Edwards' first camp feels just like old times


Oregon State experience eases transition, rookie says

August 01, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Ravens defensive end Dwan Edwards' initial impression of his first NFL training camp is one of ease.

He isn't wandering around the team hotel lost. The workday, which begins around 6:30 a.m. and can stretch well into the night with meetings, has not fazed him. And the practices, all of which have been in shorts thus far, have not been overwhelming.

Edwards gives credit for his rather smooth transition to two of his college coaches at Oregon State, Dennis Erickson and Mike Riley, both of whom he says ran similar, professional systems.

"I'm feeling real good," said Edwards, the Ravens' highest drafted rookie (second round). "I'm getting a lot better from practice to practice. Being a lot more comfortable allows me to play a lot faster.

"A lot of stuff is real similar to college as far as the periods and the things that we do, so that kind of got me ready for it."

Chosen to add bulk (315 pounds) and power to the defensive line, Edwards is not expected to vault into the starting lineup, as was the hope for Ed Reed in 2002 and Terrell Suggs last year, the two most recent first picks by the Ravens.

Instead, Edwards will have a fairly steep learning curve, with the idea that whatever snaps he gets during regular-season games will primarily be to keep his fellow defensive linemen fresh.

Determining how much playing time Edwards will get starts tomorrow when the Ravens put on pads for the first time.

Working against Jonathan Ogden and Edwin Mulitalo will also give Edwards a better idea of the difference between college and pro.

Ogden, T. Smith returning

The Ravens' offense, which struggled all day yesterday, should get a boost with the return of Ogden and tight end Trent Smith tomorrow.

Ogden missed the first two days of practice with a strained back. Smith has not practiced since before the first preseason game last year.

Smith broke his leg against the Buffalo Bills in that game and was placed on injured reserve. He estimates he's at 85 percent, but the Ravens hope he will be well enough to play against the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 12.

"I was expecting to practice Thursday but I got an extra couple of days, which I'm not complaining," said Smith, who should be the third tight end behind Todd Heap and Terry Jones. "It's been so long, I'm getting used to it."


In only his second day with his new team, cornerback Fred Weary figured out which side of the ball essentially sets the tone.

"It's weird to be on the opposite end of the stick where everything is defensive oriented," Weary said. "Last year, I was in St. Louis and everything was around offense. I was in training camp in San Francisco last year, and that's offense. Here it's defense, and that's great."

Weary and Rashod Holman, who also signed Friday, will challenge Ray Walls and Lamont Brightful for the nickel (fifth) defensive back position over the coming weeks. It is quite an opportunity for Weary, who a day earlier had to wonder if an NFL season would go on without him for the first time since 1998.

"Of course you are going to have worries, but that is the nature of this business," Weary said. "It was just staying in shape and waiting for whatever opportunity came."

Turning it up

With the Ravens having today off, the intensity for yesterday's practice was up another level.

Though the Ravens were in shorts, there were still a handful of hard collisions.

"You're always going to get a little of that," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "That's good. This team knows how to do that, get after one another, turn it up, yet still take care of one another and not put each other at risk."

Stewart on target

Quarterback Kordell Stewart ended the practice with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Wilcox, the first time the Ravens have thrown for a touchdown in the red zone this training camp.

It was a play that showcased Stewart's talent as a dual threat. The 10-year veteran rolled to his right, appearing as though he would run it in before throwing to a cutting Wilcox.

"I'm just trying to get the consistency and rhythm of what we are trying to do," Stewart said.

Camp update

Thumbs up: Receiver Kareem Kelly had back-to-back days of solid practice, including an impressive touchdown reception during one-on-one drills. ... Rookie cornerback Lance Frazier bounced back from a bad opening day to knock down two passes.

Thumbs down: The whole offense was lethargic. Kordell Stewart tripped over a lineman coming from under center. Kyle Boller was intercepted by safety Will Demps on a poorly thrown ball.

Quotable: "We have some big receivers, some fast receivers, so we have a combination. We have certain guys that go deep, certain guys that do underneath stuff, and that's the name of the game." - Ravens receiver Ron Johnson.

Injuries: Jonathan Ogden (back), Peter Boulware (knee), Anthony Wright (shoulder) and Trent Smith (leg) did not practice. Ogden and Smith are expected back tomorrow. Adalius Thomas practiced yesterday with a soft cast on his wrist after hurting it during Friday's workout. B.J. Sams hurt his thumb during the morning session and will be re-evaluated today. Chris McAlister (contract dispute) is not in attendance.

Today's schedule: No practice.

Countdown to season opener: 42 days.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.