Inside the Ravens with Aaron Wilson

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Amongst the walking wounded Ngata feeling "great"

Plus other news and notes from Training Camp

Ten players were sidelined for the Baltimore Ravens for the first day of training camp for various health and conditioning reasons.

The Ravens designated offensive tackle Oniel Cousins on the non-football illness list because of his offseason throat surgery to have a cyst removed from his esophagus.

And the team placed rookie nose guard Terrence "Mount" Cody and cornerbacks Walt Harris and Prince Miller on the non-football injury list.

The Ravens placed the following injured players on the physically unable to perform list: safety Ed Reed (hip), cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (knee) and Fabian Washington (knee), running back Matthew Lawrence (knee), center Matt Birk (neck) and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps).

Ayanbadejo has been sidelined since last October when he tore his quadriceps tendon against the New England Patriots, an injury that required surgery.

"I feel good, but I'm not 100 percent," Ayanbadejo said. "I'm pretty anxious to get out there and play football. I'm pretty eager."

It's unclear when Ayanbadejo will be able to return, but the former Pro Bowl special-teams ace hopes it will be soon.

"We don't know," he said. "It's up to when the quad heals. It's just not strong enough to do everything I need to do to play full-contact football. It's healed. It's a matter of getting the strength back. That's the hardest part is getting the muscle back to where it was before."

Cousins is working to regain his strength and some weight lost from the throat operation following a bad case of strep throat that developed into a pain in his chest that made it difficult to eat.

Luckily for him, it wasn't cancer.

"It was definitely scary," Cousins said. "I'm feeling better, I'm getting better every day. I think I'll be back next week.

"I'll continue to work every day and condition myself and get back. I've been able to tolerate a lot more food now. I'm feeling good. I'm improving every day."

NGATA FEELING GOOD: Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is regaining his range of motion and strength following offseason surgery to repair a pectoral muscle he tore during the Pro Bowl.

Ngata predicted he'll definitely play in the first preseason game.

"I'm feeling fantastic," Ngata said. "I have healed fast and started lifting weights about 2½ months ago. I feel good right now. I'm a little stiff and sore, but that's more about getting into football shape.

"I'm working on things like my range of muscle and definitely building that muscle. I'll definitely be ready for that first game."

Ngata said he's taking precautions with not getting his arm caught in an awkward position.

"I'm going to try to get in front of the runner," Ngata said. "None of those wide arm tackles."

CHOOSING A THIRD QUARTERBACK: With the acquisition of veteran quarterback Marc Bulger as Joe Flacco's new primary backup, the job security of Troy Smith and John Beck has taken a hit.

Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said it won't be difficult to determine which quarterbacks to choose.

"It's not as complicated as everybody thinks," he said. "We've got a lot of practice left, a lot of reps in practice. You just watch every drill, watch every practice, watch through the preseason games. It usually clarifies itself, and it's usually pretty obvious. It's really not as difficult as most people think."

QUICK HITS: Birk said he arrived early at camp mostly to help out the rookies. Plus, he wanted to get to work. "My family's back at home," he said. "Idle time is the devil's playground. I like to stay busy." ... Unlike Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant, Webb said he would never have an issue with carrying a veteran's shoulder pads and helmet. "If somebody asked me to take a helmet. I'll take a helmet," Webb said. "Not a big deal. I don't feel disrespected. It's just some things they do. I don't care." When players reported to camp, coach John Harbaugh reiterated that he doesn't believe in hazing rookies. "We're not a hazing team," Harbaugh said. "It's not something that we believe in. We think all of our players are Ravens. That's why we brought them in here, and they're Ravens until they're not. We try to be very respectful of all the guys, and that includes rookies, but I also think there's a certain protocol for the young guys to have an opportunity to show some humility and some respect for the veterans and what they've done in this league. If that means stepping back in line at dinner, stepping back in the taping line, taking care of pads coming off the field, that stuff is being deferential to a veteran. We encourage that, and our guys have always been good about that."

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