Camp Notes A LITTLE TOO CHIPPY TODAY AT MCDANIEL

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During the past few seasons, the pass blocking by some of the Ravens’ running backs has been suspect, particularly when picking up the blitz.  This morning the Ravens linebackers and running backs faced off in a pass blocking drill. 
 
A blocking dummy is used to simulate a quarterback standing in the pocket (no jokes please).  At the snap, a linebacker takes off and tries to get around or go through a running back to touch the dummy which represents a sack.
 
Admittedly the drill favors the defense because the rusher comes through clean and unabated through the line and with a full head of steam.  The dummy is also stationary giving the defender another advantage.  But the drill is a very good way to harness and develop the pass blocking skills of the running backs.  Clearly the best RB today during this drill was Justin Green who demonstrated great technique in protecting his dummy…er… quarterback.
 
Here’s a breakdown of the drill with the winners in bold letters and a (+) to those players who dominated the match up:
 
Linebacker
Running Back
Comments
Suggs
Green
 
Haley
Lewis
 
Johnson
Dean
 
Stills +
Anderson
Stills overpowered Anderson
Cottrell
Lewis
 
Thomas
Smith
 
Lewis +
Mughelli
Lewis in a landslide
Scott
Green
 
Johnson
Dean
 
LaCasse +
Daniels
Not even close
Thomas +
Dean
AD runs through Dean for sack
Cody
Smith
Draw
Smith
Lewis
 
Stills
Anderson
 
Suggs
Mughelli
 
Haley
Dean
 
Johnson
Green
Green praised by Billick for technique
Cottrell
Daniels
 
Scott
Smith
Draw
 
Players who were out today nursing minor injuries were Demetrius Williams (perhaps the result of a tumble over a helmet yesterday), Samari Rolle, David Pittman and TE Bobby Blizzard.   Clarence Moore remains MIA and Mark Clayton sat out again with a sore hamstring.  I spoke to Mark Clayton after practice and the injury is a cause for concern.  Find out what Mark had to say on the audio link on the home page or in ‘Interviews” from the Multimedia menu.
 
The highlight of the practice was not such a highlight according to Brian Billick.  B.J. Ward was a bit chippy today, hitting players going over the middle after an incomplete pass or crunching down unnecessarily towards the end of a running play.  These demonstrations were overlooked but Ward’s hit on an extended Daniel Wilcox in the end zone during the 2 minute drills was not.  Billick pulled Ward aside, scolded him vehemently and then sent him to the sidelines for the remainder of practice.  After the two minute drill Billick pulled the team together and told them in so many words to take care of each other and think before they get too overzealous and unnecessarily aggressive.
 
Ward has a thug-like attitude for a defender and he has shown an ability to make plays.  He’s aggressive and athletic and he is very physical.  If the Ravens can somehow harness that talent and accelerate his maturation process, he could be a productive player.  Until then, he’s a free swinger who will hit impressive home runs but strike out often.
 
Get in the zone: The team practiced red zone situations and the 2 minute drill.  McNair threw the ball better today and with more zip although I’ve yet to see a deep throw that would make me say, “He nailed that one.”  His ball handling skills are more polished and refined than Boller’s as one might expect.  On third and three from the eight during red zone practice, McNair telegraphed a 5 yard in to Mason.  McAlister in coverage on the play jumped the route and picked it off.  Tight ends seem to be the featured receivers in the red zone as both McNair and Boller continue to look to the inviting targets of Heap and Sypniewski.  Boller found Sypniewski deep in the red zone with a nice throw through traffic.  Both QB’s are utilizing hard snap counts and the offensive line seems to be developing better discipline as camp continues, holding their positions through the count.
 
The best throw of the day was a 45 yard strike from Boller to UDFA WR Travis LaTendresse.  That may have been the best throw I’ve personally seen from Boller since he’s been a Raven.
 
The no huddle is a work in progress and Billick even described it as such.  The offense spent part of the practice running through an up tempo walk through of the no huddle.  Billick emphasized detail in order to promote efficiency.  Besides the obvious things Billick even had the receivers getting the ball back into the referee’s hand quickly to save precious ticks on the clock.  We’ll keep you posted on the offense’s progress in this area – a very deficient one in years past.
 
In 7 on 7 drills, here’s an unofficial count on the throwing stats of each QB:
 
McNair 9 of 10 for 46 yards
Boller 5 of 8 for 45 yards
St. Pierre 1 of 2 for 18 yards
Olson 1 of 1 for 5 yards
 
The offensive line looked solid today in both pass and run blocking.  My interview with Keydrick Vincent sheds some light on the development of this unit and how they are working hard together to gel as one.  It’s on the home page now and it is also posted in the multimedia area.
 
Some other observations: Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were off alone together chatting during the second team drills; Ronnie Prude will be very hard for the team to cut.  In my estimation he is far ahead of David Pittman; Dan Cody is lining up on either side of the line, usually the weak side opposite the tight end; Edwin Mulitalo is moving very well and the line is developing a rhythm in the run zone blocking; on one running play Adam Terry slipped into the second level and took on Ray.  Lewis was unable to fight through the block and appeared a bit frustrated; speaking of frustration, the defense seemed to dominate later in practice during full team practice; Evan Oglesby picked off a Boller throw; Derrick Martin had an interception of Kyle Boller as Devard Darling tossed Oglesby to the ground to end the day’s practice; NFL Network was in attendance today.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, Guinness, Orange Crushes and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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