Walking onto the practice fields at the Baltimore Ravens Owings Mills, Maryland Complex is a lot different than doing the same thing at their normal summer Training Camp location at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. There is no sound at the Owings Mills facility other than the coaches and players. No fans shouting encouragement, cheering good plays and begging for autographs. The eerie silence just doesn't make it seem like Training Camp, but to see the players running around with a sense of urgency brings you back to the reality of what it is and what's at stake now.
The teams that are better prepared for a shorter learning curve will be the ones that get out of the gate quicker and more efficiently, and it appears the Ravens have every intention of being one of those teams. Orders are barked out by the coaches and even head coach John Harbaugh can be heard above the din, praising or criticizing what he sees.
There is no question who is running the Ravens offense, though. With support from offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, QB Joe Flacco barks signals and re-positions the players. He is serious about being a leader and knows that going into his fourth season, this is exactly what everyone expects from him. He runs to positions and is always the first in line to call a play in the drills.
Some of the notable veterans in camp include, other than Flacco, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Domonique Foxworth, Anquan Boldin, Matt Bik and Michael Oher. Also seen are a slimmer Terrence Cody, a fitter Arthur Jones (wearing uniform #97, formally worn by Kelly Gregg) and Sergio Kindle.
Kindle now wears #94 (instead of last year's 49), and it's great to see him taking part in minor contact drills without any apparent limitations. Draft picks such as wide receivers Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss, as well as QB Tyrod Taylor and RB Anthony Allen are dressed and practicing, although Smith was noticed hindered by calf cramps in the humid weather.
There were lots of undrafted free agents on the field, as the Ravens released a list of 26 more that were signed to contracts. It was reported that 3rd round draft pick, OT Jah Reid had signed his contract but was not yet in camp. The news is that first round selection, CB Jimmy Smith, would be in camp shortly as his contract was close to being agreed upon.
No injury news, which is good, other than some cramping, which should be expected in the first practices as well as the stifling heat. Lots of new names, faces and uniform numbers, but noticeably absent was anyone wearing the numbers 85 or 86, as the rumors are that both Derrick Mason and Todd Heap could hopefully be re-signed.
More news and photos to follow shortly.