Insider Chat Transcript - May 28, 2003

Aaron Wilson and Earnest Byner were joined by the Insiders for a discussion of the current goings-on in Owings Mills as the Ravens pepare for the upcoming season. Learn who is hot and who is not as we watch the Ravens get ready for their next mini-camp.

aaronwilson Good evening everyone. Ready for your questions.
darb72 that's good
darb72 howdy Aaron
adminsteve Hi Aaron. Tell us about our new punter.
Vagrant back
aaronwilson Derrick Frost is a former Philadelphia Eagle who punted collegiately at Northern Iowa. His best shot to make this club is as a kickoff specialist.
Vagrant So he's not really an option for kickoffs?
Vagrant err my bad
Vagrant I thought that said return specialist
darb72 this is the most boring time of the year for football fans. I actually watched half an inning of baseball the other night
aaronwilson Yes, he is primarily a kickoff specialist in terms of the Ravens' need for him. Dave Zastudil was an all-rookie selection who averaged over 40 yards a punt last year.
Vagrant yeah sorry, I forgot my thinking cap today
Macadamia Good evening my Ravens brothas! Highlight man has arrived. Aaron, is the new punter/kickoff specialist an indication that Z doesn't look so hot doing the KO's?
darb72 is there anything going on besides us hiring a kicker?
Vagrant how on earth did I think our new punter is a return specialist?
aaronwilson Well, it's really early and Dave Zastudil hasn't even done any live kickoffs with a full coverage unit. This is just to add competition to the mix. I wouldn't read too much into this yet.
darb72 You have a Lobster Man as your avatar Vagrant. That in itself speaks volumes
Vagrant Has Suggs dropped the extra lbs yet? When does he think he'll have that done by?
Vagrant darb- Lol that's Zoidberg
aaronwilson Ozzie Newsome indicated to me today that the Ravens are unlikely to be big spenders in post-June 1 free agency and that Michael McCrary will be addressed next week.
darb72 I know
Macadamia Is Mac definitely going to stick around as an asst coach?
Macadamia The ""Other"" Mac I mean. LOL!
aaronwilson They don't mind if Terrell Suggs stays at 260 pounds. He told me he wants to lose about 10 pounds before training camp. The coaching staff hasn't indicated that he needs to do that, though.
aaronwilson McCrary is likely to give it a try during training camp. It may not be a permanent position, though.
Macadamia Any word out of Ravens camp on NFL Europe star Marc Lester?
aaronwilson They were fairly enthused about his dozen catches in one game, but he hasn't made a lot of noise other than that one isolated performance. NFL Europe, face it, isn't exactly the great NFL proving ground. It's for marginal players.
Macadamia He's a big dude with sure hands. I'm not sure he has the wheels for the NFL though.
Vagrant How's Corey Fuller looking at FS?
Macadamia What's the deal with that dope Pat Kirwan suggesting Chester Taylor might be released?
Vagrant are they still thinking about him starting at CB?
aaronwilson He's capable of playing there. He would rather play cornerback.
aaronwilson Pat Kirwan might have suggested that, but it's highly unlikely considering he's the Ravens' primary backup and third-down back. I think he made an erroneous assumption based on how much he thinks of Musa Smith. I wouldn't bet on his summation coming true anytime soon.
Macadamia Me neither man
crowdog89 Were the Ravens satisfied with the job that Dennis Thurman did last season?
aaronwilson I believe so. He was hired full-time and became an assistant secondary coach. He's a hard worker who has fit in well with the rest of the coaching staff.
Vagrant That's all from me.
crowdog89 Go Paulie
aaronwilson Thurman was initially brought in on a minority coaching internship from USC.
Macadamia It's your birthday.
Macadamia Has Oz indicated that the Ravens are looking at ANY potential June 1st cuts?
aaronwilson Besides Michael McCrary, the Ravens are not likely to release any players. As Newsome noted, too, they don't need the salary-cap relief that McCrary lends to them, about $3.6 million, because the team is in excellent cap shape and will be in even better cap shape for next year.
aaronwilson He said the June 1 market will be thin, but there might be two or three mystery players beyond the usual suspects to look at.
Macadamia I'm sorry Aaron, I meant on other teams.
darb72 Do you think that CMac will be signed to a long term deal shortly after June 1st
Macadamia Ah, cool
aaronwilson No, there's a penalty for signing Chris McAlister before July 16. They would lose the right to franchise any player for the entire length of Chris' new deal. That said, Ozzie said there's no offer on the table for Chris presently and things will pick up again shortly before camp. There's no sense of urgency to complete this negotiation yet.
crowdog89 So far how do the Ravens coaching staff rate the QB position from the Mini-camps and passing camp?
darb72 I thought the penalty date was June 1st. Good thing I'm not running the negotiations huh.
aaronwilson Very high. They are enthused about the passers' arm strength, accuracy and knowledge of the offense. In particular, they think Chris Redman and Anthony Wright have improved a lot.
aaronwilson The penalty period is between March 15 and July 15. It's meant to motivate teams to reach a deal before March 15.
darb72 Do you think the Ravens will make the play-offs this year?
Macadamia So I understand Kemo showed up bigger and better too (like Buddy Lee did) right?
aaronwilson Yes, as a wild card in all likelihood.
adminsteve So you think Pitt will win the AFCN?
aaronwilson Yes, Maake Kemoeatu has bulked up and reported in good condition.
PD Aaron any talk about the other teams in the division, Cleveland looks bad and Pittspuke is old
aaronwilson They are still the prohibitive division favorite.
DarkSide any idea what percentage of the playbook was covered in the last passing camp?
aaronwilson Brian Billick said 80 percent of the basic offensive and defensive concepts have been installed.
Macadamia So what do the players do during this ""down time?"" Do they just work out and go to class every day?
adminsteve 80%% of 3000 offensive plays huh?
aaronwilson Basically, some of the players stayed in town to lift weights. Others are back in their hometowns. It varies. Attendance tends to be high in the weight room because it increases their chances of making the roster.
PD Lots of receivers this year for camp who's not going to make it Hunter, Johnson?
aaronwilson It's kinda early to prognosticate, but keep this in mind: Hunter is more of a special teams player and that could present a potential edge for him. Johnson excels in coverage, too. It's going to be tough. Right now, Randy Hymes has the advantage over these two draft picks.
crowdog89 Do you think Redman can make the throws that he couldn't last season? Also do you think he'll get Travis Taylor more involved, since Heap seemed to be his ""GO TO GUY""?
aaronwilson I think Travis Taylor could be more involved this year. And Chris Redman could deliver the football much better this fall with the physical improvement in his back.
paulie Going from PD's question, the front three looks packed going into camp, who do you think is not going to make it? Nugent, Riddick? maybe Douglas?
aaronwilson Those first two are potential cuts. Marques Douglas is a contender to start. Rex Ryan thinks very highly of him. Also, Parker is a favorite for his hustle. Nugent definitely could be on the outside looking in. Let's see how people stand up when it's August and it's full-contact, though.
Macadamia Billick suggested a few guys need to get in football shape recently. Any thoughts on WHO he might've been talking to?
aaronwilson Aubrayo Franklin and Grant Noel come to mind. Tony Pashos could stand to lose a few pounds, too.
DarkSide Where does Rabach have the best chance (if any) of breaking into a starter's role - Center or RG?
aaronwilson I think right guard is his best shot this year. Eventually, he will be the Ravens' center.
crowdog89 What happens to Flynn in that case?
aaronwilson Flynn could eventually become too expensive to keep around. Stay tuned.
paulie Here's an off the wall question Aaron. Is there a chance that Stover might not make it this year? Nystrom and Jenkins are pretty strong kickers.
aaronwilson No, Matt Stover remains entrenched as the kicker. A succession won't happen this year.
crowdog89 I thing Flynn was a better guard than center although I think he improved last season
Macadamia Do you seriously believe Anthony Wright would be given a chance to start if he kicked butt in preseason?
awalt Are the Ravens watching the NFL Europe guys closely? Or do they just wait to see how they show up at camp?
aaronwilson I doubt it seriously. He might have experience and an upside, but I don't envision a scenario transpiring where he becomes the season-opening starter.
aaronwilson They evaluate NFL Europe, but the Ravens haven't installed many of their European alums as starters except for Kelly Gregg.
PD Aaron when I look at this team (through purple glasses) they look like they could be scary good by the end or mid point of the season, does anyone in the organization feel that way
darb72 are the Ravens looking to try Pashos at guard for a year before moving him out to tackle?
aaronwilson Organizationally, the team is thrilled with the way it's revamped since the salary-cap decimation of a year ago. Things are looking up, but they remain cautiously optimistic. Brian Billick declared the Ravens as playoff-caliber. We'll find out by December.
DarkSide If Wright continues to play well, is there a chance that they won't go for a Vet QB after June 1st?
aaronwilson No, Tony Pashos is a tackle, not a guard. They aren't looking at him at guard and are unlikely to do so.
aaronwilson Yes, Ozzie Newsome told me today that they are unlikely to sign a veteran quarterback. He's the man who makes those decisions.
awalt Dameon Hunter seems to be doing well there, but I guess he has little chance of making the roster? Could they get a trade going for him?
aaronwilson I doubt it. He has zero trade value.
crowdog89 Do you think Zastudil will make it as the KO specialist thus saving a roster spot for positional depth?
aaronwilson Ideally, yes, but I can't prognosticate this one accurately yet because I haven't seen him kick off live. Just seen him go through the motions.
awalt Are there lots of guys in Owings Mills this week training, or did they all go home? How many are there?
aaronwilson There are lots of people in Owings Mills training. A lot of the players are sticking around because they have two weeks in a row before a vacation before training camp.
Macadamia Good evening Earnest.
DarkSide Zastudil was designated an Emergency QB last year. Will that remain the same, or have they discussed Hymes in that role?
eab there are mostly young players..that is rookies that are coming through with some vets
aaronwilson I doubt they would need to go to a fourth quarterback, but either Zastudil or Hymes would likely be able to fill that role.
tonyp3 anyone still here?
darb72 Congrats on a fine draft. I'm really excited about the Pashos pick on the second day. No more e-lax laced Reeces cups. :)
darb72 oh yeah, we're here
awalt What happens next week in camp - is it sill ""passing camp""?
Macadamia Aaron, who do you really look up to in the sports media? Are there any commentators or writers you really admire?
aaronwilson Yes, it's still passing camp.
aaronwilson As far as writers go, nationally: Paul Attner, Rick Gosselin, Clark Judge, Thomas George, John McClain and Ron Borges are outstanding reporters and writers.
patmcgroin beat me to it, crow!
Macadamia I like Attner and Judge is cool with the Ravens so I like him too. LOL!
eab anybody going down to ocean city this weekend
adminsteve Yes. Me
eab it's in line
crowdog89 I gotta work
adminsteve and about 200 of my friends.
eab will be there as well
darb72 The British are coming! The British are coming!
Macadamia Who are the Ravens free agents next year?
adminsteve Take an umbrella.
eab playing in the golf tourny if no rain
crowdog89 Do you go to training camp at all EB?
eab yea
crowdog89 How about Fan day?
eab I try to be around as much as possible
eab yea I am there
crowdog89 EB, most of us make a day out of fan day. Hope to see you there.
Vagrant Hey EB, is Ray Lewis a pretty scary guy?
eab Yea, I will be around.....let me know who you are
crowdog89 look for ya there
eab just a beast....tough in all the right ways
crowdog89 will do
Vagrant I could take him.
paulie and I'm bad tempered
aaronwilson He's actually a really nice guy.
eab yea man...want to bet
Vagrant No. LOL
crowdog89 So I sez to this big guy....sir?
Macadamia EB, do you still talk with Kevin Mack?
darb72 The nicest Raven I've met so far is Jon Ogden. He didn't eat my head
eab on occasion...we are doing an event in Cleveland in the fall
Macadamia Who are your best friends from your old Browns days?
Vagrant How is Ray's shoulder coming along then? Last I heard was good, still going good?
eab he is a good fellow....big teddy bear
aaronwilson Ray Lewis' shoulder has healed well. He said there's no restrictions on his shoulder at this point.
eab coming along good....he spoke about a little fatigue but he has already started to work on's expected
eab he is a great healer
eab he works on all aspects through the mind
Macadamia I know how he feels. I have fatigue every morning when my alarm goes off.
patmcgroin has jamal had any issues w/his knees?
eab hahahahahahah
eab I feel ya
eab no he is doing fine....
patmcgroin cooool
crowdog89 Probably needs to get his cardio vascular exercises in now that he's healed
Vagrant What about Gerome Sapp? His wrist doing okay? Everything sounds too good. Is there anything that's not going well? :P
aaronwilson Jamal Lewis hasn't had any complaints. Keep in mind that players tend to rebound well from ACL surgery in their second year.
Vagrant Don't get me wrong, I'm glad everything is going good.
crowdog89 How's Knights groin healing up? Geez that sounded horrible
Vagrant Lol
aaronwilson Gerome Sapp took part in drills after fulfilling his college obligation last week. It was uneventful.
eab he is in great shape..Ray is....the shoulder gets a little fatigued at times...he is good
patmcgroin you're just the guy to ask the question, too
Vagrant Crow you sound a little TOO interested.
Vagrant Lol, sorry had to say it.
aaronwilson Tom Knight took part in all drills last week and worked with the first unit on defense.
crowdog89 I knew I'd hear it...
darb72 As a running-back, how do you think Tony Pashos will help the offense
darb72 That last question was for EB by the way
eab T knight looked real good in the passing camp...he can contribute if he is healthy
eab Depends...I like his temperament and work ethic...a guy that size and mean can do wonders for the offense
eab it might take him a little to catch up but he is eager
darb72 let's just hope he can pass block a little. :)
crowdog89 How's his pass blocking technique?
eab I gave him some tape to watch on Runyan earlier this week
Vagrant Billick was on Jim Rome's radio show a couple weeks ago. He said that the trade with NE worked good because they were going to draft Musa Smith in the second anyways. Is that true or is it something coaches just say to smooth things over?
aaronwilson You can't teach one thing Tony Pashos has: outstanding size to go with his mean streak.
darb72 Why not just let him watch Ogden. Jon has great technique
eab that is the thing that has to catch up...he is hanging with Zeus and hungry
aaronwilson Yes, Phil Savage told me weeks before the draft that they would take Musa Smith if available in the second or third round. In this case, it's true.
Vagrant Was Musa Smith really seen as a viable second round pick?
Vagrant cool.
crowdog89 Uh oh...
aaronwilson Yes, they rated him among their top 20 prospects, according to Terry McDonough.
Macadamia I read a huge article on Musa Smith recently. This scout was suggesting he was the second best back next to McGahee and totally sung Smith's praises.
aaronwilson They said they wouldn't have been surprised if he had gone in the first round for what that's worth.
Vagrant Hopefully that's worth a lot. If he was top 20 they must really have high hopes for him. And what a steal that was too!
eab he is doing that..he is more like a Runyan or Zeus....angles on Pass pro will be a thing he can learn along with depending on his frame to keep guys at bay
crowdog89 How much of Smith do you anticipate we'll actually see on the playing field....geez time for another beer.
crowdog89 All of him of course...
darb72 why exactly would the Ravens let a young rookie hang out with Cyclops? Ogden. Remember Ogden. Tony, learn from Ogden
eab enjoy the beer darb...might join ya
aaronwilson Ideally, Brian Billick said he would like to hold Musa Smith out and develop him behind Jamal Lewis and Chester Taylor. Remember he's a junior.
eab Musa will be dependant mostly on Jamal and what he does...
crowdog89 Special teams and an odd carry or so then?
eab I like his energy and mind
darb72 Beer hell. After what Aaron just said I'm drinking Vodka
patmcgroin good man
eab hahahaha
SteelCity Ravens can have all the RBs in the world, they just need a QB to hand it off
SteelCity :)
Vagrant I'm available for QB.
patmcgroin me too
eab I thought you were going to handle ray
Vagrant I'm sure that will be easy enough to handle in between downs.
crowdog89 I can hold a clipboard like a pro!
eab we got a couple three candidates
PD your too short crow :)
aaronwilson We've got no shortage of comedians, too. I think the team is in good hands.
crowdog89 LOL
eab got ya Vagrant
crowdog89 You don't have to have size to hold the clipboard PD
eab like I said...Musa and his playing time will be mostly controlled by Jamal and his play
Vagrant :)
SteelCity As long as you are as big as Billick's ego, you can hold a clipboard
Vagrant Sorry, I'm just tired today, lots of weird comments.
darb72 OK. First pint down, what did I miss
PD size matters Crow
darb72 not according to my wife
patmcgroin don't go there
darb72 lol
darb72 I was waiting for that
SteelCity Aaron, Steelers site here on the network....... Love your work. How is the defense going to be this year ?
DarkSide With our abundance of backs, and improved O-LINE, can you see us being a run-first team next season. This would also help to protect Redman's back.
Macadamia We are a DEFENSE first team! Second, give the ball to Jamal!
DarkSide yea Mack!
aaronwilson Thanks. I think this could be the Ravens' fastest, most aggressive defense since the Super Bowl edition. All it lacks is intimidators in terms of size in the interior line. It's a scrappy unit long on linebackers and short on established starters on the defensive line. The secondary was once a question mark. Now, it might be a real strength.
eab Dark...we have a pass first type of offense...but we used the run first style when the defense dictated....let's see how we come together on d
Vagrant For Aaron or EB. Mel Kiper said that he thinks the Ravens defense this year can be what Tampa's defense was last year. Any thoughts on that?
DarkSide sounds good EB!
aaronwilson Ideally, the team would like to have a balanced attack with the run and pass complementing each other.
Vagrant Ug. Nm, just saw the answer.
aaronwilson I respect Mel Kiper's opinion, but he might be getting a tad ahead of himself. The absence of any defensive lineman who approaches Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice and Anthony McFarland precludes making this comparison.
Vagrant He's a Ravens fan. Maybe its just wishful thinking. :)
crowdog89 Kiper said Suggs might get 15-17 sacks...HOLY COW! Wouldn't that be SWEET!
eab we can be good and even take advantage of some turnovers...I feel that will be an asset for us this year...we have some excellent talent and a good d-cor in Mike will be exciting
DarkSide Hey EB, I love that running game. I say pound their arse's with Jamal all day looonnngggg!
darb72 So what Crow. I said Boulware would get 23
Macadamia Anthony Weaver is a good player. Kelly Gregg is coming on as is Kemo. All we need is a decent RDE out of the remaining competitors.
eab sounds great to an old Rb
aaronwilson Mike Nolan is underrated. He will likely be more aggressive with his schemes because he has better personnel this year.
crowdog89 Turnover ratio is a difference maker. Look at the comparison from the Ravens SB defense vs 2001 and last year.
darb72 I think Jarret Johnson will be named the starter next year. Right now, he'll switch in and out
patmcgroin Is Mike McCrary going to retire in June and then coach?
awalt I think Joe Salave'a will start by the end of the year
eab no doubt....with the playmakers we have back there that might be something kind of nice...ED Reed anyone
Vagrant Ed Reed is sick. I cant wait to see that guy play this year.
aaronwilson Yes, Ozzie Newsome said today that Michael McCrary will be addressed next week.
eab He had some interest in coaching
aaronwilson He will help the team in training camp as a coach. It's unclear how permanent that will be probably depending on how much Mac takes to it.
darb72 that's number two
patmcgroin I hope he stays on
Macadamia Gotta jet fellas! GO RAVENS!!
darb72 fare well
Vagrant Later mac.
eab can you see the keys or is it brail
DarkSide See ya Mac!
eab see ya
patmcgroin hey crow nice broadband ya got there
darb72 I should be a moderator. I can stay in the room :)
patmcgroin lol
crowdog89 Only comcasted twice so far
crowdog89 LOL
eab going to put the babies to bed.....have a great one everyone....keep it it
darb72 down from the record of... 6 wasn't it Crow
crowdog89 See ya and thanks EB
DarkSide man , you guys have talked me out of Comcast - I was thinking about, but now, no way
darb72 Thanks EB
patmcgroin night EB
Vagrant Later EB. Tell Ray I said hi.
eab got ya
darb72 I love Comcast DarkSide. No problems here
drkraven thanks EB
Prolific Keep holding it down E.B.-Pro-
aaronwilson Any final questions? Line them up and I'll answer a few more.
DarkSide see ya EB
darb72 Pro, when did you come in
crowdog89 Darkside, it only happens in the chat room. Actually I love it otherwise
Vagrant None from me. I'm outta here. Thanks Aaron. Later guys.
darb72 see ya Vag
aaronwilson Anybody else?
darb72 Aaron, I really want a copy of Super Bowl 35. Think the Ravens would send me one if I asked real nicely
Prolific Aaron, is there any indication at all that a big D-lineman will be released in the June 1st cuts or that any of the available RFA's could possibly be brought in to compete at the NT spot.
awalt none from me. Thanks Aaron!
crowdog89 I'm questioned out for now
aaronwilson It might cost you.
paulie I'm done.
aaronwilson I think they're set for now.
darb72 I have Reeces that haven't been tampered with
Prolific Kelly Gregg had better been eaten his wheaties!
crowdog89 He gained some weight, I think has been eating more than Wheaties Pro.
aaronwilson 310 pounds benching 550.
patmcgroin damn
darb72 He's almost as heavy as I am now Pro. That's a good sign that he's been eating
darb72 and a little bit stronger. LOL
crowdog89 ""Almost as heavy"" Holy crap!
Prolific I hope that he's improved in his technique, the middle of the Ravens lines on both offense and defense has got to show improvement this year to accomplish their goals.-Pro-
darb72 I'm also a little bit taller than Gregg, Crow
DarkSide Aaron, has CMAC's attitude been okay, or has it been affected in any way by being franchised? Any feelings on this?
crowdog89 1/16th of an inch doesn't count Darb
aaronwilson He doesn't mind making the top five average salary for cornerbacks at $5.9 million.
DarkSide Yea, good point!
aaronwilson His good attitude was demonstrated by attending mini-camp when he didn't technically have to.
darb72 it does in some situations Crow
crowdog89 lol
patmcgroin here we go again
DarkSide Is there any fear at all that we won't be able to come to an agreement with CMAC?
darb72 that reminds me. I'm going to send you a private message in a bit Crow. A link to a funny ""cartoon"" you might laugh at
crowdog89 ok
aaronwilson It doesn't matter if they don't. They can always franchise him again next year, too, or try to reach a long-term deal before free agency next year. He's a Raven, so the franchise designation matters little. It's not viewed as punitive in this case.
Prolific Gotta finish fixin the grub guys, Later everyone.-Pro-
DarkSide cool
darb72 man, I haven't been drunk since the Super Bowl. Not good
crowdog89 I thoroughly enjoyed Jessica Rabbit...thanks
darb72 later Pro
aaronwilson Unless someone has another question, guys I'm going to have to run.
darb72 I'm sending you a link with a ton of pictures of Jessica by the same artist
adminsteve Yup I gotta scoot. Thanks a bunch Aaron.
crowdog89 I haven't been this drunk since...last night.
aaronwilson Goodnight, everyone. Thanks for all the great questions.

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