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The Baltimore Ravens kick off their 13th training camp at McDaniel College with two practices (8:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.) on Tuesday, July 22, and break camp on Friday, Aug. 15. Ravens rookies, quarterbacks and injured veteran players will report to the Best Western Hotel (451 WMC Drive) on Monday, July 21, and then take part in four practices before all veterans arrive Wednesday, July 23.
On Thursday, July 24, the Ravens will hold an administrative day that is closed to the media and public. The first full-squad practices open to the public and media are scheduled for Friday, July 25, at 8:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.
The Ravens have scheduled 43 practices over their 26-day camp. All sessions are open to the media and public, except on July 24 (administrative day), Aug. 6 (pre-game walk-through), and Aug. 15 (pre-game walk-through/camp breaks). On Tuesday, July 29, the Ravens will hold their annual Suite Holders and Sponsors Day during the morning session. This practice is closed to the general public but remains open to media.
Baltimore opens the preseason at New England on Thursday, Aug. 7, and then returns to M&T Bank Stadium to host Minnesota on Saturday, Aug. 16. The Ravens then travel to St. Louis for a Saturday matchup vs. the Rams (Aug. 23), before wrapping up the preseason at home against Atlanta on Thursday, Aug. 28.
Coming off a difficult and injury-riddled 2007 campaign, the Ravens look to bounce back from their 5-11 season under the guidance of first-year coach John Harbaugh. The third head coach in franchise history, Harbaugh has compiled an impressive coaching team led by three highly-respected coordinators: Cam Cameron (offensive), Jerry Rosburg (special teams) and Rex Ryan (defensive).
â€œWeâ€™ve had an outstanding offseason program,â€ Harbaugh stated. â€œWe are really excited to take the next step at McDaniel College. We like the fact that so many fans come to our practices. That will add another level of excitement to our time out there.â€
One season removed from a 13-3 record and AFC North crown in 2006, the Ravens possess a mixture of veteran talent and youth-infused promise that should help them battle one of the NFLâ€™s toughest schedules. Returning 19 of 22 starters â€“ including all 11 on defense â€“ Baltimore plays eight games against 2007 playoff teams. This lineup includes a road contest against the defending Super Bowl champion Giants on Nov. 16, and tilts against Pittsburgh (twice), Dallas, Washington, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Tennessee.
Baltimore will play two nationally-televised games in 2008: at Pittsburgh on Monday, Sept. 29 (ESPN), and at Dallas on Saturday, Dec. 20 (NFL Network). Three of the Ravensâ€™ first four regular-season games are against division foes. After opening the season at home versus Cincinnati (Sept. 7), Baltimore then travels to Houston (Sept. 14) before back-to-back matchups against Cleveland (Sept. 21) and at Pittsburgh (Sept. 29).
Though theyâ€™ll be without the services of 11-time Pro Bowl T Jonathan Ogden and four-time Pro Bowl QB Steve McNair (retirements), the Ravens return three Pro Bowlers from last season: S Ed Reed, LB Ray Lewis and RB Willis McGahee. Two other players who earned first-alternate honors also return: OLB Terrell Suggs and ST Gary Stills. Complementing this core of 2007 Pro Bowlers are G Jason Brown, TE Todd Heap, NT Kelly Gregg, DT Haloti Ngata, DT Trevor Pryce, CB Chris McAlister, CB Samari Rolle, S Dawan Landry and 2007 All-Rookie Team performers G Ben Grubbs and WR/RS Yamon Figurs. Additionally, the Ravens acquired Pro Bowl special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo in free agency. Top 2008 draft choice Joe Flacco (first round, 18th overall), a quarterback from Delaware, will battle veterans Kyle Boller and Troy Smith for the starting spot under center.