Sunday, May 10, 2009
Ravens minicamp wrapup
By James Walker
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens completed their 2009 full-squad minicamp Sunday.
There were plenty of story lines to discuss throughout the weekend. Here are some final notes and observations:
- Veteran receiver Derrick Mason is not sure if he will be ready by training camp. Mason had shoulder surgery this offseason to repair his labrum and scapula. He participated in some drills early in minicamp but took it light for a majority of the weekend.
"I guarantee I'll be ready by the first game, that's all I can say," Mason said. "Everything else, we will play it by ear."
- The Ravens plan to sign at least one of their three tryout receivers, and don't be surprised if that player is Kelley Washington. In a battle between Washington, Tab Perry and Jerry Porter, Washington made the most plays throughout and showed energy and enthusiasm, which is important when trying to impress a coaching staff. Plus, Washington has the ability to help Baltimore on special teams.
- The competition between kickers Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano remains nip-and-tuck. Both kickers made and missed kicks this weekend, so neither player separated themselves as the early favorite. On a windy afternoon Sunday, Hauschka missed a simulated game-winner short and to the left. It appears both kickers have good legs but still have some work to do.
"Both those guys, it's going to be a heck of a battle," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. "They looked good. They were able to make field goals, in at least a practice-pressure situation. That's the bottom line."
- If I had to pick a player who surprised me the most this weekend, I would have to say inside linebacker Tavares Gooden. The Ravens didn't see much from the former third-round pick in 2008 because of injuries. But Gooden looked really active and athletic this weekend. He also flies to the football, which is important with Baltimore's defense. Receiver Marcus Smith also is a potential sleeper who flashed some ability this weekend.
- Sorry, Ravens fans. I'm getting a lot of e-mail requests for Michael Oher and Jared Gaither performance updates, which I understand because they are the first-round pick and starting left tackle, respectively. But as I mentioned last week, linemen are the most difficult players to evaluate in non-contact drills. Both players looked in solid shape. But other than that, it wouldn't be accurate to gauge how either player is blocking without pads. That's just a personal preference. Gaither missed Sunday's final practice with migraines. Oher said he did benefit from his reps with the first team.
"I learned a lot," Oher said Sunday. "I am very comfortable at right tackle. I learned that you have to have your technique down in the NFL."
- Many "30 and over" veterans also received the day off from Sunday. Players such as linebacker Ray Lewis, safety Ed Reed and defensive end Trevor Pryce didn't participate in the final session. New center Matt Birk, who is 32, practiced anyway.