Billick: Practice was 'excellent'

WESTMINSTER - If coach Brian Billick's mood is an accurate reflection of how his football team is performing, then the Baltimore Ravens took a decisive step forward during their second day of training camp.

One day after saying the opening practice at McDaniel College "sucked", Billick was enthused about a crisper, sharper practice marked by several long completions to wide receivers Derrick Mason and Demetrius Williams.

"The tempo was better," Billick said. "We understood what we needed to get out of it. This morning was excellent."

In particular, Williams, the team's fourth-round draft pick from Oregon, caught Billick and the fans' eye.
He made a series of acrobatic receptions, including a leaping grab where he aggressively took the football away from cornerback Evan Oglesby.

Williams missed all of the full-team minicamps because of an NFL-NCAA rule that prohibits rookies from attending offseason practices until their college's school year is concluded.

"He's still learning," Billick said. "He's on a curve that no one else is just because of the time he missed, so he's got to be swimming right now. But you could see the physical ability that he has."

Meanwhile, return specialist B.J. Sams doubled as a reserve defensive back and returned an interception for a touchdown.

"For B.J. to be able to help us in that disaster situation, it just gives you that depth because you know he's going to be that returner," Billick said. "It's just a huge asset."

Rookie defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has signed his five-year, $11.9 million contract that has a maximum value of $14 million. The 6-foot-4, 340-pounder passed his physical and is expected to practice this afternoon and conduct interviews.

The first-round draft pick spoke with the Times in a telephone interview Thursday after ending his one-day holdout.

"I'm really relieved that it's done and now I can go out there and play football," Ngata said. "I couldn't afford to miss too much time because I only had that one rookie minicamp. The Ravens were very fair to me. It's a good deal."

Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan affirmed that Ngata -- the No. 12 overall pick --- will be an instant starter on the defensive line next to nose guard Kelly Gregg.

"You put a first-round draft choice in there, a top 15 draft choice, you have expectations, and we have those expectations," Billick said.

Rookie Cory Ross -- the 5-6, 201-pound scatback from Nebraska -- dropped a punt during the morning session, but he has made a positive impression on the coaching staff.

"I'm very impressed with him, just the overall knowledge of the game, the little things he's done," Billick said.
Speaking of Billick, his interview session was two seconds longer today than Friday's brief press conference.

Running back Jamal Lewis (hip) and wide receiver Clarence Moore (hernia) remain on the physically unable to perform list, but the team remains optimistic that they could return by Monday after taking Sunday off.

Aaron Wilson writes for Ravens Insider and the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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