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Preston's early observations from Ravens camp

Sorry, it's only rookies practicing, so there is nothing really to get excited about yet. It's basically young players learning their plays so there will be less foul ups when the veterans report.

But here's some early observations:

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* Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco needs to throw the ball out of bounds when the play breaks down and he gets out of the pocket. This isn't Delaware. Players in this league have great closing speed, and the Ravens don't want to see their quarterback of the future holding the ball more than he needs to, not at this point in his career.

* I haven't seen rookie running back Ray Rice return a punt in live action yet, but I already feel just as comfortable with him handling the ball as I did last year with receiver Yamon Figurs.

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* Rookie Joe Reitz is a free agent offensive tackle out of Western Michigan. He is a long shot to make the team, but he has pretty good feet for a man of his size (6-7, 270 pounds). He might be a sleeper.

* The rookies have been in camp only two days, and rookie offensive tackle Oniel Cousins has been involved in several shoving incidents. I want to see what happens when he has to line up against Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg and Justin Bannan.

* The Ravens have been fortunate to have some of the league's best offensive line coaches in Kirk Ferentz and Jim Colletto, and they have another good one in John Matsko. He is a strong teacher, and he stays on the linemen. What he says ain't always pretty, but he always gets their attention.

Mike Preston

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