Baltimore Ravens Training Camp News and Notes: August 7
The pristine practice field somewhat simulated the game conditions the Ravens will encounter on Thursday night. While Thursday is a game day, head coach John Harbaugh said, "It will be a standard, first preseason game kind of concept."
Harbaugh didn't name players who wouldn't play or who wouldn't play much. One player Ravens fans are particularly looking forward to seeing is quarterback Joe Flacco.
Flacco showed off his tremendous arm strength today as he was hitting open receivers on the sideline in an instant. He's as good of a quarterback as there is in the league in terms of making (deep) perimeter throws.
After practice, Flacco was asked about how he was 5-0 against the top defensive teams he played last season (No. 1 Pittsburgh (twice), No. 2 Houston (twice) and No. 4 San Francisco), and what that does for his confidence and the confidence of his offense.
"I think every year you start over, but we have a lot of confidence. There is no lack of confidence in this group. There is no lack of confidence in this team. We’ve been there, and we’ve done most of it. We’ve got to get a little bit better, just like everybody does."
Someone who is helping Flacco continue to improve is his quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell. From 2002-11, Caldwell worked with Peyton Manning as the Colts' quarterbacks coach for six years (2002-07), and then as their head coach for the last four years.
How does the Ravens' coaching staff rank in the NFL?
Although Flacco and Manning are two big, strong-armed, winning quarterbacks, Caldwell says the two players aren't the same. "Well, they are different. Everybody is a little bit different now. Joe has his real strengths, and Peyton has his. I wouldn’t make any direct comparison," said Caldwell.
Caldwell also talked about his transition from a head coach to being a quarterbacks coach: "My transition has been fun, actually. I’ve had a ball having an opportunity to get down in the trenches again and work and do the things that I love."
Courtney Upshaw was back at practice today, and although the team was in shells (helmets and shoulder pads), he still managed to be physical. On one play where rookie wide receiver Tommy Streeter caught a quick slant, Upshaw slightly lowered his left shoulder, causing Streeter to fall to the turf.
Another physical play happened when cornerback Cary Williams was defending wide receiver LaQuan Williams in the end zone. Williams broke up the pass and took Williams to the ground. Both players got up, made sure each other was okay and congratulated each other on a nice play.
That reinforces the feeling I've been getting that this group of Ravens will compete their tails off and talk trash to each others faces. But at the end of the day, they have each other's backs and are committed to winning.
- Owner Steve Bisciotti, president Dick Cass, minority owner Art Modell and general manager & executive VP Ozzie Newsome were all in attendance today.
- Bryant McKinnie took some snaps at left tackle with the first team offense.
- Justin Tucker went 5-for-5 in his field goal attempts, while Billy Cundiff was 5-for-7.
- Wednesday is a travel day for the Ravens. After Thursday's game, they will have Friday off before getting back to practice on Saturday, August 11.
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