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At this time a year ago, iron was clanging and music was blaring from the Ravens’ weight room. Voluntary workouts had begun.
Due to the lockout, however, the players’ side of the Owings Mills facility is unusually quiet these days.
But upstairs, in the coaching and scouting departments, things are in full gear. While the players aren’t around, the Ravens are preparing to welcome in their next class.
“We’re doing the draft,” Head Coach John Harbaugh told reporters last week in New Orleans. “You always feel like you’re catching up on the draft. Secondly, you have to be ready for free agency because you don’t know what that process is going to be and when it’s going to happen.”
With no contact with players allowed, coaches have been watching film of college prospects, reviewing every play from the Ravens’ 2010 season and working on schemes for the 2011 campaign. (Coaches are having offensive, defensive and special teams meetings in which they’re creating what they want the units’ schemes to look like in 2011.)
“The element that is not there right now is the half of the day that you’re with your players,” Harbaugh said. “This is an opportunity for us to strip everything down and build everything up from the ground floor, which you really want to do every year anyway. But it’s really hard to find the time to do that.”
Harbaugh jokingly told reporters at the owners meetings that since his staff doesn’t have players to run through their simulations, they might have to use office personnel such as security guards or public relations staffers. Personally, I’m ready.
As has been confirmed by President Dick Cass, the Ravens did not lay off any employees like some other NFL teams. All departments are planning for a 2011 season as usual.
“Everyone on the football side has been focused on the draft. The coaches and the scouts alike are working very hard on the draft. I think it will really hit everyone when the draft is over and we get into the period where we usually have OTAs and minicamps. That’s when I think it will really hit everyone in the building that we’re in a very different situation.”