It's noon, and the Ravens and Redskins have taken the field. The entire Ravens team is out stretching, but less than half of the Redskins are enduring the blazing heat and humidity. There will be another blog entry this afternoon after the first-team offense and defense play their snaps, but here's a little something to whet your appetite.
Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated published a list of the "Top 10 Hitters in the NFL" on its Web site. At No. 10 was Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. Here's what SI wrote about Lewis:
"Lewis is 32 and not as intimidating as he once was. But ballcarriers and blockers still keep an eye out for him at all times. He's relentless and drives opponents to the ground. Fellow Ravens linebacker Bart Scott deserves mention here, but Lewis gets the nod because of all the hard hits he's delivered in his career."
At No. 6 is former Ravens and current Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas. The top five (in descending order) include Colts safety Bob Sanders, Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman, Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, Cowboys safety Roy Williams and Redskins safety Sean Taylor.
Six of the top 10 hitters are safeties. Notice the trend?
Earlier this summer, SI ranked the NFL owners based on their business savvy, desire to win and decision-making skills. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was No. 13 with this description:
"Bisciotti, by all accounts, is rich, fun and wise. The one thing he's not is overly present, instead preferring to spend the bulk of his time in South Florida working on his perpetually killer tan. When Bisciotti is in the state where the Ravens play, it's often because he's attending Maryland hoops games, another one of his passions.
Things could be a lot worse in Baltimore: Bisciotti is a relatively big spender and a smart manager. The football operations department is in great hands, with Ozzie Newsome, one of the league's best general managers, firmly in charge. Bisciotti also seemed to have successfully re-energized coach Brian Billick before the '06 season, one possible reason the team went 13-3 (before losing in the playoffs to Indy)."
Bisciotti wasn't the top-ranking AFC North owner. That distinction went to the Rooney family, who own the Steelers and ranked No. 9.