OWINGS MILLLS -- Our latest installment of questions and answers regarding the Baltimore Ravens:
Please keep reading for further details.
What are the chances that Ben Grubbs will sign before camp opens??
6,0Is this going to be the year ALL of our rookies are signed before camp starts?
I would say it's 70-30 in favor of him signing. Both of the deals above and below him have been completed, and both seem to be in line with the NFL slotting guidelines. Yes, I think this could be the year that all of the loose ends are tied up by the time the team reports to the hotel in Westminster on Sunday.
Suggs?, Near Signing?.. increase in his price ?
I'm surprised that Mcclain has not signed, is his agent problematic
I don't think any deal is imminent for Terrell Suggs, but I believe they'll keep talking. So far, negotiations have gone smoothly. It's a complicated deal, lots of money involved. Yes, the price went up for him and every other high-profile NFL athlete in light of the Dwight Freeney blockbuster deal.
Todd France, Le'Ron McClain's representative, has a lot of clients. He tends to push the envelope for big money, he represents Ovie Mughelli. He's a younger agent who is rapidly making a big name for himself. He won't hold out a fourth-round pick. I would expect him to be done by Friday afternoon.
6,0I know you spend a lot of time with the team, so I have to ask: what are the odds that any more NFL players, especially Ravens, get dragged into this Vick mess?
Mike Smith is still recovering from shoulder surgery and I don't expect him to be 100 percent at the start of camp. Dan Cody is still in limbo. I haven't heard anything about him needing surgery at this point, but I haven't spoken to Dan in a while. I have a call into him and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
Is there anyone so far amongst the unknown players that could emerge as a "secret weapon"?
I really haven't heard anything about the Ravens getting dragged into this at all. In fact, the Ravens are animal lovers. Especially Mike Flynn, Brian Billick, Rex Ryan and a bunch of the other guys. Adalius Thomas is a dog lover, too. We take our family cat to the same veterinarian that Billick goes to. He has a really little dog. I think it's a poodle.
Depends on who you consider unknown. I think Antwan Barnes could emerge as a force as a situational pass rusher and a special-teams ace.
How much independence (if any) is Rick Neuheisel going to get in designing the offensive game plans??
How are your interviews with the rookies going? any surprises you could share?
He'll have significant input and ability to voice his views. However, it remains Brian Billick's offense. He'll overrule pretty much anything he doesn't like or think will work. He has a lot of respect, though, for Neuheisel and I expect him to be invaluable in devising these game plans.
There was an article on ESPN recently that said that Ed Reed was the MOST overrated safety in footbal. I think this is poppycock, perhaps this sort of stuff will motivate Ed Reed? or do the players pay any attention to this sort of stuff??
First impressions on the rookies' personalities. Grubbs is a happy-go lucky type, very serious about football. Yamon Figurs is always smiling. Marshal Yanda is a tough guy, no-nonsense, definitely a blue-collar worker. Antwan Barnes has a lot of quiet confidence. Prescott Burgess is eager to prove himself. Le'Ron McClain is a laidback Southerner, but he's very intense on the field. Troy Smith isn't arrogant, he's been humbled by his draft plummet and is working hard to prove that he's a legitimate NFL quarterback.
I don't think the players are really that affected by articles like that one. It doesn't really tell the whole story. Ed Reed needs to freelance less, but it's not as if he had a bad season. He was getting back to his old self in the second half of the year and outgunned Peyton Manning in the playoffs. He intercepted him twice and would have had a third if not for Ray Lewis' inadvertent interference.
Do you get any sense of how the players feel about the playoff loss to Indianapolis?
A few of them say they are haunted by it and supremely motivated to exact a touch of revenge.
To a man, they want another shot at the Colts.
they are going to get another chance in december......
Right, but that doesn't really count in my book. It's not a playoff game, but the hype will rival one.
I'm READY NOW....I hate the Dolts.....
6,0Did you get the details on Smith's signing bonus yet?
Not the exact numbers yet, but I heard it was pretty similar to Jared Gaither's $113,000 bonus. He said it included no playing-time incentive clauses.
How has PJ Daniels looked? We do not hear much about him; I know a few people who think he has potential.
He looked pretty sharp during minicamps. I think he does have potential, but he really hurt his cause last August by fumbling so much. It left the wrong kind of impression, and consequently, he rode the pine all season long.
Is Pittman a bust??? Is so why?
Do you have any sense of how Mark Carrier is doing? Chris McAlister sure seemed to play better since his arrival.
David Pittman is dangerously approaching that status. He needs to get healthy, get serious and play more consistently. The knock on him is work habits. He seemed to be maturing during minicamps, but his tendency to get and stay hurt is troublesome. He needs to get tougher and prove himself. Otherwise, he'll stay in the doghouse. I expect his hamstring injury to be healed up by now so he can show what he can do. That said, he has the requisite size and talent to get the job done.
6,0Is there anyone that is NOT looking as good as was expected or hoped?
I don't think Mark Carrier is a big factor in Chris McAlister's improved play. He's a promising young coach, but C-Mac always knew how to cover and has played that well periodically for the past few seasons.
I think David Pittman falls into that not doing well category. You could say the same about Samari Rolle as far as last year goes.
My prediction is that Samari Rolle, barring an injury, will regain his confidence and play much better than last season. Any injury setbacks, though, and his confidence is likely to falter again.
How is Cody healing any word
Is Cory Ivey our current 1st string nickel back?
I'm still waiting to hear from Dan Cody. I have a call into him and his agent. I'm sure we'll know something soon. Keep in mind,
though, even if he doesn't need surgery, he's susceptible to reinjuring his knee, just as he did during minicamp.
Corey Ivy is the nickel back heading into training camp.
Who is our first string dime back? Sapp? Prude??
I think he's better ideally as a dime back. However, David Pittman isn't ready and Ronnie Prude isn't very fast. Evan Oglesby is a nice role player, as is Prude.
For now, it's Ronnie Prude or Evan Oglesby.
Sounds like Cody is close to being a washout, too
All of that is subject to change.
6,0Who is going to be this year's Dawan Landry? It seems that there's always a rookie who just stuns us with talent.
It's not from a lack of hard work. No one has worked harder. He has incredibly hard luck. He was never injured at Oklahoma, only
missing time for his bout with clinical depression.
My money is on Antwan Barnes.
Do you have any sense about what the attitude of our offensive line players is regarding Chris Foerester? I Chris responsible for
coaching the first string O-line?
What is the thinking around the front office of the Freeney extension
6,0Aany hold-outs that might not show for training camp on time? Or is the competition for jobs tight enough that no one dares?
Yes, Chris Foerster is responsible for the first-string offensive line. He's also the assistant head coach. I think the offensive line likes
him better now than they did when he first got here. They really liked Jim Colletto's personality and Chris is more conservative.
The thinking is that it's going to wind up costing the Ravens some money on the Terrell Suggs deal.
Is Jonathan Ogden's toe healing according to plan?
Same agent for Freeney and Suggs; Gary Wichard.
I don't anticipate any holdouts, but it's not out of fear of losing a job. It's just not going to usually get the player any more money.
J.O.'s toe is supposedly on track. Look for him to be extremely limited at the start of training camp. No chances will be taken with the
big guy's health. They'll save him for what's likely the final 16 games of his career.
Not counting the playoffs, of course.
6,0 (and hold outs piss Billick off) which I wouldn't want to do
6,0Which two players are going to come to blows first. It seems that the last few years there has been a good fist-fight in camp.
I don't think they're necessarily intimidated by Billick. It's just not a good idea to hold out.
I could see JO limpimg a little on the NFL camp program on NFL network; it seems worrisome that he is still limping 6-months
post-injury; is there any feeling that he might not be ready for the opener in Cincy?
With Orlando Brown gone, there has beem much less violence. Maybe Kelly Gregg or Jason Brown. They're feisty. So is Mike Smith. I
wouldn't count out Marshal Yanda. He seems like he wouldn't mind brawling.
I expect him to be ready for the opener. He might have to play in some pain all season, though.
6,0Can't they fit Ogden with a special shoe to protect his toe?
That isn't the issue. It's supporting a 6-foot-9, 360-pound body, no matter how nimble he is.
At least he didn't need surgery.
how much of an issue is our schedule this year with 3 west coast games?
are we set for personnel now? or do you expect to see any more additions before camp starts?
It's not that big of a deal. The West Coas trips are spaced out between three separate months.
They signed Rhys Lloyd, British kicker. Booted a 56-yard field goal for the Frankfurt Galaxy this summer. He was with Baltimore in 2005, but didn't make the team. Stocky kicker, has lost some weight. They get a roster exemption for him. Remember, they cut Rob Abiamiri last Friday, a backup tight end.
I think the roster is set at this point.
do the Ravens have enough cap space to sign Suggs right now??
Yes, I think they do. It's just a matter of making the numbers work. They will be big numbers obviously, somewhere in excess of $20
million in guaranteed money.
I'm sure Ray Lewis will be biting his lip when Suggs gets his money.
Was ray the guy who was ensuring that Suggs won the annual King Ugly contest??
Are Suggs and the Ravens getting anywhere with the negotiations
I don't know. It wouldn't surprise me. Ray Lewis has a great sense of humor. Actually, I remember Adalius Thomas playing a big-time
role. At least that's what I heard.
They are supposedly making progress, but no deai is apparently imminent for Terrell Suggs.
what will you be watching most closely next week when camp opens
Is the defense tired of hearing about the loss of AD???
Willis McGahee and the competitions at right guard, return specialist, fullback, how Adam Terry looks at right tackle, Jonathan
Ogden's health, Dan Cody's health, etc..
They are really tired of hearing about it. They aren't worried about losing AD.
They have lots of playmakers.
6,0Are you concerned about any of the rookies once the pads go on and the real hitting starts?
The defense will be fine without him. That's not a knock on AD, but there are plenty of athletes here to take up the slack.
In what way?
6,0decrease in ability to hold on to balls, tied up on runs, not able to block at the line?
If you were forced to pick now, who do you think will win the Fullback job? green or McClain?
Oh, I could see Yamon Figurs having some trouble with hands and contact. I could also see Marshal Yanda being more suited to
guard than tackle and I could see Prescott Burgess having trouble matching runners' speed on outside runs.
McClain, much better blocker in my opinion, at least in terms of upside.
6,0Are most of the players already back in Baltimore, getting ready for camp, etc.
I saw Dwan Edwards at Safeway today. A lot of the veterans are in town. Many of the rookies are back in their college towns,
including Prescott Burgess and Troy Smith. They'll make it to camp by Sunday.
Aside from dan Cody, who do you think are the hardest working players on the Ravens?
He takes great care of himself, remains in outstanding condition at age 39.
Last year we ran over the Pittsburghers like a freight train. Do you expect more resistance from them this year?
I think Mike Tomlin will have an impact. He's running a tougher training camp and should get results. He's a very demanding young
coach. I think the culture is about to change in Pittsburgh.
Remember what he did for the Vikings' defense last year?
Pitt said they were going to open it up more this year but since they haven't seemingly improved the o-line, how does Ben make it through the season?
He'll need to stay on his toes obviously. They've got to hope that he gets rid of the football quickly and makes sound decisions.
6,0well Ben MIGHT make it through the season if he didn't play in the games against US
Exactly, true enough.
We do not seem to play our best on national TV (eg Thursday night last year in Cincy) or the playoff game vs the Dolts. What do
you think of our chances vs. Cincy in the opener, provided we are healthy?
Been a lot of PR with Bentley cleared to play, do you think his return and getting Thomas in camp on time could give CLE more dangerous than folks are thinking going into the season
I think they'll perform well. They seem to have trouble when it rains for some reason, losing two road games in bad weather last
year at Denver and at Cincinnati. If healthy, I think they can handle the Bengals.
Still working on logistics for training camp chats depending on practice schedule. It could fall on off days for players and coaches, possibly Sundays when they're not playing.
I wouldn't be that worried about Cleveland. They still have a long way to go.