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Training Camp Blog - July 29


Extra Spectators at PM Practice Veterans showed up early, shared laughs with teammates.
Updated 6:38 p.m.










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and Mike Duffy @duffstar

The scene at the Ravens' afternoon practice was somewhat like a homecoming.

Veterans players that weren't asked to participate in the first two days of training camp are supposed to report tonight, but some decided to arrive early.

And while the rookies, quarterbacks and selected vets were practicing at McDaniel College, many of those early birds came out to the field.

Defensive tackle **Justin Bannan** got a big hug from **Kelly Gregg** and **Adam Terry**. Safeties **Ed Reed** and **Haruki Nakamura** talked with head coach **John Harbaugh**. Wideout **Marcus Smith**, linebacker **Jarret Johnson** and tight end **Todd Heap** briefly watched from the sideline.

In addition, fullback **Le’Ron McClain** sat with general manager **Ozzie Newsome** on a bench near the locker room entrance. Here's betting the Alabama alumns were sharing Crimson Tide news.

I'm wrapping up the blog for today. More to come on Thursday from Westminster.


Vets Coming to TownSlowly but surely, the Ravens' veterans are descending on Westminster.
Updated 4:30 p.m.

Slowly, but surely, the parking lot at the Best Western in Westminster, Md., is filling up, signifying the arrival of the rest of the Ravens' veterans to training camp.

There was **Haruki Nakamura’s** cream Jaguar. **Trevor Pryce** came in a jet-black Dodge Challenger. It's not going to be long before everyone is finally here and we can get the real training camp underway.

I chatted with linebacker **Jarrett Johnson** for a bit. He looked bigger, more muscular. I think a lot of guys here do, actually. With about a month between the final OTA and the start of training camp, the players get with their trainers and get into optimal shape.

Johnson joked that he wouldn't be able to pass his running test, but I doubt that. He also said that Pryce did shuffles through his test. Last year, Pryce ran the last two legs backwards just because he could.

Anyway, the afternoon practice has been uneventful thus far. The stands are lightly filled, but still good for a Wednesday. For the sake of the fans, I hope the light drizzle that is falling stays just that and doesn't turn into a downpour.

More to come from practice later.

Get Your Lardarius Wigs ReadyThe rookie CB is taking his look to the masses.
Updated 2:27 p.m.

Rookie cornerback **Lardarius Webb** got some advice from Ravens director of media relations Chad Steele recently.

Or perhaps it was just some friendly ribbing.

Steele told Webb he needs to cut the long dreadlocks he ties with a rubber band under his helmet. Webb wasn't buying it just yet.

"I know it looks good for the media, but I told him I don't want to cut it until my kid fans start wearing fake dreads to the game," Webb said. "I'll think about cutting them then."

The third-round draft pick has been up and down in camp so far, but he is extremely competitive. On Wednesday morning, he knocked down one deep pass intended for Demetrius Williams, but a few snaps later, a throw to Justin Harper was snatched out of his hands. As Webb fell to the turf, slamming it in frustration, Harper sprinted 99 yards to the end zone.

"I've just got to keep my technique in," stated Webb. "If they're tall, small, I've just got to stay technically sound. You can't let your mind wander off to anything, because every one of these wide receivers has something different in the repertoire."

I can see why the Ravens like his athleticism. He is a speedster, has loose hips and a nose for the ball. Plus, he's worked with the returners during offseason minicamps. Webb could contribute this year – definitely on special teams – and I wouldn't be surprised if he plays on defense.

That would be impressive, considering he was playing safety at Division I-AA (Football Championship Subdivision) Nicholls State last year.

Harbaugh on Jim JohnsonRavens coach had fond words for deceased Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.
Updated 1:25 p.m.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh started his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles. For a large part of that tenure, Harbaugh was mentored in part by longtime Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.

Johnson unfortunately lost a battle with cancer on Tuesday.

Harbaugh was deeply saddened by the loss of such an important person in his life.

"The best friend I have in my life is my dad, and my football dad in a lot of ways probably is Jim Johnson," Harbaugh said after practice on Wednesday.

Harbaugh told a story of how he borrowed a phrase from Johnson, who was regarded as one of the NFL's best coordinators. Since he arrived in Baltimore last year, Harbaugh has told his players to "tackle like an arrow in the snow."

"I probably heard Jim Johnson say that for 10 years, thousands of times to our players," explained Harbaugh. "And now our guys for the Baltimore Ravens, who have no idea who Jim Johnson is, are talking about a technique that Jim Johnson basically pioneered."

Johnson was known for his mastery of disguising and executing blitzes.

"He changed the way defense is played," Harbaugh continued. "If there is a Hall of Fame assistant coach in the history of the NFL, it's Jim Johnson. Defenses are different now than they were 15 years ago, 10 years ago, even 5 years ago. Jim changed every single year.

"You're going to see a lot of Jim Johnson in the Ravens defense this year, as well."


Drew, Divens Officially Off the PUPYoung duo practiced on Wednesday.
Updated 1:07 p.m.


To follow up a note from this morning, tight end Davon Drew and defensive tackle Lamar Divens officially came off the Physically Unable to Play list Wednesday, and both players were back on the practice field.

With Drew on the field, I wrote that tight end L.J. Smith wasn't expected to get many reps. Well, that was because he tweaked his hamstring yesterday. Head coach John Harbaugh said that he expects Smith to be ready for Friday, when all veterans join the team.

"It was not a pull or a strain, there's not much fluid in there," Harbaugh explained. "So, we decided to sit him down today and kind of ease him back in – try to get him back for Friday."

As for Drew, it was declared he had a non-football injury, while Divens revealed that he was having some hip flexor troubles.

"I just had to test it, and I felt alright today," Divens said.

Running back Willis McGahee (knee) and rookie linebacker **Jason Phillips** (knee) did extensive conditioning drills on the sideline. It appears that they could come off the PUP list soon.

The status of the offensive line is still up in the air, though. Guards **Marshal Yanda** and **Ben Grubbs** and tackle **Joe Reitz** looked like they were close to returning as they performed some extra work after practice. Yanda was especially explosive.

The Ravens did work out a few offensive linemen to add some training camp depth. The names of those candidates were not disclosed by the team.

Wideout Oohs and AahsCrowd again getting fired up for receivers.
Updated 10:00 a.m.

Demetrius Williams and Justin Harper drew the biggest cheers from training camp Wednesday morning.

Harper made a reaching grab over the middle and then raced through the defense – which admittedly was thin because it was 7-on-7 – making the crowd erupt in applause.

A few plays later, Williams jumped high for another catch through traffic, which the crowd loved.

That was a contrast to the gasps that happened earlier, when Williams fell to the turf on a long bomb from Joe Flacco. It was about a 40-yard pass to Williams, and he crashed with a cornerback when the ball reached him on the left sideline.

The collision, while not violent, caused one fan to yell, "Put a red [non-contact] jersey on him!"

The receiver position remains a big-time concern among the Ravens faithful.

Breaking for post-practice interviews at this point. We've got **Paul Kruger** and **Lardarius Webb** on the mic today, along with head coach **John Harbaugh**.


Wednesday Morning NotesBlogging from the practice field on the second day of training camp.
Updated 9:40 a.m.

It's a cloudy day in Westminster, where temperatures on a Wednesday morning are very pleasant.

And at 9 a.m., things are pretty slow. The guys are currently split up on the two fields, with offense on the one nearest the stands and defense on the far pitch.

Right now, it looks like it's going to rain. In fact, according to groundscrewman Eric Evers, there is a 70 percent chance of showers. He also said it's going to be 90 percent tomorrow, which isn't a big deal to you fans because it's just an administration day and is closed to the public.

As far as today goes, I'm watching **Joe Flacco** run some bootlegs out of the shot gun. This is just about getting the basic necessities of the offense installed for the rookies before the veterans get here.

A few interesting notes:

  • Tight end **Davon Drew** and defensive tackle **Lamar Divens** are practicing after finally passing their physicals. I was wondering why they were put on the temporary PUP list, and I guess that's why. With Drew on the field, that means **L.J. Smith** will see less practice time today. I would actually be surprised if he practiced at all because he came out of the locker room wearing sneakers and not cleats.
  • Those two seem to be the only Ravens off the 10-man PUP list to get on the practice field today, even though **Willis McGahee** is working hard on the sideline and looks like he could be back any day.
  • Flacco is throwing ropes downfield and drew the most cheers when he connected with **Demetrius Williams** and **Justin Harper** for two consecutive touchdowns.
  • Veterans will trickle in all day today, and I wouldn't be surprised if **Ray Lewis** and **Ed Reed** are already at the Best Western in Westminster. Thosse guys like to get there early to beat the crowd.
  • The quarterbacks are rotating in a Flacco, **Troy Smith****John Beck** sequence, which signifies the early depth chart.

More to come later… 

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