It wasn’t Westminster, but 200 lucky Ravens fans received an invite to watch training camp at the Ravens practice facility in Owings Mills. Today marked the first official time the Ravens have practiced as a team for the 2012 season. The Under Armour Performance Center donned a few extra tents on the sidelines which accompanied cheering fans for some of their favorite Ravens.
Players donned shells, helmets and shorts in a scortching 101 degree afternoon and the intensity of practice definitely increased as 37 players on the field will not find their way onto the active Ravens roster.
Here are the notable items from practice today:
After being paid a $500,000 roster bonus by the Ravens and in debt after defaulting on a $4 million “lockout loan,” left tackle Bryant McKinney wasn’t on the field today.
After practice, coach Harbaugh addressed the media and said a representative for McKinney reached out to the Ravens to let them know McKinney was dealing with a personal issue. Harbaugh wouldn’t elaborate on specifics. Even though it’s not official, it seems the Ravens are about to move on from the financial and weight troubled left tackle.
As for a replacement at left tackle, Harbaugh said, “Until further notice, Michael Oher is our left tackle.”
With Oher moving to left tackle, it frees up the right side, which seems to be a wide-open race. It seems the Ravens have been high on Ramon Harewood but he has been injury prone and even left practice today with an ankle injury.
Inside the tackles, first team members included Bobbie Williams at left guard, Matt Birk at center and Marshall Yanda at right guard.
Practice was filled with many spectacular grabs from the wide receiving corps. Former Maryland wide receivers Torrey Smith and LaQuan Williams both looked great and made tremendous catches, which brought cheers from the crowd. Unfortunately, both players also took time off practice leaving with what appeared to be cramps.
Jacoby Jones has been a heavily debated player because of his inconsistencies catching the ball and making game changing errors. Even though it was only one practice, Jones looked fantastic, which is what the Ravens were gambling on when they signed him. The former Houston Texan is extremely fast and has had good hands as of late – he even beat Lardarius Webb on a deep pass for a gain of nearly 30 yards.
Making his return to the practice field, Tandon Doss looked very polished and stood out amongst some of the lower tier receivers fighting for a roster spot. His health has been questioned but Doss will be someone to keep an eye on.
The Ravens haven’t carried three quarterbacks on their active roster since 2009 and this season doesn’t seem to be any different. Joe Flacco has looked extremely polished and has a high level of confidence while on the field. There is clearly a difference in Flacco’s rapport with players he is familiar with versus some of the practice bodies the Ravens have brought in for training camp.
Tyrod Taylor has performed well and has utilized his quickness to avoid potential sacks. With Curtis Painter as his only major competition, I would say Taylor has the early edge to back up Flacco.
Courtney Upshaw lined up against the left tackle in the spot typically occupied by Terrell Suggs. Paul Kruger lined up as the SAM backer but this shouldn’t be looked into that much at this early stage. As they have done during OTA’s and mini-camp, Upshaw has played multiple positions to familiarize himself with the Ravens defense.
Billy Cundiff and Justin Tucker both connected on all of their field goal attempts during live drills. Each kicker connected on three similar field goals from distances ranging from 34 to 45-yards.
There are plenty of other players to talk about but the ones addressed are those who stood out or have notable position battles.
A surprising no-show on the practice field this afternoon was Haloti Ngata. After practice, coach Harbaugh said he tweaked a hamstring during his conditioning test; the team has no plans to rush him back anytime soon.
Rookie second-round pick Kelechi Osemele is supposed to return to practice tomorrow according to coach Harbaugh. Jah Reid should return to practice in a few days, most likely no sooner than after the Ravens off day on Sunday. Both an interesting an ironic development given McKinnie’s situation is the battle at right tackle. Both K.O. and Reid were thought to be in the competitive mix at left guard prior to the signing of Bobbie Williams. Now both could be competing for the starting right tackle position.
Stay tuned to 24×7 for more training camp updates or follow me on Twitter @RavenManiac for constant updates.