Ravens want to see fewer flags waving

Cutting down on penalties a 'big emphasis' at training camp

August 05, 2010|By Jamison Hensley and Colin Stevens, The Baltimore Sun

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said cutting down on penalties is a "big emphasis" in this year's training camp.

Last season, the Ravens finished fifth in the NFL in total penalties (115) and first in penalty yards (1,094).

"It's always been a big emphasis, we think," Harbaugh said Thursday. "But probably more so than it has been ever before."

Like last year, the Ravens have officials at each practice. They are college officials who are trying to become NFL officials.

"We told them to call it tight," Harbaugh said. "Our coaches are instructed to coach the penalties, not argue about them."

Harbaugh has noticed a decrease in holding calls and pass interference penalties in training camp.

"When the games start, we'll find out," Harbaugh said. "I've seen an improvement in technique in regard to those things."

Harbaugh turns up volume

In his biggest outburst at this year's training camp, Harbaugh ripped into his first-team defense Thursday after reserve running back Curtis Steele ran for first downs on consecutive plays.

"That is our first-team defense. You've got to be [kidding] me," Harbaugh shouted to the defensive sideline from the middle of the field. "That is our first-team defense getting their [butts] kicked. That is our second-team offensive line."

Moments later, Harbaugh called for defensive linemen Terrence Cody and Brandon McKinney to see him in the middle of the field for a talk.

After practice, Harbaugh seemed irked when a reporter asked about the incident.

"We don't talk about what we talk about with our team in the huddle," he said.

Asked whether he is usually that animated in practices that the public doesn't see, Harbaugh said: "You don't see a lot of things. That's part of coaching a football team. We have a lot of guys working hard. We're a tight-knit group. That's the way it's got to be. You don't need to know everything."

Bulger, Oher get banged up

Backup quarterback Marc Bulger and offensive tackle Michael Oher were limited for the last portion of practice after getting banged up.

Bulger hurt his finger when he took a snap on it.

"It's nothing major," Harbaugh said. "It's not broken. He should be fine."

Oher had his right ankle taped twice during practice but never went to the locker room. He walked off the field at the end of practice without a shoe on his right foot.

Bulger suited up in the afternoon but didn't take a snap. Oher returned for the afternoon practice and worked at left tackle. Even when Oher didn't practice, the Ravens surprisingly didn't use Jared Gaither, who suited up but rarely practiced Thursday.

Stefan Rodgers, another offensive lineman, limped off the field toward the end of practice. He had just come back from an ankle injury.

Ehrlich visits camp

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. took a break from the campaign trail to stop by Ravens training camp Thursday. Asked where he thought Gov. Martin O'Malley was, Erhlich joked, "He's at the Steelers camp."

Ehrlich continues a steady stream of big-name visitors for the Ravens this week. The football coaches from Maryland and Navy attended practice Tuesday, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell visited Wednesday.

Saturday practice at M&T Bank

The Ravens will move training camp Saturday to M&T Bank Stadium, where they will hold a practice that begins at noon.

"I think it's going to be a great opportunity on Saturday for fans that don't normally see the Ravens up close to get a chance to do that," Harbaugh said. "I can remember talking yesterday about the first experience we ever had as kids when we went to a baseball or football game for the first time. You walk through that tunnel and see the greenest grass you ever saw in your life and those bright white uniforms. That's a memory that you never forget. And we want to make sure every kid has a chance to experience that who wants to in Baltimore."

The Ravens will return to McDaniel College on Sunday for an afternoon practice.

Cousins makes camp debut

Backup offensive tackle Oniel Cousins was activated off the non-football illness list Thursday and practiced for the first time this training camp. A cyst attached to Cousins' esophagus was removed this offseason. Doctors made an incision in the right side of Cousins' chest to remove the cyst.

"We'll ease him in," Harbaugh said. "We'll see if we can build him up each practice to do a little more."

Cousins primarily worked with the second-team offensive line.

Clayton not altering approach

With starting wide receiver Derrick Mason sidelined with a sprained ankle, Mark Clayton had the opportunity to work with the first team offense.

But Clayton isn't changing his approach to practice.

"It's just work, nothing different," he said. "My thing is nothing has changed for me. Whatever opportunities are presented to me, in my preparation, I'm ready to take advantage of it."

Hamlin looking for hits

Ken Hamlin has earned a reputation for laying crunching hits during his eight-year career.

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