Eight days after a mediocre showing in the preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons, the Ravens offensive line fared much better in the team's 27-12 loss to the Detroit Lions at M&T Bank Stadium on Friday night. But Yanda, the starting right guard who earned a Pro Bowl invitation last season, said there's no reason to get giddy just yet.
From Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan being able to sit comfortably in the pocket to wide receiver Julio Jones running free in the Ravens' secondary to punter Sam Koch having to make a touchdown-saving tackle, the first quarter of the Ravens' eventual 31-17 victory gave the Ravens head coach numerous reasons for concern.
Upshaw, the team's first of two second-round picks in April, was one of several Ravens to return to the practice field today. Running back Anthony Allen, guard Marshal Yanda, linebacker Jameel McClain and defensive end Pernell McPhee, who all left practice early yesterday, were also on the practice field.
With the secondary covering the receivers, the rest of the defense turned up the heat on the quarterbacks. Inside linebackers Ray Lewis and rookie Nigel Carr, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and outside linebacker Albert McClellan each got to the quarterbacks ¿ with Taylor getting tagged three times. McClellan and fellow outside linebacker Sergio Kindle also posted at least one quarterback hit each.
Baltimore Ravens running back Anthony Allen spent most of his rookie season watching from the sidelines. But with Rice in a contract negotiation and Williams in retirement, Allen enjoyed his opportunity this spring.
Jah Reid, who spent most of the week at right tackle, was carted off the practice field midway through Thursday's final day of minicamp. His right leg rested on the back of the cart. An assistant then helped Reid gingerly walk inside the practice facility to the trainer's room. Reid did not return. Early indication is that Reid avoided a major injury and the hope is that it is a strained calf, according to a source.
It's the Ravens' decision to fine Reed or not, but Harbaugh and owner Steve Bisciotti, made it clear in recent days they expected him to attend the minicamp despite the fact they hadn't spoken to Reed. However, Lewis has spoken to Reed and downplayed his long-time teammate's absence.
Ray Rice's absence from organized team activities has given the Ravens a chance to focus on a group of unproven players hoping to back up a player many consider the best all-around running back in the NFL.
From contract negotiations with quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice to a potentially season-ending Achilles injury to star linebacker Terrell Suggs to coach John Harbaugh's comments on the New England Patriots to mercurial safety Ed Reed's controversial radio interviews, the Ravens have made plenty of off-the-field news this offseason.
Rice didn¿t address the ongoing contract negotiations between his agent, Todd France, and the Ravens. However, he left little doubt that he will be ready to play when he reports to the team. Rice is expected to sit out the various mini-camps and organized team activities.
The Ravens¿ front office has long been admired for its decision making during the draft, but Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and Company also take great pride in the work that they do in the couple of hours following its conclusion. Offensive lineman Mike Flynn and linebackers Bart Scott, Jameel McClain and Dannell Ellerbe are among the undrafted free agents that the Ravens have signed and developed into key contributors.
After the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft Saturday, Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron made a cameo at the introductory press conference for Courtney Upshaw, Kelechi Osemele and Bernard Pierce. In addition to Kelechi, an Iowa State offensive lineman, and Pierce, the big Temple back, the Ravens had just drafted him another offensive player in Delaware center Gino Gradkowski.
While doing my homework on the Ravens and their history in the NFL draft, I spent a little time exploring our Ravens draft database (sorry for the shameless plug, but it's pretty neat feature if you haven't checked it out). In no particular order, here are some trends and random factoids from the 126 picks they've made in 16 years.
Every weekday through April 25, the day before the first round of the NFL draft, The Sun will examine where the Ravens stand at each position, the likelihood that they will address that spot early in the draft and some of the prospects that they may consider.