Stadium Practice Demanded More Focus

Players and coaches enjoyed practicing in front of 24,078 fans at M&T Bank Stadium.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Saturday, August 6th, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Categories: 2011 Training Camp, Ryan Mink

Training camp practice is pretty quiet this year at the Ravens’ facility in Owings Mills, Md.

It’s different from when the team is in front of fans in Westminster, the usual site of training camp. And it’s a far cry from playing in front of more than 24,078 fans at M&T Bank Stadium.

Thus, Saturday’s stadium practice, which was free for the public to attend, was not only a good experience to mingle with and perform for fans again, it also served as good preparation.

“I talked to the team afterwards about communicating,” Harbaugh said. “You get in an environment like this and you realize it’s tough. There’s a lot of distractions by design.”

In addition to the fans, who were particularly spirited during the 11-on-11 game action, there was music and interviews during practice.

“I think sometimes, we did OK, and sometimes we didn’t,” Harbaugh said. “So, that’s part of the process to get them ready to play a game, and hopefully it will help us.”

It’s the second straight year the Ravens have hosted a practice at M&T Bank Stadium. Last year’s practice drew a crowd of 17,861.

After the practice, quarterback Joe Flacco said he started signing autographs at around midfield and kept going until he was pulled in by a Ravens employee.

“It’s always cool to be in front of these guys, especially because you only do it one time at camp,” Flacco said.

For the most part, the defense ruled the practice, which is fairly common early in training camp as offenses depend more on timing than a defense.

Outgoing outside linebacker Terrell Suggs – who grabbed the play-by-play microphone a couple times to chatter during practice – had a blast.

“Everything we are is because of our fans,” he said.

“To get an opportunity to come out and practice in front of them, you can see the energy they bring. We had fun all day. This was by far the most fun practice ever because the fans were here. We can’t wait until the opener to come out and play for them.”

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