There are marked differences between Training Camp 2012 and this year’s camp. Obviously the roster turnover paves the way to a team with a new look. The defense has many new faces and they are working towards becoming a cohesive unit.
But the differences don’t end there.
Offensively the team has better tempo. They are developing a sense of urgency that hasn’t been seen on the field in the past and certainly not in practice. It’s an approach that Joe Flacco embraces.
And it’s with Flacco, more than the new faces and more than the departed ones that the biggest difference exists.
There’s a swagger that the Ravens signal caller carries these days, the byproduct of experience and the unprecedented confidence that arrives on the heels of a Super Bowl MVP. Yet there’s more to this newfound aura that envelops Flacco than the cockiness of a winner.
Back during the days of Cam Cameron, Flacco was asked to carry out the offense. He was to execute the practice plan, the game plan – be an administrator of his offensive coordinator’s brainchild.
These days it’s different. Flacco takes ownership in the offense because he is its co-author. New coordinator Jim Caldwell encourages Flacco’s suggestions. He wants to understand what the players think will work and then prepare a plan together. The paint by numbers set has been moved aside in favor of a blank canvas, upon which Caldwell AND Flacco apply their brushstrokes.
The timing of this transformation couldn’t be better because with Flacco’s input and ownership of the offense there comes greater responsibility and that paves the way to a more demonstrative leader. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing from the big man wearing the red No. 5 during Training Camp 2013.
OTHER NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
While on the topic of leadership, it was interesting to see Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil take the practice field together. Each will be looked upon to become bigger leaders, a role that Dumervil filled well while a member of the Denver Broncos…An interesting drill practiced by the quarterbacks and implemented by Caldwell involves a bad snap from the center out of the shotgun and the QB’s are then asked to pick up the errant snap and release it out in the flat as quickly as possible…
Naturally we all hope that Joe Flacco remains a beacon of health and continues his consecutive games played streak (now at 93) indefinitely. But like most NFL teams, the Ravens would struggle mightily if they were forced to lean on backup Tyrod Taylor. He’s a great athlete, just not an NFL quarterback. His passes are often either batted down or they simply flutter. Yesterday Jacoby Jones torched CB Marc Anthony on a 9-route but could not complete the play given the wounded duck that Taylor delivered…Early in practice Lardarius Webb worked with the punt return teams. Coming off a torn ACL injury one would think that the Ravens best corner would not even be considered for punt return duties. Perhaps this is in response to losing Asa Jackson (banned substances violation) for the first half of the season. The Ravens may want to keep No. 2 WR Jones fresh. Look for Deonte Thompson to get some looks as the kick returner, just as he did last season.
Daryl Smith and Arthur Brown ran with the 1’s on Friday. Brown is very quick in short spaces, particularly when he fully understands his assignment. As he becomes more accustomed to Dean Pees’ defense, that quickness will be more apparent, more consistently. Smith looks like a pretty decent blitzer from the inside – not quite as explosive as the departed Dannell Ellerbe but with a stouter defensive front, Smith will have an opportunity to make impactful plays.
During one sequence Joe Flacco completed 7 consecutive passes, most of the short to intermediate variety. Several players were on the receiving end including: Torrey Smith (clearly a Flacco favorite…pun intended); Jacoby Jones; Tandon Doss; LaQuan Williams; and Billy Bajema…This camp more so than camps in the past receivers down on the depth chart are getting reps with Flacco. This supports the notion shared by Tandon Doss during his interview with RSR’s Kris Jones that Jim Caldwell will rotate receivers based upon game situations.
During red zone scrimmaging Joe Flacco threw a beautiful fade to the right sideline in the end zone to Torrey Smith with tight coverage from Chykie Brown. Smith couldn’t finish the play and dropped the would be touchdown…Smith was more successful and slants and crosses in the red zone although James Ihedigbo made a nice break on one such play and nearly picked off the Flacco toss…The offensive line provide nice protection during scrimmaging although Flacco was once sacked by Suggs and Caleb Hanie was sacked by Adrian Hamilton courtesy of some great coverage downfield.
Tomorrow’s practice is free and open to the public and here’s the 411:
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Annapolis, MD)
When: Sunday, Aug. 4
Practice Start Time: 5 p.m.
Gates Open: 3:30 p.m.
Parking: Lots open at 1 p.m. and are available for cold tailgating.
- $10 for cars and $25 for buses
- Parking may be purchased via NavySports.com
If Navy lots become full, nearby off-site locations are available with stadium shuttles.
Other Details: Baltimore’s Marching Ravens, cheerleaders, official mascot Poe and live mascots Rise and Conquer will be in attendance. The Ravens Team Store will be on-site, and concession stands will be open.
Picture courtesy of The Baltimore Ravens Facebook Page