The Ravens were greeted by one of the best if not THE best training camp crowds for a non-intra squad scrimmage in the team’s history estimated at over 11,000 strong. They were treated to a few offensive gems, typical defensive dominance and an overall uneven performance by Cam Cameron’s unit.
Ed Reed was removed from the PUP List and dressed in a red jersey signaling that he could not be hit, interesting since the jersey didn’t stop Reed from delivering a blow or two. To the surprise of most Marshal Yanda participated in practice. His knee rehabilitation seems to be ahead of schedule although Chris Chester remains the starter at right guard for the time being.
Le’Ron McClain is pretty much where he was at this time last year – and that is overweight. In 2008 he proved that he could use training camp to get himself back into shape but accelerating that process can wear down a player by the end of the long season and clearly there were signs of that happening to McClain last January.
Trevor Pryce was taken off the field but the foot injury that he suffered doesn’t appear to be serious and he is expected to return to practice in the very near future…Kelley Washington remains sidelined with the flu…Adam Terry is still on the PUP list as is Yamon Figurs. Their spots on the depth chart are being threatened by O’niel Cousins and Lardarius Webb respectively. Webb’s return capabilities coupled with those of newly acquired Chris Carr could force Figurs off the 53 man roster. If Cousins continues to improve it’s possible although not likely that he could force the Ravens to part ways with the disappointing Terry who has been described by one insider as a “metro-sexual tackle” – not exactly a football term of endearment.
SOME HIGHLIGHTS: Willis McGahee is practicing like a man on a mission and the competition between him and Ray Rice helps the team immensely. Look for both to be a bigger part of the passing game. Each player caught swing/screen passes and parlayed the short tosses into sizeable gains…Marcus Smith is blocking well in support of the run and during the bubble screens that the team seems to be emphasizing thus far. His hands have been anything but sure…Justin Harper meanwhile, seems to find ways to get open. His speed is a bit surprising. He’s a slow starter but seems to have an extra gear on deep routes to help create some separation. He too needs to be more consistent catching the football.
Second year player Biren Ealy who has spent time with the Tennessee Titans made a Larry Fitzgerald like catch of a deep ball thrown by Joe Flacco down the left sideline. Ealy used his size (6’3”) to jump up over Lardarius Webb to haul in the pass and take it in for the score…Ernie Wheelwright used his size to shield Evan Oglesby from a long toss down the left side to haul in a pass…Antwan Barnes used raw speed to blow by a reserve tackle and sack Troy Smith. Smith continued with the play, rolled out and threw downfield but the officials blew the play dead. After some complaining by Smith, Ray Lewis reminded the back-up signal caller that he is wearing a red jersey and if not, Barnes would have taken him down…Steve Hauschka connected from 30, 41 and 46 yards while missing a 36 yarder. This prompted Terrell Suggs to shout, “Bring in No. 7.” Suggs then began humming the Florida State fight song. Graham Gano hit all four FGA’s from the same distances with plenty to spare. This prompted Secondary coach Mark Carrier to look the way of Samari Rolle and say, “FSU Rolle.” Samari replied, “Of course!” Gano was consistently deeper off the tee during kickoff drills.
SOME LOWLIGHTS: Troy Smith was Daniel Cabrera-esque at times, with passes sailing high and wide…The offense struggled with the QB cadence intended to draw the defense offsides. It had the exact opposite effect as linemen as well as receivers committed false starts.