Question: What has impressed you the most with the coaching staff so far
Aaronwilson I think the biggest thing beyond the increased tempo at practice is the camraderie they've been building between the defense and the offense, fostering a renewed respect for the offense from their defensive counterparts. That culture change has been the biggest challenge and a lot of progress is being made.
Question: After reading your article about the coaching staff, I got really pumped. How much of that enthusiasm the coaches showed will translate into success down the road, and how much will fizzle out as the honeymoon wears off? Is this thing for real?
Aaronwilson I tend to think it's genuine. You have seen a ton less backbiting and self-promoting with this bunch. I think there's much less fear, too. Brian Billick had made it clear that anyone could be fired at any time. So, there was an element of fear there. Well, remember he had begun firing assistants before that, including Bennie Thompson, Gary Zauner, Johnnie Lynn, etc. Not to mention Brian dismissing Jim Fassel, Matt Cavanaugh, Phil Zacharias and others.
Question: I'm very curious as to why they're projecting Adam at RT. Is he really the best available option?
Aaronwilson The reason why they are looking at Adam Terry on the right side is his size and long arms and added bulk and strength. They are also relatively unfamiliar with his struggles last year and they think they have a line coach in John Matsko that can help him with his footwork. It's not like he's uncoachable. He's a smart, good athlete.
Question: In regards to the attitude, do you think that could change as many of the vets (Ray Lewis, etc) have to start attending
Aaronwilson I think the improved attitude has been shared by some of the older players. They gripe occasionally, but haven't taken on Harbs publicly. I think the guys are tired of losing and are buying into working hard.
Question: With the bulk that AT put on, did he see the writing relative to Gaither or were coaches nudging him - strange that he bulked up so much after having been here awhile
Aaronwilson They asked him to put on weight and he told me he thought that it was easier to lose weight than gain it. Plus, he had some time where he was down due to being in a walking boot for over a month. Also, Marshal Yanda is up to 308 pounds at the coaches' request with a goal of bulking up to 315 pounds by training camp.
Question: So does Boller just have a bad case of the "why bothers" does it seem like he is trying at all?
Aaronwilson I think Kyle Boller is actually trying too hard. He's pressing clearly, dealing with nerves as he competes for the job. I wouldn't write him off yet. That would be a hasty conclusion to reach.
Question: What are your thoughts on having Flacco run only plays that are similar to the ones he ran in college? It seems like a good idea on the surface, but also reeks of the dumbing down stuff they did with the offense a few years back.
Aaronwilson I think it's not a completely accurate statement. He's been exposed and is running a ton of the Ravens' installed offense. They just tailor some plays in the offense to what he's accustomed to, like a lot of shotgun packages. It's not an absolute statement on Cam Cameron's part.
Question: Why would they pull Pryce on 3rd downs when he is one of our better pass rushers?
Aaronwilson They won't be pulling Pryce on all third downs, just some to rest him. He is in plenty of sub packages. He moves inside to defensive tackle while they use someone like Antwan Barnes or Dan Cody as a situational rusher.
Question: Is Fabian Washington coming across as a loudmouth or troublemaker or anything of that nature? Or was his complaining about the ref's call no big deal?
Aaronwilson That wasn't a big deal. He just disputed the call. They were college refs, too. I don't think it was a big deal. He doesn't have a history of penalties, either.
Question: What's the story with the other CB. Walker? Was he the one from GB? How does he look so far?
Aaronwilson He's pretty big and fast. I think he's an upgrade over the other corners further back on the depth chart. However, he wasn't very good in Green Bay so I wouldn't get too excited. So far, not bad, but it's early. He's a great punt gunner, which is the main reason he's here.
Question: Aaron, with Cameron stating that Terry is the RT, can we assume that he hasn't seen a lot of Terry playing RT?
Aaronwilson As far as Terry, I think it's safe to assume that he hasn't watched him play the spot much other than a few films. They are confident they can coach him up. We'll see. The jury remains out on this one. Keep in mind they have the luxury of going back to Marshal Yanda or trying Oniel Cousins there. It's (the tackles) a concern definitely, but it's not the worst I've ever seen. I think the tackles have some upside and could improve under John Matsko's tutelage.
Question: I thought Gary Stills was some dynamite ST player. He made the PB here, perennially is at the top of the league in ST tackles, and now he might not make the squad? He seems like a red star player as well. I would think he would be prized by Harbaugh.
Aaronwilson: I think they are open to the idea of keeping Gary Stills. As far as Stills goes, he's far from a lock to not make it.
Question: Aaron, Preston reported that talks with Ray are ongoing but nothing with Suggs. I know it's not a popular opinion, but if that is in case the fact, Bisciotti is most likely behind it. Can they really justify signing Ray to ANY extension before Suggs?
Aaronwilson I tend to think that nothing is imminent with Ray Lewis. They are unlikely to pull the trigger on either deal anytime soon.
Question: What in the world is the hold up with Suggs? I don't get it. I really don't
Aaronwilson The Suggs deal is tough to complete because his agent wants Dwight Freeney dollars. By the way, the Flacco deal is not close. Just talked to a source, there is a lot of work left to do.
Question: Aaron, what is the deal with McNair's contract. Seems like they haven't filed the papers yet and he's still on the books?
Aaronwilson McNair hasn't filed his papers yet.
Question: is there a reason for that?
Aaronwilson No rush to do so.
Question: would it help the Ravens if he did?
Aaronwilson Yes, it would help them free up some cap room, but it's not imperative.
Question: How many UFA's do we have this year?
Aaronwilson Several, including Jason Brown, Bart Scott, Ray Lewis.
Question: sorry, undrafted free agents
Aaronwilson Thirteen or so.
Question: ok so 23 rookies for rookie camp? What do they do? mostly classroom stuff?
Aaronwilson They will have barely enough for 7-on-7.
Quasi – question: They should be working on a long term deal with Brown now. But they aren't I bet
Aaronwilson They haven't had preliminary talks for Brown, just a mutual expression of wanting to get a deal done from both sides. I don't think they will be unable to sign Jason Brown. Remember, there were a ton of people who were scared of him not having a first-round tender, too.
Question: Is Jason brown cheaper now or in a year?
Aaronwilson Jason is going to cost a lot regardless even though centers get paid less than guards. He's probably going to get guard money. Plus, they want to build the line around him. I think it's time to get younger and cheaper honestly. By the way, I'm hearing the Flacco deal won't likely get done until early July. Last time he was here for seven hours to talk to Pat Moriarty. They agreed on some things, but didn't see eye to eye on others. As far as structure.
Question: Aaron, do you expect Williams to be the #3 receiver again this year?
Aaronwilson Yes, I think Demetrius Williams is pretty entrenched there.
Question: Do you think Harper has any real potential of getting a lot of playing time down the road (even within the next few years)?
Aaronwilson I do think he has a lot of potential to emerge as a red-zone threat and a possession receiver. Great size, pretty decent hands and routes. I like Marcus Smith, too. He just needs more time to develop at a new position as a converted running back.
Question: right. thanks, I have high hopes for Marcus Smith, too.
Aaronwilson He's a good prospect, also a tough special-teams presence.
Question: Whats the deal with Clayton? I just figured our offense made him disappear but then I read he had some personal issues. Is he going torebound this year in your opinion?
Aaronwilson He did deal with some tough things personally. He also had injuries and I think he's primed to bounce back. Looks much stronger physically. So does Williams, who has put on about 10 pounds.
Question: Next question - if it turns out that we are capable of turning into a prolific passing attack, will Cam (traditionally a run first type dude) adapt? Wasn't he part of the San Diego team that wouldn't take the reins off of Phillip Rivers?
Aaronwilson Cam is willing to throw if he trusts the quarterback. They have to prove themselves to him. The offensive line obviously is a major factor, too.
Question: honestly Aaron, do u really see a scenario where this offense is THAT much better than what we've seen? I mean, I get that a new system might help out (even though I say it's the players) but when the talent isn't there, what's a coach or system really gonna do?
Aaronwilson I think the offense will be better if the turnovers are cut down, and the running game is emphasized along with better, longer routes orchestrated. They could improve and keep the defense from being in so many negative field positions. I think the emphasis and the personnel will combine to improve things.
Question: aaron, what rookie, drafted or free agent, do you see pleasantly surprising us this year?
Aaronwilson Tavares Gooden. Very good athlete, tough kid.
Question: when u say improve though, what are you saying. sorry to nitpick. but do you think top half in the league?
Aaronwilson I don't know if I could put a real number on it, but improvement to me would be somewhere between 12th and 15th in yardage. Points scored, hard to say.
Question: do you see him (Gooden) being a play-maker?
Aaronwilson I think he'll be ready to start and make impactful plays in about a year.
Question: i know this is constantly being asked but are the coaches seeing ANY improvement in Gaither's work ethic, profesionalism, etc?
Aaronwilson They don't seem too worried about Gaither lately, certainly not as much as when he was chronically late or missing workouts.
Question: A few months back you reported that Gaither was seriously screwing up his shot but now that seems to have turned around. Is he taking this thing a lot more serious or is his mom dropping him off at school to make sure he shows up?
Aaronwilson I think he is taking it more seriously. His attendance improved, and they seem to be less concerned than before.
AaronWilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.
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