Ravens' quarterback watch

WESTMINSTER -- Our daily deluxe look at the Baltimore Ravens' quarterback competition between Joe Flacco, Kyle Boller and Troy Smith.

Joe Flacco

Positives: Delivered perhaps the best pass of the entire camp, a 40-yard rainbow spiral that hit tight end Adam Bergen in stride. Didn't flinch when blitzed despite collapsing pocket and shaky protection. Confidence is starting to grow.

Negatives: Intercepted by safety Jim Leonhard off a deflection from Ronnie Prude. It's a broken record, but either Flacco needs to slow down his throws or the receivers need to set the JUGS machine extra-high.

Stock: Beginning to rise as he displays the talent that made him a first-round pick.

Kyle Boller

Positives: Connected with Ray Rice on a touchdown over the middle with a nice touch pass. Found Kerry Reed on a crisp sideline throw for big yardage. Mostly composed and steady.

Negatives: Floating his deep throws and telegraphing his intentions, especially when he was picked off by rookie safety Haruki Nakamura. Inaccurate during the early portion of team drills.

Stock: Harder to forecast than Wall Street, but mostly neutral.

Troy Smith

Positives: Doesn't get down on himself after mistakes, always believes he can make a big play. Has an infectious swagger in the huddle and excellent mobility.

Negatives: Fumbled yet another snap, was sacked by Tom Zbikowski and Antwan Barnes and threw an interception that Chris McAlister returned for a touchdown. One of his roughest practices yet.

Stock: Down a bit as he isn't building on momentum generated during minicamps.

Head Coach John Harbaugh

On letting veterans rest: "What we've instituted is called the '30-plus Club.' The guys who are 30 years or older take basically every third day off. The idea being that the way camp is structured, it's really structured for a certain number of recovery days for a certain number of players and certain number of reps. The guys who are over 30 just don't recover as quickly. They are working hard, but you have to bring those guys back when it starts piling up on them. They need that extra day off."

On players who didn't want to miss practice: "I had a number of guys who were really disappointed and wanted to get out there and practice today. Believe it or not, we didn't let them."

On backing up the offense deep in its own territory: "That drill down there, the backed up drill, [was us] putting the offense in that [tough] situation. The only thing we didn't have was crowd noise. The defense wanted to give us crowd noise, but we didn't allow that. To be in that situation, where they're forced against this defense to make good decisions, [is challenging]. We had a couple turnovers. But that's invaluable, a great learning opportunity."

On the severity of DT Haloti Ngata's injury: "No. We don't think it's serious, but we've got to find out here as we go."

On the offseason veteran leadership of WR Derrick Mason: "It's funny you talk about over 30. He had gone to the funeral yesterday, so he was out there today. All through the offseason, he made every OTA. He's a guy that really doesn't look like he's over 30. He recovers like that. We're still going to give him the time, but he had a tremendous offseason. I think he's having a tremendous camp so far."

On T Jared Gaither's status: "Gaither's got an ankle [injury] right now. He woke up, it was swollen. It was tight this morning, so we're evaluating it still."

On whether a tough year can make a player like WR Mark Clayton stronger: "Well, if they're strong people. Mark's a strong young man, and he's competitive and motivated. I know he wants to have a great year."

On what he likes about LB Bart Scott: "I like everything about Bart. Bart has a lot of things working, and you like all of it. I think the thing he's really committed to right now is becoming a more fundamentally sound football player. Coach [Greg] Mattison and he have been in countless meetings and sessions on the field working on fundamentals, and he's done a great job of that."

On what OLB Dan Cody has been able to do on special teams: "Dan Cody is a high-motor guy. He's a really big guy, he can run and he can really run a straight line down the field. So, those guys show up on special teams pretty well. We will see when the pads come out and we play games, but I'd be surprised if he's not cracking some pads on special teams."

On the severity of RB Willis McGahee's injury: "We are hoping to get him back soon. I don't know what the term is on him right now, but we are hopeful."

On how rookie RBs Ray Rice and Allen Patrick are performing: "Those guys have done a great job of learning the offense. I think today, for the first time, you started to see a little more confidence in the running style between both those guys, which is probably the result of having an understanding of what they are doing. Either that, or not worrying about the mistakes and running hard no matter what. Early on they were kind of tentative, thinking their way through a little bit, but not today."

On WR Darnerien McCants: "D-Mac is a guy that we've had a relationship with since he played for the Eagles, and of course he played for the Redskins. [He's a] tall, physical receiver in the Cam Cameron mold. [He's] played special teams. He's a really strong guy, and he can get deep. That's the thing about D-Mac. He's always got the ability to go deep and catch the long balls."

On the hitting taking place in practice: "We like to see hitting. We're in favor of hitting. Hitting is something we look for."

On the defense getting pumped up at practice: "They love football. They love to play. Ray Lewis and Hue Jackson have a little thing going on; I don't know if you guys caught that. They've got a little WWE Smackdown talk session going on."

On how much time the team will practice at live speed: "I said until we see what we want. It's not like we've got to see a certain amount, and then we're going to stop doing it. They're scheduled all through training camp. I'm sure there will be times when one is scheduled and we feel like either the numbers aren't right or it's just not something we want to do. Or there might be times where it's scheduled to be a ‘thud,' and we might say, ‘You know, we need to liven that one up because we need to get better in a certain area at something.' So we're not locked into anything. It's day-to-day."

LB Bart Scott

On how camp is going: "Just high tempo, fast pace. All in all, with the exception of a couple more live periods, it's pretty much a typical camp, pretty much like the ones we've been in. Just a little bit more of the live periods."

On whether the defense typically has the upper hand as camp begins: "That's typical of practice all year. We just practice realizing that if the offense is going to get better, we're going to have to turn it up. If the defense is going to get better, the offense is going to have to challenge the defense. Together, we can get better as a team because it's going to take a whole team to be able to do this thing. Not one side can take us to the promised land."

On how last year's injuries affected the team: "When you have the extent of injuries we had, the downside is you get young guys who haven't been in this situation. They don't know how to respond in certain situations to make the great play. They can be consistent, but to make the great plays… A lot of guys have made big plays for us. But now, you reap the rewards of that the following year now that those guys have experience. Now we have the depth. That allows you to rotate those guys in because you know you can trust them because now they have that experience. I think, all in all, it hurts you that year, but the following year it helps you. I was one of those guys who hadn't been in the situation before and got in the situation. So now, when we came back, I can add depth to the position. That's kind of how I got started."

On whether he tells younger players about how he got his start as a rookie free agent: "You've got to let them know how common that is, from a Terrell Davis to myself to Rod Smith. A lot of guys start out that way. But it's not how you start; it's how you finish. You go out here every day and work on your craft and get better every day. You make all the mistakes that you can make in practice. You just concentrate on not making the same mistake. Before you know it, you've made almost every mistake you can make, and you'll be learning from it."

On the types of roles he has filled in his career: "My second year, when I took over for Ray [Lewis] after Week 6, I had a lot less go-forward type of things. But when you lose a lot of guys, with my background at safety in college, it allowed me to kind of try to fill some of those gaps. But you don't replace a Chris McAlister or Samari Rolle with a Bart Scott in coverage. We just tried to put it all right on our shoulders. I think it slowed us down, as far as being aggressive."

On whether he started drawing more attention in blocking schemes once he became a Pro Bowl player: "Of course, but whenever you line up and me and [Terrell] Suggs are on the same side, that's going to draw a lot of attention. But with the absence of Trevor Pryce creating that double team and allowing us to get one-on-ones, we know if we're able to get one-on ones we're going to win 90 percent of those battles, and 15 percent of the time we're going to win the double-team and make the great play."

On his feelings on last season: "It was very frustrating. When you go 13-3, you want to build on that momentum and be one of those teams that maybe had the disappointment the year before but can get over the hump the next year. You don't want to be the team that has the hangover, and it wasn't so much a hangover as we just got hit with the injury bug. That's how football works sometimes. I'm extremely pissed off, even more than ever, because we were down and teams stuck on us a little bit, but they didn't finish us. I guarantee if we get the opportunity, we're going to stomp them through the ground."

On whether he will be in the blitz package: "I don't know. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully, that's the case. If it's not the case, my goal is to make every hit and opportunity I get count."

On whether the "Mad Backer" will be more sedated with the media and on the field: "I don't know. I couldn't care less about the interviews. I'm more concerned with on the field. I went back [home to Detroit], and after sitting with my high school coach – the guy who created this monster – he said I was way too nice, too political. So I'm going to go back to just choking the hell out of people and let the coaches calm me down, or whatever (laughter)."

On DT Haloti Ngata going down in practice: "He's a big part of what we do, able to stop the run in seven-man spacing, allowing us to kind of double up on things because he is such a presence – him and Kelly [Gregg]. It is scary because that's how I eat. He keeps guys off me, and I eat. I'm always nice to him, make sure he's fed right. Seriously, make sure he's at the spa whenever he needs to. I'm not naïve enough to know that he was part of my success."

On whether he has spoken with LB Terrell Suggs: "We're just letting Suggs go out and train. I don't know if he was at the [Miguel] Cotto and [Antonio Margarito] fight last night. I'm not concerned with Suggs. He's handling the business part of it. He's always showed a tremendous ability every year to be in shape, be ready to play. He knows he has to be accountable to us when it's time to play. The business part is his business. We all hope that we're fortunate enough to one day be in that situation where we can make it to that status. But you never talk about a man and his money. Suggs, rest up and be ready to go when it's time."

On what has impressed him about rookie LB Jameel McClain: "His work ethic. He's always willing to learn. He's getting more coached up than anybody. He comes in here, he puts in the extra time whenever you have that. Edgar Jones is another guy who works tremendously hard with me in the offseason training. I think he'll see a lot of the benefits of working hard and putting it together."

On what has impressed him about rookie S Haruki Nakamura: "His ability to get off the hashes and cover half the field [or] a third of the field is tremendous. We all know that whenever you can get extra possessions for the offense, that's huge. He's showing that ability, that knack to get to the ball that can lead to that great play. A lot of guys, if you were blinking, would have thought that was Ed Reed out there getting off the hashes."

On what a healthy LB Dan Cody can do: "Dan Cody is a workhouse. He's going to work, scratch, crawl and hit. He's great. He's 6-5, 255, and he's able to penetrate and get that first step, and he's not going to stop. He's relentless. Whenever he's going to get in there, our offensive linemen can't take a play off because he's going to bring his A game. He's coming in at 120 percent, if that is a percentage."

On whether he has been impressed by rookie RB Ray Rice: "Yes, I think he's going to add a huge dimension getting his hands on the football out of the backfield, maybe beating some linebackers. A lot of linebackers can't match a lot of running backs. To get him out and get him downfield and stretch the football field, you see Indy do it, you see L.T. [LaDanian Tomlinson] do it a lot. Stretching the football field, getting five out in a route puts a lot of pressure on the defense."

On playing in a contract year: "I couldn't care less. I'm blessed. I really can't. All of that stuff takes care of itself. I'm an 18-round slappy. I'm just happy to be playing. I'm ecstatic that I get to come out here and do something that millions of people wish they could do. I'm always aware of that, and you want to talk about the people's champ? I am the people's champ. I represent the people. I'm a man for the people, by the people."

On if he hopes to finish his career in Baltimore: "Coming in as an undrafted rookie free agent, I thought it would be the funniest thing in the world if I was the one guy [to make the team], and I would be the most unlikely guy. If we would've placed a bet, the odds probably would have been 100-1 that I would be the guy who could start my career and finish a long career with one team. I hope I can do that. I love it here. I love the city. I embrace the town. I love the community. I would love to finish here."

On his feelings about last season: "I'm pissed off. I could come up here and try to fake like I'm all happy and stuff. I'm ready to get in and really make some people pay. I'm ready to put some pain on people. I'm tired of talking about it. I just want to line up against somebody and make them feel what we had to feel last year and stomp ‘em out."

On how he can play at the level he did two years ago: "I didn't know I played too bad [last year]. Thanks for informing me. I hope Ozzie [Newsome] doesn't feel that way. I'm just putting it all together. I'm in my seventh year. My early years, I relied on effort and relentlessness to the ball. Now, it's kind of like when the body and mind are meeting. I understand what's going on, plus I'm still able to play like I play. It's kind of like when the body and mind meet. When you get a little older, you understand things a little better. You step back, understand concepts. I've been in this system for a long time. Now, I'm ready to take the next step as far as to make big plays, to make those plays that help my team win ballgames."

On echoing Ray Lewis' theme of getting better with age: "You know he wrote my speech before I stepped out here. It's just something that comes with age – wisdom. I've been in situations, understand what teams do. You play teams two times a year for seven years. I've played Pittsburgh, it'll be 14 times this year. I just kind of understand what they like to do. I understand the personnel. I understand what's going on as part of age and experience."


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