Ravens' Minicamp update (Wed.)

OWINGS MILLS – After a prolific career spent chasing quarterbacks at the University of Oklahoma, aggressive Baltimore Ravens rookie outside linebacker Dan Cody is learning how to play in reverse. Although Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops occasionally had Cody drop into the flats last season in a hydrid defensive end/linebacker role, it's still a major learning experience for the natural pass rusher as the Ravens conduct a voluntary passing camp.

This is Cody's first extended exposure to backpedaling, mirroring running backs and tight ends' patterns and redirecting his momentum when the football is in the air.

"I played in college with my hand on the ground pretty much all the time," said Cody, whom Baltimore drafted in the second round. "I never covered anybody in college. I don't know how good my pass rush skills are, but they're better than my coverage skills. They're working with me and as long as I give ‘em some effort they'll work with me."

Throughout a voluntary camp that concludes today, the Ravens have primarily had Cody line up as a rush end in team drills. During individual drills, Cody has matched wits with backs and tight ends with mixed results.

At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds with 4.58 speed over 40 yards, Cody has the requisite raw athleticism. It's a matter, though, of anticipating the quarterback's next move and being able to match the fast-twitch movements of smaller athletes.

"We ain't seen the real speed of the game yet, so it's hard to tell," Cody said. "Coaches in college talk about mental reps all the time and I never paid attention to it, but now I really understand it."

The operative plan is for Cody to rotate with Adalius Thomas, last year's starter, at strongside linebacker, and act as the situational pass rusher on third downs opposite defensive end Terrell Suggs.

Following Thomas, Suggs and recently released Pro Bowl linebacker Peter Boulware, Cody is the latest conversion project for the defensive coaching staff.

"The coverage aspect is going to be a challenge, because it was for all of us," Thomas said. "I'm sure he's up to the challenge. This is the time of year to fine-tune your skills."

Cody registered 20 sacks over his last two seasons. Cody and Thomas' presence along with Boulware's high salary cap figure (nearly $7.9 million) ultimately led to Boulware's release.

"Nothing's really changed," Cody said of Boulware, whose name plate still hangs above his locker stall. "I'm still competing for a job and I don't think that them releasing Boulware has any correlation to them drafting me. At the same time, it does open up some opportunities."

FILLING IN: Third-string quarterback candidate Derek Anderson is absent from camp because of an NFL rule prohibiting rookies attending camps before their class graduates.

Without the sixth-round draft pick from Oregon State in town, it created an increased workload for undrafted rookie Darian Durant.

"It's not Derek's fault, it's just the kind of the convoluted rule we have," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "It's a great opportunity for Durant to get the extra reps."

Visibly nervous at a rookie minicamp last month, the mobile former North Carolina quarterback appears much more composed and accurate this week.

"I feel a lot more like I belong," Durant said. "I'm calmed down and just playing football."

QUICK HITS: The team signed undrafted free agent kicker Rhys Lloyd (Minnesota) and cornerback Bill Alford (Vanderbilt). Both players have been with the team since its rookie minicamp. The roster moves come one day after the team released veteran linebacker Cornell Brown after he failed his physical following shoulder surgery. … Fullback Alan Ricard is sitting out of workouts because of a nagging knee injury. … Wide receiver Clarence Moore (neck) was held out of team drills again, but may return today. … Wideout Randy Hymes, sporting a pair of long white tights, caught a fly pattern for a touchdown behind cornerback Dale Carter. In general, the offense looked sharper than it did for the first few days. "Today, they had the upper hand," Billick said. ... ... Billick predicted that rookie receiver Mark Clayton (hamstring) will be back to full strength next week. ... Billick said the team will alternate B.J. Sams between slot receiver and using him out of the backfield on third downs. … Receiver Derek Abney missed practice after undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging exam on his shoulder. "It was precautionary," Abney said. "The MRI looked pretty good."

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

If you are reading this article via a news portal, you can find the original on RavensInsider.Com
URL:http://www.ravensinsider.com


Ravens Insider Top Stories