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What To Watch For At Stadium Practice


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The Ravens are taking their training camp show on the road, so to speak, as M&T Bank Stadium, not McDaniel College, is the site of Saturday's practice.
For the fans who can't make it to Westminster, Md., it will offer a great opportunity to see their favorite team up close in a practice environment.

"I think it's going to be a great opportunity on Saturday for fans that don't normally see the Ravens up-close to get a chance to do that," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "I can remember talking yesterday about the first experience we ever had as kids when we went to a baseball or football game for the first time. You walk through that tunnel and see the greenest grass you ever saw in your life and those bright white uniforms.

"That's a memory that you never forget, and we want to make sure every kid has a chance to experience that who wants to in Baltimore."

So what can those fans look for? 

Here are a few updates from McDaniel to get you up to speed…

Derrick Mason and Matt Birk are back:The two offensive starters had missed practices due to injuries, but Mason (ankle) and Birk (elbow) both returned to the practice field on Friday.  Even more positive was the fact that they both looked great. Mason moved like he had no problem at all with the ankle he sprained on Tuesday.  He was challenged on a jump ball by cornerback Fabian Washington, but he muscled in the pass as Washington fell to the turf, allowing him to waltz freely into the end zone. The physical play was a good test of the ankle. As for Birk, he held up strong in the trenches, rarely taking a snap off the entire session.

Washington is back, too:The Ravens are reining Washington in a little bit, not playing him with the first team all the time even though he wants to.  It's a good sign that Washington feels confident in his surgically-repaired knee.  Washington hasn't shied away from jamming receivers at the line, and he looks to be running well. The Ravens will need him with Lardarius Webb (knee) still out and Domonique Foxworth (knee) done for the season.

The kicking battle will get a stadium test:Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham will probably both kick to get them used to the turf at M&T Bank Stadium.  Most of their previous training camp kicks have come on the natural grass of McDaniel College's fields. * *Sometimes, the kickers will retire to the turf of Bair Stadium, but that's without the rest of the team. It will be interesting to see how they are each used at M&T.  The Ravens like to create game-like situations in practice to prepare their kickers, so Saturday is a good time to get familiar with where the winner will kick on Sundays.

Watch Terrence Cody and the defensive tackles:The Ravens' second-round draft pick is a massive man that looks even more intimidating when he lines up next to Haloti Ngata.* *Baltimore actually has great depth along their defensive line, and there has been a steady rotation throughout training camp.  Brandon McKinney, Lamar Divens and Kelly Talavou have all had their bright moments, but it's hard to separate one from the pack. The reality is that there might only be one roster spot between them.

Get ready to cheer the passing attack:The Ravens have looked impressive when airing it out this summer. Joe Flacco has an obvious comfort level with Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton – who performed well in Mason's absence – but the Flacco to Anquan Boldin and Donte' Stallworth connections suggest they've been working hard all offseason. * *Note the timing during one-on-one drills with receivers and cornerbacks. The group is impressive.

See a slimmer Suggs:Terrell Suggs has looked stellar in a return to his younger days. The 27-year-old dropped 20 pounds this offseason, and it shows. Keep an eye on Suggs coming off the edge. He's got that rookie step back, which should serve the Ravens well as they try and pump up their pass rush.

Don't expect Ed Reed to practice:Reed hasn't suited up yet in training camp after offseason hip surgery, and he's definitely taking it slow.  There is no timetable publicly set for Reed's comeback, but he's expected to start the regular season on the physically unable to perform list.  So, he's not going to be out there.

Jameel McClain will likely be with the first team:It's been that way all training camp, which was somewhat of a surprise to media. The offseason battle was largely between Tavares Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe. Now, McClain's played his way into the conversation of who will be next to Ray Lewis.

The tackles will rotate:Jared Gaither (cramps) has been in and out of the practice lineup all camp, so it's a mystery if he'll play.  Where? That's another question.  Gaither has been switching between the right and left sides consistently with Michael Oher. Without Gaither, the Ravens could use any combination of Ramon Harewood, Joe Reitz or Oniel Cousins at right tackls.  Tony Moll (concussion) is still working his way back.

Check out those new HD boards!The Ravens and Maryland Stadium Authority really beefed up the gameday experience with new high-definition video boards and a control room to run them with the best quality graphics. It's going to be like watching television in your living room, only a lot hotter and with a lot more friends.

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