What We Learned in the First Week of Baltimore Ravens Training Camp
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The Baltimore Ravens rookies, quarterbacks and injured players reported to training camp on Tuesday, with full-team camp opening on Thursday. Though there has been just two days of practices thus far, there are already useful bits of information filtering out of Owings Mills.
Here's what we've learned in the first days of the Ravens' 2012 camp.
LT Bryant McKinnie a No-Show and He May Never Come Back
Left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie did not report to Ravens training camp on Thursday with what has been described as a "personal issue" and head coach John Harbaugh doesn't sound too confident about his return.
Harbaugh said that usual right tackle Michael Oher will line up on the left for the foreseeable future and that they are on the hunt for a new starter on the right.
On Thursday, undrafted rookie Jack Cornell, Ramon Harewood (who spent the last two seasons on injured reserve) and recently-added tackle Cord Howard (who hasn't played in an NFL game since 2010) lined up with the starting offense while veteran Jah Reid sat out with a calf injury and second-round draft pick Kelechi Osemele didn't participate after suffering from back spasms.
Osemele was cleared for practice on Friday and has been splitting time with Cornell. If the Ravens indeed do lose McKinnie, this puts them in a difficult situation. They were already lacking depth around the offensive line to begin with and now two of the three players who could start at right tackle are rookies, while the other—Reid—has never started a game. Howard and Harwood are wild cards in this battle.
Look for the Ravens to try to find a more workable solution at tackle as camp progresses. Unfortunately, the free-agent talent pool at tackle is extremely thin, so developing one of their three remaining tackles into a reliable starter will be a huge priority in the coming weeks.
The Ravens also announced they have begun fining McKinnie $30,000 per day of camp he misses.
PUP List and Injury Update
To open camp, four Ravens were listed on the active PUP list: offensive tackle/guard Kelechi Osemele (back spasms; he's since been cleared), defensive end Pernell McPhee (knee), Jah Reid (calf) and wide receiver David Reed (knee).
Nose tackle Haloti Ngata also wound up on the PUP list after tweaking his hamstring, leaving him unable to complete the conditioning test. Ramon Harewood, who also spent time at right tackle when Oher was shifted left, rolled his ankle on Thursday.
Cornerback Lardarius Webb, who participated fully on Thursday, did not take the field on Friday and little is known about why. Reserve offensive guard/center Justin Boren was also absent from the field on Friday.
On the non-football injury list is linebacker Terrell Suggs (Achilles). The aforementioned McKinnie is now on the reserve/did not report list.
Both Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain reported to training camp much lighter than they've been in recent seasons. Lewis says that he's now under 240 pounds in order to be faster and more versatile against the sped-up passing game we've seen of late.
McClain said he's also slimmed down to around 240 pounds, again in order to better cover receivers and improve his speed.
In regard to the battle for the linebacker jobs that belonged to the currently-injured Terrell Suggs and the departed Jarret Johnson, Paul Kruger is currently lined up in Suggs' spot at rush outside backer and rookie Courtney Upshaw in the run-stuffing strongside position.
So far, Upshaw hasn't looked at all in over his head. He drew praise from McClain, who said, "[H]e didn’t really make any glaring rookie mistakes because he was always on his P’s and Q’s. He knew where he had to go, and he got there and he got his job done."
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