the 200+ yards per game allowed through the air a season ago.

The 2001 Ravens proved to be resilient off the field; but the on-field losses of Searcy and Lewis ultimately proved to be too much for the team to work past. The combo of Kipp Vickers and Sammy Williams couldn’t keep Grbac on his feet; with Randall Cunningham eventually forced to replace the injured QB. The Ravens rotated Terry Allen, Jason Brookins and Moe Williams at running back, with none tallying even as much as 700 yards.

The 2010 Ravens will almost certainly have no trouble surviving off the field; as coach John Harbaugh and LB Ray Lewis were amongst those who quicky pointed out that all teams must face adversity in the preseason. Harbaugh said “it happens to every team…there’s always bumps in the road.”

He’s right, as every NFL team will go through some sort of injury of off-field issue before Week 1. Not all will be teams with real Super Bowl aspirations, and not all will lose their top player at CB or their first pick in the NFL Draft. However, all teams will go through some sort of trouble. Seasons will be defined by how each team responds to the off-field trouble they find.

The 2010 Baltimore Ravens will look to move past their own current “black cloud” feeling with a team that is built much better to overcome injuries. While the team isn’t loaded with top talent in the secondary; the likes of Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb (as long as he’s healthy), Chris Carr, Travis Fisher, Walt Harris and Cary Williams give them a veteran presence. They will not necessarily be forced to rush out and find the best free agent CB’s available-where names like Frank Walker and Fred Smoot are unlikely to give them the type of security necessary in the secondary.

The team is much more likely to allow their group of veterans (as well as 2nd year safety KJ Gerard and rookie Prince Miller) sort out the available jobs in the secondary. None are “the answer”, but all are potential contributors.

The Ravens will be hurt by the losses, but they are in much better shape than the 2001 team was to move past them.

With that being said, they could certainly use a break from the “black clouds” that have hung over Westminster.

-G

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Live from Westminster: Foxworth gone for season, Gaither provides scare in afternoon

Posted on 30 July 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — The excitement was palpable as the Ravens took the field for their first full-squad practice on Friday morning, but the mood changed dramatically with the absence of starting cornerback Domonique Foxworth and WNST.net learning he tore the ACL in his right knee on Thursday evening during an “orientation” practice.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK8sH3opNLQ[/youtube]

The Ravens will now piece together a secondary for the start of training camp as they await the returns of Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb, both returning from ACL injuries last season. With all three cornerbacks currently out of practice, Chris Carr and Travis Fisher lined up with the first-team defense.

Not exactly a tandem that inspires confidence.

Be sure to head to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Domonique Foxworth, John Harbaugh, Ray Lewis, Anquan Boldin, and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison regarding the Foxworth injury and the first day of full-team workouts.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAg82Us638Q[/youtube]

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below).

_______________________________________________________

6:30 p.m. — The Ravens have confirmed Jared Gaither was merely dealing with back cramps this afternoon when he was carted off the field. Definitely good news on a day when it’s much needed.

The team has also brought in former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Nashville Dyer, presumably for a tryout. Dyer has also spent time in NFL Europe.

5:20 p.m. — Ed Reed did some conditioning and strength work on his own this afternoon as he continues to recover from offseason hip surgery.

Rookie defensive tackle Terrence Cody showed a very impressive bull rush against starting guard Ben Grubbs, pushing him deep into the backfield during 1-on-1 linemen drills. However, right guard Marshal Yanda held his ground against the 350-pound rookie later in the drill.

And the Baltimore defense looked to be in midseason form when K.J. Gerard intercepted a pass and attempted to lateral the football to a teammate. Gerard nearly fumbled but managed to maintain possession.

A nice play, but one that makes fans pull their hair out.

5:15 p.m. — In a day filled with disappointing news, the status of Fabian Washington provides a small beacon of light as the cornerback returned to the practice field this afternoon. He sported a red mesh top over his white practice jersey, indicating no contact for the starting corner.

With the loss of Domonique Foxworth for the season, any progress by Washington or Lardarius Webb is a great piece of news.

5:00 p.m. — If you’re on the WNST Text Service, you just received the news that Jared Gaither was carted off the field with an apparent back injury. There didn’t appear to be an exact moment of injury, as he stood in pain for a few minutes before going to the ground.

He remained on his stomach for a few minutes before taking off his shoulder pads as the training staff applied ice packs to his back. He then gingerly walked over to the cart before laying on it and being taken off the field.

This could simply be a minor issue of some spasms, but with the events of the last 24 hours, it’s hard not to think the absolute worst if you’re a Ravens fan.

2:20 p.m. — Ray Lewis started his 15th training camp with the Ravens on Friday morning, the only player left from the inaugural 1996 season.

The 35-year-old linebacker emphasized the need for the team to move on from the Foxworth injury despite his disappointment and sympathy for his fallen teammate.

“I think every team is going to—one way or another—face some type of adversity through the course of the year,” Lewis said after practice. “It just so happens for us, it came on Day 1. Losing a guy like Foxworth, do you try to replace that guy? No, but the next guy has to step up, and that’s what teams are built by. The bottom line is figure it out, move whatever pieces you have to move around, and just keep moving.”

You can catch the full interview with Ray Lewis in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

2:10 p.m. — Other highlights of the morning practice took place during 7-on-7 passing drills when Troy Smith connected on a long touchdown pass to Eron Riley. Chris Carr later picked off a Marc Bulger pass and returned it for a touchdown.

The biggest cheers of the day were drawn when Joe Flacco connected with new standout receiver Anquan Boldin for a short touchdown.

“[Flacco's] a great young talent, and I only see him getting better,” Boldin said after his first training camp practice as a Raven. “This year, they went out and got weapons to put around him, so hopefully he goes out and has a killer year.”

2:00 p.m. — The team spent a good portion of practice in an 11-on-11 “thud” scrimmage (contact without taking anyone to the ground). The first play of the session was a completion from Joe Flacco to Derrick Mason.

Imagine that.

Other highlights included a Marc Bulger strike to Mark Clayton in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Bulger is still in a bit of a learning mode but saw his participation level increase on Friday compared to the earlier workouts of the week.

Surprisingly, Jameel McClain received extensive reps at the other inside linebacker spot next to Ray Lewis during the 11-on-11 portion. Most expect Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden to compete for the starting job next to the 35-year-old Lewis, but McClain received the reps on the first day.

1:55 p.m. — With the disappointing news of Foxworth’s injury dominating the media’s attention this morning, I’ll remind you a practice actually took place this morning as well.

Offensive tackle Jared Gaither participated fully despite dealing with a foot injury during the OTA schedule. While he’s projected to be the starting right tackle with Michael Oher being shifted to the left side, both players took their turns at each position throughout the morning workout.

In fact, Gaither seemed to receive most reps on the left side as the practice wore on Friday morning. We’ll continue to monitor each young tackle to see if perhaps the Ravens are wavering on the decision to flip-flop the two.

1:35 p.m. — In addition to Heap, cornerback Fabian Washington did not practice on Friday morning despite coming off the PUP list on Thursday. With the injury to Foxworth, the team may choose to be extra cautious with throwing Washington back into the mix full-go.

Walt Harris came off the PUP list and practiced this morning.

Free safety Ed Reed, running back Matt Lawrence, tackle Oniel Cousin, center Matt Birk, cornerback Lardarius Webb, and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo remain on the PUP list. Heap is on the non-football illness list.

In other injury news, running back Willis McGahee lost a tooth and left the field with a member of the training staff in the middle of practice. He was seen walking around the team hotel in good spirits after practice.

1:00 p.m. — As we learned Thursday evening, Todd Heap has been placed on the non-football injury list as he is reportedly suffering from flu-like symptoms. He was dressed in shorts and a jersey and observed practice from the sideline.

12:50 p.m. — Domonique Foxworth just spoke with the media in the lobby of the Best Western and was clearly distraught over the loss of his season before the first day of full-squad workouts. He tore the ACL in his right knee in a non-contract drill on Thursday evening in a workout closed to the media and public.

“I was just running and tried to change directions,” he said. “It’s something I’ve done a million times in my career. This time it just didn’t work.”

Foxworth did not know it was a serious injury as he said the most serious injury of his career had previously been a sprained ankle. He learned the results of the MRI on the right knee during Friday morning’s workout.

“It’s a ton of emotions,” he said. “The biggest one I’m feeling—and I know it’s probably unfounded—but I just feel like I’m letting people down. I know everyone’s excited about this team and excited about this season and my teammates—I know how excited they are—and the fans.”

The Ravens will now explore all external options to add depth with veteran Frank Walker being a logical candidate to return after spending the last two seasons with the team. Walker has been contacted by the team but no offer has been made at this time.

With Foxworth’s injury, the focus will shift even more heavily on the status of Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb, the new projected starters.

“We’re going to be fine, with or without me,” Foxworth said. “They’re going to be fine. I’m going to do what I can to help them. [Secondary coach Chuck Pagano's] going to do an incredible job. I promise you if there are any shortcomings on this team, it won’t be in the secondary. I can guarantee that.”

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