Another week, another Ravens minicamp.
I'll be back in Owings Mills today for what has now become the Ravens' final week of OTAs, and I'll have plenty of news and notes for you throughout the afternoon.
Included in that mix, I'm sure, will be plenty of reactions from players and coaches about the NFL's ruling yesterday that the Ravens violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement's offseason workout rules.
Do most players feel like the team's OTA practices are too intense and too long, as the NFL ruled? We'll try and find out, although I'd be surprised if anyone is willing to publicly come out and criticize the coaching staff in that regard.
Switching gears a bit, one of the most entertaining parts of Ravens minicamps (other than seeing some poor offensive lineman try and match up with rookie Terrence Cody in one-on-one drills) is watching senior offensive assistant Al Saunders coach up his players.
Saunders has a ton of coaching experience; he's worked in the NFL for 28 years, having served as head coach with the Chargers and offensive coordinator with the Chiefs, Redskins, and Rams. He's now 63-years-old and could easily be watching practice from afar and quietly going about his business, but that's not his style.
Saunders spends practice lining up across from his offensive players and pushing them to be better - sometimes literally.
He'll try and smack the football out of his players' hands (sometimes well after a play is over), and shouts that they should always stay focused after making a catch. He'll grab one of the younger players during a play and drag them towards a defender, encouraging them to find someone to block at all times.
Saunders is incredibly vocal, shouting encouragement to rookies and veterans alike, and when he sees something that needs to be adjusted, he'll wrap his arm around a player and calmly walk them through what they did wrong.
Often times, it seems like Saunders is the most energized person on the practice fields, even more so than the players fighting for roster spots.
Did he chug too much coffee? Is he hopped up on Red Bull? Nope, that's just the way Saunders operates.
"Oh my gosh. Is he unbelievable or what?" head coach John Harbaugh said when I asked about Saunders last week. "You know, Al's a marathon-type guy. He's in great shape. Yeah, Al runs around and coaches hard. We're blessed with a great staff, and I think Al, his addition, last year in the building, this year on the practice field, he's added a lot to our passing game and to our team, and the energy is tremendous.
"But I would say the same thing about Jim [Zorn], Dean Pees, Ted Monachino, the new coaches. I think our coaching staff has gotten better from last year to this year, individually and as a group, so hopefully I'm going to get better as a coach. Everybody tries to improve, but I really like our coaching staff right now."