CAMP NOTES: Day 2

Camp Notes CAMP NOTES: Day 2

Posted in Camp Notes
Print this article

It’s interesting to observe the differences between Brian Billick’s camp and that of John Harbaugh.  Besides the obvious differences like tempo, intensity, structure, organization and physicality the two coaches use different individual and unit drills to prepare players for the season ahead.
 
One of the more interesting drills implemented by Harbaugh’s staff features the offensive linemen (usually 3 at a time) pitted against 3 defenders which normally consists of 2 defensive linemen and a linebacker.  The drill is intended to have the opposing sides win the battle for the line of scrimmage – to re-establish it.  The offense wants to push the line forward while the defenders seek to move it into the offensive backfield.  These drills are entertaining and usually take place prior to full team activities.
 
One of the highlights of this drill yesterday featured Haloti Ngata flattening UDFA guard Adam Kraus. Linebackers coach Greg Mattison is also very engaged and animated during this drill. Fans visiting McDaniel College may want to check out the field opposite the grandstands first before finding a comfortable spot in the sideline bleacher seats. 
 
Yesterday morning’s practice took place without Ray Lewis, Derrick Mason, Ed Reed, Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle, all attending the funeral of Rolle’s father who suddenly passed last week.  All were transported along with Ozzie Newsome by Steve Bisciotti’s private jet.
 
Le’Ron McClain returned to practice as did Fabian Washington, both removed from the non-football injury list. David Pittman was in shorts and practice jersey and seen running through some rehabilitation drills with trainer Bill Tessendorf.  Mr. Softee we hear is looking for a new spokesperson.  Pittman is a natural for the job.  P.J. Daniels was held out of practice with what is believed to be an upper body or arm injury.  The Ravens are reluctant to disclose some specific injuries unless mandated by the league. During camp they are not.
 
Troy Smith, Kyle Boller and Joe Flacco took turns chucking the rock during one on one drills.  Here’s how it played out…
 
One-on-One Drills

 
Receiver
Defender
Advantage
Comments
BOLLER
 
 
 
Clayton
Walker
Walker
Clayton lost perfectly thrown deep ball in the sun
Harper
Ivy
Harper
 
Figurs
Washington
Figurs
 
Reed
Prude
Reed
 
Carter
Phillips
Carter
 
Smith
Walker
Walker
Jumped slant route
McCants
Ivy
McCants
 
Willis
Washington
Washington
 
Clayton
Martin
Martin
 
Reed
Phillips
Reed
 
Figurs
Walker
Figurs           
Touchdown
Carter
Leonhard
Leonhard
Throw was wide
FLACCO
 
 
 
Wheelwright
Landry
Wheelwright
 
McCants
Ivy
Ivy       
McCants dropped throw
Smith
Washington
Smith
 
Harper
Prude
Harper
Harper used slap-rip move to get by Prude; Flacco hit Harper in stride for TD
Willis
Martin
Willis
 
Reed
Phillips
Phillips
Pass overthrown
Figurs
Washington
Washington
Deep pass overthrown
SMITH
 
 
 
Wheelwright
Landry
Landry
overthrown
Carter
Ivy
Ivy
catchable high throw dropped
Clayton
Walker
Clayton
Great double move created very ample separation
McCants
Prude
Prude
McCants beat Prude deep for TD but dropped the pass

 
 
The two most impressive performances during the AM session on Saturday were those of Ray Rice and Derrick Martin.  During what is sometimes described as the 4 minute drill (one that assumes the offense has a comfortable lead and their job is simply to kill the clock) Ray Rice regularly made positive yardage despite the entire defense committed to stopping the run.  Tom Zbikowski knifed through regularly during the drill as a run blitzing linebacker.  He was more comfortable with the assignment as practice continued.  Initially he showed some hesitancy. 
 
But back to Rice, he makes the most of limited real estate and has a knack for getting small and moving forward.  On one play during the 4 minute drill, Rice converted a third and 4 with a 6 yard run between Ben Grubbs and Jason Brown.  Besides his success during this drill, Rice demonstrates solid open field awareness on screens, is sure-handed and follows his blockers well.  He’s an obvious student of the game judging from his sound fundamentals.
 
Derrick Martin was equally as impressive on the defensive side.  With McAlister and Rolle both missing from practice, Martin’s snap count has increased and he is making the best of the opportunity.  He showed no hesitancy to lock up with the bigger receivers like Marcus Smith and Justin Harper and has shown good hip movement enabling him to stay with the shiftier receivers like Mark Clayton.  Martin jumped a slant route run by recently acquired receiver Darnerien McCants (Redskins) to intercept a Troy Smith pass.  Smith locked in on McCants far too early and that may be due to his unfamiliarity with the new WR.
 
Martin covered free agent receiver Kerry Reed on one deep pass and blanketed the former Michigan State Spartan.  Martin appeared a bit frustrated when the pass fell to the ground thinking that he should have intercepted.  Martin then kicked at the ball which triggered a brief tongue lashing from veteran Corey Ivy, reminding Martin that such a tantrum can cost the team 15 yards.
 
OTHER OBSERVATIONS
 
Offense: No one has really stepped up as the prohibitive leader in the competition for starting quarterback.  Each had good moments and each had their share of poor decisions.  Troy Smith hit Justin Harper for a 45 yard score beating Ronnie Prude on the play.  Harper used his size advantage to beat Prude to the ball.  Smith’s accuracy was inconsistent throughout the session.
 
Kyle Boller was mistake free in terms of turnovers and has shown much improved accuracy on swing passes to the running backs, a frequently employed play by offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.  He hit Le’Ron McClain dead in stride circling out to the right.  The pass picked up 10 yards and a first down.  Boller struggled with accuracy on deep throws and at times was nowhere near the mark on deep passes down the sidelines as his tosses sailed out of bounds far too frequently. 
 
Joe Flacco started his day of full team activities fumbling the direct snap from center.  As is the case often with the unflappable Flacco, he maintained his composure and had a decent practice.  He still holds on to the ball a bit too long and probably puts a little too much heat on his short throws but he is learning.  During this practice he showed patience and didn’t force throws and also demonstrated some nimbleness, once getting outside the pocket and sprinting 10 yards towards the sidelines just beyond the stick for a first down.  Flacco showed nice touch when he hit TE Aaron Walker just beyond the reach of Prescott Burgess.  Walker was streaking downfield between the hash marks and picked up about 20 yards on the play.  On a deep route down the right sideline, Flacco intentionally under threw a pass to Mark Clayton who was covered well to the deep side by Martin.  Unfortunately the QB and WR were not on the same page as the ball fell short and Clayton continued to push towards the end zone.  Flacco made the right read.
 
Flacco for the second consecutive morning session ran the 2:00 offense.  Here’s a look at how that played out…
 
Two Minute Offense

 
Play
Comments
2-10-40 (1:10)
Flacco incomplete intended for McGahee
3-10-40
Flacco to Heap, 15 yards (Scott)
1-10-45
Incomplete to Heap
2-10-45
Flacco to Clayton on drag underneath, 15 yards (Timeout)
1-10-30 (0:35)
Pass to Heap incomplete
2-10-30
Pass to Clayton, 6 yards
3-4-24
Hard count fails to draw defense offsides; Harper and Figurs move early, 5 yard penalty
3-9-29
Jump ball right corner to Harper, incomplete v. all out blitz.
 

Marcus Smith and Justin Harper continue to play well at receiver although the catch of the day belonged to Matt Willis.  Willis at almost the identical spot where Walker made his catch dove while extending his right arm and snared the Flacco pass with one hand while maintaining possession throughout his fall.  There may be reason to be concerned with Mark Clayton.  He just doesn’t seem to be asserting himself.  Yamon Figurs has surprisingly made nice catches in traffic extending his hands above his head to haul in passes.  Newly acquired Darnerien McCants was the day’s Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran.  He regularly dropped passes.  Ernie Wheelwright had a solid day.
 
Ray Rice has outplayed Willis McGahee as the veteran is working himself into football shape.  There are a few quiet concerns swirling around McDaniel about McGahee and a slow start is possible if he doesn’t ratchet up his focus soon.  That said, McGahee had a decent showing on Saturday.  Cory Ross is competing as is Allen Patrick.  If P.J. Daniels misses too much time, his days as a Raven could be numbered.
 
Todd Heap continues to look smooth while Walker and Adam Bergen are fighting to climb the depth charts as Daniel Wilcox remains sidelined with no return date in sight.  Jared Gaither played decently in full team scrimmaging prior to injuring his left ankle (not believed to be serious) as did Adam Terry who kept the speedy Antwan Barnes away from the quarterback on a couple of plays.  Terry was warned at least once by the officials on hand for early movement.  He later repeated the infraction although no flag was thrown.  The interior first team line looks stout while the reserves need some work.  On one four down sequence featuring a line left to right of Oniel Cousins, David Hale, Chris Chester, Adrien Clarke and Mike Kracalik, the unit surrendered 2 big sacks.
 
Defense: Kelly Gregg was singled out by coaches and mates for his disruptive play in the trenches.  He dropped Cory Ross for a one yard loss on a third and four run.  Antwan Barnes showcased his excellent speed and even when he failed to reach the quarterback he relentlessly pursued the play downfield.  He was a handful for all the right tackles.  Prescott Burgess was active and around the ball although he had an up and down day.  He stopped McGahee for a gain of one on third and three but later missed a similar tackle on Ray Rice after correctly diagnosing the play…Bart Scott tipped a Flacco pass intended for Walker.  The ball caromed downfield and was intercepted by Fabian Washington…Tom Zbikowski was more noticeable on Saturday.  After showing some hesitancy on a run blitz early in practice, he was much more committed to his assignment once blowing by T Joe Reitz for a sack.  Ronnie Prude was toast all morning and if he doesn’t turn things around quickly, No. 27 will be a vacated number available to another defender.
 
Special teams: Matt Stover connected on all FG attempts hitting from 32, 41, 44 and 48 yards out in succession.  Piotr Czech made his attempts from 31, 45 and 49 but missed on a 41 yard attempt.  That said he hit more line drives on Saturday than Juan Castro has since the Orioles acquired him…Neither kicker was able to consistently reach the goal line on kickoffs.  Ray Rice and Yamon Figurs were impressive on returns as they alternated with Mark Clayton.

Facebook Comments
Share This  
Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) 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

Close

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

Get More Information