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There is excitement in the air at McDaniel College as the Ravens get ready to kick off their preseason schedule tomorrow night at The Vault. Practices on Monday and Tuesday were a bit flat as the monotony of summer camp began to test the attention span of the players. As Dwan Edwards explained, “It does get boring going up against your teammates every day. They learn your tendencies. [The preseason game] is a good measuring stick to see where you’re at and how your conditioning is and how some of the stuff you are working on out here is paying off.”
Wednesday’s practice was more spirited in anticipation of Friday night’s match up against the New York Giants. Yet the excitement, adrenalin rush and emotion isn’t unique to the Ravens. The Giants too are looking forward to the game, particularly one Giant who up until this year had been a career Raven – namely Will Demps.
"There’s a lot of emotion, this being my first time going back, because I was there for four years and that was my first team," Demps explained. "It is a little bit of a big deal, there’s a bittersweet moment to it. I look at them as the team that gave me a chance. I still have love for ’em. I am going to have the Baltimore Ravens in my heart for the rest of my life because they were the steppingstone to get here."
Other former Ravens are making news as well. According to Pro Football Weekly, former Ravens DT Maake Kemoeatu is rounding into shape (no pun intended) and is beginning to knock offensive linemen backward during team drills. In New Orleans, it looks like Baltimore native Tommy Polley will get the nod as a Saints starter particularly now that incumbent weak side LB Anthony Simmons unexpectedly retired.
Anthony Wright is also making news. Bengals officials have been very pleased with Wright’s performance in camp but recently, the former Ravens backup signal caller had to put his workouts on ice – literally. Apparently Wright is suffering through a throwing arm ailment. “I’m not worried about it. It’s something I’ve had before. A little bicep tendonitis,” said Wright. “I just need to take a couple of days off. I just didn’t want to play half speed today.” Of bigger concern for the Bengals is the recovery of Carson Palmer. If Palmer isn’t ready to go by the opener, the Bengals ailments could reach epidemic proportions if Wright is their man. Is there a cure for offensive tendonitis?
As reported by the Press Box’ Joe Platania, it would appear that Jon Gruden’s workaholic insane work schedule has him a bit edgy these days. Recently a Ravens fan by the name of Ryan Lockett and a few of his friends visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp while sporting Ravens polo shirts. Spotted in the crowd by Bucs’ Mike Alstott (I suppose he was bored at practice too), the barreling fullback pointed the Ravens’ fans out to Gruden, prompting the coach to send security over to Lockett’s crew to determine if they were Ravens scouts (like what scouts attending on the down low would wear Ravens swag?)
Satisfied that they weren’t scouts, security gave Lockett and Company the thumbs up. After further consideration, Gruden was not satisfied. According to Platania security returned to eject the Ravens fans from the premises, stating that "Coach Gruden feels threatened by your presence here." Not only that, security wrote down the plate number of the traveling party’s rental car.
Maybe Brian Billick and the Ravens scouting department should have a little fun with this and play a bit with Gruden’s paranoia. How about an overhead plane carrying a sign reading, “We’re watching Jon! Love, BB”
Pro Football Weekly is reporting that “Gerome Sapp looks to have won the starting safety job opposite Ed Reed in Baltimore.” No he hasn’t. That position is still very much up in the air but at this point, Dawan Landry is seeing more practice snaps with the first team defense than Sapp.
The Bay Area, Dallas/Ft. Worth and now Baltimore/Washington? Ravens officials are quietly championing an effort to have the NFL view Baltimore and Washington as a single television market. You think Steve Bisciotti has been breaking bread lately with Peter Angelos?
Such a move could help the team develop a new fan base for those on the borders between Baltimore and DC. And while such a move could help the Ravens, it might also force viewers here in the Land of Pleasant Living to watch undesirable Redskins games. Forgive me but at this very moment…I’m having disturbing flashbacks to Sundays when those fans dressed as pigs were on my TV screen while its speakers regurgitated the names of Theismann, Manley and Riggins. This could get ugly. Thankfully there’s NFL Ticket in a sports pub near you.
Some in these parts would like to see the Ravens make a play for Jerry Porter. Two words folks: “Ain’t Happenin’!” First Porter brings a little baggage in the character department. But that aside, Al Davis seems to be sticking it to the pouting receiver. "If someone offers us the [draft] choice we want or a representative player and the $4 million bonus he took from us this year, we’ll respond," Owner Al Davis said. "They got to get it done. [Porter’s] agent has known this since the draft [in April]. Before the draft, he knew what he had to do. He couldn’t get it done."
Word is the draft player Davis wants is a No. 1.
And finally, the Steelers all held hands and went to the movies yesterday instead of practicing. Apparently Camp Director Bill Cowher woke up in a good mood and when his players showed up on the field for practice, Cowher cancelled it and opted instead for a matinee.
"I was the first one to grab my helmet, hit the stairs and get on the bus before he changed his mind," linebacker Clark Haggans said. No truth to the rumor that while on the bus the players broke out in song: “Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me…B-I-L…L C-O…W-H-E-R!”