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Late For Work 5/25: Hold Off On Labeling Tommy Streeter

Tucker returning to B-more? De Smith pops up unannounced. Get a Ravens Super Bowl ring.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, May 25th, 2012 at 9:12 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Hold Off On Labeling Tommy Streeter

Initial reports coming out of the Ravens’ two open-to-the-media practice sessions are that rookie wide receiver Tommy Streeter is raw with his route running and he’s also dropped quite a few balls.

Some have already rushed to judgment and labeled Streeter as a bust or a project, says The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec.  

But it’s too early to make that call.

“[L]et’s remember that those same criticisms were being lobbed at Torrey Smith when he was struggling during training camp last year, and I’d say his rookie year worked out just fine,” Zrebiec wrote. “Don’t misunderstand: I’m not comparing Streeter to Smith, who was a second-round pick. I am suggesting it’s far too early to label somebody a project or a bust.”

Streeter fell to the sixth round of the draft, despite averaging 17.6 yards per catch and scoring eight touchdowns last year for Miami.

With size (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) and speed (4.40 seconds in the 40), Streeter has great potential, but as Zrebiec points out, the game is moving fast for him and all the rookies right now.

With plenty of depth on the roster – Anquan Boldin, Smith, Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss and LaQuan Williams – the Ravens likely won’t need an immediate impact from Streeter.

The young man knows he has doubters, but he’s on a mission to overcome.

“I’m extremely hungry,” Streeter told our own Ryan Mink. “I kind of feel like a lot of people didn’t believe in me, even though I believed in myself. … Ever since I got that phone call on draft day, I had the mindset that I was willing to work and I’m going to be the best Baltimore Raven that I can be now that I’m in this position. And I’m ready for whoever lines up in front of me.”

Kicker Tucker Returning To Baltimore?

Billy Cundiff was the only kicker present as the Ravens kicked off their first session of voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) this week.

That’s because there aren’t any other kickers signed to the roster.

Justin Tucker, an undrafted rookie from the University of Texas with some impressive kicking stats, tried out for the team a couple weeks ago. He generated plenty of buzz, but has not been signed.

“That could change, as Tucker put on his Twitter page late [Wednesday] afternoon that he was headed to Maryland next week, presumably back to the Ravens’ facility,” wrote Zrebiec.

“However, he’s since deleted the tweet and it isn’t clear if he’ll return on a tryout basis or he’ll be signed to the roster.”

DeMaurice Smith Pops Up At Castle Unannounced

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith popped up unannounced at the Ravens training facility Wednesday.

He’s making his pop-up visits a routine around the league as a way of ensuring teams and coaches are complying with player safety rules.

“That’s another example of where we have to check on [teams], but we’ve found that they’re compliant with rules,” NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth said in the CSNBaltimore.com video below. “In the past, in order to check on teams’ compliance with rules, we’d have to have some player call in and tell us. Players never wanted to be that guy, although they would be upset and they would complain that the union wasn’t protecting them.

“But in this case, we don’t need to tell anybody, we pop up, we walk in [and] we look around. All the visits we’ve done so far, the teams have been above board, the coaches are complying.”

Kruger Getting First Crack To Replace Suggs

While much of the early speculation centered around rookie Courtney Upshaw replacing the injured Terrell Suggs at rush linebacker, Paul Kruger has said on two occasions he’ll likely be the one filling the open spot.

Some of the speculation stemmed from the fact Upshaw played a similar role to Suggs’ at Alabama and Kruger replaced Jarret Johnson on the strong side last season on third-and-long situations.

But it appears coaches have a different plan so far.

“It’s early to say what will happen, but this is what we’re doing now,” Kruger told The Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson. “I’m told where I’m going to line up and I do it.”

Kruger is entering his last year of his rookie contract and ProFootballTalk.com points out the four-year veteran won’t lack any motivation.

“It’s the last year of Kruger’s rookie contract, and he could strike it rich on the 2013 free-agent market with a breakout season,” Evan Silva wrote.

Ravens Offense Can’t Be Average This Year

With the defense in flux, an average offense won’t cut it in Baltimore says, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

Suggs will miss an undefined amount of time this season, Ray Lewis is 37 and Ed Reed said isn’t sure he’ll be playing (even though the team believes he will).

“The Ravens can’t lean on their defense any longer. It’s unfair to ask these defenders to hold teams to 16.6 points per game like last season,” Hensley wrote. “If the Ravens want to reach the playoffs for a fifth-straight season, the offense has to take charge.

“Being an average offense isn’t going to cut it. The pressure is on for the Ravens to produce more points and yards than they’ve done the past 14 years.”

With quarterback Joe Flacco and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron leading the way the past four seasons, the offense has ranked 18th, 13th, 22nd and 15th.

With a defense as stout as the one in Baltimore, the offense hasn’t needed to be aggressive even with all the tools on the squad. As Hensley points out, a win is virtually assured when the offense scores more than just two touchdowns (46-10 record since 2008 when scoring more than 14 points).

But the need to score more could change with Suggs down.

Flacco told our own Garrett Downing that he welcomes any added pressure that Suggs’ injury may bring.

“I want us to get in more of a mindset where we have to score points,” Flacco said last week. “Should it be something that makes us do that? No. We shouldn’t feel any more pressure because we don’t have him. We still have a great defense and we still have a great team.

“But having said that, if it does put more pressure on us, if we do feel like we have more pressure on us and we need to score more, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”

Get Your Ravens Super Bowl Ring

If you are in the market for a Ravens Super Bowl XXXV ring, here’s your chance.

That is, if you have $8,000 to blow at Lelands.com.

The origin of the ring currently for sale, which has the name “Dickson” inscribed on it, is a little unclear. But The Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Beatdown may have the story.

“The ring apparently belongs to Jeffrey H. Dickson, who spent six years as the personal driver for then-Ravens owner Art Modell.  Dickson sued Modell in 2003, claiming he was unjustly fired after taking time off for medical reasons,” wrote The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd.

“A Ravens spokesman said Thursday that Jeffrey Dickson was not on the list of Ravens personnel who received Super Bowl XXXV rings. Most likely, the ring was specially made and given to Dickson by Art Modell.”

Quick Hits

  • GENRayOdierno: Great Army supporters-Tom Coughlin, Lynn Chwatsky, Linda Patterson, John Harbaugh & Bob Delaney. [Twitter]
  • A look at the dream and nightmare scenarios for the Ravens in 2012. [ESPN]
  • Ray Rice is not only the best running back in the AFC North, but the best in the AFC. His partner in crime, fullback Vonta’ Leach, was ranked the fifth best in the division. [ESPN]
  • Will Brinson predicts the Ravens will notch less than 10 wins this upcoming season. [CBSSports.com]
  • Ravens: The Ravens are giving Plan in Motion grants of up to $5K to nonprofit organizations! Applications due Thu, 5/31. [Twitter]
  • RayLewisNews: Tix on sale now – @Walmart Ray’s Summer Days – June 7-9, 2012 in Baltimore MD [Twitter]
  • Crushboy31: Oh my I feel that lump in my calf from taking that knee to it yesterday!!! On a mission… [Twitter]
  • Sheets: We’re giving away another spot to workout w/ @RayRice27 in NYC! To win, watch this & upload a clip of u doing the same! [Twitter/YouTube]

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