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Today’s session was the most physical day of camp to date from about the 10:15 AM mark until the conclusion of this morning’s practice which ended at roughly 11:20.  One name was added to the list of players that have been sitting out – Antwan Barnes.  Barnes joined Kelly Gregg, Mike Smith, Justin Green, Ben Grubbs, Mike Kracalik, Dan Cody and Jon Ogden on the sidelines.  Barnes said that his twisted right ankle is the first of this kind for him, an injury suffered in one-on-one drills.  While Barnes is anxious to get going and play against the Redskins on Saturday, he won’t.  The confident rookie explained that the Ravens know what he can do and the setback is only a very minor one.
Injuries are an overriding concern for most clubs and the Ravens are no different.  Today rookie Le’Ron McClain went down with only 10 minutes left in the practice.  The trainers took off McClain’s helmet, jersey and protective accessories seemingly to cool down the promising fullback.  Early indications are that McClain was suffering from leg cramps.
Given the heat this morning (the hottest of all camp sessions thus far) coupled with the intensity of camp, it is no surprise to see a player down with cramps and it is also no surprise that today we witnessed the first skirmish between players. 
During red zone situational plays Mike Anderson went wide right and was taken down for a loss.  As the grounded players began to separate, a scrum broke out.  Players rushed to pull other players away from the fight to put an end to it.  The pile of bodies made it difficult to determine who was involved but one of the last players off the turf was Jarret Johnson who looked menacingly towards the offensive huddle as he stood up.  Last year, Johnson, Gregg and Mike Smith went at it with Jason Brown.
Early on the offense took control during live scrimmaging, particularly in the red zone and on the goal line.  Towards the end of the practice, the defense as has been customary in during the Billick era, shut down the offense. 
Live scrimmaging began with down and distance set at third and one.  Here’s how it went down.
Third & 1

McClain 4 yard run
First down
M. Smith, no gain
Boller to Darling 7 yards
Waggle to the left burns a chippy Ivy who jaws with Darling; Bryant shoves Ivy heading back to the huddle
McClain, no gain
Red Zone Scrimmaging

McNair to Heap, 10 yards
M. Smith, – 3 run (Lewis, Ngata, Johnson on tackle)
McNair – Wilcox, 3 yards (Lewis)
McNair to Mason incomplete, nearly intercepted by McAlister at the back of the end zone
Boller to Bryant incomplete; overthrown pass to wide open Bryant
Boller to Freeman incomplete at goal line; overthrown to open receiver; poor effort on Freeman’s part to extend.
Boller to Darling 9 yards
McClain run, no gain

From the 2

McGahee TD run
In standing up between RG & RT
McNair to Heap TD
Play action pass thrown over Ray Lewis; Lewis pushes Heap out of the end zone; Heap stands up and spikes the ball at Lewis’ feet than hops up on Lewis’ back.
Anderson TD run
In standing up between C & RG
Anderson -2 run
Skirmish after play ensues
Boller to Williams TD
Jump ball pass left over Oglesby
McNair to Mason TD
Back of end zone delivered in a small window; tight coverage from Derrick Martin
Other actions and observations…Yamon Figurs as previously reported has done very little on offense and even during special teams/punt drills today, he did not take any reps along with Cory Ross and B.J. Sams.  Give Sams credit.  He is hustling and out-competing Figurs. We’ll keep a watchful eye on this battle.  Sams nearly picked off a Drew Olson pass filling in as a dime back with the 3rd defensive unit…While it’s still too early to tell given the limited amount of live snaps so far this camp, the interior line appears to be opening up holes and the backs, particularly McGahee and Anderson are getting to them quickly.
Troy Smith continues to see more snaps than Drew Olson…Jarret Johnson is said to be a better defender than Adalius Thomas against the run.  Today Johnson showed that his coverage skills are improving.  During a busted play in 7 on 7 drills, Johnson was stuck with the unenviable task of covering the shifty Mark Clayton.  McNair held on to the ball for a good 6 seconds and Johnson was stride for stride with Clayton.  McNair eventually hit his receiver in the end zone as Clayton managed to get a little separation towards the end line.  Clayton and McNair seem to be working the end line about a third of the way in from the left side line in the end zone quite a bit.
Gerome Sapp has played well through Day 3 and today was no different.  He has been physical up in the box supporting the short passing game and the run.  Today he broke up a deep pass down the middle by McNair to Heap.  The ball caromed and was intercepted by Jamaine Winborne.
Early on the offense had their way with the Ravens defense, something that has hardly been the norm for years at Ravens training camp.  Towards the end of practice, the defense woke up and they were by far the more spirited of the two groups…Wally Williams and Spencer Folau were overheard at the end of practice discussing camp fights such as the one that broke out in today’s practice.  The former Ravens chuckled about how 10 years ago they might be fined if they DIDN’T fight.  Today fines are possible if tempers are too explosive.

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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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