Editor's note: I promised to share some personal news today, so here goes … It is with bittersweet feelings that I'm announcing that I'm leaving the Ravens after 13 years (my hands are shaking just typing that). I started LFW nine years ago and have been writing it ever since, so I figured I'd share a few of my thoughts in this column as this will be my last entry of thousands. I know you're here for the football, however, so I'll get to my news in the final section before quick hits below for anyone that may be interested.
Ravens Mum on Quarterback Rotation for Preseason Opener, But We've Got Predictions
We made it!
Baltimore's mood now that the offseason is officially coming to a close with the preseason opener and Hall of Fame game Thursday night:
As my colleague John Eisenberg wrote yesterday, this may be the most anticipated preseason in Ravens history and that's entirely because of the quarterback situation.
So, duh, that's what everybody wants to know about. How much of each quarterback will we see when the Ravens travel to Canton to take on the Chicago Bears?
Head Coach John Harbaugh has that answer, but he's not sharing that with us.
"We have that set," he said. "I never really talk about that. We just go do it. But we have the quarterback rotation set, and then we'll organize the rest of it in the next day or two. They'll be some guys who won't play in that game, probably you might guess the guys who haven't practiced as much that first week."
That leaves us having to rely on reporters' predictions, and from a big-picture standpoint, just know that very few of the starters are expected to see the field, and for those that do, they won't stay for long.
As such, fans will likely have to wait to see the healthy and as-sharp-as-ever Joe Flacco that you've been hearing about from training camp. But that's OK, because everyone is anxiously anticipating their first look at No. 32 overall pick Lamar Jackson, and see how former No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III performs after a year out of the league.
Here are the best guesses of how much each will play from two reporters that closely cover the team.
If you expand that theme to other positions, you'll likely see similar rotations.
For example, you may have to wait get your first look at wide receiver Michael Crabtree and maybe even Willie Snead IV and John "Smokey" Brown. Instead you'll get a big dose of guys like Breshad Perriman (his second preseason game of his four-year career), Tim White, Jordan Lasley, Jaleel Scott, etc.
At tight end, Mark Andrews just missed his seventh practice, so he's unlikely to play, but fellow rookie Hayden Hurst could get a decent amount of action as he acclimates to the NFL.
At running back, instead of watching Alex Collins and Buck Allen giving a one-two punch, you'll probably get a lot of the three undrafted rookies you've been hearing about trying to make the team. With Kenneth Dixon injured and missing his fourth consecutive practice Tuesday with a reported hamstring injury, the young guys will get even more time.
Get ready to see other rookies like safety DeShon Elliott (not Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson), tackle Orlando Brown Jr. (not Ronnie Stanley) and inside linebacker Kenny Young (not C.J. Mosley). Other young players trying to take the next step will also get a lot of time, including outside linebacker Tim Williams, cornerback Maurice Canady, and defensive ends Bronson Kaufusi and Chris Wormley.
Heck, even kicker Justin Tucker will likely see less time.
Anxious Jackson Out to Prove He's a Quarterback; Humbled RGIII Hoping to Win a Job, and Joe Cool Is Chillin'
For the final podium session with reporters before Thursday night's game, the Ravens public relations staff hooked the media up with interviews with Jackson and Griffin, the two main stars heading into the game.
Listening to the two quarterbacks was really a special experience, and the fact that this game is a massive milestone in their careers and/or could have a major impact on their futures, wasn't lost on these two young men.
I appreciated the raw honesty both displayed in front of cameras. Also, each guy has a specific goal they want to accomplish before their time on the field is up.
Jackson admitted that he'll have "butterflies" and is "anxious," even though it's "not a real game, but, you know, it counts for me."
"I'm a quarterback. That's the first thing I want to show off," Jackson said. "Just show the growth, from college to my new chapter of life."
"You have to run the show, and to see [Jackson] run the show with confidence and get things right would be the main thing for him," Harbaugh said. "After that, play football and let's see what happens."
Meanwhile, Griffin was introspective about his big moment, and anyone with children should share Griffin's journey with them as he's an excellent example of how to overcome major adversity, which is especially impressive since he was once on top of the NFL world.
"Robert Griffin III acknowledged the frustration as he sat around last fall for a phone call that never came. Just six seasons after winning the Heisman Trophy and being the No. 2 overall draft pick, he was out of football," wrote Press Box's Bo Smolka. "Griffin tried to stay physically sharp and mentally focused, and he was rewarded when the Ravens signed him to a one-year deal in April.
"A couple of weeks later, though, the Ravens drafted electrifying -- and fellow Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback -- Lamar Jackson in the first round, casting uncertainty on Griffin's future once again. But rather than fret, Griffin has welcomed the chance to compete and to counsel Jackson even while recognizing that Jackson's development could ultimately cost Griffin his job."
Perhaps my favorite quote from Griffin was about putting team above self, which is especially impressive given how his future is on the line. He was asked about helping and mentoring Jackson, who Griffin calls a little brother, even if it means that he doesn't win a spot on the roster.
"I'm not going to try to cheat a guy to beat a guy," Griffin said. "I'm not going to try to cheat you and not tell you something and not help you to try to win a spot. We're all about the team here."
Flacco didn't speak at the podium, as he isn't expected to see much, if any, time on the field. But he had another stellar day at practice (see below), and his family was on hand to see it.
You can tell that the guys in the quarterbacks room, while competitive, seem to be enjoying working with each other.
What's Going on With Veteran Cornerback Bashaud Breeland
It's been four days since the Ravens reportedly hosted veteran free-agent corner Bashaud Breeland at the Under Armour Performance Center, and we haven't heard anything since.
Cornerback is not a big need for the Ravens. In fact, it might be one of the most talented and deep positions on the roster. But people want to know what Breeland's decision will be. In addition to Baltimore, he's also reportedly made free-agent visits to Kansas City, Indianapolis and Cleveland.
Is there any news on the situation?
"No. My guess is he's not happy w/financial offers he's getting from all these teams so he's still waiting," Zrebiec tweeted.
Breeland already signed a deal in March with the Carolina Panthers that was reportedly worth $24 million over three years, but the Panthers terminated the deal upon finding an infected cut on his foot during his physical.
One would surmise that Breeland would like to get an offer somewhere in that ballpark, but the money doled out in August is usually not as lucrative as March. Then again, free agents like Breeland are not usually available in August either.
I guess we'll just have to wait to see what he decides …
Rookie Punter/Kicker Kaare Vedvik Is No Fluke
I can't wait to see where punter/kicker Kaare Vedvik ends up in the league.
With Sam Koch, Tucker and their mighty, reliable legs in town, there isn't room for Vedvik on Baltimore's roster. But the former Norwegian soccer player appears to be the real deal.
In Tuesday's training camp practice, Vedvik shared punts with Koch and also took on all the field goal kicks. He missed from 43 and 60 yards out, but converted from 19, 33, 38, 51 and, yes, 63 yards.
Tuesday Practice Highlights
More good news coming from the Ravens passing game Tuesday, along with a few other practice notes from reporters …
- "The offense got off to a good start Tuesday morning and ended up with six touchdowns," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Edward Lee. "The second play of a six-on-seven drill had quarterback Joe Flacco pump-faking before lofting a throw to wide receiver Michael Crabtree in the end zone, and quarterback Josh Woodrum ended the exercise by connecting with wide receiver Tim White on a deep route along the right sideline."
- "Look out below!" added Lee. "The team ended practice by asking the quarterbacks to throw the ball out of bounds to stop the clock. Flacco landed his ball before the stands and over a row of children waiting for autographs. Jackson's throw went into the stands, prompting one fan to remark, 'I don't know who that is throwing, but he's got to stop!' Finally, Griffin bounced his pass off the roof covering the stands."
- "Bronson Kaufusi touched down Jackson for a sack. On the next play, he maintained good containment on a naked roll right, but Jackson threw a short completion," wrote Russell Street Report's Ken McKusick. "Kamalei Correa maintained backside containment and took down Jordan Lasley for a big loss on a reverse. … Jimmy Smith had stride-for-stride, left-sideline coverage of Andre Levrone. After the ball fell incomplete, a fan yelled, 'He's baaack!'"
After 13 Years, I'm Sad to Say I'm Leaving the Ravens
I still remember it like it was yesterday.
A little more than nine years ago, I was pregnant with my first child and I told my boss, Sr. Vice President of Digital Media and Broadcasting Michelle Andres, that I would be leaving the Ravens.
A small miracle happened (for me, at least) and there was a threat of a player lockout with the negotiations of a new CBA coming down the pike. Ravens President Dick Cass put a hiring freeze on the organization out of fear that games wouldn't be played. That was my "in." From then on, the Ravens let me do the bulk of my work from home so I could be near my family.
I'll never forget Michelle telling me Dick's response when she relayed to him my request to work from home. He said, "I like the idea of young mothers being able to extend their careers with us."
A life-changing decision for me.
My role would have to be changed, and I asked Michelle if she'd give me a crack at writing. It was always my dream, but I didn't have a ton of experience. She asked, "What will you write about?"
"I'll figure it out," I replied.
A few months later, "Late for Work" was born.
I've been writing this column every weekday since, and I've enjoyed it more than you can ever know. Thank you for letting me muse each morning about the Ravens. Thank you to reporters who do such a good job covering the team, and allowing me to pull your reports and opinions together to tell a story.
I've enjoyed other work behind the scenes, including setting a content budget for the website with Garrett Downing, Ryan Mink and John Eisenberg. I've enjoyed editing thousands of their stories. I've enjoyed debating and analyzing the team on "Unscripted." I enjoyed putting together "Man of the Crowd" and sharing an intimate side of the Harbaugh family.
That chapter of my life is coming to a close, as my husband, four children and I embark on a new adventure in Columbus, Ohio (I hope to get enemy intel on the two AFC North rivals out there for the Ravens, lol). I'll still be close by on Twitter following and commenting on the team that I love – the team that has given me more than I could ever ask. I've lived my dream both personally and professionally the last 13 years, and I couldn't be more grateful to the first-class organization and people that gave me the opportunity.