Ravens Insider Chat Transcript - August 7, 2003

Join the Ravens Insiders as Aaron Wilson answers questions about the Ravens progress in training camp! Find out who the surprises are, and who the disappointments are as the Ravens head in to their preseason schedule.

aaronwilson Sorry for the delay guys. Got held up at the office. Ready for all your questions.
crowdog89 How's Zastudil and other injuries healing?
adminsteve That's a long answer.
Brandon74 lol
crowdog89 sure
aaronwilson Zastudil has a strained hamstring in his left leg and estimates he'll be out two to three weeks.
aaronwilson Tight end Todd Heap (back spasms), offensive tackle Orlando Brown (knee), running back Musa Smith (knee), linebacker Bernardo Harris (broken leg), defensive lineman Joe Salave'a (sprained MCL), receiver Todd Devoe, center Mike Flynn (knee), safety Ray Perryman (dislocated shoulder) and a few others will miss Saturday's game.
aaronwilson Return specialist Javin Hunter (ruptured Achilles' tendon) is out for the season.
aaronwilson Corey Fuller (foot) will start at cornerback and Gary Baxter will start at free safety after receiving some reps at cornerback today. He'll play a little bit of cornerback against Buffalo.
BmoreRavor Aaron, how have rookie safeties Sapp and Sanders looked? What are their chances of making the 53-man roster?
aaronwilson Gerome Sapp is an enforcer who has learned the coverage well. Antwoine Sanders has good range, but hasn't learned the defense as quickly and is prone to mental busts.
aaronwilson Sapp is more likely to make the team at this juncture than Sanders.
Brandon74 How is the WR competition shaping up between the 4th and 5th spot?
Macadamia Good man!
crowdog89 Then Fanatic
crowdog89 Unless BMO Has one
Brandon74 he left
crowdog89 didn't see sorry
aaronwilson Ron Johnson is gaining ground on Randy Hymes. Hymes is dropping far too many passes while still showing a penchant for circus catches.
crowdog89 Got a question BMO?
thefanatic Out of all the current injuries (excluding Bernardo Harris and Javin Hunter), which is the biggest one to be concerned about?
aaronwilson I believe the injuries to Mike Flynn and Dave Zastudil are causes for mild concern because they are key starters who will miss the majority of the preseason.
Macadamia HD is up
HDDream Does the fact that Rutledge signed a 2 year deal mean he's more than a training camp body until Harris gets back? And any word on any possible long term contract talks with McAlister?
Macadamia Good questions!
crowdog89 excellent
aaronwilson Yes, Johnny Rutledge is a potential special teams standout along with more of a quality insurance linebacker who can play both inside and outside than, say, undrafted rookie Chris Brown, who's long on heart but short in stature.
aaronwilson As for franchise player Chris McAlister, the Ravens are more than content to let him prove he's worth his nearly $6 million salary before opening serious negotiations with McAlister's agent, Mitch Frankel. It's time for Chris to prove himself before he receives even more lucrative compensation.
crowdog89 Mac
Macadamia Thanks. Aaron, who are you hearing have been the biggest surprises and disappointments of camp so far?
aaronwilson A major surprise has been safety Gerome Sapp, tight end Trent Smith, running back Ryan Brewer, receiver Marc Lester. Disappointments other than the rash of injuries: Randy Hymes' lack of consistency, offensive line's collective case of offsides, lack of interior pass rush, Anthony Wright and Kyle Boller's miscues and return specialist Hugh Smith's inconsistency catching the ball.
Macadamia We had another awesome draft, that's for sure.
Macadamia mk, you go girl!!!
mkg02 Thanks :) One of the question marks going into the season was our Defensive Line. How do you think they are progressing? Also, any estimates on the amount of playing time each QB will get on Sat?
aaronwilson The defensive line, particularly the ends, are progressing rapidly.
aaronwilson Brian Billick said the starter, whom he wouldn't name (Re: Chris Redman) will play the first quarter or more depending on how it's going, the second quarterback (Re: Anthony Wright) will go the second quarter and the third quarterback (Re: Kyle Boller) will go the second half.
Macadamia That's what will make this preseason fun.
Macadamia Instead of just watching scrubs in second half, we'll be watching Boller.
Macadamia Suggs
BmoreRavor Oops, sorry. :o)
Macadamia Ravor hittin' the brown bottle or the green? LOL!
aaronwilson Cornell Brown will start at outside linebacker, but Terrell Suggs will work in with the first unit, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said.
BmoreRavor Clear!
crowdog89 Tony Your up if Suggs Boller doesn't have one
tonyp3 How is Suggs coming along??? Also, how do you rate Boller in Camp...is the problem knowing the offense or inaccuracy
aaronwilson Terrell has proven to be a formidable speed rusher. He needs to continue to get in optimum condition and work on refining his repertoire of pass rush moves. He's certainly a talkative 20-year-old, but must back up the bravado when the competition is for real.
aaronwilson Boller has made some impressive throws, but is still too hesitant in his decision-making because of the missed week. His holdout affected him much more than Suggs' absence did. That said, he's a legitimate talent with an extremely bright future.
SuggsBoller Boller is way to damn boney?
crowdog89 He does seem like he needs to bulk up a bit
aaronwilson He weighs 230 pounds at 6-foot-3. He's more than proportional and is much bigger than Chris Redman in terms of upper body bulk.
BMODADDY He's bigger than Redman?
crowdog89 oops
Macadamia Lots of coming and going so it's hard to keep track.
adminsteve Fans are expecting a lot this year. Do you think that we stand a legitimate chance at winning the AFCN
adminsteve Based on what yo have seen so far.
adminsteve Early I know
mistat I don't know your rules here so I'll butt out. Adios!
crowdog89 bye
adminsteve Sorry T did you have one?
adminsteve Shoot
aaronwilson Yes, however, the Steelers remain a frontrunner until Baltimore proves otherwise. The Ravens may be a much more formidable team in December when it closes the season against the Steelers than the unit that lines up in Pittsburgh Sept. 7, particularly the offense.
mistat No Q's. Thnx Steve.
adminsteve I've been in and out so I just butted in.
BMODADDY Redman makes Boller look like a toothpick. Boller will develop over the next few I am sure
thefanatic Hey Steve, any word from Bridgette regarding parking passes?
aaronwilson I disagree, but you're entitled to your opinion. Chris is much leaner than Boller.
adminsteve What are your feelings about Maddox repeating a solid year in Pitt Have you been following their camp?
adminsteve No I have not heard from her.
adminsteve Just park there. I plan to :)
aaronwilson Yes, I have. Tommy Maddox has supreme motivation, a contract year and Charlie Batch pushing him, to play his best football. I believe he responds well to pressure and having wideouts as gifted as Plaxico Burress and Hines Ward along with Antwaan Randle-El certainly helps his cause.
crowdog89 Bmore
BMODADDY Do most of the ""insiders"" here feel like the Steelers are the team to beat?
BmoreRavor You mentioned Trent Smith as I surprise, but all The Sun (I know, not a good source) says he's dropped a lot of passes, any thoughts? Also, with a lack of interior rush, might we see Ray and Hartwell blitzing more?
Macadamia BMO, definitely, Browns slipped and Bungles are better but still the Bungles.
HDDream I hope we say the ILB's blitz more myself
BmoreRavor ""as a surprise""
HDDream say= see
aaronwilson Yes, Trent Smith has dropped a lot of passes, but club sources tell me they feel Smith is a steal for a seventh-round pick. They love his confidence which borders on arrogance. He can play.
thefanatic First play of the game against Pittsburgh should be Ray Lewis full throttle at Maddox!!
aaronwilson Mike Nolan said he's inclined to blitz more this fall because of the improved secondary.
Macadamia Awwwwwww yeah!
mkg02 awesome!
BmoreRavor Sounds good to me!!!!
crowdog89 Excellent...Fanatic Q?
BMODADDY Do many of you gamble? Play fantasy?
BMODADDY Ravens will win this division!!!
thefanatic Should we expect this to be Chris Redman's last year here as the starting QB regardless of his performance this year?
crowdog89 Ala Trent Dilfer?
crowdog89 Trent
HDDream Trent and Chris, a great combo
thefanatic LOL
crowdog89 lol
Macadamia crow, put your hands where we can see them, and step away from the beer
thefanatic Congratulations Aaron, you're now a member of the ""Cleric Dave"" idiot club.
aaronwilson lol
HDDream Going back to the QB's, how much, if any can we expect to see Boller and Wright play with the first string offense this pre-season? Any chance either start a pre-season game?
crowdog89 As long as its not Blake I don't care who is behind center as long as the Ravens win
thefanatic How much money do you think I could get Cleric Dave to bet me regarding Redman being the starting QB next year? LOL
crowdog89 he already bet his 40 bucks
aaronwilson Brian Billick said before training camp began that he would give all of his top three quarterbacks a chance to work with the first offense. He said we shouldn't read too much into who plays when and with whom, but it's hard not to make some sort of judgment based on playing time and performance. He won't handicap this race, though.
thefanatic Hehehehehe Big spender that Dave is.
tonyp3 Dave can't bet too much because he is a ""PHD student at JHU""
HDDream I just want to see Boller get some action with the first team more than anything. Call me an idiot, but I do think he is the future of the team at that position, so this is the time to get him some reps
Macadamia Ladies before gents...g'head mk
mkg02 thanks
crowdog89 I failed ALPHA BETT in Kidna garten
mkg02 Aaron, what do you think about Frank Sanders and Marcus Robinson? I had the pleasure of meeting both at practice yesterday. Can you see them working into the long term picture?
mkg02 sorry to be picky crow, its the teacher in me
aaronwilson They are both top veterans who are students of the game and willing to assist the younger wideouts.
mkg02 they were both awesome with the kids
aaronwilson I think both will be fixtures for at least the next season or two.
mkg02 good to hear
Macadamia That is very good news!
aaronwilson Good guys and good players, definitely.
Macadamia Ozzie is the man.
crowdog89 great to hear
Macadamia Does anyone other than maybe Zeus stand up for the offense when Ray Lewis and company keep talking all that smack?!?
Macadamia I ask because we need an identity and more ""balls"" on offense man.
aaronwilson Not really other than Jamal Lewis on occasion.
Macadamia That's what I was afraid of...
aaronwilson Travis Taylor will talk back to the defense sometimes, but he's so friendly that his trash talk doesn't come off as especially fierce.
Macadamia Can I have a follow-up question to that for everyone?
aaronwilson Go ahead.
HDDream I've heard Boller can talk some smack, so hopefully as he gets more involved he'll give the O more of an attitude
Macadamia Do you think that actually hurts our offense overall when the D bullies them so much in practice all the time?
aaronwilson Matt Cavanaugh doesn't believe so. He thinks it toughens his offense up. It will be a relief for them to play someone else. I don't think they get demoralized by the defense. They recognize what they're facing and adjust accordingly in games. This isn't a new trend. It's been this way for years.
Macadamia We have all these nice cerebral types on O and only Jamal talks ""ish""
Macadamia I'd like them to stand up to our D sometimes... if that's even possible.
tonyp3 Do you think 4 TEs will make the team?
HDDream Billick and Ozzie do love their TE's
Macadamia BMO, please report to the nurse's office for your urine test
aaronwilson No, I think three is more than adequate.
Macadamia Especially with 3 FB's.
Macadamia Steve is up
adminsteve Aaron, has anyone asked about Jamal. How's he looking
crowdog89 Do you see any surprises come cut down time?
adminsteve Sorry, I keep ducking in and out
adminsteve 2 fine new stories on the main page for you guys.
aaronwilson Jamal Lewis lost 20 pounds since minicamp and his body fat percentage is down to 7 percent. He's leaner, meaner and more mobile. He should be primed for a great season.
BMODADDY He still drops the ball though> I seen it
aaronwilson Watch out for veteran cuts potentially at safety, defensive line and tight end.
Macadamia IE: Mitchell, Parker and Nugent, and John Jones
adminsteve Do you think that he will get the ball as much as last year or will we see more pass plays?
aaronwilson He's likely to carry it more often, 22 to 26 carries per contest.
tonyp3 I was never big on Mitchell. I don't think he will make it
adminsteve IOW will he be able to attain BIG yards?
aaronwilson Perhaps, 1,500 to 1,600 yards are realistic goals for Lewis.
crowdog89 cool
crowdog89 how many fumbles?
HDDream the dreaded f word
crowdog89 lol
crowdog89 bmore?
BmoreRavor Would the Ravens really be willing to let CMac walk after giving him 6M this year? Conversely, do you really think they'd be willing to give out a $10M bonus after paying him $6M for this season? That one hell of a 2 year payout!! And I don't see him (or his agent) giving them a discount because they were kind enough to pay him well this year.
aaronwilson He fumbled nine times last year, losing seven. How about half of those.
crowdog89 works for me
BmoreRavor Sorry for the long question.....
HDDream they should have signed him last year imo
aaronwilson No, they want to make a long-term investment in McAlister. They are unwilling to give him a 20 percent hike by franchising him again. The bonus could be split into two tiers to make it more cap-friendly, amortizing the bonus across a long-term extension along with backloading some of the money for Chris and Chris' agent's egos.
BmoreRavor If Jamal gets over 1600, we're definitely going to the playoffs!
HDDream that's what they said with Ricky Williams and Miami
BmoreRavor Yeah, I knew that was coming, but we won't fall apart in Dec.
crowdog89 Fanatic Q?
BmoreRavor Like Miami does on an annual basis
adminsteve 2 more Qs and we can wrap up
HDDream Who do you see starting most of the games at the DE spot opposite Weaver? How is Baxter handling this back and forth stuff between safety and cornerback and do you think he'll now stay at Safety for the rest of his career?
Macadamia Is there a lot of ""Win one for Art"" going around camp this year?
aaronwilson Adalius Thomas. Gary Baxter said he likes showing his versatility. He might play corner again once Fuller departs in a few seasons.
Macadamia Sorry mkg, the chivalry went out the window when Steve started his countdown. hehehe
mkg02 its ok
mkg02 I'm all out of questions
aaronwilson No, other than Brian Billick expressing that sentiment before camp, some staffers mentioning it and a few players when prompted talking about it. Art doesn't want a lot of hoopla. He just wants to win.
Macadamia Gotta love that ol' codger!
aaronwilson Thanks for all the great questions guys. Appreciate your patience and reading the stories. We'll talk again soon.
crowdog89 That's all any of us want(To win)
HDDream Will Biscotti take over in October, or wait until after the season?
HDDream thanx Aaron
crowdog89 Thanks Aaron!
adminsteve Alright then. Thanks Aaron as usual.
mkg02 Thanks for all the inside info Aaron!
aaronwilson Art said Bisciotti will buy the team for $325 million Oct. 1 then take over after the season.
aaronwilson Goodnight.

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