The Ravens desire a more healthy staff. At coaching camp, it’s clear how a lot they’re prepared to vary.
Fourteen years in the past, on the first coaching camp observe of his NFL profession, Calais Campbell remembers strolling out onto the Cardinals’ fields below the late-morning Arizona solar, full pads on. Just a few hours later, he’d do it another time: extra hitting, extra sweat, extra toil.
“The times have changed a lot over the years,” the Ravens’ veteran defensive lineman mentioned Tuesday, smiling on the bygone era of two-a-days, “and the game has changed a lot.”
The first full-team observe of Ravens coaching camp that Campbell all however bounced by means of Wednesday would have been unimaginable to his rookie-year self. But it additionally would have been comprehensible.
After struggling by means of one of many most injury-riddled seasons in recent NFL history, the Ravens entered camp this 12 months with a brand new preseason plan. Practices had been moved from the morning to the afternoon. Stretching will probably be emphasised. One-on-one work will probably be de-emphasized. Some practices will probably be shorter. Everything will probably be extra thought of, extra science-driven, even when staff officers acknowledge that no one will be totally shielded from harm over the course of a camp.
For a lot of Wednesday’s observe, the Ravens labored out with the cadence of a pregame warmup. Players principally lined up in opposition to air in the course of the 90-minute session, specializing in playbook set up and talent work, with the offense and protection arrange on their very own fields. By the time observe wrapped up with solely the day’s second 11-on-11 interval, quarterback Lamar Jackson had tried simply 14 passes in staff drills. In the ultimate days of final 12 months’s coaching camp, when the practices are longer, he was averaging between 30 and 40.
“We’ve kind of reorganized practices, especially the first four or five practices,” Harbaugh mentioned Wednesday. “We’re going to ramp our way into some of the team stuff, try to get a lot of the football movement things in, try to get our timing down as much as we can. The challenge is, your guys got to go full-speed on air, and that’s a little bit of a challenge. So you’ve got to put yourself in that setting mentally, where you go full-speed. So we were pushing them a little bit to do that because it’s a little harder with our defense over there. I thought they did a good job with it.”
The Ravens had each cause to vary issues up after final 12 months. According to the analytics website Football Outsiders, the staff had extra “adjusted games lost” — a metric that accounts for the relative worth of starters — due to accidents in 2021 than any staff over the previous twenty years, even when prorated for a 16-game season.
Only 4 Ravens starters performed in all 17 video games, and one in all them, outdoors linebacker Tyus Bowser, tore his Achilles tendon within the season finale. Left deal with Ronnie Stanley, operating backs J.Okay. Dobbins and Gus Edwards and cornerback Marcus Peters, all of whom suffered season-ending accidents within the preseason, have yet to be cleared to return to practice.
After the season, Harbaugh vowed that the Ravens would “look at everything” and “change a lot.” Keeping the roster wholesome, he mentioned this offseason, was “priority one,” together with fielding a aggressive staff.
“I don’t know if we’ve reached any conclusions about why the injuries happened,” Harbaugh mentioned on the NFL house owners conferences in March. “Nobody has those conclusions. We’ve listened. We’ve seen all the studies. We talked to all the NFL people, all the studies they’re doing. And there really are no answers that you can say definitively, ‘This is the cause and effect.’ But we’ve looked at everything we’ve done. Like we said, we turned over every stone. We’ve changed a lot of what we’re doing.”
Some of the adjustments had been in-house: In February, the Ravens hired Adrian Dixon as their new head athletic coach, a part of Harbaugh’s plan to make the staff’s rehab program “cutting edge.” In Tennessee, Dixon had designed and managed the Titans’ rehabilitation and remedy applications for injured gamers.
But probably the most seen adjustments to the Ravens’ coaching camp — and maybe probably the most vital — will have an effect on the staff’s schedule over the following month. Start with the timing of the practices themselves. After a number of years of morning begins, the Ravens bumped their classes to the afternoon. Wednesday’s began at 2:35 p.m., and most will begin about 1:35 p.m., that means gamers will ramp as much as two-and-a-half-hour practices in probably the most unforgiving a part of Maryland summer season days.
“We did a lot of homework,” Harbaugh mentioned Wednesday. “We did a number of research and we actually checked out it actually laborious. We simply wished to do one of the best we might. We don’t know precisely — you possibly can by no means say for certain what causes something, however we simply really feel like this offers us one of the best likelihood to have one of the best practices and to get our guys probably the most prepared that they are often for observe.
“It’s also better from a nutrition standpoint, to be able to kind of get them ready … in the morning. I like the teaching tempo of the thing, because we get a meeting, we get a walk-through before practice goes, so that helps us. But we’ll see how it goes. Nothing’s written in stone.”
Harbaugh mentioned Wednesday that he was impressed with the staff’s conditioning, although the cloud cowl in Owings Mills saved the Ravens’ fields comparatively cool. Even when temperatures do spike to the mid-90s, the warmth and humidity ought to be considerably mitigated by a extra accommodating observe routine. Harbaugh mentioned this offseason that each third observe will probably be shorter and extra “execution oriented,” with fewer repetitions between the first-team offense and protection.
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey mentioned Wednesday that in a team-wide presentation, Ravens soccer efficiency coach Sam Rosengarten broke down the gamers’ new day by day schedule, explaining why some intervals had been essential to restoration, why mornings had been conducive to energy coaching, why they wanted gasoline to get them by means of every day. Campbell famous that the Ravens are utilizing biometric information to measure their workload in practices and higher optimize their on-field efficiency.
“With the injuries that we had last year, I think that was a high priority,” Campbell mentioned Tuesday. “We have a great team of people who work through that information, so it was cool. But [Harbaugh] did share it with us. We went through the whole process, the why. For the leaders, I think it was huge for us to kind of get an understanding of why we’re making the changes, because this is definitely a big change. Everyone naturally wonders why, but then you see this is the data behind it, so it’s just trying to be at our very best and be the most efficient with our work.”
Inside linebacker Patrick Queen joked Tuesday that he enters each camp with “high hopes of everything,” however inevitably, earlier than lengthy, “your legs are gone.” Some issues in camp simply can’t be prevented, accidents amongst them. After final season, although, the Ravens would slightly be secure than sorry.
As secure as they will get, anyway.
“Training camp is … one of those necessary evils,” tight finish Mark Andrews mentioned Tuesday. “But this is a time where you can really grow.”
Preseason, Week 1
Thursday, Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m.
TV: Chs. 11, 4
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM