Ravens Must Win AFC North

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Head Coach John Harbaugh has brought the strategy of preparing for one's particular division during a minicamp from his time serving under Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Ravens began such a plan last year and ended up with mixed results. They won each of their games against the Bengals and Browns, but fell to the Steelers twice in the regular season and another in the AFC Championship.

The thinking is that the club that does win inside the division has a better chance of getting to the playoffs, even with the other 10 games on the schedule played outside of it.

"We have to win our division," Harbaugh said. "We think that's a goal for us, and those are the teams that we know we're going to play twice."

So, the Ravens had several players masquerading as key members of the Browns.

In the Ravens' Organized Team Activity (OTA) on Tuesday, a receiver in a No. 17 jersey ran a route that cut to the sideline just before third-string quarterback John Beck threw him the ball.

Fortunately for Baltimore, cornerback Domonique Foxworth closed quickly enough to smack the pass free.

The Ravens are hoping that this same scenario happens regularly next season, which is why they are working towards that end now.

The No. 17 was not the Cleveland Browns' Braylon Edwards. Rather, rookie free agent Isaiah Williams donned the Pro Bowler's number emblazoned on a green mesh top, acting as an Edwards doppelganger.

Faux-Edwards' 17 was bookended by wideout Syndric Steptoe's No. 12 on the scout team offense.

Defensively, Cleveland's secondary was represented by Nos. 24 (Browns cornerback Eric Wright), 22 (corner Brandon McDonald) and 20 (safety Mike Adams) on its look squad.

"You know, miniature game plans, talk a little bit about their personnel, teach our guys how to practice in a game-week type environment, what 'look team' means, how to work with one another and get ready for an opponent," said Harbaugh.

It was all part of the theme for this week's set of OTAs – namely, preparation for the Ravens' three AFC North opponents as the annual home-and-home battles within this tough division loom once again for 2009.

The Cincinnati Bengals were the focus on Monday, while Cleveland came on Tuesday, followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Wednesday.

Before this week, the Ravens had mainly centered on big-picture issues as the offense develops in its second year under Cam Cameron and the defense acclimates to new coordinator Greg Mattison.

The real games are still two months away, but for a few days this week, the purple and black went undefeated against their future opponents.

Fish Break

After Tuesday's practice, the Ravens' coaches and players were treated to a barbeque that sent sweet smoke to the field throughout the morning and a fishing tournament in a pond behind team headquarters.

According to Harbaugh, the pond was stocked with bass and catfish for the catch-and-release match.

After many participants rushed to retrieve their fishing rods and tackle boxes, there was a mad dash for the food before the first lines were cast from the likes of cornerback Evan Oglesby, Mattison, tight end Edgar Jones and defensive tackle Kelly Gregg.

No true winner was declared, as the hot, humid temperatures in Owings Mills, Md., seemed to keep the fish away from any bait and comfortable on the pond's floor.

A volleyball net was also set up on the sand pit in which safety Ed Reed and wideout Derrick Mason regularly train.  

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