Next Stop: Training Camp

The Baltimore Ravens finished up their final OTA before training camp starts in about six weeks. During this break, the players and coaches will all go their separate ways, with the time off before the non-stop season that begins with training camp in late July through the end of the regular season and of course, hopefully the post-season (what!?).

Many of the players will probably get together on both coasts to fine tune their skills, stay in shape and blend the chemistry with their teammates. Head Coach John Harbaugh says he'll head up to Michigan with his family for some down time, but don't expect him to be without his playbook and laptop.

Many of the rookies got a good taste of what to expect come training camp. Second round draft pick Ray Rice (Rutgers) showed that size really doesn't matter and figures to be in meat of the running back mix next season. Seventh round draft pick, RB Allen Patrick (Oklahoma) seemed to be favoring his hamstring and was held out of some of the drills. He faces a tough road, with not only Willis McGahee and Ray Rice ahead of him, but also veterans PJ Daniels and Cory Ross as well. However, any Sooner runner out of Big 12 powerhouse Oklahoma has a chance to shine in the NFL. Patrick should be no different and once he's healthy, should be able to compete for a spot on Special Teams at the least.

The o-line competition should be the most fierce, with a new, revamped line whose final positions are still up in the air and probably won't be finalized until late in the pre-season. Competition, performance and of course, injuries will make the final determination of who fits where on the line.

Both safeties drafted this year did well and look to make contributions in 2008 on Special Teams and who knows where else. Tom Zbikowski (Notre Dame) and Haruki Nakamura (Cincinnati) showed lots of determination and promise during the OTA's (See "Ruki" Nakmura's Q&A under "Featured Stories" in an earlier posting).

All in all, there is still a lot to prove for the players and a lot of decisions for the coaches. Don't expect to hear too much through the grapevine over the next six weeks; however, that doesn't mean these players won't be working their butts off to get prepared for the two-a-days and competition that begins in six weeks!

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