Ravens looking to pick up the pace

OWINGS MILLS -- Besides honing their timing, route-running and accuracy as the Baltimore Ravens open another voluntary passing camp Monday, coach Brian Billick has isolated another goal. With the Ravens beginning a four-day set of practices Monday morning at their training complex, Billick wants to see an increased level of conditioning.

"The important thing now is to recognize that we have to get in good football shape," Billick said. "We're in good cardiovascular shape. We've got to be able to go a week, and now two weeks, and be able to hold up under this type of running, this type of rigor before we start to think about getting in hitting shape.

"That's the challenge for us right now, to come back and have a good, solid, physical week next week. They've got to understand what our pace is and what we want to get done. They're picking it up pretty well."

Billick predicted that wide receivers Clarence Moore (neck) and Mark Clayton (hamstring) will both be ready to participate fully after being limited in drills last week.

It's unclear how much work offensive tackle Orlando Brown will take after missing the final day of practice last week to rest his knee. Brown underwent off-season knee surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

"We want to be prudent as we bring Orlando along after the surgery," Billick said. "He's had a good three days and we'll just dole this out as we see necessary to get him ready."

The Ravens re-signed wide receiver Patrick Johnson earlier this year. The pecking order at receiver probably looks something like this: 1. veteran Derrick Mason; 2. Clayton, the first-round draft pick; 3. Moore and 4. Devard Darling or Randy Hymes.

Johnson, a second-round draft pick by Baltimore in 1998, could emerge on special teams or possibly as a deep threat as he's likely the fastest player on the team.

"He knows what this game is about," Billick said of Johnson, who was with the team for two games last season and registered no statistics. "He has those physical tools, that sheer burst of speed that you're looking for. Patrick can make himself a factor with that combination of abilities."

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

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