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Ravens have work cut out for them

You give the Ravens a break because it's only Day 1, but they have a lot of work ahead of them. The young offensive line has some talent, but no clue where they are going. How often does an NFL team not return one offensive lineman to their starting position from the previous year?

It will take the Ravens four or five games into the season before the offensive line develops some timing and cohesiveness. It's good that new coach John Harbaugh has the Ravens hitting more in training camp because it will get his young team up to speed more quickly. But there is no substitute for actual game conditions.

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There were four fumbles in the morning practice before I stopped counting, three of them by quarterbacks. Why is quarterback Troy Smith fumbling like Jeff Blake and Tony Banks? It's been disturbing so far, and he has only been on the practice field for three days.

And yes, as usual, Kyle Boller fumbled a snap.

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In two of the three previous seasons, recently retired offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden was late arriving to training camp, but he was in Westminster this morning for the first practice.

Ogden took the time to work with some of the younger tackles like Jared Gaither and Oniel Cousins. Gaither has been starting in Ogden's old spot on the left side.

"When I played, I always swore that after I retired I would come back on the first day of the next training camp with a martini in my hand, and a smile on my face," Ogden said. "If I was sipping a martini, that might have been too much. But I do have a smile on my face."

As for Gaither and Cousins, both need to improve their technique. Both stand up too high, and both are too stiff and mechanical.

One of the team's main goals this season was to stay healthy, especially in the defensive backfield. But for the very first practice, the Ravens were without starting cornerbacks Chris McAlister, Samari Rolle and safety Ed Reed. The Ravens had to start Frank Walker and Corey Ivy, their No. 4 and No. 5 cornerbacks.

Rolle was absent because of a death in the family while McAlister and Reed were on the sideline because of injuries. This was not a good omen.

The first fight of training camp belonged to rookie offensive tackle Joe Reitz and outside linebacker Jarret Johnson. Reitz showed some confidence by going after Johnson, but he better watch his back at night. That's when a lot of the vets will get even.

After several off season minicamps and a couple of practices, rookie safety Haruki Nakamura (Cincinnati) looks a lot better and smoother than fellow rookie Tom Zbikowski, a third-round pick out of Notre Dame.

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