Flacco Is Feeling Better With 'Arrow Pointing Up'
With Ravens injuries continuing to mount, this report is like a ray of sunshine.
Franchise quarterback Joe Flacco, who has not practiced at training camp because of back stiffness, is currently feeling better, with the "arrow [pointing] up," a source told ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio.
Florio's not the only one spreading the positive news.
"The constant talk about whether the Ravens will be signing a quarterback other than a no-name camp arm has sparked speculation that starter Joe Flacco's back problem is worse than believed. So far, it's not," wrote Florio.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday there is no update on whether the team will sign Colin Kaepernick, or any other quarterback. Asked how much Flacco's timetable plays a role in that decision, Harbaugh said "it's all linked" and "everything" is considered.
If Florio and La Canfora's reports are correct, Ravens fans will be happy to know that a healthy Flacco, not a lingering back issue, will be part of that equation.
"That's the best news for a Ravens team suddenly so beleaguered by injuries that they should consider adding to their medical staff not an orthopedist but an exorcist," wrote Florio. "It's unclear when Flacco will be back on the practice field, but it makes sense for the Ravens to be as careful as they can be with him."
UPDATE: Harbaugh confirmed at Wednesday's podium session that Flacco is progressing well. "All indication have been positive," he said.
Ravens Not Turning a Blind Eye to Injuries
During Tuesday's podium session, ESPN's Jamison Hensley said he's never seen a run of injuries like this in the 18 years he's covered training camps. He asked Harbaugh, "Do you ever think, 'What's going on here?'"
Harbaugh quickly responded "No. I think we're going to be fine. We have a lot of good players. We're going to play football games. We're the Ravens, and we're going to be a really good team."
With a new season-ending injury happening almost every day since camp opened (and even before), fans on social media and radio call-in shows have repeatedly asked about the Ravens' training program and if it should be tweaked.
"The Ravens revamped their training program over the last two offseasons in response to having a combined 39 players on injured reserve in 2014 and 2015," wrote WNST's Luke Jones. "They're not turning a blind eye to this."
In February, the Ravens hired Steve Saunders to be the team's director of performance, and Ryan Mink outlined all the changes he's implemented. Honestly, I've never heard players rave so much about a trainer.
Eric Weddle, Joe Flacco, Lardarius Webb were among the early believers in the program. And for the first time in Terrell Suggs' 15-year career, he stayed in Baltimore to train during the offseason, all because of Saunders.
"He's been the best thing for me," Suggs said. "In Year 15, Steve Saunders is the best thing to happen to me. I'm glad he was here. I was hearing about the things they were doing during the season while they were playing and I was like, 'You know what? After I have surgery on my arm, I'm going to give it a shot.'
"From Day One, he beat the [expletive] out me. I'm not going to lie to you. He had to make sure I wasn't on my way to the airport flying back to Arizona. He called me and was like, 'Sizz, just give it a chance. It's going to get better.' And I said, 'No, I'm still here, coach.' Working out with Steve and the rest of the guys was really good. I'm glad I did it."
So, what's up with all the injuries then?
Thoughts on Gillmore, Offensive Struggles, Sleepers and Undrafted Rookies
Jones offered a dozen thoughts on the first few days of training camp, each in 50 words or less. Here are a few:
- "Crockett Gillmore had lofty expectations in the final year of his rookie contract, making his latest injury a disappointment for a player who showed much promise in 2015. Assuming he doesn't make a miraculous return this season, he will have missed 31 games over the last three campaigns."
- "The offense has definitely fared poorly with Joe Flacco sidelined, but let's not shortchange the defense through all the criticism for Ryan Mallett and company. The collective quarterback play has often looked inept, but this Baltimore defense has much potential. The truth lies somewhere in the middle."
- "The award for biggest change in body type goes to Matt Judon, who looks 20 pounds lighter than he did as a rookie. Aiming to be the strong-side outside linebacker, Judon dropped weight over the summer to be better in coverage. He's looked the part in the first few practices." - "Don't sleep on Matt Skura, who is a reserve center and has filled in for Marshal Yanda during full-team drills. After spending last season on the practice squad, the Duke product has a big opportunity with John Urschel retired and Nico Siragusa now out for the year." - "Rookie free agents to watch in the preseason include defensive end Patrick Ricard and cornerback Jaylen Hill as well as [Tim] White. It wouldn't shock me to see Ricard become the next undrafted defensive lineman to stick, but we still have a long way to go."
- "The award for biggest change in body type goes to Matt Judon, who looks 20 pounds lighter than he did as a rookie. Aiming to be the strong-side outside linebacker, Judon dropped weight over the summer to be better in coverage. He's looked the part in the first few practices."
- "Don't sleep on Matt Skura, who is a reserve center and has filled in for Marshal Yanda during full-team drills. After spending last season on the practice squad, the Duke product has a big opportunity with John Urschel retired and Nico Siragusa now out for the year."
- "Rookie free agents to watch in the preseason include defensive end Patrick Ricard and cornerback Jaylen Hill as well as [Tim] White. It wouldn't shock me to see Ricard become the next undrafted defensive lineman to stick, but we still have a long way to go."
Overheard at Practice
In his training camp notes from Tuesday's practice, Russell Street Report's Ken McKusick overheard a couple exchanges on the field.
After Siragusa sent a shotgun snap high into the air to quarterback Dustin Vaughan, safety Eric Weddle yelled out, "We look like the Bad News Bears out there, offense!"
Later, second-year linebacker Kamalei Correa didn't haul in a tipped ball from defensive tackle Willie Henry for an interception. That prompted Suggs to yell, "You didn't want to be great, 51. You just wanted to be good."
Wide receiver/returner Michael Campanaro returned to practice after coming off the physically unable to perform list (toe), and when he caught a pass, The Baltimore Sun's Edward Lee heard Suggs joke, "Who's the new guy?"
- Ravens came in at No. 29 in a list ranking the NFL's top offensive trios (starting quarterback, running back and top wide receiver. "Flacco's magical four-game stretch of early 2013 is growing faint in the rearview mirror, obscured by inconsistency and losing records in three of the four ensuing seasons," wrote Dave Dameshek. "No Kenneth Dixon means West will get the early-down touches ... but watch out for Danny Woodhead ultimately playing the larger role." [NFL.com]
- "Unusual sight: Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, missed twice from 49 yards. On back-to-back kicks, Tucker hit the right upright and then missed wide right. Tucker remains one of the Ravens' least concerns," wrote Hensley. "The unanimous first-team All-Pro kicker was 38 of 39 last season, and he has only missed two kicks inside 40 yards over the last three years." [ESPN]