The Ravens are experimenting with several defensive line configurations involving Pro Bowl nose tackle Haloti Ngata.
That includes having Ngata line up regularly at former Ravens starter Arthur Jones’ old defensive tackle spot with Brandon Williams working next to him inside at nose tackle. Jones joined the Indianapolis Colts in March when he signed a $33 million contract.
“They’re moving me around,” Ngata said. “I’m at nose, you have Brandon Williams playing a lot of the nose and I’m playing three [technique defensive tackle], nose and whatever. I’m more comfortable with it now than I was last year. It’s great.”
Still listed at 6-foot-4, 340 pounds, Ngata looked considerably leaner than in recent years. He proclaimed his health as superior to what it’s been in recent years when he’s dealt with knee and shoulder injuries.
“I feel great,” Ngata said. “This is the best I’ve felt in the offseason. My knees feel great, shoulders, it’s just the best I’ve felt in the offseason and I’ve been able to train a full offseason. Previous years I’ve had some type of injury or lingering injuries.”
Working out with his brother this offseason, Ngata has incorporated some unconventional training.
That includes an exercise where he hoisted a 150-pound dumbbell over his head, balancing the weight while lowering himself to the ground before raising the weight above his head again and standing up. Ngata was also featured in a training video where he slam-dunked a basketball without a running start.
“I trained faster, just ready to get to the playoffs,” Ngata said. “I started training like that at the end of January, February.”
Off to fast start
Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith made a bit of a statement in his first training camp practice, beating cornerback Chykie Brown for a long touchdown pass.
Smith also beat cornerback Lardarius Webb for a long sideline reception.
“He’s a firecracker, man,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said of Smith. “He plays with attitude and he knows how to channel it the right way, too. I love it because he’s completely different. He’s like a whole other animal. He’s not out there trying to make friends. He’s out there trying to win.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he was generally pleased with the first practice. “The lack of heat helped the guys, but they’re in really good shape,” he said. “It was a tough, demanding practice, and nobody had a problem.” … The Ravens have shifted Ryan Jensen back to center and offensive guard after having him work at right tackle during the offseason. Jah Reid is competing with Rick Wagner, the projected starting right tackle. … U.S. Army Brigadier General John C. Thomson III attended practice as a guest of Harbaugh and spoke to the team. “He had a wise word for the team, just a tremendous message for the guys,” Harbaugh said. “That was a great way to finish up our first practice.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun