9:57 PM EDT, July 25, 2013
Not breaking news: Ravens left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie wasn't on the practice field for the first full day of training camp.
Oh, well, death, taxes and McKinnie being overweight ...
The giant tackle was missing Thursday, which left a gaping hole or two in the offensive line, and that would have been a major story for most teams. But for the Ravens, it was just another ho-hum moment.
In fact, it would have been news if McKinnie, a 12-year veteran, had participated. In his three years with the Ravens, he hasn't been to opening day of training camp.
According to coach John Harbaugh, McKinnie didn't reach the team's prescribed weight, whatever that might have been, even though McKinnie is listed at 352 on the roster.
This was all predictable.
Back in May when the Ravens re-signed McKinnie, I wrote that he would report overweight, be sent to ride the bike and be hidden from the media by the team's public relations staff.
Kelechi Osemele took most of McKinnie's repetitions with the first team.
Osemele is serviceable at tackle, but couldn't handle speed rushers last season. The glaring weakness would be starting Jah Reid, who started at left guard in place of Osemele.
"Bryant's just too heavy right now," Harbaugh said. "He needs to lose weight. My guess is he lost quite a bit today. He's in good shape and he's in good cardiovascular fitness and you can tell he's worked hard, but I wasn't real comfortable putting him out there today at that weight."
A lighter Flacco
Quarterback Joe Flacco has never been as happy in training camp as he was Thursday. On the sideline, he joked, smiled and constantly spoke with teammates.
It was as if the world had been lifted off his shoulders. Maybe the $120.6 million contract he signed during the offseason helped him feel more at ease.
Or maybe it is because former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is now at LSU.
Ngata in good shape
Other than McKinnie, the Ravens appeared to be in good, physical shape. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata lost some weight and jogged from drill to drill. Most of the time, he was first in line at every station.
That's a great sign.
Outside linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Albert McClellan, overweight in the last minicamp, were clearly in better shape even though Upshaw might still have to drop a few pounds.
C. Brown looks stiff
Third-year cornerback Chykie Brown can press up on receivers because he is very physical at the line of scrimmage, but he appears stiff when it is time for him to turn and run with them.
Brown played well when he got into the lineup last season, but the more film the opposition got on him, the less effective he was because he didn't accelerate coming out of turns.
Is Leach coming back?
The Ravens are still in the hunt for former starting fullback Vonta Leach, and they'd better get it done quickly. Rookie Kyle Juszczyk might be the fullback of the future, but the kid needs to improve his foot speed and pass blocking.
Maybe it is a sign of things to come, but the Ravens didn't run a lot of two-back sets in practice Thursday with Juszczyk as the lead blocker. There is a belief that Leach will be in training camp soon, but the veteran isn't eager to get here any sooner than necessary.
Cody has company
Fourth-year nose tackle Terrence Cody had better start looking over his shoulder.
Rookie Brandon Williams, the third-round pick out of Missouri Southern, looks good.
He is athletic and explosive off the ball. He should get some playing time this season, and with a year or two in the weight room he has a pretty good future.
Meanwhile Cody, a second-round pick in 2010, has done very little to distinguish himself, and general manager Ozzie Newsome is running out of excuses for why Cody keeps fizzling.
Newsome's Crimson Tide ties with Cody can't keep him on the roster forever.
J. Jones returns to field
It's hard to believe that receiver Jacoby Jones failed a conditioning test.
Jones evidently retook it and passed because he was on the field Thursday.
He didn't have any problems catching his breath as he blew by defenders at practice.
It's just a hunch, but maybe Jones and Harbaugh were still at odds a little about Jones missing a lot of the offseason because he was involved with "Dancing with the Stars."
McClain faces risk
Starting linebacker Jameel McClain (bruised spine) didn't practice because he hasn't been cleared by team doctors.
When you watched McClain run during minicamps in the offseason, he performed well.
It's amazing that a player so young still wants to play because the risk is so much greater than the reward.
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