Training Camp Blog - July 31

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Ravens Move Outside *The rain let up and the team is back in pads.
Updated 4:28 p.m. *

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When the weather finally let up, the Ravens headed out to the turf field at Bair Stadium. In the transition from in-doors to out, the players went to the locker room to put on their pads.

Considering the amount of rain that did fall, there is still a good showing of fans.

With that being said, here are some notes and observations from the afternoon:

  • The Ravens had 11,078 fans attending the morning practice. Wow!  That is the biggest attendance at training camp for a practice that didn't feature a scrimmage.
  • Receiver Kelley Washington ran sprints in one end zone while the rest of the team practiced. Washington is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
  • Receiver Marcus Smith and defensive tackles Trevor Pryce and Will Johnson did not practice. Smith has cramps. Pryce had his foot stepped on in the morning session.  Johnson had his right leg wrapped tightly in the a.m. practice.
  • Safety Haruki Nakamura made a super play when he jumped with the 6-foot-2 Demetrius Williams an broke up a 15-yard pass. Nakamura covered a lot of ground quickly to bat the ball away. After the play, Terrell Suggs called for his attention and gave him a bow, a playful homage to Nakamura's Japanese heritage.
  • Linebacker Tavares Gooden got some shouts of joy from his defensive teammates for rushing to the backfield and crunching running back Jalen Parmele.
  • Already, you can see veteran center Matt Birk taking the lead with the Ravens' young offensive line. He's making all his calls with confidence.
  • Safety Dawan Landry poached a floating pass from Troy Smith and returned the interception for a touchdown as his fellow defenders cheered him on.
  • Receiver Demetrius Williams got some applause when he reached high for a 30-yard reception from Joe Flacco.

Carr Finally Plugged InCarr sees time as the Ravens' first nickel coming off the bench.
Updated 3:19 p.m.

**

Ravens cornerback Chris Carr was the first nickelback to come off the bench for the Ravens today with Samari Rolle still lingering on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Carr notched one interception of quarterback Troy Smith – when the receiver seemed to slip midway through his route – in one-on-one drills and was solid throughout practice.

This week has been the most extensive work Carr has had since signing as a free agent in March.

Carr was basically sidelined with a red non-contact jersey for all offseason minicamps after having shoulder surgery. He's happy to be back on the field.

"Feels good to be out here and get our legs back a little bit," Carr said. "It's been a long time, but the season always comes fast. I feel pretty good. This is the best I've felt in years, actually, so I've been pretty anxious to get back out on the field."

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound former Tennessee Titan and Oakland Raider will be challenged by Rolle for the top nickel spot. Carr will also be in the running for the Ravens' return specialist job. Last year, he set a career high with a 34.7-yard average on kickoff returns for the Titans.

Meanwhile, Rolle could only watch in street clothes on Friday. He also had an electrode stimulator attached to his neck.

Landry Keeps HittingDawan Landry needed to deliver one hit to know that he was fully back. He did.
Updated 1:52 p.m.

**

Burly fullback Le'Ron McClain hit the hole on the Ravens' first full-contact play of the 2009 season and was promptly met by safety Dawan Landry.

It was a moment nearly a year in the making.

Landry knew he would have to wait until training camp to be fully confident that he had recovered from the spinal cord concussion he suffered in September of 2008. In that game, against the Cleveland Browns, Landry was carted off the field when running back Jamal Lewis' knee hit him on the crown of the helmet.

The former fifth-round draft pick could only smile when asked about the shot he delivered in Friday's practice.

"I feel great," he said. "Everything's fine. I just went and hit Le'Ron. I think they probably knew I was going to go."

And go he did.

Landry said that the Ravens' coaches weren't calling for him to blitz on purpose, but it was fitting that he got an early chance to rush from the secondary. With Jim Leonhard, who excelled when he filled in for the injured Landry, joining the New York Jets, the Ravens need Landry to step back in to his starting role

"I never second-guessed it," Landry explained. "Whenever the live period was going to come, I knew I was going to hit somebody."

Landry impressed coaches this offseason by being one of the most dedicated workers on the team. The player nicknamed "Whop" for the sound of his pads crunching against a poor ball carrier cuts a trim 208-pound figure despite the massive biceps that poke out from underneath his shoulder pads.

"This guy works harder than anybody I've ever seen," head coach John Harbaugh said of Landry. "He's just the hardest worker you'll find in this league. Every bit of success he has, everybody should be happy for him. He's ready to go."

Mentally, Landry always had confidence in his ability to come back from such a scary injury. After all, he participated in the majority of Baltimore's offseason minicamps.

But physically, Friday's session was a milestone.

"He took a whop in practice a few months ago and bounced right back up and laughed about it," said secondary coach Mark Carrier. "That showed that he was mentally ready. You want to see what happened on the next play, and he showed no ill effects."

No Running on the RavensWhen the team went 11-on-11, there was no breaking the Ravens' front wall.
Updated 10:19 a.m.

How exciting is it to see the team go full contact?

The Ravens went to full-team mode and ran a healthy dose of plays for Le'Ron McClain up the middle to challenge the interior tackles. McClain didn't have any run over 3 yards.

It's going to be very tough to run against a defensive line that features Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, Justin* *Bannan, Trevor Pryce, Dwan Edwards, Brandon McKinney, Lamar Divens, etc. I could go on. In fact, depending on the numbers game, a few really good defensive tackles will probably hit the open market when training camp is over.

That being said, Gregg is going at top-speed, and he has looked great. The former wrestler is mixing it up with the best of them. He even made one tackle of running back Ray Rice lunging from his knees.

Here are some notes and observations from the practice field:

  • Kickers Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano each had four consecutive tries from 20, 36, 41, 46 yards. Gano was a perfect 4-for-4, but Hauschka missed from 36.
  • The Ravens are using some interesting defensive formations. Linebacker Ray Lewis actually split out wide to cover a receiver in coverage.
  • And, the offense chipped in by running an option play where Joe Flacco pitched to Marcus Smith.
  • Todd Heap might have had the catch of the day, even though it was only for 10 yards. He went over the middle for a Flacco dart, but it was thrown to his outside shoulder. Heap basically reached back and did a 360-degree turn to reel in the ball before he was popped by Dawan Landry.
  • Cornerback Lardarius Webb had a good string of plays covering Mark Clayton. He laid a big hit on Clayton on a quick 5-yard reception, then broke up a touchdown bomb to No. 89 three snaps later.
  • Running back Ray Rice made a one-handed grab during 10-on-10 drills. He caught the ball from Troy Smith.
  • Biron Ealy had another astounding grab when he hauled in a Joe Flacco pass for 30 yards on the left sideline. He was boxed in by Webb and safety K.J. Gerard, but managed to reach one arm through the two defenders for the reception.
  • The media horde is incredible here. It's going to be pretty crazy after practice.

Back later…

Fan Frenzy At Ravens CampIt was a packed house at McDaniel College for Ravens training camp.
Updated 8:54 a.m.

It's absolutely nuts here at Ravens training camp, where fans are stacked deep around the entire perimeter of the fields and the fields themselves are pretty packed with the entire team, including all the veterans who weren't here earlier in the week.

Here's what I'm seeing:

  • Two consecutive long touchdown passes – one from Joe Flacco to Demetrius Williams and another from Troy Smith to Justin Harper – earn big cheers from the capacity crowd.
  • Looks like Adam Terry, Joe Reitz and Jason Phillips are not practicing and still on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
  • Meanwhile, safety Ed Reed is wearing a red no-contact jersey. He is participating in the installation drills, but I don't think he'll be in the full-team work.
  • 98 Rock is here for their Bacon and Beer event, which featured brunch and – you guessed it – beers.
  • Lots of national media are in-house. Adam Schefter of ESPN and Peter King and Ross Tucker of SI.com are watching practice. This is along with the many, many local media outlets that regularly cover the team.
  • Owner Steve Bisciotti is also here. This is one of his favorite days. And, as the story goes, one of the reasons he even bought the Ravens is because he had such fond memories of Colts training camp that was also held at McDaniel College. Back then, I think it was called Western Maryland.

We'll have more updates throughout the day from practice and from the team hotel in Westminster.

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