Grubbs focuses on technique


Starting not guard's top priority

cornerback Pittman making strides

August 01, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

Ben Grubbs is becoming a quick study.

Just two days into Ravens training camp, the rookie guard said there's a tone at McDaniel College that wasn't as pronounced during minicamps at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills earlier this summer.

"It's a lot more intense," Grubbs said. "There's a lot more that you've got to look for. ... I've just got to get adjusted to it."

He took a step in that direction by agreeing to a five-year deal worth nearly $8 million three days before the start of training camp. Grubbs, the 29th overall pick in April's draft, became the first Ravens first-round selection in six years to avoid a holdout.

"I definitely didn't want to hold out," he said. "I left that all up to my agent. ... I had faith in him, and he did his job."

And Grubbs is doing his. He is competing for the starting right guard position with Chris Chester, who has been lining up with the first unit, and Keydrick Vincent, who started there last season.

Grubbs said one of his objectives during training camp is to adjust to pass rushers' tactics.

"They use their hands and they're a lot stronger and a lot faster," he said. "Just getting set faster and getting my hands on them, that's one thing I've had to change from college. And I'm still working on it."

Grubbs said he is well aware of the expectations placed on him after the Ravens made him only the second offensive lineman to be drafted by them in the first round. (Ten-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden was taken fourth overall in 1996.)

But Grubbs said he can't bog himself down with that kind of pressure nor concerns about unseating Chester at right guard.

"I just don't even think about it," Grubbs said. "I'm just trying to get better at something every day and what happens, happens. Right now, my focus is on learning the system, getting better at my technique, and helping my team out."

Pittman feeling good

Aside from surrendering a 40-yard touchdown pass during one-on-one drills Monday, reserve cornerback David Pittman looks to be taking the right steps in validating the third-round pick that the Ravens used on him last year.

Although he missed a good chunk of this summer's minicamps because of a strained left hamstring, Pittman said he has felt comfortable on the field.

"I think I've been doing what I'm capable of doing," he said. "I have made a couple plays, and I think I might have given up one big play. But I think I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing."

Raising the volume

After an uneventful opening day Monday, things got a little chippy during yesterday's morning session.

Special teams coach Frank Gansz Jr. had to raise his voice twice to get rookie offensive lineman Marshal Yanda and then Grubbs to line up for a field goal. A few minutes later, coach Brian Billick called a team huddle, speaking forcefully and gesturing emphatically.

"What I was frustrated with was that they weren't listening," Billick said. "When we transition from a period of offense, defense and then very quickly jump into a field-goal team, it's very easy ... [to think], `Well, OK, it's special teams, so now I'll think about my depth chart and where I belong.' But that is not the way it is in this game. ... You don't get caught off guard. You have to practice that, and that caught them a little bit today, so hopefully we'll improve on it."

Done deals

One of the reasons the Ravens have all eight of their draft picks in for training camp is the work of chief negotiator Pat Moriarty, vice president of football administration.

"Pat is well organized when it comes to dealing with the draft picks," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "He does a lot of background on the previous deals done by the agents and the deals done at that particular slot."

Sun reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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