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The Ravens wore shells and shorts today as they prepared for their upcoming scrimmage against the Redskins tomorrow. After a day off yesterday, Chris McAlister returned to work and ran through CB agility drills smoothly and efficiently with Dennis Thurman. Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams returned to practice although both participated on a very limited basis. TE Bobby Blizzard, WR Rufus Skillern and CB David Pittman were down for the day nursing injuries as was Dan Cody who sprained ankle ligaments on Thursday. Cody has expressed an interest in participating in tomorrow’s scrimmage but that appears to be in doubt at this point as Cody was seen walking gingerly at McDaniel today. Clarence Moore is still MIA.
Early during practice the receivers and DB’s ran through the popular one on one drill. A partial officiating crew was on hand to assist and to more closely simulate live action. On one play B.J. Ward was flagged for holding, a call that the free spirited safety protested. The protest invited this quip from Brian Billick: “You can bitch about your taxes but you know you are going to pay ‘em.”
The Ravens as usual ran through a variety of situational plays as well as full squad and 7 on 7 drills. Jim Fassel and Rick Neuheisel wore their headsets as Fassel called in plays to the quarterbacks, even those inside the red zone.
The McNair led first ran throught the following plays during full squad action:
1-10-25 Offsides Defense ~ Suggs lined up on the line of scrimmage
1-10-20 McNair to Heap 3 yards
3-02-17 Pass intended for Darling incomplete
1-10-12 Daniels run, no gain
2-10-12 McNair to Mason 7 yards
3-02-05 Pass intended for Wilcox broken up by Ray Lewis
Kyle Boller took over for McNair and led the second offensive unit:
1-10-22 Reverse to Brian Bratton, 6 yards
2-04-16 Musa Smith 8 yard run
1-G-08 Hard Count, False start offense
1-G-13 Pass intended for Quinn Sypniewski, pass dropped, incomplete
2-G-13 Bad snap from Thatcher Szalay, Boller flushed out and throw away, incomplete
3-G-13 Boller to Cory Ross, 10 yards
The Ravens continued through a series of drills and for the most part, they went through the motions. Today was the most lethargic team performance since camp opened leaving both Brian Billick and Jim Fassel frustrated at times. During some of the 7 on 7 drills, the receiving corps had a difficult time hanging on to the football and an even more difficult time carrying out their assignments prompting Billick to shout, “Our receivers don’t have a clue Michael.” Receivers coach Mike Johnson then shuttled Mason and Darling back on to the field. Mason dropped the next pass from Boller.
Romby Bryant was singled out after being out of position and then dropping a pass during a play that broke down. This raised the ire of Offensive Coordinator Jim Fassel: “Don’t quit on the play!” Fassel later exclaimed, “Everything is being evaluated. Get your damn head up and play football!”
Special teams coach Frank Gansz, Jr. also expressed his fair share of frustration when he scolded B.J. Ward during kick return drills. Ward looked a little lazy grabbing the shirt of a kick coverage team player, something that did not escape Gansz: “Don’t grab his shirt B.J. I don’t wanna see that s**t out here!”
Steal away: Both Steve McNair and Kyle Boller were intercepted today. Samari Rolle jumped a route and picked off a McNair pass that would have resulted in 6 the other way. Boller was intercepted on a go route that Corey Ivy had predicted. Ivy ran stride for stride with Brian Bratton and picked off the Boller pass about 40 yards downfield. The spirited Ivy talked smack with his defensive mates afterwards with a ton of “I told you so’s.”
This morning’s practice ended with Ronnie Prude jumping an intermediate out route to the wide side of the field for a pick 6. Boller’s pass was intended for Devard Darling. After the play, a not so happy Jim Fassel chastised Boller for ignoring an open receiver on the short side of the field.
Earlier in the practice, Boller overthrew a wide open Tres Moses in the end zone. Boller wanted Moses to angle towards the back cone but the UDFA from Rutgers was so open there was no need to throw the ball away from pursuit. A fair catch would have worked – Moses was that open!
Other observations: During punt team drills, Sam Koch threw the ball down field instead of punting. All kidding aside, Koch throws a better looking deep ball than Steve McNair. Koch easily gets the ball 50 yards down field. Perhaps the Ravens could put that to use with a gimmick play although similar skills from Zastudil never inspired such trickery from Billick. Koch looks like he’ll be the holder on place kicks as well…Despite a dropped pass in the red zone, Quinn Sypniewski continues to surprise with his pass catching skills. The rookie from Colorado is known more for his blocking skills and was one of Ozzie Newsome’s favorite players in the 2006 NFL Draft…Gary Stills is showing why he is a coveted and highly regarded special teams ace. On kick coverage, his power and movements are reminiscent of a speed pass rusher off the edge. He’s difficult to contain…Keydrick Vincent, Edwin Mulitalo and Haloti Ngata were seen walking off the field together. Vincent announced to anyone within earshot, “That’s a perennial Pro Bowler right there.” Right there was Ngata…The United Cerebral Palsy Foundation was represented today at camp. Several posed with Ravens players and Governor Bob Ehrlich who was on hand for today’s practice. Kyle Boller during the middle of practice ran over to one young man afflicted with the disease and handed him an autographed football – a very touching and classy act from the Ravens’ QB. The young man was extremely moved by the gesture and his obvious joy touched all those who witnessed Boller’s offering…the Ravens chartered a bus today to transport players who planned to pay respects to Jonathan Ogden and his family. Ogden lost his Dad last week and has missed practice to be with his family and make proper arrangements. He is expected back to practice next week.