OWINGS MILLS -- Here's the latest installment of our VIP minicamp subscriber chats with all of your questions answered regarding your defending AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens:
What have you seen from the rookie LB's Barnes and Burgess this week?
I was impressed, as was linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald. He really likes their mobility, strength and aggressiveness. Antwan Barnes' speed rushing off the edge is really explosive.
I've figured that we wont see much of Burgess this year unless we hit a run of injuries, but is it possible that we could see Barnes in a situational pass-rush role?
Yes, I think he could evolve as a situational pass rusher.
Thats good to hear.
Burgess is more of a run-stopper/special teams guy.
I know that some vets are starting to trickle into the OTA's now, was McNair present?
I think he'll be groomed as more of an inside linebacker type more than anything else.
Steve McNair wasn't there. It didn't have anything to do with his court appearance, though. He was attending a youth football camp
in Nashville, Tenn.
He was excused from court the other day under an agreement between his lawyer and prosecutors.
I have a few questions about the O-Line
< Ive heard that Mike Flynn has been present at this week's OTAs. Have you seen any kind of change in his demeanor or his preparation due to the pressure being put on him by Chris Chester?
Mike Flynn showed up in good condition. Obviously, he's nowhere close to as athletic as Chris Chester, but he seemed determined to hold onto his job and looked well-prepared. He's healthier this year than in previous offseasons. His experience and savvy are pluses. His lack of ideal size and athleticism are his minuses. If you could combine Chris Chester's foot speed and agility with Flynn's NFL background, you would have a heck of a center.
So, what would you say the odds are of Chester taking Flynn's job (without injury) at some point in 2007?
I would say about 60-40 that he eventually gets phased into the lineup. We need to observe how he does with line calls, blitz pickups and double-teams before we can truly judge, though.
I wantthis team to get younger at the center position as much as they next guy, but not if the replacement isnt ready.
Is Ben Grubbs looking ready to take Vincent's job by week 1?
Right, it has to be well-timed. Remember, they are potentially phasing in three new starters with Adam Terry shifting to right tackle to
replace Tony Pashos and rookie Ben Grubbs potentially unseating incumbent Keydrick Vincent at right guard.
That could definitely develop, but I think they will split time at first until Grubbs proves he's ready to ascend to the starters' huddle.
Do you think you could lay down a timeline for the introduction of Marshall Yanda into the OL?
aaronwilson> I don't think it will necessarily be this year. I could see him becoming a spot starter as a swing tackle or guard within the next couple years. It will depend on how Jason Brown and Adam Terry progress as starters, too. If he's better, he'll prove it and get his shot.
Has Drew Olson reurned from NFL Europe, or is the season still going on over there?
I worry about him as a tackle, though, because he doesn't have great stature and he has short arms for that position.
Drew Olson is still in NFL Europe and is doing a good job over there. As Rick Neuheisel says, he doesn't throw very many spirals, but he runs the huddle well and is usually very productive. I just think his lack of size, mobility and not having a big arm will prove to be his undoing in terms of competing with Troy Smith for the third-string job.
Without McNair or Olson around, I assume that Smith is getting most of the snaps this week?
How has he progressed?
Kyle Boller has taken the majority of the snaps with Troy Smith filling in.
I think Troy is getting much more adept at throwing to a spot instead of just firing spirals without touch as he did during the rookie minicamp. His completion percentage is improving markedly and he's beginning to understand the pro game. He still has a long ways to go.
How did I forget Boller?? Wishfull thinking I guess....
I guess so. He's still a decent backup and I thought he played all right last year when Steve McNair was hurt. Was it perfect or enough to erase concerns about him down the road? Obviously not. I'm sure this will be his last year in Baltimore, but I predict he will easily find employment elsewhere at a reasonable price.
Maybe a change of scenery will help him.
I would hope so, he seems like a decent guy, it just didnt seem to click for him in Baltimore.
True enough, it happens. A lot of first-round quarterbacks are busts. He's not even close to the most glaring example. They made a mistake by banking on his athletic ability and potential over proven production. I'm not sure that Byron Leftwich would have been that much better. It's possible his issues could have been hidden better on a good football team. It's hard to ignore Kyle's many shortcomings.
Any other players on your mind?
New veteran starters?
How has the UDFA saftey out of Penn State looked?
I cant think of his name right now
Donnie Johnson moves around pretty well and has a big upper body. He looks like a hitter. I've seen the other undrafted rookie
safety, Bobby Blackshire, make more plays in coverage so far, but it's early.
Both are big and have a reputation for being good tacklers. The Penn State scout.com publisher called Johnson a "hitting machine."
Let's see how tough he is when he's facing NFL receivers and tight ends.
Who would you say appears to be more promising?
I would say Johnson. He seems like more of an intimidator than Blackshire.
Much bigger frame, more of a punisher.
Speaking of safteys, how has Dwan Landry looked this year?
He's much smoother in coverage, anticipating passes well and breaks on the football quickly. I think the newfound respect teams are likely to pay him this fall could pay dividends for All-Pro Ed Reed, who had to cover for Landry a lot last year at the expense of his own ability to freelance.
Im loooking foward to great things from both of them this year
Chris McAlister called this the best secondary in the league. If Samari Rolle regains his confidence and everyone remains healthy, perhaps it will be.
How has McGahee's work ethic appeared in this week's OTA's? Is he starting to get acclimated to his new surroundings? What affect do you think he will have on this locker-room, and vice versa?
Willis McGahee has been working hard and trying to pick up the playbook as quickly as possible. He worked hard at the two voluntary sessions he attended and has been a fixture in the offseason program. He wasn't here this week, though. So far, he seems to be fitting in well in the locker room and on the playing field.
I was actually wondering about how williams and clayton looked going against rolle and mcalister
Demetrius Williams and Mark Clayton were still very effective and caught several passes, but it wasn't the glaring mismatch we witnessed in previous weeks against Evan Oglesby and Ronnie Prude. Actually, Prude has been very competitive with the wideouts and has drawn praise from Ravens coach Brian Billick.
Both Williams and Clayton are expert at selling routes and shifting their acceleration to run through the football in the air. Both finish routes and have consistent hands.
We haven't talked about Dan Cody's knee injury yet.
Do you think Dan Cody's injury has put his future with the Ravens in jeopardy?
This latest one isn't nearly as problematic. It's a small piece of cartilage that's affecting his right knee. It's being described to me as a minor setback that will keep him out of the remainder of the minicamps.
Dan Cody is a straight shooter and he assured me that he'll be ready for training camp. No one has worked harder than Dan and I think he'll be okay.
I've had high hopes for Cody since we drafted him, I hope he can stay healthy this season
Yes, his injuries have severely curtailed his progress and he has to be healthy and perform this year. If he doesn't, then obviously his
tenure with the team will be in jeopardy. They don't want to give up on a hard-working young man with so many tools.
Dan deserves some good luck.
He's getting married next month by the way.
To a very nice young lady from Oklahoma.
Ah, good for him. I wish them the best
Do you have anything on McNair?
There's a dumb rumor on YBR right now about him. Did you see it?
He's not being suspended by the league.
3 game suspension? I just checked it out. "my friend said he saw it on NFLN" sounds like BS to me
Not sure where that guy heard that, but it's not true.
Steve was nearly out of this case the other day and he's still likely to receive that deal.
I don't think he would be suspended even if convicted.
Do you think that there is any chance that he could see some kind of action taken against him? A fine for example...
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's hard-line stance is basically intended only for the repeat offenders whose recidivist behavior continually embarrasses the league. This wasn't an embarrassment. It wasn't a big deal really at all.
Since no one was hurt and he wasn't driving.
Remember, he won his other prior case where it was thrown out so he has a clean record.
I know you don't have to be convicted to be suspended or fined, but the league isn't going to do anything to a respected veteran quarterback that it's proud of in almost every sense.
He's a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a former NFL Co-MVP. He's not getting suspended for being a passenger while his brother in law was allegedly driving drunk.
Thats good to hear,I never really worried much about him anyway. His new court date wont interfere with his obligations to the Ravens, right?
Right. July 10 is when he's due back in court and there's a chance the case could be dismissed through a plea bargain before that.
Put it this way, they were so close to dismissing it and executing the plea that two court officials were telling me it was a done deal and they even
had it up on their official court Web site as concluded.
He'll be done with this case I predict before he reports to Westminster at the end of July.
I'll give you a couple of superlatives, do you think you can name one player that best exemplifies each?
Most likley to make his first Pro Bowl.
Most improved from 2006.
Not saying it will happen, but he's the most deserving of the guys who hasn't gone yet.
Most promising rookie you've never heard of.
(to the casual fan)
A tie between Central Michigan wide receiver Damien Linson and North Carolina Central running back Greg Pruitt Jr.
Alright, last one
Most overwhelmed player this week at OTAs.
Evan Oglesby continues to struggle.
That seems to be the case with him more often than not, unfortunately.
He does better in games than he fares in practice. Kind of strange.
Keep in mind there's no pass rush, so there's no way for him to hide. He's isolated in coverage for a long time.
Like an anti-devard darling.
Most corners get beat in practice unless they're really gifted physically or know the defense inside and out.
He struggles more than anyone else, though.
Is he on the bubble to make this team?
Darling or Oglesby?
either I guess
Darling could survive one more year, I think.
Oglesby's roster status depends on how David Pittman and Ronnie Prude are doing by comparison.
It will be close.
I think he stands a good chance of making it again.