Question: I've heard various media types, (Davis) on WBAL, who I do not respect talking as if our owner, and Harb's is upset with veterans, not attending OTA's ?
Answer: I have heard that the coaching staff wished there had been higher attendance from several veterans, including Willis McGahee. That said, the workouts are voluntary and the Ravens don't expect the players, especially starters, to have perfect attendance. I wouldn't say this was anything abnormal, just the typical coach wanting the players to be working all year round and the players wanting some time off during the offseason. It's the traditional push-pull. As long as everyone is ready for training camp, it's not a problem. Show up out of shape then, and the tension can reach a boil.
Question: How is Joe Reitz coming along? Since he hasn't played football in a long time how is he progressing. Think he'll see playing time this year either at OT or TE or just too raw?
Answer: Joe Reitz is a really good athlete with a very limited football background since he hasn't played since his high school days in Indiana. I think the move to left tackle is a good one for him in the long run since he's more advanced athletically at that spot than as an oversized tight end at 6-7, 282. He told me he wants to bulk up to 295 pounds by training camp with the ultimate goal of weighing over 300 pounds eventually. I don't foresee playing time this year. I do think he'll make the practice squad and be in the Ravens' long-term plans. They have made a commitment to him since he foregoed a professionall basketball career in Europe to play football again.
Question: It's a long ways off, but thinking about it never hurts. Lacking a true #1 receiver, top replacement CB, TE depth, and DEs, in your opinion, how much of and what priority will the Ravens place on these areas in the 2009 draft?
Answer: I think they need all of those spots to be upgraded and I would think they won't be able to find an impact player at every one of those positions in the upcoming draft. That's why they'll need to prioritize and look to land a defensive end or a receiver and a tight end. I don't know if a cornerback is in the cards yet. It will depend heavily on whether Fabian Washington pans out as a potential replacement for Samari Rolle. I think Chris McAlister has at least two more seasons left in him as a starter.
Question: Who else could possibly face being cut from the team before training camp starts?
Answer: It will likely be one of the undrafted rookies so the team can get down to the roster limit of 80 players. Keep in mind that they can place tight ends Quinn Sypniewski and Scott Kuhn on the physically unable to perform list and possibly linebacker Mike Smith, allowing the Ravens to have a few extra spots for camp until they make roster cuts.
Question: Have there been any further updates with Linta and the Joe Flacco contract situation, seeing as how "all parties involved" want Flacco in training camp from day 1? What kind of numbers do you think Flacco could be looking at for his contract?
Answer: Talks are progressing well and the agent is scheduled to meet with the Ravens' capologist, Pat Moriarty, next week. This will mark their fifth meeting. They agree on some contract language, but not everything yet. I do think he will be signed in plenty of time and the fast start they got off to in negotiations bodes well for accomplishing their mutual goal ahead of time. I know Joe Flacco isn't worried about it because that's what he told me recently. As far as how much money, look for somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million with potentially more in the offing if he hits escalator clauses.
Question: Have any of the other rookies been signed yet, or are their agents still in negotiation?
Answer: There haven't been any signed deals. There have been some negotiations and progress, but it is slow this week due to vacations in the front office. Look for things to heat up in the next few weeks.
Question: Aaron, I've been AWOL for a number of reasons, but have tried to read updates when I can. I saw something about Willis McGahee and how his "endurance" was somewhat of a concern. Apparently he not only smokes but is not keeping himself in great shape. Is that a concern or was that just a comment that I focused upon? If this has been discussed ad nauseam, sorry! If it is relevant, I'd love to know.
Answer: As far as I know, he's not a smoker. I do think he could get in better shape, though, and spend more time working out at the Ravens' training complex. I don't think this is a major issue honestly. He's not a Walter Payton type workaholic or a Roger Craig, but he's talented and he does enough to be in good enough shape to get the job done.
Question: Nemo I was the one that actually asked that question. Coaches merely said they were questioning his endurance and lung capacity based off of last year when he had to come out for air. Obviously missing most of camp could not have helped. I asked Aaron if Willis smoked and he said no. I also asked should I or we be worried and Aaron said no because regardless McGahee was the bright spot on offense last year and will be ready for camp.
Answer: Again, I think that Willis McGahee is a major asset and should form a nice tandem with rookie running back Ray Rice. Could he get in better shape to have better stamina and an increased chance for longer runs? Yes, I think he could stand to get in better shape.
Question: What are the chances of UDFA center Adam Krauss (I believe that is his name) making the team? How has he looked?
Answer: Adam Kraus is a smart player with strong technique. He's not a great athlete, but he's a hard worker and I would definitely think he'll compete for a practice squad position. They already have a backup center in Chris Chester, so I don't see him making the second string on the depth chart at this point.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.
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