Notebook: Olson has rough practice

Drew Olson experienced a humbling NFL reality Friday morning, days removed from what appeared to be a breakthrough relief performance. First, the Baltimore Ravens' reserve quarterback was intercepted by middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who practically walked into the end zone. On the ensuing snap, Olson was picked off by cornerback Samari Rolle.

A few plays later, Chris McAlister jumped in front of an Olson pass for a third interception.

Olson completed 7 of 9 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter of a 29-13 win Monday over the Philadelphia Eagles, but he's aware that there's still room for improvement.

"I've definitely done some good things, and some things I could clean up," Olson said. "I'm just always trying to improve from the past game. This past week was a good start, and I just need to build on that."

The former UCLA star spent a season in NFL Europa with the Amsterdam Admirals, picking up some valuable experience as he battles with Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith for the third-string job. "I think overall everywhere I've improved, just knowing the offense, being more comfortable," Olson said. "I'm getting caught up to the speed of the game with a year under my belt."

Smith, who completed just 3 of 11 throws for 34 yards against Philadelphia, had issues of his own Friday. He was intercepted by linebacker Prescott Burgess when he forced a throw.

For the second day in a row, Smith had a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage as defensive tackle Keyonta Marshall got a hand on it and picked it off.

Although Smith delivers his passes with more velocity, Olson tends to have better accuracy. The complication for Olson, an undrafted free agent, is that Smith is signed to a three-year contract that included a $105,000 signing bonus.

"I think I've always been underrated, starting back in college and through the draft," Olson said. "It's just motivating. I know what I am and what I'm capable of doing. As long as I believe in myself and my teammates, I'll be all right."

INJURY UPDATE: Rookie outside linebacker Antwan Barnes confirmed that he has a high ankle sprain and will miss Sunday night's preseason game against the New York Giants.

A magnetic resonance imaging exam didn't reveal any structural damage, according to Barnes, who remains optimistic about returning next week against the Washington Redskins.

"It could have been much worse," Barnes said. "I'm relieved."

Wide receiver Derrick Mason was held out of practice with what's being described as a minor shoulder injury.

"He had a little bit of a shoulder going on," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We thought we should shelve him for the morning."

Nose guard Kelly Gregg practiced with the first-team defense with a brace around his right knee without incident. It's likely, though, that the team will hold him out Sunday and possibly even longer as a precautionary measure.

"That's Kelly for you," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "He's just trying to force himself out there

Also not practicing: offensive guard Chris Chester (sprained foot), running back P. J. Daniels (hamstring), tight end Daniel Wilcox (sprained ankle), offensive tackles Jonathan Ogden (turf toe) and Steve Edwards (knee) and linebackers Dan Cody (knee surgery) and Mike Smith (shoulder surgery).

Cody is expected to begin the season on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he won't be available until the sixth or eighth week of the season.

Chester's injury clears a path for first-round pick Ben Grubbs to start at right guard.

"I could play if it was a more urgent situation," said Chester, describing it as a one-week injury. "It's preseason. You don't want to push it right now."

QUICK HITS: The Ravens break camp today and will return to their $35 million headquarters in Owings Mills. It has been an extremely quiet camp. "Not a lot of distractions," Billick said. "When the lead article is about Rex Ryan's weight, you know camp is pretty calm. That's a good thing, it lends itself to the focus you need." ...The Ravens' annual rookie show was held Friday night with skits, songs and the annual "King Ugly" contest. Ironically, there's only money involved for the second and third-place winners and no cash for the first-place winner, who has traditionally received a crown and a scepter. "I've learned not to handicap that," Billick said. ... NBC analyst John Madden attended practice in preparation for Sunday night's broadcast and said he was curious about watching rookie offensive tackle Jared Gaither, a 6-9, 350-pounder. ... Meanwhile, linebacker Bart Scott has a bone to pick with the popular Madden video game. "I need to talk to John Madden because for years they didn't even put my name on the back of my jersey, I was just No. 57," Scott said. "I want to ask him why I was such a slap. I thought maybe Madden didn't think I was going to make the team or something." … With safety Ed Reed blitzing, Scott, who played safety at Southern Illinois, lined up in his place and roamed the field.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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