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Ex-Ravens get ready for preseason openers

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Haloti Ngata walks on the practice field during NFL football training camp in Allen Park, Mich., Monday, Aug. 3, 2015.
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Haloti Ngata walks on the practice field during NFL football training camp in Allen Park, Mich., Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. (Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Haloti Ngata's debut with the Detroit Lions remains on hold. The perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle remains on the non-football injury list and still hasn't practiced in training camp because of a strained hamstring. Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has expressed confidence that Ngata will be back soon and have plenty of time to get ready for the team's regular-season opener. But it still has to be a little disappointing for Detroit not to have its big offseason acquisition from the Ravens on the field.

It sure sounds like San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith misses his old quarterback, Joe Flacco. The chemistry between Smith and his new quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, remains a work in progress and the two have struggled at times in training camp to connect on deep balls, per multiple reports. That prompted Smith to say recently: "Hey, I can run, bro. Throw it out there." I'm sure Smith and Kaepernick will be just fine and I think Smith will have a good year. But one thing that Smith never had to worry about was Flacco getting it out there.

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Wide receiver-kick returner Jacoby Jones told reporters when he arrived to camp that he lost nine pounds this offseason. Down to his rookie weight, Jones says that he feels faster and more explosive. I didn't notice Jones lacking speed or explosion in a disappointing 2014 season with the Ravens. He did appear to be fighting confidence and consistency issues.

The New York Giants have been riddled with injuries in their secondary, which has benefited two former Ravens. Safety Jeromy Miles and cornerback Chykie Brown have both worked with the first-team defense at times during training camp workouts. It appeared that Miles might regret not accepting the Ravens' initial offer this offseason and waiting on something better. However, it looks like he might have found an even better opportunity in New York. Nothing against Miles and Brown, but if they are both starting or getting significant snaps this season, the Giants are in for a long year.

Another Giant and former Raven, inside linebacker Jameel McClain, remains sidelined because of a neck stinger. The injury spurred immediate concern because of McClain's history with neck/back injuries. However, McClain's prognosis is good.

Tyrod Taylor appears to have lost a little ground in his quest to win the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback job. Per The Buffalo News, veteran Matt Cassel is the "clear front-runner" to be named the Bills' starting quarterback. While head coach Rex Ryan has made no such declaration, Cassel will get the starting nod in Buffalo's preseason opener.

Denver Broncos safety Darian Stewart intercepted Peyton Manning and returned it for a touchdown in yesterday's practice. I know, we're talking about practice, but I can't imagine Manning throws too many picks in training camp either.

According to former colleague Aaron Wilson, former Ravens wide receiver and Towson standout Gerrard Sheppard worked out yesterday for the New England Patriots. No immediate word on whether he'll be signed.

Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Paul Kruger told The Cleveland Plain Dealer that getting married, which he did last month, has provided more focus for him as a football player and "brought a quality" to everything that he does. Kruger is coming off of a productive 11-sack season for the Browns.

The Ravens will say hello to old teammate Dannell Ellerbe later tonight when they play the New Orleans Saints. Ellerbe, who was traded from the Miami Dolphins to the Saints this offseason, got training camp off to a slow start because of an unspecified injury. But he returned and has been working as the Saints' starting weak-side linebacker.

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