Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Points of interest for Ravens under the new "Hard-ball" Regime

Back during the Dean Smith era, the North Carolina Tarheels basketball team suffered the pains of intense workouts and practices. You see it was Coach Smith’s opinion that if he could create highly pressurized practices on a regular basis, the intensity of an actual game would be a relative walk in the park.

I was reminded of Smith’s philosophy on practice when I read this quote from John Harbaugh.

"You've got to make camp tougher than what they're going to see on Sunday. When you do that, they know they can handle that pressure. It's going to be tough-smart. We're not going to be dumb-tough. It's going to be an old-school training camp."

With that in mind, here are the things I’ll be looking at not only while observing camp in the heat and humidity of Westminster, Maryland this summer, but also during the preseason and regular season:

1. The Fans: Will the promise of a more exciting camp be enough to attract visitors to McDaniel College and inspire the Ravens’ faithful to overlook bulging fuel costs?

2. I Want Answers: Will Harbaugh be more like Brian Billick or Dave Trembley? Billick always preached accountability yet he didn’t seem to practice it much. If a player screws up, will the Ravens new coach call that player out like Trembley or wipe the crust out of the player’s eye, give him a lollipop and make him promise to do better next time like Billick?

3. Straw Hats: With Billick gone, I bet you can get one of those straw Ravens hats pretty cheap these days, you know?

4. Inspector Gadget: In the past I’ve watched the Ravens practice some gadget plays but they never seemed to commit to them as part of an effort to keep opponents on their heels. So far in OTA’s, not only has Cam Cameron shown some gadgetry, he’s verbally committed to mixing it up. I want to see if he holds true to his word.

5. Commander Cody: Have the Ravens treated their lawn with the proper chemicals to rid their fields of the turf monsters that Dan Cody is apparently allergic to. With Suggs’ anticipated boycotting of training camp, Cody just might get the snaps to see if he can complete a long, arduous and frustrating comeback.

6. No Sizzle: Speaking of Suggs, it looks like he’ll extend his vacation a little more. But what’s the point? Under a new rule created by the CBA extension of 2006, the Ravens cannot re-sign Suggs now until after the season ends. What does sitting out accomplish? Will it give him and his agent Gary Wichard leverage? I don’t think so. The only plausible reason for Suggs to sit out is to avoid injury. I have no medical proof to back up this opinion but my guess is that he’s more susceptible to injury by waiting until the start of the season to report. He won’t be in football shape and he’ll be a bit out of synch going up against players with a month jump start on him. Plus he’s more likely to get off to a slow start and that coupled with an off year in ’07 won’t help him much at the bargaining table.

7. Mute Rex: Clearly love is in the air when Rex Ryan describes the players that comprise his defense. If you listen to Rex describe Terrell Suggs, you’d think he was talking about Lawrence Taylor. That can’t help the Ravens’ front office execs at the bargaining table. Please pass the remote and turn down the volume on the Ryan Love Train.

8. Heap of Trouble: If Todd Heap goes down, well, you know…Who will the Ravens turn to? Where will they find an adequate replacement? Hey Ozzie, No. 82 might be available. Look Daniel Wilcox may as well change his name to Daniel Wilnot-play and there’s some talk that he could end up on the PUP list.

9. The Turk: Do you get the feeling that there may be a shocking cut or two this year? Players who could surprisingly be on the bubble include: Yamon Figurs, Samari Rolle, Gary Stills and Dan Cody.

10. Remember the count: Perhaps as much as the quarterback competition, the performances of Jared Gaither and Adam Terry will be under close scrutiny. I would not be surprised to see a veteran tackle currently not on the roster be part of the final 53.

11. Early vacation: And finally, it will be interesting to see how Harbaugh handles the veterans during the bye week and how the veterans respond to such treatment. In the past players went on mini-vacations with their families. I’m thinking there will be no vacations until January.

Anyway, that’s how I see it and that’s what I’ll be looking for.

How about you?


Anonymous said...

1. I think Suggs is painting himself into a corner.

2. I think Rex needs to learn how to shut up.

3. I think if the Ravens were smart, they'd be looking very hard at Chris Baker, TE for the Jets. (who, btw, was put on the PUP list, but the reasons behind that are somewhat suspect, according to PFT.com's Mike Florio)

4. Anyone would be shocked to see Cody get cut? I don't think so.

5. The Ravens darn sight BETTER get a veteran RT. I remember when they let Pashos go -- how many "expert" Ravens fans were crowing about how EASY it would be to find another RT because there were PLENTY available. Yeah. I'm still waiting.

6. I'd say the odds are 3-1 against bye week vacations. Coach Harbaugh might tone down the practices, but I think vacations are a thing of the past. I hope so, anyway. I still chafe when I recall Billic's remarks prior to the Buffalo game: "No make sure you all have your vacation plans in place prior to the game.". Jerk.

Harryos29 said...

Whoever, "Anonymous is" ?
is on MY team for sure, on the subject of SUGGS...
... I would bite the bullet and trade this CLOWN. He was ABSENT as soon as PRYCE was hurt!!!
...I know that TRADES in the NFL are Rare...but didn't we just witness one about 200 Miles north of Crab town inthe MEADOWLANDS?
Bye Bye Suggs... we won't miss you.
Harry O' 29