Now that the Ravens' mandatory three-day minicamp ended Thursday, the veterans get to go home or on vacation while the rookies will remain at the practice facility to work out with Steve Saunders, who oversees the strength and conditioning department.
As eager as the players are to enjoy some much-needed time off before the grind of training camp begins in late July, strong safety Eric Weddle said he and his teammates cannot afford to let their hard-earned strides go to waste.
"You want to take a couple days off and mentally recharge your batteries," he said Thursday. "Some of us have been here since February working out four days a week, all the reps, all the workouts, and you want to take a couple days. But you don't want to lose what you've gained. We've gained so much as a team and individually in the running and strength facet. So if you take a week off, it's going to be bad once you come back to camp. So we've stressed that from Steve, the strength coach, to myself and the leaders on this team, that we've got to come back in the best shape, your best mindset to have the best year of your career and for the team. We want to reach the goals that we want to get accomplished."
Coach John Harbaugh said the coaches and players discussed taking care of their bodies and being smart to be ready for training camp. Although it is very early, Harbaugh said he likes what he has seen through organized team activities and the minicamp.
"I do feel really good about this team," he said when asked about difference between the current squad and the 2016 version that finished 8-8 overall and in second place in the AFC North. "I don't think comparisons do you any good because a lot can happen. That team went through a season, competed as hard as they possibly could right down to the wire, and came up a little bit short. That happens. Now we have to be a much better team to even get back to the same place. That's how we look at it. We've got goals, we've got aspirations, we've got things that we talked about where the guys are very determined, but that's in-house, that's among us. We've got to work to make it happen. We want to be great, and we want to be the best at what we do."