Full Team Finally On-Field

The Ravens had all their players on the practice field for once, and the outcome was positive.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Thursday, August 4th, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Categories: 2011 Training Camp, Mike Duffy

For one week, a shorthanded Ravens squad fought through scorching three-hour practices without their veteran free agents able to participate.

But the reinforcements finally came Thursday evening with the NFL Players Association’s ratification of the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement.  For the dozen or so players who could previously only watch, the twilight session was a breath of fresh air.  (Baltimore’s practice was originally scheduled for 1:30 p.m., but the team waited until it could have a full complement of players with the start of the new league year.)

“It was good to get out there finally, because three-hour practices are really boring if you’re just watching,” said cornerback Chris Carr, who signed a four-year contract last week.  “You know that preseason games are coming soon, and you want to start working.  A lot of the stuff I worked on during the offseason, I wanted to see if it paid off.

2-Minute Drill: New, Old Faces Return To Practice
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“And I’m definitely glad it wasn’t 100 degrees outside. That was a nice thing,” he added with a laugh.

The Ravens definitely need the entire squad on the same page soon, as they open their preseason Aug. 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

After not being able to field three full units on both sides of the ball – including a gassed offensive line – Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh was happy to see the roster take shape.

“We had to pull the lines out, as you know, and go with [skeletons, 7-on7s] for a lot of our team periods the last few days,” Harbaugh noted.  “We were able to bring a line in for every period. That was nice. We appreciate that and we’re still down.”

With the NFL lockout lasting four months, Thursday was a definite change of pace.

During the work stoppage, players typically worked out on their own or with a personal trainer.

Some got together with fellow players from other clubs, such as wideout Marcus Smith, whose regimen included catching passes from Denver Broncos quarterbacks Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow, as well as conditioning with several Broncos receivers.

Smith, a four-year veteran, said that a ball from Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco simply felt more comfortable.

“I ran routes with NFL quarterbacks, but at the same time, those guys aren’t the guys I’m used to,” Smith said.   “I don’t like what they do more than the way Joe throws the ball, or even the way Tyrod [Taylor, rookie quarterback] throws the ball.

“Having those guys throw to me is a lot different than a guy off the street or someone on another team, just because I’ve been here.”

Carr understands that it may take a few practices to knock off the rust after being away from football since the Ravens’ playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 15.

“There were a couple of plays where I was right there, and I feel like if I had been practicing, I would have made them,” said Carr.  “But I also made some plays, too.  I felt pretty comfortable out there, which is a good thing because I haven’t worn pads since our last game.”

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