Jones Failing Conditioning Test A Concern?
Receiver Jacoby Jones was placed on the non-football injury list Monday because he failed the Ravens' conditioning test, according to NFL.com's Albert Breer. The team has not confirmed this news.
Cue all the dancing jokes.
"Jones competed on 'Dancing With The Stars' during the offseason, but apparently did not spend enough time getting in football shape," wrote CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown.
The reality is that Jones only missed one week of Organized Team Activities workouts due to his participation on the show. He was back on the field in May, giving him plenty of time to get his football legs back under him.
So other than becoming an easy target for jokes, does this news represent a concern for Jones, who is currently the leader in the No. 2 receiver competition?
Jones will get another chance to pass the conditioning test today. Players who initially fail the intense series of timed interval runs usually pass it the second go-round. Jones is expected to pass on his second chance.
But I stress the word intense* *when describing the test.
Players have to sprint a total of 900 yards, equating to nine football fields. They start at the goal line and sprint to the 25-yard line and back three times (150 yards). They get a brief rest before repeating it five more times. If a player misses the time limit for just one of the six legs, he fails the whole test.
Each positional group has to run under a certain time limit. For example, offensive linemen must run each sprint under 35 seconds with a 70-second break between each. Receivers' times are much faster. Check out our own Ryan Mink, a 172-pound "athlete," struggle to pass the offensive lineman test that a guy like 360-pound Bryant McKinnie has to run.
While Jones is expected to pass the test on his second try, his initial result is not a positive impression as he tries to prove he can handle the No. 2 receiver role, "a job he didn't handle well as a member of the Houston Texans," wrote NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal.
Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, David Reed and LaQuan Williams are expected to challenge Jones for the starting role. While the Ravens already said Jones currently holds the edge, they also stressed that the competition could take it from him.
"Jones had a huge postseason during the Ravens' Super Bowl run, but a starting job will not be handed to him," Brown wrote. "Failing the conditioning test before training camp will not send a positive opening training camp message to the Ravens' coaching staff."
Added Yahoo! Sports blogger Frank Schwab: "Jones' failed test will blow over soon. The Ravens just need to hope it's in no way a sign of things to come."
Do The Ravens Have Enough Talent At WR?
All offseason, analysts have said the Ravens will decide whether they need to bring in a veteran receiver after the team gets a good look at the talent currently on the roster.
Asked yesterday whether the receiver corps has enough talent to avoid bringing in a veteran, Head Coach John Harbaugh told The Baltimore Sun:
"I would say that I like [the wide receiver group] a lot. I think we have more than enough talent right here to be successful. I expect those guys to play extremely well."
Harbaugh added that if there is any move that will make the team better, the Ravens won't hesitate to pull the trigger.
"We're always looking for the best players, but we don't see any move out there now that is going to make us better," he told Jeff Zrebiec. "If we did, we would do it. If we do something, it will be because the right player is there that fits us. But that move is not imminent right now."
Ray Lewis Compared To Charles Barkley
How good can retired Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis be in his new role as an ESPN NFL analyst?
Not surprisingly, Lewis has all the confidence in the world.
"I honestly think the sky is the limit for me," he told Richard Deitsch of The MMQB.
Outsiders share Lewis' optimism. Deitsch asked television insiders what they thought about Lewis' potential, and the response he received was that Lewis could do for the NFL what Charles Barkley did for NBA telecasts.
Lewis will travel to the Monday Night Football site each week to serve as an analyst for "Monday Night Countdown." He'll also appear on eight "Sunday NFL Countdown" pregame shows during the season.
As a pregame analyst, Lewis will have to provide opinion and commentary on both football performance and off-the-field issues after enduring such scrutiny during his 17-year NFL career. He has served as a mentor to numerous players during that time, and developed deep friendships.
How will Lewis feel about criticizing players, knowing it could cost him relationships?
"I would come from the most honest point ever," Lewis said. "Period. I don't care if it is wrong or right. If you are supposed to catch the pass, catch the pass. But it is a human mistake and not the end of the world. Everyone has ups and downs, flaws, wrongs and rights. I'm not there to judge. I'm there to pay attention and give insight on the game and on each player and coach."
Lewis added that he will be cautious when talking about individual off-the-field cases.
"What you are comfortable with is what you know," he said. "If you don't know something, don't speak about it. Bad rumors and bad messages get out when people identify with something they have no clue about. You can only speak from true experience."
Decisions on PUP Candidates Coming
The Ravens announced that linebacker Jameel McClain and guard Marshal Yanda will start camp on the active physically unable to perform (PUP) list, but there was no word on some of the other candidates.
Lardarius Webb (knee), Haloti Ngata (knee) and Terrence Cody (hip) were some of the others rehabbing from injury or offseason procedures.
The Ravens have until Thursday at the first full-team practice to decide whether to put them on the PUP, per The Sun's Aaron Wilson.
"Haloti Ngata (knee) should be a full go for Thursday's full-team practice," tweeted Zrebiec. "Ngata passed his conditioning test and team pleased where he's at."
As for Yanda, Zrebiec reports he's made steady progress from offseason rotator cuff surgery, and isn't a long-term concern. McClain is "a wait-and-see" as he "still not 100 percent healed" from a* *spinal cord contusion.
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