Training Camp Q&A – You ask, we answer

Camp Notes Training Camp Q&A – You ask, we answer

Posted in Camp Notes
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As fans, we know how much of a disappointment it is to have
training camp officially leave Westminster. Since day one, 24×7 has taken pride
in being a fan site and we try to deliver the content that people like us –
fans – want to see.  

At 24×7, we want to put Ravens fans in control of what we
report and talk about. Throughout training camp, we will do our best to address
your questions submitted through our message board and Facebook page. It is our
goal to put together a post like this at least once – but hopefully twice – per
week to give you an even more in-depth look at camp.

It’s impossible for us to answer every question but we’ll do
our best to update you on what seems to be the most popular topics being
discussed by fans. If you’d like to ask us a question, please submit it through
our Facebook page or message board thread.

Thank you for reading, thank you for your time and most of
all, thanks for being fans! Let’s get to the questions…

Has Torrey Smith made
improvements on his route running and catching passes with his hands and not
his body? Is he also developing into more of a solid route runner versus just 9
(go) routes?
WickedSolo (Message Board)

Torrey Smith has looked tremendous so far at camp and an
argument could be made that he is the best receiver on the field. Smith’s
routes have been crisp and unlike in training camp last season, Smith looks to
be the second-round talent the Ravens originally drafted. His hands look great,
his catches are quiet and the ball isn’t popping off his pads. Before practice
starts, Smith is usually one of a handful of players religiously working with
the jugs machine from a close distance.

In regards to the type of routes he runs, that is up to Cam
Cameron and his play calling.

From what you’ve seen
so far, who should be the kicker when the Ravens take the field on Week 1?

Howard Patterson (Facebook)

Howard, it’s too close to call right now. From what I’ve
seen, both kickers have looked great in camp and have been flawless during team
drills. There is no doubt that Justin Tucker has more leg strength than Billy
Cundiff (the rookie kicked a 57-yarder earlier this week) while also being just
as accurate.

But remember, these are very low-pressure situations.

Cundiff has never struggled kicking in practice; these kicks
are low pressure and the kicker will experience a minimal “rush.” For this
competition to have a winner, it’ll have to be determined during actual game
situations when there is more pressure than ever.

Unfortunately for the Ravens, they will have to make their
decision based on preseason games – which have some pressure, but still not the
type these guys will face on Sundays in the fall and winter.

My only hope is the Ravens don’t base their winner off of
the financial investment they’ve made into Cundiff so far. May the best man
win!

How has Flacco’s deep
ball accuracy been, is he reading progressions better? – BigPlayReceiver
(Message Board)

Joe Flacco made plenty of comments this offseason in regards
to his confidence in himself and he seems prepared to elevate the level of his
game. The ball is flying out of his hands very quickly and Flacco has also been
accurate down the field in addition to basically everywhere else on the field.

To be more particular in regards to your question, Torrey
Smith and Deonte’ Thompson have been getting plenty of deep passes thrown their
way and more often than not, Flacco’s placement has been very good.  

Justifiably, Flacco has been receiving praise for his play
on the field by both his teammates and coaches. This is definitely not an
example of them just blowing smoke in order to support their quarterback.

How do Paul Kruger
and Courtney Upshaw look in their respective positions? – PaintBall Guy
(Message Board)

Terrell Suggs’ injury is going to do our opponents many
favors throughout the season because our pass rush would cause nightmares if
Paul Kruger lined up opposite of the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.

Kruger has added a lot of muscle and looks to be in peak
physical condition coming into this season. He is extremely quick off of the
edge and even though most of the practices have been limited contact, he has still
impressed, recording several “sacks”. With or without Suggs opposite of him,
Kruger will demand plenty of attention from opposing offensive lines this
season.

Courtney Upshaw is transitioning well from a higher-level
collegiate program to the NFL. Fans will see soon enough, he is not the same
player as Suggs and it’s unfair to Upshaw to even expect him to be even half
the player #55 is this season.

Upshaw also needs to lose weight – that’s not saying he’s
out of shape, he’s just a thick person. Just as Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain
dropped weight to be faster, the same needs to happen with Upshaw. I would say
Upshaw currently weights somewhere in the 270-275 neighborhood and needs to
still drop about 10 pounds in my opinion to be effective in pass rush.

The offensive line is
the biggest concern to me. Do they look old and slow? Are they coming together
as a unit? Is Joe Flacco going to die back there? – Chris Berney (Facebook)

The offensive line is definitely the biggest question mark
after the first week of practice. Bryant McKinnie’s absence has brought even
more attention to a unit with many question marks in it as camp began.

They don’t look old and slow even though they have some
older players participating with the first team. Bobbie Williams was a great
find to help fill in at left guard and looks to be penciled in as the starter
for the foreseeable future.

The “old and slow” guys have actually stayed healthier than
the younger players. Jah Reid is still injured and only watches practice on the
sideline wearing a protective sleeve on his calf. Second-round pick Kelechi
Osemele just started practicing on Friday and has been limited in the amount of
reps he has taken.

And no, Flacco probably won’t die out there. It’s still
early in camp and it’s very rare in the NFL to have a set starting offensive
line while going into training camp. Time will not only heal some of our
injured players but it will also dictate who wins the starting job in each
position.

Can we get the
rundown on Tommy Streeter and Deonte’ Thompson? – Raven Scallywag (Message
Board)

Even though he’s undrafted, Deonte’ Thompson has the leg up
on Tommy Streeter so far. Streeter was attractive because of his physical
attributes (6-5”) but besides just being born with a good football body, he
hasn’t done much else.

My buddy Glenn Younes from 105.7TheFan often refers to
Streeter having “frying pan hands” and it’s a pretty accurate description.
Streeter is a project and has been looking better than he did during OTA’s and
minicamp but I say he is a practice squad player at best and I’d be shocked if
he made the 53-man roster. The best way to describe him is “raw” and I’ve been
hard-pressed to find anyone else watching practices to disagree with that
statement.

Thompson is extremely fast and has pretty good hands as
well. From what I’ve heard, he was always a great practice player while he was
at Florida but rarely brought that same performance to the field on Saturdays.
Thompson is definitely someone like LaQuan Williams was last year that will
have to perform well during preseason games for a chance to make the active
roster.

What is the latest
with Sergio Kindle? – GOTA (Message Board)

It’s now or never for Sergio Kindle and he realizes that. I
spoke with Kindle during OTA’s and he informed me that he is dedicating so much
of his time to study the playbook and eliminate distractions from his life.

Kindle looks good and has been more explosive than some
other outside linebackers during routine drills. Even though I thought he was
in good shape, it appears that he is still trying to drop a few pounds by
wearing long sleeves each practice.

It’s been hard to get a full assessment on Kindle because
the Ravens have only been in pads for one practice but he appears to be better
than in years past. As it will for many players, it’ll come down to preseason
game performance for Kindle. If the Ravens can get anything out of him this
season, it’ll be a bonus considering the output so far from the former
second-round pick.

How does Bernard
Pierce look? – leachisabeast (Message Board)

The battle of Bernard Pierce, Damien Berry and Anthony Allen
will be a good one. Bobby Rainey has also been a running back with great change
of direction and hasn’t received much notice.

Every back has looked good and they’re only really going to
stand out during days in pads. So far there has only been one day to judge them
and nothing extremely memorable happened. We’ll have to wait until another day
to see.

Pierce is my choice to play behind Rice because he is bigger
and physical. When it’s all said and done, I think Berry will beat out Allen
based off his quick change in direction and added muscle.

I’d like to talk
about the “Big Boys” at tight end. Do Bruce Figgins (272 lbs.) and Davon Drew
(260 lbs.) show they can solidify a blocking tight end requirement? – Rxdxx
(Message Board)

Let’s put it this way, neither Bruce Figgins nor Davon Drew
are going to supplant Dennis Pitta or Ed Dickson on the depth chart and for the
most part will have little impact on this team. There is a huge sacrifice in
playmaking ability the Ravens will have to concede for one of these other two
guys to play purely for blocking.

Figgins is one of the slowest players I’ve seen out on the
field and is far from the downfield threat that Dickson is. Pitta has lined up
with the first team more often than not and has made tremendous catches.

Drew’s time in Baltimore – and elsewhere – may be up because
he has already spent the maximum amount of seasons on the practice squad. If he
hasn’t been able to crack a 53-man roster by this point, it’s time to put that
degree from East Carolina to use elsewhere.

As far as blocking, we really haven’t seen enough padded
practices yet to make a fair assessment. But again, based on the other areas of
lack in the games of those guys, they will have a tough time cracking the
53-man.

Please continue to
submit questions and we’ll try to address them by Wednesday of this week. Once
again, if you’d like to submit a question, either leave it on our message board
thread
, send it to us on Facebook or I’ll answer some of them quicker through
my Twitter account.

For more immediate information, follow me on Twitter @RavenManiac
.

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Kris Jones

About Kris Jones

Kris - or "Goob" as he's widely known - has turned an obsession into a career. As a media member by day and super fan by night, he reports from the Under Armour Performance Center twice per week and brings Ravens news from a fan's perspective. His popular YouTube series Goobvision propelled his career and notoriety amongst Ravens fans, even helping him win the 2010 nationwide DIRECTV Ultimate Displaced Fan contest. He's been featured on shows such as The Jim Rome Show, ProFootballTalk Live, The Sirius XM Blitz with Rich Gannon and Adam Schein, Sirius XM's MadDog Radio, The Michael Irvin Show, Tony Bruno Show, Two Live Stews and FoxSports.com to name a few (or is that a lot?). He's caught a touchdown pass from Warren Moon during a flag football game and hates the Pittsburgh Steelers more than anyone else on the face of the earth. Twitter: RavenManiac  More from Kris Jones

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