The Ravens finished their first week of training camp, and it was a solid and productive week. QB Steve McNair played reasonably well, and you had to be impressed with receivers Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton and tight end Todd Heap. Two other young receivers that were impressive were rookies Demetrius Williams and tight end Quinn Sypniewski. The Ravens' depth at running back was impressive, but you still want to see Jamal Lewis, Mike Anderson and Musa Smith in more live action. Two obvious weaknesses were at fullback and on the offensive line. On the line, there is a lack of quickness and intensity.
Defensively, middle linebacker Ray Lewis looked good. He seemed to be carrying more muscle in his chest than in previous years. He looked like he had swallowed a suitcase. Like the old Ray, he set the tone in practice flying around to the ball. This defense wants to be good. You can feel that attitude coming from the veterans such as Chris McAlister, Samari Rolle and Ed Reed. Watch out for defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. The big boy can play. Overall, this team is set and solid. The Ravens have a quarterback and some good skill players. The defense can still bring it. Now, if the offensive line can play...
It was just a good, solid week with the Ravens showing a good work ethic in the heat. Of course, there was some excitement over my column about the play-calling. As usual, it turned into something major because it involved Billick and myself. It was just a miscommunication between me and Jim Fassel. I should have pressed him more on a question, and he could have been more clear on the answer. The bottom line is that I'll take the blame. Regardless, Jim, Brian and I have talked about the situation and it's cleared up. As a matter of fact, Billick and I joked around about writing a book together when we've both retired. We have laughed about this whole thing.
We all still have good working relationships. There were no intended cheap shots even though the story has grown arms, legs and a life of its own while the three major guys involved have talked and moved on. It's life as usual.