As the players warmed up yesterday to get ready for the afternoon’s practice session Ed Reed, while under the goal posts closest to the team’s locker room exclaimed, “I hate my job but I love football!”
No doubt, an interesting comment coming from the unpredictable All-World safety.
But make no mistake about it, Reed has had an outstanding training camp and he’s been one of the more enthusiastic participants this summer.
At the end of each practice John Harbaugh calls the team together and delivers a message or more on a variety of team related topics. Yesterday the players were rather spirited as they gathered until Marshal Yanda stepped up to address the squad. The spirit, the buzz seemingly vanished as Yanda spoke, his teammates hanging on every word.
When Yanda finished several of the players shouted, “YANDA!”
I asked John Harbaugh what Yanda shared with the team.
"He said, his words were, ‘Embrace the grind.’ Perfect for training camp, right? Embrace the grind. He talked about ‘physical’ that being the foundation of being a football player and what this football team is all about, and he talked about having fun. It’s a game that we should love. It’s a great game, and we all love it, so even though it’s 105 degrees, or whatever it is, make the most of it and enjoy yourself."
Yanda has stepped into a leadership role and he clearly has had an influence on rookie Kelechi Osemele who continues to take advantage of the reps he’s received with the ones.
“Surprisingly, I’ve been talking to Marshal the most because he played it when he came here as a rookie," Osemele said. "And he’s just been giving me pointers and stuff like that. I’ve been getting the calls from him. He has a lot of experience. So, he’s been helping a lot.”
OTHERS WHO HAVE IMPRESSED…Corey Graham has played lights out during camp. Each day he’s made plays on the ball whether that is in the form of an interception or a batted down pass. This No. 24 has made more plays in 2 weeks than the last No. 24 (Domonique Foxworth) made in his three injury plagued seasons with the team…Albert McClellan is turning heads. He seems to be in better shape and looks more explosive off the edge. Keep an eye out on No. 50 in Atlanta next Thursday…Justin Tucker is creating distance between himself and Billy Cundiff. Granted this is just training camp and Tucker lacks experience but so far he’s been the better kicker. Look for the Ravens to try and manufacture pressure situations for Tucker during the preseason. Something to keep an eye on next Thursday is depth on kick offs. That really hasn’t been on display during camp. Yesterday Cundiff had the day off while Tucker connected on 5 of 6 FGA’s (30, 39, 42, 46, 53) missing only from 60 yards out – just barely.
Joe Flacco has an aura about him that hasn’t been so obvious during past training camps. He’s maturing and that maturation has paved the way to better quarterbacking. For those who thought the uncertainty with his contract would negatively impact his performance (I was one) I’ve got two words for you – “ain’t happening!”…Tyrod Taylor has quietly had a very good camp. Yesterday he delivered arguably the best pass of training camp when he fired a 25-yard rope through congestion into the waiting arms of undrafted free agent Devin Goda (Slippery Rock) for a score…Ed Dickson has been bumped up to the top of the tight end depth charts following Dennis Pitta’s injury and has been making plays and showing much improved hands over 2011.
SOME WHO HAVE DISAPPOINTED…Tandon Doss missed yet another practice which deepens the burgeoning reputation that he’s soft. Ditto for Bernard Pierce…It will be borderline shocking if Chykie Brown makes the team. He’s been turned and twisted by receivers who will be all too happy to land on the practice squad.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS…Jerry Rosburg was seen getting in the grill of Sergio Kindle during special teams drills. Rosburg wanted Kindle to do more than just go through the motions. That said Kindle has had a very good camp…Omar Brown had a nice pick off a deflected pass from Taylor to TE Bruce Figgins…Speaking of tight ends, it was rather strange to see Billy Bajema corral a Taylor pass for a big gain during brief live scrimmaging. What was strange? He was wearing No. 86.
John Harbaugh shared that when Bryant McKinnie passed his conditioning test on Friday he dove across the finish line. In a strange way I feel sorry for the SportExe Momentum Turf… Can someone please tell the NFL Network, ESPN and Sirius/XM NFL Radio that there are more teams than just the Jets in the NFL?
Tomorrow I’ll be posting the results of situational down and distance plays.
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