Ding! Round 2 of my '08 training camp blog is underway.
So before we head north to battle Bill Belichick and Co., take a look at what's been sizzling under the limelight…
We're 16 days deep into camp. Of those, there have been 15 where the media has had access to our players and coaches for interviews. We've been covered by quite a few entities… From nationals like ESPN and Sports Illustrated to locals such as the Baltimore Sun and WBAL radio, it's fair to say that our PR team has facilitated hundreds of interviews (seriously, I estimate over 300).
And that's a good thing, because there's been plenty to cover (e.g. John Harbaugh's first season, the QB competition, our rookies' emergence, etc.). These storylines have produced insightful coverage and, most importantly, provided our fans the info they crave.
That being said, I thought it'd be cool to share a few local stories fans might have missed. With all the coverage that exists these days, it's hard to catch everything credible that's written about the Ravens. So in case they slipped by, below are links to several feature articles (in alphabetical order by author), that in my opinion, have stood out:
Ray Lewis!(/team/roster/ray-lewis/1c6d5ed3-fe49-4a89-a6b5-9e358e906ae7/ "Ray Lewis") Defies Age in Middle of Ravens' DefenseDave Ginsburg – Associated Press
A Vested Interest for Ravens Pryce
Ken Murray – Baltimore* Sun*
Ravens Plucked Leader From Ranks in Harbaugh
Camille Powell – Washington* Post*
Off and Running for Ravens Rice
Mike Preston – Baltimore* Sun*
Nakamura a Football Magnet
Aaron Wilson – Carroll County Times
NOTE THE QUOTE
Trevor Pryce on non-football ventures: "I am doing something more causal, something that has a future. Movies and television aren't going anywhere."
Insight:Many fans know that while playing in Denver, Trevor started his own record label called Outlook Music Co. What most people don't know is that he recently sold the company and has turned his attention to Tinseltown.
Pryce, who has become a "novice" screenwriter in his spare time, told me last week that Sony Pictures recently purchased a script from him that's slated to become a movie later next year. Though he's not at liberty to discuss the film's plot just yet, he did reveal that it's a light comedy geared towards family viewing. Additionally, Pryce says he has several other projects in motion, including a musical cartoon with Disney.
Let me say this about Trevor Pryce: He is one of the most gifted people I've encountered in the NFL. Not only is he a monster on the field, but he's incredibly talented off it. The guy is a quote machine (reporters love him). He's a musician who can play several instruments. He's a savvy businessman. And, he's creative enough to write movie scripts! We're not just talking this-could-be-fun-so-I'll-give-it-a-shot movie scripts. This apparently is eye-catching content that production companies have latched on to.
NUMBERS TO RAVE ABOUT
1,000Pounds of pasta the Ravens consume at training camp on a weekly basis. The Ravens also consume 700 pounds of watermelon, 630 pounds of potatoes and 360 pounds of steak each week.
450Average pairs of cleats the Ravens go through during training camp, or roughly five pairs per player.
8Games against 2007 playoff teams Baltimore plays in 2008, tied for most in the NFL. The Ravens also play 12 contests against clubs who earned records of .500 or better in '07 (also tying for most). In a sharp contrast, the Patriots – our first preseason opponent – only have four games vs. '07 playoff teams and just five against teams that were .500 or better.
After Tuesday's morning session, I struck up a conversation with Evan Habeeb, a 24-year-old fan sporting a Joe Flacco jersey. Habeeb, who was attending his fourth training camp practice this year, displayed an obvious passion for the Ravens. He was also well-informed and eager to express his viewpoints on several subjects. Impressed with his knowledge, I asked him a few on-the-record questions. Here's what he had to say:
In addition to the quarterback battle, what other position are you watching closely during camp?"It's always nice to see the wide receivers and cornerbacks compete. I think we really need some depth at wide receiver this year, so I've been watching that group closely. Seeing [Marcus] Smith, [Justin] Harper and even Matt Willis step up has been encouraging. It's been a good battle and exciting to watch."
In your opinion, what is this strongest, most secure position on this team?"I have to say linebacker. We are just stacked there. Tavares [Gooden] has been huge as a rookie. He brings a lot to that position."
What are your impressions of head coach John Harbaugh so far?"I think he's pretty hard-nosed. It seems like he's working everybody really hard – you can tell that by some of the injuries – but it's good to see that effort. It's tough to really tell by just watching [practice]. You don't know where he is, because he doesn't stand out like coach [Brian] Billick did. I do think Billick yelled more. Still, it seems that [Harbaugh] is pushing them pretty hard. I'm a fan of change, and even though I always liked Billick, I like the change we've brought in."
Which player are you most looking forward to watching this season?"Whoever is starting at quarterback. I am a Flacco fan and pushing for that, but to me, Boller looked the best today. Still, whoever steps up at quarterback, that's who I'll be watching."
OK, you're in the stands here at camp and coach Harbaugh calls you down to the field. He says you can suit up and go in for one play at the position of your choice… What do you choose and why?"I would play strong safety. I like being able to see what's going on in front of me rather than behind me. I'd want to evaluate the field and react. I'd also like to light somebody up like Dawan Landry does. At my size, though, I probably wouldn't be able to. But, it'd be fun to try."
Thanks for reading this edition of Insight to the Limelight. Until next time…