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New Scoring Method Heats Up Ravens Practice


Ravens players always seem to debate who wins each day of practice.

A cornerback will never concede he got beat by a receiver. Joe Flacco and Terrell Suggs are jawing at each other nearly every play. Offensive and defensive players will shout at each other from the sidelines throughout practice.

Intense competition between the two sides is just part of the routine during training camp, and now the Ravens have a system in place to keep score each day. The Ravens have introduced a new scoring system between the offense and defense during practice, and there's a scoreboard that keeps track of the running tally throughout each day.

"It settles a lot of arguments," outside linebacker Pernell McPhee said.

It may settle arguments, but it doesn't prevent them.

The intensity during this year's training camp is as a high as ever, and players routinely refer to the scoring system throughout practice.

"Maybe there is less room for arguing on who won at the end," Head Coach John Harbaugh joked. "We have a scoreboard now so we know."

The Ravens developed the system based on research conducted by Defensive Quality Control Coach Matt Weiss and Video Operations Coordinator Drew Wilkins. Every play is graded during 11-on-11 drills, with either the defense or offense getting a point for "winning" the play. Also, more difficult "wins," like converting on a third-and-10, will result in more points.

"I give some of our guys credit: Drew Wilkins and Matt Weiss did a lot of research on that," Harbaugh said. "Drew watched all of our practice tape on the last two years and watched a lot of NFL tape and looked at NFL averages and figured out how to figure that out."

The Ravens put the system in place to chart the development throughout training camp. It's also a way to simulate game situations where the scoreboard is always keeping track of who's on top.

"The philosophy is competing, absolutely," Harbaugh said. "The general philosophy is we are keeping score. We are competing in everything we do, and we want to get as good as we can get. We want to compete."

"It's fun," McPhee added. "I love competing. It's just a competitive thing."

The players have embraced the new scoring method, and the coaches find ways to put added incentives into the workouts. After Monday's practice, a pair of ice cream trucks drove onto the practice fields, but only the defense got to partake because they won practice.

On Wednesday, the offense got revenge with a 61-29 victory and running back Ray Rice made it known that he wanted ice cream of his own.

"You see that scoreboard," he said. "Where's those ice cream trucks today?"

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