The Ravens walked off the practice field at Western Maryland College a happy group yesterday. They were about to enjoy a Wednesday night off from team meetings, and they could smell the end of four grueling weeks of training camp.
This afternoon, the Ravens will conduct their final full practice of their first training camp. Tomorrow, they will break camp after a walk-through to prepare for their third preseason contest, against Green Bay on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
The tired look and sweat on offensive tackle Tony Jones' face pretty much captured the feeling of the team.
"It's been a tough one, a long one, and I'm happy that it's about over," said Jones, a nine-year veteran. "I'm so tired I can't believe it. This was the hardest camp I've been through. Moving from another city, getting used to a new environment, the heat, the practices. They weren't long, but we were always moving. We never stopped."
Jackson, Favre to reunite
Regardless of whether his sprained left knee keeps him on the sideline, Ravens wide receiver Michael Jackson will enjoy a reunion with Packers quarterback Brett Favre on Saturday.
Jackson and Favre were teammates at Southern Mississippi, where Jackson first overcame knee problems as a junior in 1989, when he caught 19 passes from Favre for 267 yards and a team-high four touchdowns. The following year, Jackson rebounded from his knee trouble to catch 25 passes for 358 yards.
At some point before Saturday's game, the old college teammates will talk.
"We were basically suite-mates in college," Jackson said. "We came in [to Southern Miss] together, we left together, we did a lot of things off the field together.
"When we play against each other, there's always a competition between us. No money or dinners [on the line]. We just like to one-up each other."
Jackson's advice for the Ravens defense?
"There is no one thing you can prepare for, because you never know what Brett Favre is going to do," he said. "When there is nothing, Brett is making something."
Receiving corps ailing
Three of the Ravens' top four receivers did not practice yesterday. Jackson, Calvin Williams and Floyd Turner sat out with knee ailments.
Coach Ted Marchibroda hinted that Jackson would not play against the Packers. If he had to decide yesterday, Marchibroda said Williams and Derrick Alexander would start Saturday.
Turner, who has missed most of camp while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, appears to be on target for a return against Buffalo next week in the Ravens' preseason finale.
Bishop fights slump
Saturday's game looms as an especially big one for tight end Harold Bishop.
Bishop is trying to unseat veteran Brian Kinchen as the Ravens' starter, but Bishop has struggled lately. Last week against the Giants, he made a 22-yard reception, but canceled that production out with two dropped passes, including a possible touchdown toss from backup quarterback Eric Zeier.
"The first 2 1/2 weeks of camp went well, but I've kind of slumped off. I've missed some plays I needed to make," Bishop said. "They've got expectations of me here. I've got to get back on the same playing level I was on when I first got here. I have to have two big [preseason] games."
About 1,400 tickets remain for Saturday's game. . . . The Ravens must cut their roster to 60 players by 4 p.m. Tuesday. . . . The Ravens are hoping to get a look at rookie free-agent running back Derrick Cullors against the Packers. Cullors, who ranked second among Division I-AA backs in rushing yards per game (160.5) at Murray State, has yet to play in the preseason.
Pub Date: 8/15/96