Ravens Camp Report: Day 6

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Baltimore Ravens training camp:

  • Starting quarterback Joe Flacco made his best and worst throws of camp in the same practice. His best pass came when he hit wide receiver Torrey Smith in stride on a 30-yard touchdown strike down the sideline. Then, in a red zone drill, Flacco threw off his back foot while fading backward. Not surprisingly, it was intercepted by cornerback Dominique Franks in the end zone.
  • Left guard Kelechi Osemele continued an impressive and physical training camp. He delivered a block that knocked defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the ground and later did the same to Brandon Williams. After watching Osemele in practice, you realize how much his absence last year -- he had back surgery -- hurt the Ravens' offensive line.
  • While it's been established that Jimmy Smith is one of the league's best young cornerbacks, his performance in the one-on-one drills in the red zone was still impressive. In a drill where the defensive back is at a disadvantage, Smith intercepted a pass in front of Torrey Smith and he broke up a pass to LaQuan Williams. It was interesting to note that Smith then joined tight ends Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels to catch passes from the Jugs machine in an effort to improve his hands.
  • The biggest surprise of camp has been wide receiver Kamar Aiken. He wasn't on the radar this offseason, but he likely has passed Deonte Thompson and LaQuan Williams on the depth chart with what he's done this summer. It seems like he makes a catch every day that makes you notice him.
  • In a matchup between two struggling players, wide receiver Marlon Brown made a diving, one-handed catch for a touchdown against cornerback Chykie Brown. Coming off a strong rookie season, Marlon Brown has been dropping several passes throughout the offseason and training camp. That frustration may been the reason why he spiked the ball in Chykie Brown's direction.
  • Justin Tucker hit field goals from 63 and 56 yards. He missed on a 55-yard attempt.
  • Schedule: The Ravens have an 8:30 a.m. ET practice Thursday. Running back Ray Rice will have his much anticipated news conference following practice.
  • Injury wire: DE Brent Urban (knee) suffered a potentially serious injury during the first hour of practice. DT Timmy Jernigan (back) also left the field and didn't return, although the Ravens believe he's fine. ... CB Lardarius Webb (back) missed his fourth straight practice. LBs Daryl Smith and Albert McClellan both weren't at practice for undisclosed reasons. ... G Will Rackley (head) also didn't practice. ... NT Terrence Cody (hip) is on the physically unable to perform list.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens are concerned that the knee injury suffered by rookie defensive end Brent Urban on Wednesday may be serious.

Urban, the team's fourth-round pick out of Virginia, went down after a block by offensive tackle Jah Reid in a drill less than an hour into practice. He couldn't put any weight on his right leg and needed a trainer under each arm to get off the field.

An MRI is scheduled for Urban on Wednesday night.

"We'll just hope and pray for the best on that one," coach John Harbaugh said.

This is the first significant injury of Ravens camp (unless cornerback Lardarius Webb's back issue becomes more severe) but it's not the first injury of the year for Urban. He was limited for the early offseason workouts after undergoing ankle surgery in February.

Urban had been projected to back up Chris Canty this season. If Urban is out for an extended period, Kapron Lewis-Moore would become the primary backup.

But Harbaugh hasn't completely ruled out Urban for the season.

"I'm still hopeful that he'll be back, but we'll have to see," Harbaugh said.

The sixth practice of training camp featured a play that nearly cost the Ravens two rookies on the defensive line. On the same drill where Urban was injured, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan had to leave the field as well.

Jernigan, a second-round pick from Florida State, appeared to hurt his back. He went inside the team facility without any assistance from trainers.

"Timmy looks fine," Harbaugh said.

Defensive line is one of the positions where the Ravens can absorb a hit to their depth. Outside of the starters (Canty, Haloti Ngata and Brandon Williams), the Ravens have intriguing backups in Jernigan, Lewis-Moore and DeAngelo Tyson.

While the Ravens were expecting a huge impact from Urban, a major injury could curtail his development. Urban likely would have a shot at starting next season.

He is the perfect fit for a 3-4 defensive end, which is also referred to as "five technique." At 6-foot-7, 298 pounds, he has nearly the same build as Canty (6-7, 317) but has more upside.

“Brent has made steady progress since the first day he walked in here,” defensive line coach Clarnece Brooks said. “We liked him when we drafted him and after he was here for a couple days we knew exactly what we liked about him. He’s a great kid, works hard.”

What should you expect from the Ravens backfield in 2014?

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- On the eve of Ray Rice addressing the media, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh continued to support his starting running back, saying he was "disappointed" in the domestic violence incident but was "proud" in what he's done since.

"I hate what happened. What happened was wrong. Flat out," Harbaugh told reporters after Wednesday's training camp practice. "The thing I appreciate about it is how Ray has handled it afterward by acknowledging it was wrong and he'll do everything he can do to make it right. That's what you ask for when someone does a wrong thing. So, I'm proud of him for that."

Harbaugh was alluding to the fact that Rice and his now-wife Janay Palmer entered into counseling together immediately following the incident in an Atlantic City casino elevator, where he allegedly struck her unconscious. Rice was accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May to avoid trial, and he was suspended two games by the NFL last Thursday.

Harbaugh declined to address the length of Rice's suspension, which has come under fire for being too soft.

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Ray Rice is scheduled to address the media on Thursday after practice, and it's time for the Baltimore Ravens running back to address the seriousness of domestic violence.

Even though three players recently have been arrested for assault in domestic disputes, Rice is the face of this issue in the NFL. The video image of him dragging his unconscious then-fiancée out of an Atlantic City elevator has put Rice at the center of what is a sensitive and extremely personal topic.

This is his chance to take full responsibility for the incident and not simply his "role," which is how he characterized it in a mishandled news conference two months ago. This is an opportunity to apologize not only to his now-wife, Janay, but all women who have been affected by domestic abuse. Rice has talked about the importance of being a strong role model, and he has to prove it Thursday, when he is expected to take questions for the first time since being arrested for assault in February.

No one needs to hear Rice say that he's failed. He did that at his May news conference, and he reiterated that in a statement released by the team after his two-game suspension by the NFL was announced this past Thursday.

Rice also doesn't need to say he's sorry to the fans or children again, especially after the warm reception he received at a training camp practice at M&T Bank Stadium on Monday night. There were women and children there wearing his No. 27 jersey.

The national perception, however, is that Rice has not been punished justly. Not by the court system, which allowed him to enter a pretrial intervention program. Not by the NFL, which suspended Rice for only two games when repeat drug offenders can be banned for an entire season.

The issue of domestic violence isn't isolated to Rice and the Ravens, which is why someone needs to send a stronger message. Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington and Vikings cornerback A.J. Jefferson all recently have been arrested for assault in domestic disputes. According to statistics from The San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 of 32 NFL teams employed a player with a domestic or sexual violence charge on their record last year.

Rice is just the latest statistic, although no one has been supported more strongly by his team. The Ravens contend this incident is unlike the Rice they've known for the past six years. Rice has been publicly backed by owner Steve Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome, coach John Harbaugh and thousands of fans at that stadium practice.

But this issue goes beyond the team, the city and, quite frankly, football in general. That’s why Thursday’s news conference is such an important step for Rice.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Two of the Baltimore Ravens' rookie draft picks were injured on the same play at training camp Wednesday.

Defensive end Brent Urban and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan both got hurt on a running drill against the offensive line less than an hour into practice.

Urban, a fourth-round pick out of Virginia, looks more seriously hurt with what appears to be a right knee injury. He needed to be helped off the field by two trainers and was later carted off.

The Ravens expected Urban to be the primary backup to Chris Canty. Urban missed some early offseason practices after undergoing ankle surgery in February.

Jernigan, a second-round pick from Florida State, suffered a back injury. He followed Urban inside team headquarters but he walked off the field on his own power. Jernigan, who was competing for a starting job, had been one of the more impressive rookies at this year's training camp.

Coach John Harbaugh will be asked about the injuries following practice.

The problem at cornerback

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
ESPN.com Baltimore Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley discusses injuries and the lack of depth at cornerback.

Sal Paolantonio reports from Ravens camp on the team's plan for handling the Ray Rice situation.

espnW's Sarah Spain joins Keith Olbermann to discuss the Ray Rice story, sexism in sports, and violence against women.

espnW's Sarah Spain joins Keith Olbermann to discuss the Ray Rice story, sexism in sports, and violence against women.

After suspending Ray Rice for two games, what should Roger Goodell do about Jim Irsay? Keith Olbermann explains.
The Baltimore Ravens have gone to the Arena League to add more depth to their secondary.

The Ravens signed defensive back Marrio Norman and waived wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard.

Norman, who turns 28 next month, played the past two seasons for the Cleveland Gladiators and Georgia Force. At 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, Norman played both safety and cornerback in college while at Coastal Carolina.

He had tried out for the Ravens earlier this year but wasn't signed. The Ravens have grown thin at cornerback since Aaron Ross suffered a season-ending Achilles injury and Lardarius Webb has missed more time than expected with a back injury.

Sheppard, who played at nearby Towson in college, spent last season on the Ravens' practice squad.

Man faces jail time, fine for urination

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29

BALTIMORE -- Maryland authorities said Tuesday they will charge a man with disorderly conduct in a cemetery for allegedly urinating on the grave of former Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell.

The man, who so far has been identified only as a Cleveland Browns fan, could face up to two years in jail and a $500 fine. He posted a video of the incident to YouTube this month.

"Everyone who has buried a loved one has the right to believe that their final resting place will be treated with respect," Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger said in a written statement. "Bringing charges against this individual should act as a deterrent to others and assure the rest of us that no matter who you are, indecencies will not be committed against your final resting place."

Shellenberger said the man will not be identified until charges are filed and served.

Art Modell died in 2012 at the age of 87. He spent 43 years as an NFL owner, overseeing the Browns from 1961 until he moved the team to Baltimore in 1996, when they became the Ravens. Modell served as league president from 1967 to '69, helped finalize the first collective bargaining agreement with the players in 1968 and was the point man for the NFL's lucrative contracts with television networks.

Modell and his wife, Patricia, are buried at Druid Ridge Cemetery in Baltimore.

David Modell, Art Modell's son, said the family is thankful for the efforts of Baltimore County police and the decision by the state's attorney to file charges.

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