Insider Chat Transcript - May 21, 2003

<B><p>This past Wednesday night Aaron Wilson joined the Insiders to discuss the latest news from the Ravens camp. This week is passing camp, so the Insiders got the chance to hear lots of news on how the team is progressing and who is doing well.<BR><BR>Check it out!</B>

aaronwilson Good evening, everyone. Sorry, I'm running so late. I'm ready for all your questions.
darb72 The Seattle game. Shawn is Nickis favorite player.
darb72 I've been filling in Aaron
Crowdog89 Cool. Hi Aaron
Crowdog89 So Aaron what's going on tomorrow in passing camp?
Macadamia Good evening Aaron, reading your latest article on Boller.
awalt Hey guys!
Macadamia What up awalt?
aaronwilson After a one-day hiatus caused by the league meetings in Philadelphia, the Ravens resume passing camp and continue to work on developing some timing and precision on offense and different combinations of personnel on defense.
Crowdog89 Hey Don.
Dev21 hey.
Dev21 Who has stood out the most between the WRs?
darb72 Why do we have so many Mods in here?
awalt Hey Aaron! Did the Ravens do any special teams work at the first mini-camp? I forgot to ask.
aaronwilson I've been particularly impressed with Marcus Robinson and Travis Taylor. Both look like they should be able to stretch the defense and open up room for Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap.
darb72 Macadamia is going to start causing trouble again I suppose. :)
awalt I am a mod because I get the transcripts and format them so we can read them
Dev21 LOL, it didn't take long.
aaronwilson Yes, they do some kicking drills, including Dave Zastudil practicing his kickoffs. Matt Stover is working out on a narrow, portable field goal that's difficult to hit chip shots through.
DarkSide Aaron, how does Kyle Boller look so far? Is he starting to look comfortable - more confident with the passing routes?
darb72 Has Travis improved his catching skills? That's kind of important
Dev21 Speaking of which, have you gotten any read on how Zastudil is handling KO duties?
Macadamia Not me darb, I'm innocent (cough cough)
aaronwilson Kyle Boller seems to be picking up on the patterns of the receivers. As he has noted, it's a lot to learn. It's like Spanish class, he said. You can't learn it in three days.
aaronwilson Travis Taylor hasn't dropped more than one or two passes that I've seen throughout both camps.
awalt How does Kemo look now that he is in camp? DO you see a big role for him this year?
aaronwilson Dave Zastudil is coming along. He did this before, splitting duties one season at Ohio University.
aaronwilson Kemo is huge, but he's definitely not a threat to beat out Kelly Gregg at nose guard. Kelly has beefed up and is just as quick as before. That said, I think Kemo will play a lot especially until Aubrayo Franklin gets in peak condition. Right now, he's a tad out of shape.
Crowdog89 How's Salave'a or however you spell it looking?
Dev21 How did the rookie safeties look at passing camp?
aaronwilson This is passing camp. He's not present. At minicamp, he did a really good job. Rex Ryan likes him a lot.
Macadamia Salave'a is a player. I liked the quote from Ed Reed about Boller, that speaks volumes.
aaronwilson Gerome Sapp isn't present because of an NFL rule that doesn't allow rookies to attend team camps while their college is still in session. Antwoine Sanders hasn't gotten many reps behind Will Demps and Anthony Mitchell thus far.
awalt Aaron I think you said in one article the UDFA defensive backs didn't impress you so far. Have any UDFAs?
Dev21 Okay.
awalt So who is helping all these draftees find their classes since it's probably the first time this year they went? lol
aaronwilson Yes, Gilman graduate Chisom Opara, fellow receiver Hugh Smith and linebacker Chris Brown look like contenders along with outside linebacker Amon Arnold. They all face uphill climbs, though. Smith may be the fastest player on the team with 4.30 speed.
awalt Whoops - I have Arnold at LDE in our depth chart. Does he play one side or the other Aaron (I assume Arnold is OLB)?
aaronwilson Most of the players aren't even enrolled. It's an archaic rule based on not wanting the league to interfere with the players' education even though most of the players aren't that interested.
aaronwilson Arnold is a rush end/outside linebacker.
Dev21 Did Suggs have the chance to drop back into coverage yet this week?
aaronwilson He's another one of the players, along with fullback Ovie Mughelli, who's absent because of this rule. He might return, Brian Billick, said before the week ends. It's a league covenant that the Ravens can't tamper with.
awalt How does Terry Jones look this year? Haven't heard much about him...
Macadamia That would be cool if Hugh Smith makes the club, he's from USF (down here in my neck of the woods)
darb72 Have you had the chance to see Pashos yet? If so, how does he look.
aaronwilson He's looked really sharp. He has outstanding size and surprising speed and hands.
Dev21 That is right, forgot that Suggs' classes had no ended yet.
Crowdog89 How's Redman looking to you? Does he seem to move around better? Have more zip on the ball?
aaronwilson Yes, Tony Pashos is a mountain of a man at 6-6, 337. He looks like a tackle for the future if he can adjust to the speed of the pro game. Gigantic kid.
Dev21 Which player has NOT impressed you so far between both camps?
Macadamia Man we are deep at LB, deep at TE, deep at RB, deep at S
DarkSide Aaron, what have you seen of Mabry? I really liked the way Savage talked about him, do you think he has a chance of sticking?
awalt Pashos isn't so big when he's standing next to Zeus and JO!
aaronwilson Chris Redman, in quarterbacks and receivers coach David Shaw's estimation, looks like ""night and day"" compared to his physical ability before addressing the back condition.
darb72 Let him get into an NFL weight room, and he'll bulk up plenty
Macadamia That is some very good news.
aaronwilson I haven't seen much of Mike Mabry yet.
awalt How does Terry Jones look this year? Haven't heard much about him...
aaronwilson Too early to form a sound impression.
darb72 Redman wins a Superbowl, and next year is the starting QB for the- let's say Dallas Cowboys
aaronwilson Answered the Terry Jones question above. He's looked sharp. Great size and surprising speed and routes.
awalt oops sorry thanks
Macadamia Yeah Darb, he gets ""Dilfered""... LOL!
aaronwilson No problem.
Dev21 Did John Jones hurt his stock to some degree by not being able to participate this week?
Macadamia Any fights yet Aaron?
aaronwilson No, John Jones' stock is still high because he had such a good minicamp, lots of acrobatic receptions, also he's an established blocking tight end and special teams performer. He'll contend with rookie Trent Smith for the third tight end job at training camp.
Macadamia And any other players besides Aubrayo Franklin look totally out of shape?
aaronwilson No, there haven't been any fisticuffs at any NFL passing camp I've ever attended. It's kind of a mellow atmosphere.
aaronwilson Grant Noel could lose a few pounds.
awalt There is paranoia still on how healthy Ray Lewis is - guys like Boselli can't get over the bad shoulder. Is Ray going to be ok this year?
Macadamia That makes sense about the fights. Grant Noel? Who is he? Just kidding!
aaronwilson Yes, I think Ray Lewis will be back to tackling ball carriers and arriving at the football in a bad mood.
darb72 Boselli is an OT, they put a lot more pressure on their shoulders every play.
DarkSide Does Ray have any special procedures to go through to ready himself for practice in regards to the shoulder?
Dev21 Do you see Chester Taylor's role in the offense expanding?
aaronwilson Ray Lewis said he's followed a strict workout regimen that's included a lot of cardiovascular work. He's down to 240 pounds.
Macadamia So Jamal showed up in good shape I take it. That's big.
Macadamia RayLew went ol skool on us (like Herschel Walker back in the day): sit ups and push ups
aaronwilson Somewhat, I think Chester Taylor could be a nice change of pace to Jamal Lewis. He showed me some real flashes of brilliance as an extra receiver operating out of the slot and out of the backfield toward the end of last season. Recall the Texans' game?
aaronwilson Jamal Lewis showed up in solid condition. No worries there.
Macadamia Yeah, Chester was a steal in the 6th round.
Crowdog89 How are Sanders and Robinson holding up health wise? Do you think they will be ready for the season? Also with Sanders work ethic, will that help Travis concentrate more on the field?
Dev21 No question. He did not have good receiving skills coming out of college, so I was surprised by his improvement in that area.
aaronwilson They haven't experienced any troubles yet at all. Travis Taylor said he was honored to play with both of them and noted that it's a motivator for him to push for where they've already been: the 1,000-yard barrier.
Macadamia Think about that 6th round last year: Chester Taylor, Chad Williams, Javin Hunter, and Lamont Brightful
DarkSide Do you think Franklin has seriously hurt his chances of making the team by showing up out of shape? I'm disappointed with this and I imagine the Ravens are to
Crowdog89 Do you see it as a possibility that we could have multiple 1000 yd WR's?
aaronwilson He's not that out of shape. Let's not get out of hand. They just need him to do a little extra work at the end of practice. He'll get there. Remember this guy was a blue-chip linebacker coming out of high school. He has bulked up considerably to play nose guard.
darb72 hahahaha
darb72 sorry Crow, just startled me.
awalt Do you see Riddick Parker making the team this year? To me he seems on the bubble in a numbers game (Weaver, Gregg, Douglas, Thomas, Kemo, Salave'a, Franklin, Johnson are all probably ahead of him)
aaronwilson I envision having several 700-900-yard receivers, including Travis Taylor, Todd Heap and Frank Sanders.
aaronwilson Riddick Parker took some work with the first unit at end during minicamp. That would seem to bode well for him, but you're right that this numbers game is going to be tough on a lot of guys, including Dave Nugent.
awalt Back to Ray Lewis - isn't 240 too light from an inside linebacker these days?
darb72 Are the Ravens happy about any ""improvement"" on the offensive line. Any starters on the bubble, or is the starting 5 set.
aaronwilson It's a tad light, but several Pro Bowlers, including Sam Mills and Jessie Armstead, have played at lighter weights than that. He's experimenting with a lighter weight to maximize his acceleration to the football.
Dev21 Billick loves their line, if that means anything.
aaronwilson Look for Casey Rabach to continue to push for a starting position. And Orlando Brown isn't guaranteed right tackle yet. He will likely win the job, though. Ethan Brooks is the other alternative.
Macadamia I was happy to hear Bennie came in strong and lighter.
awalt Will Zeus be the RT starter when it's all said and done in camp?
darb72 not after he loved Grbac. Whoops, I went there. Heck I went there and sent back a postcard
aaronwilson Yes, I predict Orlando Brown will start at right tackle all season long.
Macadamia darb, you kill me man. Just take a leap of faith man. LOL!
Macadamia Who's still getting the most reps at FS? Demps?
awalt Sounds like Anthony Wright continues to impress in passing camp. Think he'll be the #3?
DarkSide any chance Pashos could end up at RG and get considerable playing time there?
Macadamia Or Fuller?
aaronwilson Will Demps is still receiving the majority of the repetitions at free safety except when Corey Fuller rotates over from cornerback. This spot will be competed over all summer.
Macadamia That's going to be great to watch. We have GOOD problems this year fellas!
aaronwilson I think so. I think Anthony Wright has a very good chance of being retained as the third-stringer. He has enough experience and ability to command that lesser role.
aaronwilson No, I don't think Tony Pashos has the quickness that Jim Colletto ideally wants at right guard.
Crowdog89 Let's just have faith in the coaches to put the BEST 53 out there.
Crowdog89 What about a Veteran QB? Any feelers or interest out there or talk you've heard?
awalt Aaron don't the tackles need to be quicker than guards because of rush-ends?
aaronwilson Neil O'Donnell is the name that won't die. The former Maryland and Titans quarterback has been connected with Baltimore by several people, including Brian Billick. If it happens, and it's far from certain that it will, sometime after June 1 would be the soonest.
darb72 Not really. Guards are used to get out on the second level against linebackers, or pulling on trap plays
aaronwilson It's a different type of quickness. Guards have to pull. It takes nimble feet, not just that initial retreat to pass block.
darb72 Tackles need that quick first step back, and the agility to mirror the rush ends.
Dev21 Scorp, you can jump in with a question whenever you are ready.
aaronwilson Exactly right, it's a different sort of required movement.
darb72 I know the offensive line. Oh yeah baby, I'm fat.
scorpion Do you think that Billick will open up the offense this season...namely using more slot receivers and double tight ends?
darb72 or in fewer words: Can we fire Cavs.
aaronwilson I think Brian Billick and Matt Cavanaugh will open up the offense to an extent without getting away from their primary weapons, Todd Heap and Jamal Lewis. Billick is a huge fan of three wide receiver sets and double tight end alignments. Now, he has the personnel to implement those schemes.
Dev21 How do you see Orlando Brown holding up in pass protection?
aaronwilson I think he can handle it by bullying pass rushers and he has good technique and initial quickness.
awalt Is anyone disappointing so far? Seems like all the news we hear is good and/or very upbeat, what are the coaches concerned about right now?
Crowdog89 Do you think we'll run to the right at least once this season?
Macadamia Good one Crow, I believe the answer is yes.
DarkSide Have you been close enough to gauge on Boller is fitting in with his new teammates? And has he shown hints of leadership ability?
aaronwilson They rarely dwell on negatives, but I think the reason why everyone is so upbeat is because of the increased depth and potential of the squad. Of course, things will go wrong, but it's May. They're undefeated like everyone else.
aaronwilson They would like to have as much depth as possible at corner. Remember they play the St. Louis Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers and several other good passing teams this fall.
aaronwilson I think they will be more right-handed this year. Wouldn't you with Orlando ""Zeus"" Brown lining up on the right side?
scorpion Randy Hymes is an interesting you think that there are gadget type plays (like a slash-back) to utilize his arm? Does he have the accuracy to be used in that capacity?
aaronwilson I think he's fitting in well. He's made a strong first impression. He stays after to work out in the weight room and study more film and he never complains. That was a trademark of his under adverse circumstances at Cal.
Macadamia Gotta love it.
aaronwilson I doubt they will run many plays like that with Randy Hymes. I expect him to get most of his work in the red zone on fade routes and jump balls.
DarkSide I'm geeked!
Macadamia Two humble team guys at QB on our team, with the competitive fire and leadership ability QB's need.
darb72 Still, the idea of a receiver who runs a 4.6, throwing the ball to a QB who runs a 4.6 is interesting to say the least
Crowdog89 With all of the Ravens new found offensive depth and upgrades, this season is the ""No excuses"" season for Cavanaugh. I will really call for his head if he is just as predictable as in the past. Are they adding any new plays into the play book to capitalize on the talent?
Macadamia I don't think it's so much about adding new plays, it's executing them. LOL!
darb72 You already pointed out that they were going to run to the right this year Crow
Crowdog89 LOL! More than once I hope.
aaronwilson They are running more intricate patterns to take advantage of the influx of talent. They have an extensive playbook, but haven't utilized as much as they would have liked to because of the personnel they've had on the roster.
darb72 wait for it...
DarkSide In these passing camps, how is the time divided between the classroom and the practice field?
Macadamia Alright, we've got darb, darkside, and's getting pretty dar-k in here.
Dev21 Guys, we'll wrap this up in about 10 more minutes.
drkraven if my Comcast stays on
Macadamia I know it's early, but any predictions on who might be our ""surprise cut"" this year?
aaronwilson They have morning meets that typically take about an hour. They spend an hour and 15 minutes, including flex, on the field. Most of the guys stay out there for extra work. Everyone lifts weights.
aaronwilson What position did you have in mind?
Macadamia ANY, just a name player who doesn't end up making the team for some reason or another.
Crowdog89 Or our ""surprise"" keeper?
darb72 I hated morning workouts more than afternoon work outs. I almost feel sorry for the players.
aaronwilson Possibly Anthony Mitchell if he's essentially the third safety or beaten out by one of the rookies. It wouldn't shock me if John Jones didn't make it, or possibly one of the drafted receivers from last season. Nothing is guaranteed to hardly anyone.
Macadamia Man I totally had just typed Anthony Mitchell as my prediction. Great minds...
aaronwilson Hugh Smith is my early sleeper for now.
Dev21 Those are two guys I see getting released, too. Also, Riddick Parker is another guy.
Macadamia Dave Nugent is out of here, but he's not really a name.
Macadamia OH that reminds me, we didn't ask about Ron Johnson and Javin Hunter did we, how do they look?
scorpion Do you think the Ravens will make (or planning) any moves after June 1st? Is there any position, other than QB, that a veteran presence would help?
Crowdog89 Ron Johnson? What's he looking like? Think he has a chance to regain his college abilities?
aaronwilson They look better than last year. Both squandered prime opportunities last year when Johnson hit the rookie slump at midseason and Hunter missed the last four games after testing positive for ephedrine.
darb72 Have any of the front office folks talked about Warren Sapp?
aaronwilson They could use an experienced nose guard or right guard, but it's unlikely.
drkraven I do not like Sapp
DarkSide ditto
aaronwilson Warren Sapp isn't a realistic alternative. Expensive. Doesn't fit the Ravens' locker room or scheme well. Won't be coming here.
Dev21 darb, I imagine that would be tampering.
Macadamia Forget Sapp, too full of himself and too expensive. Plus he's on the downside of a good career.
aaronwilson Yes, Sapp is under contract with Tampa Bay. He might eventually re-sign with them at some point. It's way early.
mocoravens hey everybody
Dev21 BTW, Tim Duncan is unreal. Just felt the need to say that, lol.
Macadamia moco in da house
darb72 I was just asking because of the thread on the board
Dev21 Moco, get in a couple of questions quickly because we will wrap the chat up in five minutes.
mocoravens I guess everything from the passing camp has been covered. I was just wondering how Redman looked to Aaron
darb72 Hey Crow, you only got comcasted once tonight. Good for you
Crowdog89 yep
aaronwilson Redman has impressed me with his command of the offense and his tight spirals. He's come a long way.
Dev21 Dallas is getting routed.
drkraven How is Randy Hymes looking
drkraven ?
Crowdog89 NBA Deb
aaronwilson Randy Hymes has looked strong, more polished routes and consistent hands. He's still learning the position after converting from quarterback at Grambling.
darb72 I'm bored, and I feel like running an experiment.
aaronwilson Last couple of questions, guys.
drkraven OH thanks
Dev21 Yeah, the Mavericks. They are getting rocked right now.
mocoravens Is there any chance Hymes pushes into the starting lineup, in your opinion?
darb72 I'm going to start a thread on how great Redman is, and see how long it takes certain people to post on it. I'm guessing thirty minutes. Five if he's actually on-line when I post it
aaronwilson I think that might be out of the realm for Randy Hymes. He's behind Travis Taylor, Marcus Robinson and Frank Sanders. There's a pecking order and he's behind those players.
Dev21 LOL. As a moderator, I would advise against this experiment.
mocoravens Injury (God forbid) would be his chance. It's nice to know we may have some depth
Macadamia I think this is the most exciting Ravens team yet. So many of our homegrown rocks!
darb72 as the resident smart alek, I'm saying it must be done
DarkSide With Hugh Smith and his speed, is there a chance he could make Brightful expendable?
Macadamia Lamont ya big dummy!
darb72 Only two guys starting on offense weren't signed by us right
Crowdog89 What do you think the final roster will look like as far as WR's is concerned?
Dev21 Yes, Zeus and Sanders.
Macadamia Ricard and probably Sanders or Robinson, right.
aaronwilson That might be a little premature for Hugh Smith, but nothing is impossible when you can run as fast as he can. At the least, I expect him to push Brightful and contend for a practice squad spot.
Macadamia Zeus was an original Raven
Dev21 Technically, Ricard.
Dev21 I don't really count Zeus, because he did not stay.
aaronwilson Frank Sanders, Marcus Robinson, Travis Taylor, Randy Hymes and Ron Johnson.
darb72 any defensive starters not drafted by us
Macadamia Fuller
Vagrant howdy
darb72 Zeus was and always will be a Brown to me. I don't forgive like some people.
scorpion have to roll..thanks Aaron
Dev21 Vagrant, ask a couple of questions and then we will close the chat.
darb72 If Fuller gets the starting nod, then you're right, that's one
Macadamia But the Ravens organization is the first team (technically, when they were the Browns that is) to acquire Zeus
Crowdog89 Vagrant, get a question in quick...Aaron is almost done.
awalt For those that came late, transcript will be posted tomorrow!
mocoravens Thanks
Vagrant hmm thinking
darb72 we've already decided that we don't want Sapp, so choose another one
Vagrant Hahah!
Vagrant How has Zastudil been doing with the kickoffs?
Macadamia Let it go darb (about Zeus), Stover was a Brown too. LOL!
aaronwilson He's coming along. He hasn't done much at full speed and hasn't worked with coverage units yet.
aaronwilson Anything else?
Macadamia Thanks for all the news Aaron!
awalt thanks Aaron - you are the best! Great on radio too!
mocoravens Thanks Aaron
drkraven Thanks
Vagrant Not really. Hehe. Thanks though
darb72 Thanks Aaron.
aaronwilson Thanks for all the great questions everyone. Enjoyed it. We'll do it again next week.

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