The Baltimore Ravens opened up training camp July 24th and it is to continue through August 14th. A lot has happened thus far, with players stepping up and making big plays, and also some injuries.
In the first few days of camp, the offense seemed to have a good grasp of new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak’s system. This system involves using a heavy run game to set up the passing game. So far, Kubiak has kept things basic for the offense. I’m sure there will be plenty of surprise plays, come regular season. Gary has told the quarterback’s not be afraid to check down to the running back’s if nothing is there down field.
Steve Smith has made an immediate impact on the offensive side of the ball. He’s made some tough catches in heavy coverage. He’s turning into a good target for Joe Flacco. On the opposite side of the ball, Dean Pees, Defensive Coordinator for the Ravens, says the secondary is the weakest point so far. He’s ‘unhappy with the performance’, according to Ryan Minks of baltimoreravens.com. Pees also said, regarding the defensive line, “I think as a whole this may be one of the best groups… that we’ve had since I’ve been here anyhow.” Pees has been with the team since 2010.
Recently signed Safety Will Hill, shows starter capabilities. However, he won’t be available to help out the Ravens on the field until week 7, due to a 6 game suspension. He was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Hill was released from the New York Giants after three seasons with the team, for violating the teams substance abuse policies twice and their performance-enhancing drug policy once. While he may have problems off the field, if he can overcome those issues, he could become the type of play-maker this weak Ravens secondary really needs.
First round draft pick- linebacker C.J. Mosley is making his presence known to the team, notching some big plays and even bigger hits. This Thursday’s practice was a lighter practice for the team after going four straight days of full contact. Ray Rice addressed the media for the first time about his incident saying his actions are “inexcusable”. Head coach John Harbough also gave a few players the day off on Thursday including linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, and wide receiver Jacoby Jones.
Cornerback Lardarious Webb (back.) This seems to be a minor injury with no structural damage. Webb has not practiced since last Friday. Defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan (back.) The injury seems to be minor as he walked off the field on his own power, but it is unclear what exactly happened. Offensive guard Will Rackley (concussion) did not practice on Thursday.
One of my biggest concerns so far in training camp, is the weakness in the secondary. It worries me that the Raven’s corners and safeties can’t guard their guys. Mike Preston from the Baltimore Sun had this to say about Lardarious Webb before his injury, “Poor first practice for CB Lardarious Webb. WR Steve Smith owned him.” Not only is Steve Smith making plays, but the other receivers are as well. Mike also had this to say about Chykie Brown, “Ravens might have to find a third CB in nickel situations. Chykie Brown has been struggling.”
I hope to see some improvement from them as we get closer to the season.