Ray Lewis, a man who is never short for words, had nothing
but good things to say about his new teammate Courtney Upshaw after the Ravens
first mandatory mini-camp on Tuesday.
“I just love his motor,” Lewis said.
At his introductory press conference, Upshaw told me he had
never spoken with Ray Lewis, but was looking forward to the first time they
would meet during camp. That day finally came yesterday as Lewis attended his
first mini-camp of the season.
A month ago, Upshaw was wrapping up his first practices in
the NFL and since then has been making a big impression on not only his coaches
but also on his teammates. Said Lewis after watching him for just one practice:
“He’s a kid that just loves football. Any time you can get a
rookie to just grab certain things, trust me, forget the mental errors, because
that’s just life. I don’t care what year you’re in, you’re going to make mental
errors, but that way he approaches the game, his speed towards the game, and
the way he flies around to the football, you really appreciate watching somebody
After watching Upshaw in practice you can tell that his natural
physicality will allow him to make an easier transition into the NFL than most
players. Mini-camp is more about the mental preparation to learn the playbook
and assignments than it is what actually happens on the field.
“I feel I’m improving in every aspect of whatever they want
me to do,” Upshaw told the media as the Ravens wrapped up voluntary mini-camp
“I feel I’m very comfortable with pass drops, the more and
more reps I get, the better I get at it.”
Fans will focus heavily on Upshaw and fellow linebacker Paul
Kruger, as they attempt to replace some of the production lost with the
Achilles injury to Terrell Suggs.
Lewis was asked about his reaction when he heard of the news
about Suggs’ injury. “The first thing when I saw Steve [Bisciotti] and John
[Harbaugh], before any great blessing you’re going to go through a storm,
that’s just life. Every team is going to go through it sooner or later. You
look at the Super Bowl champs last year, the Giants; all the dangers came at
the beginning of the year, but everyone got healthy at the end of the year.”
The opportunity has presented itself for a lot of young guys
to step up and there is no doubt that Upshaw will draw most of the attention.
Fortunately for Upshaw, he seems to be transitioning extremely well and already
received a vote of confidence from the best judge he can ask for at the