Training Camp Blog - July 28

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Martin Earns Pick-Six Derrick Martin took advantage of a brief stint at safety.
Updated at 6:53 p.m.

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Because of the shortage of healthy bodies currently at Ravens training camp, Tuesday's practices were cut slightly short and players had to play out of position.

That gave cornerback Derrick Martin a shot at safety – mainly because safeties Dawan Landry and K.J. Gerard are the only two.

With temperatures reaching 90 degrees, Martin, Landry and Gerard rotated about every three snaps when going against the offense.

Martin took advantage of one of those snaps when he pounced on a John Beck pass over the middle and raced 40 yards down the right sideline.

Linebacker Tavares Gooden caught up to him, but that was it. Touchdown.

Well… touchdown in practice.

It may have been a little defensive payback for an earlier play where Joe Flacco lofted a perfect pass to Demetrius Williams, who was racing down the left boundary. Williams leapt over cornerback Frank Walker and made the acrobatic grab.

Williams' catch drew some trash talk from his offensive teammates.

 

Crowd Cheering Passing AttackThe Ravens' aerial game is a fan favorite on Tuesday.
Updated 4:19 p.m.

It's obvious what the people want. The biggest cheers have gone to Joe Flacco and Co. during the opening part of practice. The offense is working on the field closest to the stands, and every time a long pass is completed, smatterings of cheers come out of the stands.

Demetrius Williams seems to be getting the most applause, but Justin Harper* *just received some kudos for a leaping catch down the right sideline.

Meanwhile, on the other field, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison took rookies Paul Kruger and William VanDeSteeg to offer some extra instruction on dropping in pass coverage.* *

 

Ravens Sign WR Jayson FosterWalter Payton Award winner joins team.
Updated 4:05 p.m.

The newest Raven took the field Tuesday afternoon, as wideout Jayson Foster was signed and practiced.

Foster, who spent time last year on the practice squads of the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers, hails from Georgia Southern.

Foster, 5-foot-7, won the Walter Payton Award for the most outstanding offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Div. I-AA).* *

 

Mattison, Felix Working OvertimeWith O-line PUP situation, two young Ravens are taking every snap.
Updated 3:58 p.m.

Bryan Mattison  and Robby Felix have definitely earned their meals today.

Because Adam Terry, Ben Grubbs, Marshal YandaJoe Reitz and Lou Saucedo all currently reside on the Physically Unable to Perform list, Felix and Mattison are taking all the snaps for offensive linemen.

It was already a limited position group because it's only rookies and selected veterans were the only ones here.

I talked to Mattison this morning after the first practice, and he was beat. Now that the heat is really turned up in the late afternoon, it must be miserable for them. I'm sweating, and I'm only sitting in the corner.

In the end, it's a good thing for the duo, though. Offensive line coach John Matsko really rides his charges, so the one-on-one tutoring can only help. Felix is obviously having a tough time so far. He got beat three straight times – twice by Dannell Ellerbe and once by Prescott Burgess.

Matsko shouted, "I can't run a clinic in the middle of a game!"

Good luck, guys.

A Slimmer Tavares?
Tavares Gooden is playing at a lighter weight.
Updated 2:45 p.m.
 

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I noticed that Ravens linebacker Tavares Gooden seemed slimmer this year. Not emaciated, by any means, just light. * *

Gooden said he was between 245-250 pounds during offseason minicamps, but the extra weight made him feel sluggish coming out of Organized Team Activities (OTAs).

The University of Miami product went back to south Florida and worked out hard with his trainer to get down to 238.

"I really got after it," said Gooden flashing his trademark smile. "I feel good. I'm just a ball of muscle."

Gooden showed that he is super-speedy from sideline to sideline in minicamps, so it's scary to think about him running down ball carriers now.

Flacco on Shooting Spree
*Joe Flacco shattered clay pigeons on the shooting range in a Reebok commercial. Or did he?
Updated 1:50 p.m. * 

In a recent commercial posted on NFL.com in a blog called "Fantasy Files," Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco made the impossible possible. Or did he?

The second-year signal caller went out to a shooting range in Loch Raven and actually took aim at two clay pigeons. With a football.

As both of the targets exploded high in the air, one had to question the validity of the performance. Flacco was asked about it on Tuesday after practice.

You be the judge," he coyly told reporters. "Do you think I need special effects? Whatever you think."

Could the Ravens Consider Vick?
*Harbaugh comments on the troubled former quarterback.
Updated 1:27 p.m. *

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh didn't necessarily shut the door on the potential of adding troubled quarterback Michael Vick, who received a conditional reinstatement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week.

If Vick, who is coming off an 18-month prison sentence for his involvement in a dogfighting ring, can make a roster, he would be eligible to practice immediately and play in the final two preseason games this year.

In the regular season, he can participate in team activities but not games until Week 6.

Would the Ravens have an interest? Harbaugh deferred to general manager Ozzie Newsome.

"We've had long discussions about Michael Vick, and we have our feeling of how he would impact our team or not impact our team," Harbaugh said. "We have a course of action that you could ask Ozzie about."

Newsome simply told the Baltimore Sun on Monday that the Ravens "have three quarterbacks that they like."

Many analysts have speculated on Vick's potential to play another position in a Wildcat style of offense.

No Oher In Sight
*The Ravens have a holdout on their hands.
Updated 9:57 a.m. *

First-round draft pick Michael Oher is not on the field, meaning the Ravens officially have a holdout on their hands.

That hasn't happened since 2006, when Haloti Ngata missed the first day of camp before reporting. Head coach John Harbaugh said yesterday that he expects it to be done "pretty soon," but we'll see. Personally, I wouldn't expect Oher to be out for the entire week.

In addition, here are some more updates as the day progresses:

  • Tight end L.J. Smith is now practicing. He was doing individual drills on the sideline to open practice, but is back on the field. He was probably just trying to warm up because he'd been limited through all of OTAs.
  • Tight end Davon Drew has a mystery injury. He's on the far side of the field with a trainer just jogging.
  • Kicker Graham Gano is sporting a brand new shaved head. We'll try to snap a picture. He's the only kicker here because Steve Hauschka was not among the "selected veterans."
  • Former Baltimore Colt superstar Lenny Moore just arrived. He's watching on the field.
  • Defensive tackle Lamar Divens may have tweaked something. He's working off to the side while the rest of the defense goes to install.
  • Without punter Sam Koch, the Ravens' backup holders were cornerback Chris Carr, receiver Mark Clayton and quarterbacks Joe Flacco and John Beck. Linebackers coach Vic Fangio tried to catch a long snap, but failed miserably. The long-snapper in place of Matt Katula is Bryan Mattison.

Crowd At Camp
*Tuesday is a good day to get an autograph in Westminster.
Updated 9:43 a.m. *

On the first day of training camp, fans wanting an autograph from a rookie or a quarterback would do themselves a favor by coming to McDaniel College. The crowd isn't as rowdy or packed as usual, and the players are always more willing to sign on the first few days. That's not to say they don't all through camp, but the fact remains that it's just good to get them early.

We do have a packed media scene. All the major Baltimore news outlets are covered. WJZ, WBAL, WNST, FOX, the Baltimore Sun, the Carroll County Times and even some prominent Baltimore fan sites, like ProFootball24x7.com and BaltimoreBeatdown.com.

Shout out to all those covering the Ravens! More voices can only bring better information for the fans.

Practice Begins!
The Ravens took the field Tuesday to officially kick off 2009 training camp.
Updated 9:35 a.m
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It's a beautiful day here at McDaniel College, where the Ravens officially kicked off their 2009 training camp with practice on Monday. I'm not a good judge of temperature or things like that, but I will just say that it's pretty cool outside. Of course, it's also 8:45 a.m. I expect it to be scorching by about 11.

Hopefully, I'll be off the field by that time, but it's unlikely. That's why it pays to be a four-year employee of the Ravens. The trick is to bring every single Ravens shirt you own, from T shirts to polos, because then you'll only have to do laundry once.

OK, so here's the morning rundown. The guys are running around doing some light positional work right now. Quarterbacks and running backs just did the ball-security drill where they have to run and touch a cone placed on the goal line while holding on to a football attached to a taut rubber cord. This thing is not easy, and inevitably someone always snaps back. This time, it was backup John Beck that needed a second effort to get to the cone.

After seeing offseason minicamps littered with red non-contact jerseys, it seems the Ravens have done away with them for training camp. Or everybody's healthy… I just don't think that's the case. Offensive tackle Adam Terry is doing individual drills on the sideline. He had a knee wrap on his right leg. Linebacker Jason Phillips is merely watching. He must need some more time to bounce back from an offseason knee injury.

Also, tight end L.J. Smith is working on the sideline with trainers, while tight end Davon Drew came out late to practice after spending some time in the training room with Bill Tessendorf.

The secondary finally looks a little more whole, with Chris CarrFabian Washington and Frank Walker all not wearing the red jerseys.

It's great to see wideout Demetrius Williams and and defensive tackle Kelly Gregg working at what seems to be full strength after they both missed the majority of 2008 with injuries. Kelly especially is playing with gusto. You can hear his unmistakable grunt every time he hits the blocking dummy.

More to come all day long…

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