Hale Storms Into Line Discussion



Second-year Guard-center Ready For Expanded Role

August 09, 2009|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,ken.murray@baltsun.com

David Hale, a seldom-used rookie a year ago in Westminster, has made the turn toward becoming a productive offensive lineman for the Ravens this summer.

A fourth-round draft pick in 2008, Hale made six cameo appearances - 12 snaps - last season. But if the first two weeks of training camp are any indication, the 6-foot-6, 310-pound Hale will have a much bigger role this year.

In Saturday's practice, he worked at left guard (first team) and center (second team) with center Matt Birk enjoying a 30-and-over day off. Hale has also worked at right guard.

"It was a rough camp last year because I didn't know exactly what was going on, really had to study hard and was stressed out," he said. "And I let little things get to me."

Hale, 26, played right tackle at Weber State but was moved inside with the Ravens. He spent most of last season as the scout-team center, working against the No. 1 defense and Haloti Ngata and Justin Bannan.

He studied tape of Birk, then with the Minnesota Vikings, because they had similar builds. When Birk signed with the Ravens in the offseason, he became Hale's mentor.

"He's seen it all, done it all," Hale said. "He's an example of how to be a pro."

What does he feel he has shown the Ravens this camp so far?

"I've just tried to show them I'm going to battle and win the guy over me every time," Hale said. "I'm a lot farther along at this time this year."

Pressure kick (sort of)

Rookie kicker Graham Gano had a rough day Saturday, hitting only five of nine field-goal tries while Steve Hauschka got the day off to rest his leg. But Gano stroked a 36-yard field goal that earned the afternoon off for the team.

With injuries mounting, coach John Harbaugh declared that if Gano made his final kick, the Ravens would cancel afternoon practice. He did; they rejoiced.

"I think his legs were very noodley," Harbaugh said of Gano's day. "He's been kicking a lot, and he didn't have a lot of leg out there today. ... But he came through when it mattered."

Said Gano: "I knew I was going to make it."

Injury update

Pass rusher Terrell Suggs, out a week with a strained Achilles tendon and bone bruise, hopes to play in Thursday's preseason opener against the Washington Redskins, but doesn't want to rush it. He characterized his injury as minor.

Meanwhile, left tackle Jared Gaither (back) and linebacker Tavares Gooden (groin) returned to practice, but left guard Ben Grubbs (ankle), cornerback Samari Rolle (neck) and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (toe) did not. Offensive tackle Michael Oher (calf) was nicked in Saturday's workout.

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