Nothing fancy for scrimmage

The Baltimore Sun

Ravens coach Brian Billick has no plans to overextend his players or reveal any of the playbook in today's scrimmage against the Washington Redskins.

Billick said quarterbacks Steve McNair and Kyle Boller and the rest of the first units on both offense and defense will get a majority of their repetitions in seven-on-seven drills. Billick added that he and Redskins coach Joe Gibbs might even shorten the scrimmage, which begins at noon at M&T; Bank Stadium, because of the hot, humid weather forecast.

"Steve and Kyle will take a good share of the skel [seven-on-seven drills]," he said. "Teams [11-on-11], they'll go very, very quick. They'll get a handful of reps each. We want to get those young guys in there. It's supposed to be four 10-play go-arounds [11-on-11]. Depending upon the heat and our depth - I think they're a little banged up as well - we may only go three 10-play go-arounds. We'll see."

The seven-on-seven session is scheduled to start at 12:40 p.m. with four sets of 11-on-11 drills beginning at 1:10 p.m.

Billick also said he will keep the playbook under wraps.

"In a scrimmage, even if we could orchestrate it, it doesn't do us any good to call just that right play that has a guy screaming down the sideline wide open because we got into some magical formation," he said. "You don't learn anything from that. It's pretty basic. I want to see what you can do. Can you identify what you're supposed to do and beat the guy across from you? So, it's a pretty straightforward approach."

Billick said his primary objective is to get playing time for the young players and observe how they react under gamelike conditions.

The scrimmage "really is about getting a look at some of our younger players, our second-tier players," he said. "Handle the process. Get the call right. Know where everybody is. It's not going to be perfect. You may throw well, you may not. But did you get the call out and did you know where everybody was? Did you know where your hots [hot routes] were and did you handle the huddle against a new team with a lot of people and a little bit of more pressure?"

For Billick, answers to those questions will be culled from film of the scrimmage. Because the quarterbacks are off-limits in terms of tackling, Billick and Gibbs will stand behind the pocket to monitor sacks and gains. Offensive coordinator Rick Neuheisel will call most of the plays on offense.

"I've got to make sure the scrimmage goes along the way we want it to," Billick said. "So I quite frankly am going to be busy kind of orchestrating the scrimmage. I'll have to rely on the film to come away with any observations about players."

On the sidelines

Defensive tackle Kelly Gregg, guard Ben Grubbs and linebacker Antwan Barnes will not play in today's scrimmage.

Grubbs participated in individual drills yesterday, but a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee will keep him on the sideline. "He was out, moving around a bit today," Billick said. "Hopefully, next week, he can come back to us."

Gregg (right thigh bruise) has not practiced since Tuesday, while Barnes (right ankle sprain) has been absent since Wednesday. Tight end Quinn Sypniewski (stomach flu) and fullback Le'Ron McClain both returned to practice yesterday and should be able to play today.

End zone

Monday's morning practice session is closed to the public. Fans are welcome to attend the afternoon session from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ... Yesterday's morning session ended 30 minutes early, and the players participated in a walk-through inside a campus gymnasium. "I told the players today - I gave them the afternoon off and we're just going to have a walk-through - that with the way we started, you better send me some flowers in the morning because you [did me wrong] today," Billick said. "They didn't start out well. But the thing that I liked is that once I told them what I wanted and I wasn't getting it, they changed a gear and stepped it up, and that was a good thing to learn."

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad