Baltimore Ravens Training Camp News and Notes: August 4
BALTIMORE, Md.—There were 20,324 in attendance at M&T Bank Stadium to watch the Baltimore Ravens practice on Saturday afternoon. It was a day filled with a lot of energy that made the practice seem more like a game.
Ravens minority owner Art Modell, the man who brought the Ravens to Baltimore, was in attendance. Other special guests included over 2,000 United States military personnel and their family members, as the Ravens celebrated Military Appreciation Day.
Head coach John Harbaugh spoke after practice about the 20,000-plus who flocked to M&T Bank Stadium: "It was a great night. Everybody had a lot of fun."
Harbaugh also made certain to let everyone know: "I want to thank all the folks from the U.S. military."
As far as on the field action goes, Harbaugh said Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense looked "pretty sharp."
Flacco and Tyrod Taylor took turns running plays from the 5-yard line, throwing sideline patterns, fade routes and running bootleg passes off of play action. Cam Cameron is clearly diversifying his play calling.
The kickers received a lot of attention and cheers during the special teams portion of practice. Rookie Justin Tucker hit all seven of his field-goal attempts, including one from 63 yards (the NFL record for a made field goal is 63 yards). Billy Cundiff had a strong day as well, as he missed just once all afternoon (a 65-yard attempt that came up a couple of yards short).
Which unit will be the strongest unit for the Ravens in 2012?
Last season, Cundiff had a 14 percent drop in field-goal percentage (89.7 in 2010, 75.7 in 2011), but has looked good so far in training camp.
The defense showed its usual swagger, getting strong pressure on the quarterback. The defensive line is getting better as well, even though some starters have been out for a few days.
Because of Haloti Ngata and Arthur Jones not practicing, Bryan Hall and Ryan McBean got a lot of reps with the first-team defense. As if this group wasn't deep enough already, the experience these players are getting now will make the decision of who to keep and who to cut even tougher.
One of the players who was held out of practice who figures to contribute to the long line of tenacious Ravens defenders is Courtney Upshaw. When asked about what it was like for him to be in M&T Bank Stadium for the first time in front of fans, Upshaw said, "It was a wild moment and a great experience."
The Ravens' first regular-season game is at home, under the lights, on Monday Night Football versus the Bengals. Baltimore could use Upshaw's help against Cincinnati.
Fortunately for Ravens fans, Upshaw says he's close to getting back. "I'm getting treatment every day. I'm feeling good."
—Matt Birk, Arthur Jones, Bernard Pierce, Jimmy Smith, Courtney Upshaw and Cary Williams did not practice today.
—Terrell Suggs was in attendance, was walking normally and was his usual, jovial self.
—Bobby Rainey seems to have the most momentum in the battle for the backup running back spot.
—The Ravens are off Sunday, August 5. Their next scheduled practice is Monday, August 6 in Owings Mills. Their next public practice is scheduled for Sunday, August 12 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
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