Criticized by Ravens coach John Harbaugh in the spring for his poor eating habits after bulking up to 295 pounds, outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw has engineered a major turnaround.
Now, Upshaw is firmly out of the coaches' doghouse after dropping roughly 20 pounds over the summer under the supervision of Eldersburg trainer Troy Jones.
The 2012 second-round draft pick from Alabama has continued to drop weight and upgrade his mobility since reporting to training camp and has been splitting time with Pro Bowl outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil with the first-team defense at strongside linebacker. Upshaw is primarily utilized as a run-stopper and Dumervil rushes the passer.
Upshaw returned to practice Tuesday after becoming a new father early Monday morning.
"Courtney has done a nice job," Harbaugh said. "Courtney has had a really good camp. He's moving around really well. Conditioning-wise, he's right there. He's done a great job with that.
"He's worked as hard as you can work. He's done a tremendous job with that. Along the way, he had a baby. So, he's had a full plate during training camp. I really like where he's at. He should have a really good season."
The Ravens traditionally allot the entire first half for the starters in the second preseason game, and could follow that plan against Atlanta.
"It will be somewhere in that neighborhood," Harbaugh said. "Usually, the second preseason game is a half. Like we say every time we play a preseason game, it will depend on different guys. Different guys will be on different plans, so it's hard to say exactly."
Wide receiver Brandon Stokley's one-year contract is worth $1.005 million, including a nonguaranteed $940,000 base salary and a $65,000 roster bonus.
Under the minimum salary benefit, Stokley's 2013 salary-cap figure is just $620,000.
Spears nursing leg injury
Defensive end Marcus Spears has missed the past four practices with a hamstring injury and it's unclear when he'll return.
"It depends how it heals," Harbaugh said. "I expect him to be back pretty soon, but it's hard to put a timetable on it."
The Ravens are encouraged by the development of rookie offensive tackle Rick Wagner, a fifth-round draft pick from Wisconsin who's vying to be the top backup to left tackle Bryant McKinnie and right tackle Michael Oher. "Right now, Rick is shooting for is to be the third tackle, to be the backup left tackle if something happens to Bryant or the backup right tackle if something were to happen to Michael," Castillo said. "That's where he is and that's where he's working. Rick has really been able to go up against two of the best outside linebackers (Dumervil and Terrell Suggs), or rushers in the NFL, and he's done a really good job with those guys." ... With the signing of tight end Dallas Clark, the Ravens cut undrafted rookie safety Gary Walker.
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