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Ravens Institute Unique Practice Drills To Focus On Takeaways


A horn sounded at Ravens minicamp practice and all the coaches jogged across the fields as the players remained in place.

Secondary Coach Leslie Frazier came over to the wide receivers to lead them through a series of drills. The point of the exercise is to emphasize the importance of takeaways, and for the next several minutes, every player on the roster worked on punching the football out of their teammates' arms to create turnovers.

"You don't ordinarily see it with an entire team like we're doing here," Frazier said. "That's unique, and I think it's a good thing."

The veteran defensive coach has spent 24 years in the NFL, and he's seen just about everything during his time as a coach and player. And it's clear to him that the Ravens have made takeaways a major priority this offseason after struggling in that area during the 2015 season.

"Our entire team is working on the turnover-takeaway differential in what we're doing in practice," Frazier said. "A lot of times it's a mindset – getting in the mindset of being able to take the ball away on defense if you have a chance to intercept the ball and catching the ball. But it is something you can work on. It is something you can transform."

The Ravens had just 14 total takeaways last season, which ranked 30th in the NFL. The defense had a league- and franchise-low six interceptions, and a big part of the reason the Ravens brought in Frazier this offseason was to drastically change those numbers.

From the time he arrived in January, Frazier has focused the importance of takeaways. He has repeatedly talked about instilling a mindset of going after the football, and players have taken notice.

Frazier came to Baltimore with instant credibility as a former head coach of the Vikings and as a starting cornerback of the vaunted 1985 Chicago Bears defense (he had six interceptions that season and 20 in his five-year career), and he's already started to make his mark.

"Coach Frazier is very detailed, very on-point – all about the little things," safety Eric Weddle said. "He likes our input. But at the end of the day, he coaches us hard, and he expects us to be great every play. He expects us to strive to be the best in the league this year."

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