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7/30 Notebook


The Ravens missed over 20 players from Wednesday's morning practice, and while that number included a select group of the "Over 30 Club" that gets every third day off, it is evident that head coach John Harbaugh's desire for a tough training camp hit the mark.

Now, Harbaugh is looking to switch gears slightly, keeping the fast pace and intensity while offering his team more chances to rest.

"I think we got through the first three days, which are the most high-rep days," he said. "[We] pushed through them really well, had good practices. In the fourth practice, the fourth day in the morning, we tacked another tough one on there.

"The idea is to get their legs right away. Let's get 'em, let's break them down and start building them back up now."

Officially kicking off training camp with all veterans last Friday, the Ravens have held two spirited sessions each day until Monday afternoon's special teams practice.

Previous to that, the physical nature of each day, coupled with players' desire to prove themselves in front of a new coaching staff, led to more than a few skirmishes on the field. But as the summer heat bears down in Westminster, Md., those fights have become a rarity.

According to defensive tackle Trevor Pryce, that is a direct sign of a weary –and wary – squad.

"Everybody's tough, then the sun comes and beats up on you, and everybody's starting to back up a little bit," he explained with a laugh. "At first, you know, everybody was excited, but now it's like, 'Are you kidding me? We've got 20 more plays dude. Break it up!' I don't think anyone cares about it anymore. You shove him back and just say, 'Aww, I'll get him next time.'"

Moving forward, the Ravens will operate on a schedule that has a special teams practice penciled in for the latter half of every other day. On non-special teams days, the afternoon practice is expected to be shortened (for example, Tuesday's late workout only lasted one hour).

Tapering the workload doesn't mean the Ravens will get less work done, however.

Harbaugh wants the team to work more efficiently, keeping a quickened tempo that defined the first week of camp and making the most out of every moment.

"The important thing, what we're all about as a program – what's important now?" the coach said. "We talked to the guys about that. It's not a slogan. It's a mindset. I think we're training a mindset right now, and the mindset is this: You take care of business today.

"This morning's practice was important, and our guys did a great job of taking care of it. This afternoon's practice is next. Next meeting is next. It's one play at a time. It's one series at a time. It's one quarter at a time. It's one game a time."

Here are some more notes, observations and injury updates from Wednesday's practices, the second of which focused on special teams:

  • The Over 30 Club included linebackers Ray Lewis and Brendon Ayanbadejo, cornerbacks Corey Ivy and Chris McAlister, wideout Derrick Mason, and defensive tackles Trevor Pryce and Kelly Gregg.

Injured players not practicing were safety Ed Reed (shoulder), wideouts Demetrius Williams (Achilles) and Patrick Carter (unknown), tight end Daniel Wilcox (foot) and Aaron Walker (unknown), linebackers Dan Cody (foot) and Edgar Jones (unknown), defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (knee) and J'Vonne Parker (unknown), running backs P.J. Daniels (cramps) and Cory Ross (unknown), and offensive tackles Adam Terry (ankle) and Jared Gaither (ankle).

The Ravens were also without cornerback Samari Rolle, who is still dealing with the recent death of his father, and linebacker Terrell Suggs. Suggs has yet to sign his one-year franchise tender.

  • Perhaps the biggest news and need in Baltimore is another offensive tackle. With Terry and Gaither out, the Ravens have turned to Mike Kracalik at left tackle and Oniel Cousins on the right.

Kracalik, who has played in only four games his entire career, and the rookie Cousins are largely inexperienced, and behind them sit Joe Reitz, a former college basketball player, and rookie free agent Sean Dumford.

Harbaugh said after practice that general manager Ozzie Newsome was working diligently to bring in more tackles to try out, and some big bodies with unfamiliar faces have been sighted around the Best Western in Westminster.

"Ozzie and [director of pro personnel] George [Kokinis] have been working on that for a couple of days, and they've got some good ideas on that," Harbaugh said of the tackle issue.

Harbaugh later went further, explaining, "We're working on it right now, so it's going to happen quickly. To explain a little bit, it would already be done except there's a physical issue. They've got to take their physicals, and they've got to be cleared to play."

  • Kyle Boller was under center with the first unit Wednesday. His best pass may have been a lob to tight end Todd Heap for 25 yards. When Heap drew rookie linebacker Tavares Gooden in coverage, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron shouted, "You've got what you want!" to Boller.
  • Quarterback Troy Smith threw an interception looking for rookie receiver Justin Harper about 15 yards downfield. When 29-year-old linebacker Robert McCune leapt for the ball, his defensive teammates yelled, "Thirty and over!"

Smith was up and down, throwing another interception later in practice. But, he also looked sharp leading the offense down the field from his own 20-yard line to a Matt Stover field goal. On the drive, he made three first downs.

  • Running back Ray Rice – 5-foot-8, 205 pounds – uncharacteristically went through a hole running upright, causing Cameron to remind him to get his shoulders down.
  • After fumbling a snap and running out of bounds, quarterback Joe Flacco redeemed himself by hitting Rice through a tiny window between the safety and cornerback on the next play.
  • Reitz was slow to get up and needed medical attention later in the morning session. The injury seemed to be a left arm or shoulder, but the team has not disclosed any information regarding it.
  • During the special teams practice, coordinator Jerry Rosburg and assistant Marwan Maalouf had four areas set up that groups of special teamers rotated to. One had the players bursting through tackling dummies and diving on a padded mat to block a tossed soccer ball.

Another got players to practice their technique for stretching for a kick by leaning forward on one leg to grasp the back of a folding chair. Later, players had to work on the proper way to lunge for a soccer ball coming off a kicker's foot.

Finally, a drill had them running forward crouched low under a bar to pick up a rolled towel, simulating rushing an attempt off the edge.

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