Regrouping has taken on a couple of different meanings as the Ravens assemble today for their last series of offseason workouts.
The four-day veterans camp marks the last time the Ravens will meet as a team until next month's training camp and gives them a chance to refocus after a recent sloppy effort. Mental fatigue surfaced at times during last week's passing camp in the form of players jumping offside, dropping passes and making poor reads.
The challenge now is regaining the right frame of mind in what is essentially the dress rehearsal for training camp.
"Everybody is kind of thinking more than just playing," quarterback Chris Redman said. "I catch myself doing that. I'm thinking about it too much rather than just reacting. That'll come real soon I'm sure when everything sinks in.
"We're not far off, but it's definitely not where we want to be. So, hopefully, we'll come out of the week feeling real confident and pleased with everything that's going on."
Although this week's practices are again non-contact, they will take the players out of a comfort zone.
Unlike the previous two passing camps (which excused offensive and defensive linemen), the Ravens will have to execute with more pressure and more players around in team drills. For instance, the quarterbacks will have to not only dissect coverages but also think about the pass rush and their protection schemes.
"It will now feel like football to them," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "This camp is really a dry run for everybody to recognize that we're about a month or so away from [training camp]. You hit training camp on a dead sprint knowing that's what the pace of practice needs to be."
Team officials are anticipating a near full house for the voluntary camp. Cornerback Chris McAlister, who was named the team's franchise player and has yet to sign his one-year tender, is the only player not expected to show up, but linebacker Ray Lewis and receiver Frank Sanders could miss for personal reasons.
Having strong attendance figures into one of Billick's offseason goals. With 52 returning players on their current 87-man roster, he wanted team chemistry to be accelerated this year.
"Last year, the big point was: How long was it going to take us to establish an identity as a team? With as young as we were and as many new faces we had, it was probably about halfway through the season before we could say, 'This is who we are,' " Billick said
"Having fought through that with this team and having so many of them back, our challenge through these offseason sessions was to identify who we are, knowing what our assets are by the opening of training camp. It's probably ambitious, but if we can indeed find that within training camp, then we're light-years ahead of where we were last year."
For some players, it's tough to identify your team when you can't truly identify all your teammates.
"Right now, you learn technique and learn the offense," tight end Todd Heap said. "But until you put the pads on, that's when you figure out who are the real good players."
Until that point, the Ravens are concentrating on the mental part of the game more than the physical. As they begin their final offseason camp, the Ravens are determined to leave on the right foot - and mind-set - before entering their six-week layoff.
"We're real excited about what we got put together," Redman said. "It's just a matter of getting everybody where we need to be. You want to go into our break on a confident, high level."
June 9-12: Full-team veterans camp
July 27: Report to training camp (McDaniel College)
Aug. 9: Preseason opener vs. Buffalo Bills
Sept. 7: Regular-season opener at Pittsburgh Steelers