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Today was the final OTA prior to the start of Summer Camp.  The team will not reconvene until July 27 and the atmosphere around One Winning Drive today was much like that of the last day of school.  There was excitement, laughter and playfulness to go along with a slight lack of focus.  Summer vacations and the calm before the camp storm may have been on the mind of several players today.

Brian Billick was generally pleased with the 15 OTA’s including today’s practice.  “The ground work has been laid.  They’ve got to take hold of the next five weeks.  This is just the starting point for them.  They’ve got a lot to do over the next five weeks.  That curve still has to be going up both physically and mentally.  It’s a little tougher but you’ve got to be a professional when you’re away from one another to maintain that integrity.  But this group knows what’s in front of it.”

Billick went on to explain that he likes the team’s balance but that he’ll always have concerns about depth and the lack of experience in some areas.  He was complimentary of the personnel moves during the offseason.  “I like the personalities.  I think the additions we’ve made not only from a physical standpoint but from a personality way – character wise, has been outstanding!”

The focus group today for this report is the secondary.  And while not a ton of action took place on the field, the individual unit drills performed by the DB’s were interesting, most of which were intended to improve ball skills.  Two DB’s would run parallel down the sideline, one simulating the receiver with the defender positioned in front and closer to the QB.  The intent of the drill was to create jump ball situations and attack the ball while in flight.

Another interesting drill had all DB’s in a circle.  Each would throw the football to another and the idea was not to telegraph who was the intended target of the next pass.  It seemed very similar to the old school yard game of “hot potato.”

B.J. Sams ran exclusively with the DB unit but interestingly, did not run with the defense at all nor did he participate in any of the one-on-one drills between receivers and DB’s.  More on that later…

These were the one-on-one matchups from today with the winner in bold:

Offense Defense Comments
Devard Darling Evan Oglesby Darling scores on a fly (McNair)
Tres Moses Corey Ivy Moses gains 15 on out to left sideline (Boller)
Romby Bryant Duvol Thompson Bryant hauls in 15 yard crossing route between hash marks (Boller)
Derrick Mason Zach Norton Intentionally under thrown pass, gain of 20…Fassel applauds Mason for selling the deep route to turn Norton’s back away from QB (McNair)
Brian Bratton Derrick Martin Martin forces pass out of bounds (Boller)
Travis LaTendresse B.J. Ward Well covered; nice throw for 12 (McNair)
Rufus Skillern Ronnie Prude 12 yard out to right sideline (Boller)
Daniel Wilcox Jamaine Winborne Winborne with the PD (Boller)
Darling Oglesby Darling momentarily open…bad pass from McNair (McNair)
Moses David Pittman Moses easily beats Pittman to the sideline (McNair)
Bryant Thompson Bryant beats Thompson on fly…great throw from Boller but the connection breaks down.  Boller asks Bryant if he lost the ball because there seemed to be a slight bit of hesitation down field.
Brian Bratton Derrick Martin Martin covers well, pass out of bounds (Boller)
Travis LaTendresse Corey Ivy Arena footballer wins another battle

During 11 on 11 drills, a few noteworthy items….Adalius Thomas was back at practice today.  A member of the PR staff said that AD had been detained from practice earlier in the week in order to take care of a few details for his upcoming charity golf outing….The Ravens featured a split backfield from the shotgun with P.J. Daniels and Daniel Wilcox flanked to the right and left of Steve McNair in a 3 receiver set.  They ran off right tackle out of that formation….On the very next play, McNair behind some very fine protection drilled a pass between defenders about 18 yards downfield to Romby Bryant.  One play later, Adam Terry working in the LT slot in Jonathan Ogden’s absence, was singled out for effectively picking up Dan Cody off the edge, giving McNair a chance to complete the pass to Daniel Wilcox….Cody seemed to be favoring his right knee a bit on the sidelines while rotating in and out of special teams units.  He did work through it but it remains to be seen whether he can restore that pre-injury burst he showcased in Oklahoma this season.  That will be something to watch in August.

The practice wrapped up with the ball placed on the 50 yard line and 1:00 left in the game with no timeouts and needing a touchdown.  The drill featured Kyle Boller guiding what was the first team offense today.  Here’s how the drive unfolded:

1-10-50: Boller rifles a pass to Bratton; dropped at the 25 between the hash marks

2-10-50: Boller’s 10 yard out pass to Mason overthrown

3-10-50: Boller to Bryant for 20 yards between hash marks

1-10-30: Boller fakes dirting the ball and lofts a deep pass to Mason; pass ruled out of bounds

2-10-30: Illegal contact against the defense **

1-10-25: Pass to Bryant, incomplete

2-10-25: Incomplete pass

3-10-25: Pass completed to Bratton to the 10 as time runs out.

** On the play, Boller completed a pass that looked like it could have been ruled a touchdown but Billick ruled him out of bounds.  Mason injured his leg on the play.

Other observations….Absentees included: Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Trevor Pryce, Chris McAlister, Jamal Lewis, Samari Rolle, Jonathan Ogden and Terrell Suggs….Mike Flynn was held out again (knee) as was Clarence Moore….both Moore (groin) and Mark Clayton (hamstring) were on the field but neither participated in drills….Leo Araguz nailed a couple of punts both with and into the wind.  Sam Koch’s only attempt was a low, knuckling liner that benefited from a favorable bounce and rolled 60 yards….On his last pass catch attempt, Derrick Mason hurt himself while extending.  He limped off the field on his own and towards the locker room.  One source indicated that precautionary X-rays may have been done on Mason’s left ankle and the injury is not believed to be serious….Don’t be surprised if B.J. Sams is on the bubble.  There will be a ton of competition for roster spots and those that can contribute in more ways than one, will get the nod all things being equal.  Sams being relegated to the return game only places additional pressure on him to clearly be the best return man on the roster….Todd Heap is moving exceptionally well.  With the addition of McNair, the improvement of Darling and the potential of Demetrius Williams to go along with Clayton, J. Lewis and Mason, Heap could be in for a career year….The Ravens open Summer Camp on July 28 with two practices, one at 10:30 and another at 4:00. 

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts "The Fanimal" also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi


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