Mike Wallace Surprised By Difficulty Of Ravens' Conditioning Test


Wide receiver Mike Wallace knew he was getting a strong-armed quarterback and an aggressive offensive scheme when he signed in Baltimore.

He didn't know he was getting the Ravens' brutal conditioning test too.

Wallace made headlines after missing the first day of training camp practice because he didn't pass his conditioning test. On Sunday, following his best practice yet, Wallace explained that he was surprised by the difficulty of the test.

"Anybody who comes here, I advise them that they better be ready for that test," Wallace said with a laugh. "That's got to be the toughest conditioning test in the league.

"You think, 'Alright, I've been working out four or five days a week. I'm going to breeze this test.' You get out there and it's a lot tougher on the legs."

Wallace wasn't the only veteran newcomer to struggle. Veteran cornerback Jerraud Powers missed the first two practices because of the test.

Wallace said that even if Head Coach John Harbaugh would have eventually let him practice without passing, the wide receiver would have declined. Wallace worked out in the Ravens' gym until he passed.

"Any time you have to watch somebody else play, and I have to exercise inside like a little kid, that's no fun," Wallace said. "I'm not going to let a conditioning test defeat me."

On Sunday, Wallace showed the test is behind him. He had a very strong practice after getting off to a rocky start with a dropped pass. Harbaugh came over to him to give him some words of encouragement following the drop.

Wallace rebounded with multiple touchdown catches and numerous catches on intermediate routes. He was perhaps the player targeted most by Joe Flacco.

"I thought he looked good today," Harbaugh said. "I don't think we saw any deep ones so we're still looking for those. Maybe that's a credit to our secondary as well, getting on top of those things."

While Wallace hasn't tested out Flacco's arm yet with a deep catch, the two were on the same page already. Wallace flashed in and out of different coverages to get open.

It's particularly impressive because Wallace is adjusting to his sixth offensive system in as many years. He had two offensive coordinators in his final two years in Pittsburgh, two different coordinators in two years in Miami and another system in his one year in Minnesota.

Wallace said learning the Ravens' scheme hasn't been a problem. "I've been doing this for eight years. It's really not that tough," he said.

What has mostly impressed Wallace is the man throwing to him. Wallace can't say enough good things about Flacco.

"It's just great to be out there with a guy who has been around for so long and just knows the game," Wallace said. "Joe is a really good guy, calm guy, easy to talk to and understand. He's just a vet guy. He has a big arm and I see it every day in practice. I'm excited about it."

Wallace signed with the Ravens this offseason despite having other suitors. Harbaugh wouldn't let him leave the building without putting pen to paper.

Now that he has time in Baltimore under his belt, Wallace was asked whether training camp has strengthened his believe that he made the right choice signing with the Ravens.

"Most definitely," he said. "Seeing Joe is like, 'this guy is really good.' The play calling is aggressive and that's what I was looking for. I've been on some great teams. My quarterbacks before were really good quarterbacks. I have no problems with those guys. It's just this style of offense fits what I want to do."

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