Here's one training camp battle that wasn't too hot at the start:
Nose tackle Terrence Cody vs. veteran Ma'ake Kemoeatu.
But after another strong practice at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Sunday – in which Kemoeatu rotated in with the first-team defense – it appears closer than expected.
"I would say Kemo's pushing for a starting job," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
"He's done that really since training camp started. He's in great shape and he's played extremely well."
Kemoeatu was a longshot to even tryout for the Ravens after sitting out the entire 2010 season. He dropped more than 70 pounds just to get a workout with Baltimore. He was signed, but being able to maintain a spot was no guarantee for the 33 year old.
Kemoeatu still had to stay healthy throughout training camp, continue to get into better football shape and play well along a star-studded defensive line.
He's done all of the above. Kemoeatu said he now feels "physically awesome."
"Listen, when the coaches say good things about you, that's what you want to hear," he said. "I've still got a long road ahead of me as far as working on things to be on the team."
Cody was a full-time starter last year, but can't rely on that to carry over to this season. That said, he's also putting in a lot of work of his own.
The third-year player feels like he's in better shape after getting too light last offseason. Cody's regained his strength and feels he can be a three-down lineman.
"It's always a battle and everybody is working for a spot on the team," Cody said. "Having me and [Kemoeatu] in the middle, it's going to be real good for us."
The first thing Cody said he noticed about Kemoeatu is that he's a hard worker. Cody also studies Kemoeatu's burst off the line of scrimmage and his technique engaging blockers.
Meanwhile, Kemoeatu talked about learning from Haloti Ngata. He's not just trying to become a starter; he's taking notes on how to be an All-Pro.
"Haloti has set a standard of how a Raven defensive lineman should play," Kemoeatu said. "I'm trying to keep up with him."