It’s only a minicamp in June and training camp is weeks away, but the media may have caught a glimpse of the Ravens' newly configured offensive line during today’s opening session of minicamp, which was mandatory for all players.
When the first unit took the field with quarterback Steve McNair, the lineup from left tackle to right tackle went Mike Kracalik, Jason Brown, Mike Flynn, Chris Chester and Adam Terry. Ten-time Pro Bowler Jonathan Ogden also attended practice, and although he spent most of the session watching from the sidelines, there’s no question that Ogden, not Kracalik, will be the team’s starting left tackle.
But the presence of Chester -- and consequently, the absence of former incumbent Keydrick Vincent -- at the right guard position perhaps signals a change in the Ravens' offensive philosophy. While Vincent, listed at 6 feet 5, 325 pounds, is considered the stronger and beefier lineman, the 6-3, 305-pound Chester is quicker and more agile.
In another surprise move, Vincent took the field with the second unit as the left guard. First-round pick Ben Grubbs of Auburn was the right guard, and both players flanked Chester at center. Kracalik and third-round selection Marshal Yanda anchored the left and right tackle positions, respectively.
While Ogden, linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, defensive end Trevor Pryce and running back Mike Anderson made their first appearances at minicamp this spring, wide receiver Mark Clayton was the most notable absence. Coach Brian Billick said Clayton called the coaches earlier today to inform them that he would not be at minicamp.
"He had something going on today," Billick said. "I’m not quite sure what that was."
Linebacker Dan Cody (knee) and cornerback David Pittman (hamstring) also did not practice, but both players were in the locker room afterward. Linebackers Mike Smith (shoulder) and Dennis Haley (unspecified reason) joined Ogden on the sidelines for the first day.
Finally, cornerback Jamaine Winborne joined cornerbacks Chris McAlister, Samari Rolle and Corey Ivy and safeties Ed Reed and Dawan Landry when the defense went to its dime package today. Is this a sign that Winborne, an undrafted free agent signed by the Ravens almost two years ago, has leapfrogged guys like Ronnie Prude, Evan Oglesby and Derrick Martin on the depth chart? Let’s see if the same personnel is out on the field tomorrow.
- Edward Lee