Fledgling Ravens end orientation W. Md. training camp set to open July 16

June 15, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Quarterback Scott Otis ironed out some kinks in his mechanics. Linebacker Dexter Daniels is no longer a stranger to the defensive terminology he must master. Wide receiver Jermaine Lewis learned three different positions, while returning punts and kickoffs.

Yesterday, nearly two dozen of the Ravens' draft picks and free agents wrapped up a two-week, rookie orientation -- the last stop before they report to training camp July 16.

The orientation, which took place largely in the classroom and the weight room, blended teaching with conditioning, as players got a closer look at the physical and mental rigors that define life in the NFL.

"Now we can go home and get prepared for the real deal," Lewis said.

The real deal officially begins July 19, the first day that veterans and rookies will practice twice a day during four weeks of training camp at Western Maryland College.

Between now and then, rookies will be expected to adhere to workout regimens, while studying the notes they have taken over two weeks of instruction, much of it on a practically one-on-one basis with position coaches.

"For guys trying to earn a spot on the roster and win a job, what they do leading up to training camp is most important," said receivers coach Mike Sheppard. "How hard will a guy work when no one is looking?"

In the daily 90-minute field workouts the past two weeks, Lewis flashed the speed that could be the most impressive on Baltimore's entire roster. During the next month, Lewis said he plans to lift weights, study notes, work on releases from the line of scrimmage and sharpen his pass routes.

"All of this work has been good," said Lewis, who ran plays from both wide receiver positions as well as the slot.

Otis expressed the same sentiments. A free agent out of Division II Glenville State (W.Va.), Otis, 6 feet 5, 230 pounds, hopes to take advantage of the opening created by a shoulder injury to seventh-round draft pick Jon Stark.

Stark had arthroscopic surgery last month and will not be able to throw until August, meaning the No. 3 quarterback job could be up in the air.

Coach Ted Marchibroda likes the progress Otis made. He also gave high marks to draft picks Lewis, Daniels and receiver James Roe, along with free agents Curtis Brown (receiver), Corey Sears and David Barnard (defensive line).

"This is an indicator to let all of them know how hard they're going to have to work when they get here next month," Marchibroda said. "This is the best thing that could have happened to them. It's a better teaching process when you can give them individual attention, and they got two weeks of it. They're much further along."

NOTES: About 80 players are expected to report to training camp. . . . Veteran running back Leroy Hoard stopped by the team's Owings Mills complex yesterday, did some running drills with coach Al Lavan and pronounced himself fit. "I've been running, lifting, keeping my weight where it should be," he said. "Compared to any other year in my career, for this time of the year, I'm probably 100 paces ahead." . . . The Ravens will begin negotiations with free-agent running back Gary Brown on Monday. Look for Baltimore to pursue free agent linebackers Mike Croel and Gerald Williams. . . . The Ravens, who need to create $3.3 million of salary cap room to sign their rookies, reportedly have asked veteran safety Stevon Moore to restructure his contract. Moore's 1996 salary is around $1.1 million. Hoard, whose salary increases to $1.5 million after he earned $600,000 last year, could be another restructuring target. . . . Veteran center Steve Everitt has accepted the team's one-year qualifying offer of $785,000.

Pub Date: 6/15/96

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