Yesterday, the Baltimore Ravens held their first full-team practice and for the most part, everyone was in camp, including Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Unfortunately, LT Bryant McKinnie was not there for personal reasons thought to be conditioning related, which is not good. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was not there either, but it appears it might be due to the fact his wife is due to deliver their baby at any moment.
Other than that information, the great news was that the rest of the team was on the field in the sweltering heat Thursday afternoon. The new NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement takes away those old two-a-days and replaces them with one daily practice, limiting full pads, hitting and specific days off throughout camp. For the most part, the Ravens will be practicing from 2:30-5pm on a daily basis.
The players split off into position groups for individual drills that involved technique as well as conditioning. Veterans Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Ray Rice were among the last to make their entrance,while QB Joe Flacco was among the first out there. Along with Flacco and the other quarterbacks, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's son took turns doing drop-back, rolling out and throwing drills with the "real" QB's.
The heat was not ignored, as trainers ran all over giving the players liquids and breaks were taken to give them a breather as temperatures neared triple digits. In goal line full team drills, Ray Lewis dove to knock down a Joe Flacco pass, drawing oohs from the players and lucky fans in attendance, although the offense yelled for an official's flag on the play.
There were approximately 200 fans in attendance who had won tickets through the team's lottery. They were treated to a covered sitting area with the opportunity to walk around the outside of the practice fields. Team reps provided them with water and a couple of staff members distributed Popsicles in a classy move.
It was only the first day, but it is obvious that most players, if not pretty much all of them, appeared to be in great shape and ready for another run at defending their AFC North title and competing for a chance to play in February 2013.