Joe Flacco, Ravens Kick Off OTAs

Quarterback Joe Flacco said he will be attending the team’s OTAs and minicamp.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

The Ravens kicked off their organized team activities with their offensive leader under center.

Quarterback Joe Flacco plans on being a constant participant this offseason despite his ongoing contract negotiations.

“Yeah, I’m going to be here for OTAs and for minicamp,” Flacco said Tuesday afternoon.

The Ravens had a number of veterans report to the voluntary practice, including wide receiver Anquan Boldin, fullback Vonta Leach, offensive tackles Bryant McKinnie and Michael Oher, safety Bernard Pollard and cornerback Lardarius Webb.

It’s significant that Flacco reported, and plans to continue to show up, because star players in the midst of contract talks don’t often choose to do so.

“It’s always fun to get back to doing what you love,” Flacco said. “It’s good for the young guys. I think every little bit helps.”

“He’s the leader of our offense and he’s the guy that drives this whole thing,” tight end Dennis Pitta added. “It’s nice to work with him and get our timing down and all that.”

This year is much different than last in that the players are getting back to work much earlier. Due to the lockout, players didn’t have a true team practice from the time the season ended until July 28.

So will the extra practice time help?

“Every time you can perfect your craft and continue to work at something, I think that’s good for your team,” Pollard said. “Anytime you have time off, that’s never good for us.

“I thought we had a great day today. The coaches picked up right where they left off. We had a lot of guys flying around on the defensive side. We had guys in positions they’ve never been in playing hard, playing fast. And the offense really looked good. It’s exciting to see what we’re capable of.”

Some established veterans continue to work out by themselves away from the team facility.

Boldin said he’s been doing two-a-day practices this offseason (football training in the morning and boxing in the evening) and that his body feels healthy.

But being away doesn’t allow him to mentor the young crop of wide receivers, including second-year players Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss, LaQuan Williams and rookie draft pick Tommy Streeter.

“It feels good to get back around the fellas, get on the field and run around a little bit,” Boldin said. “It’s always good to get back in the locker room.”

Being at the team facility also enables more competition, which can help players who are particularly battling for starting and roster positions.

“You kind of judge yourself a little bit against the guys and I think it kind of gives the coaches a nice perspective on how you’re coming along,” outside linebacker Paul Kruger said. “For me, I like to get out there and work against somebody and compete.”

The rookies had their camp from May 11-13, so it was their first test against the veterans.

“The level of play was fast and it was definitely challenging, definitely a higher level of play,” second-round pick guard/tackle Kelechi Osemele said.

It’s only the beginning. The Ravens will continue to have organized team activities over the next three weeks before their mandatory minicamp begins on June 11.

“Day 1 and we’ve got a lot of good practices ahead of us,” Pitta said.

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