It's hard to believe, but we're now just a day away.
Quarterbacks, rookies and select veterans will report to the Best Western Westminster tomorrow, and come Tuesday, when the players take the field for the first time, the 2010 NFL season will be underway.
Please excuse the lack of posts yesterday; in between moving a pool table into my house, testing out said pool table and enjoying one of the final days before camp starts, I didn't get around to posting anything.
My bad. I'll make it up to you over the course of the next five or six months, I promise.
Throughout the offseason, we've talked about the Ravens' need to get more out of their pass rush. The team had just 32 sacks last season, a number the coaches have made it clear they want to improve on this year.
A bulk of that responsibility will fall to the Ravens' outside linebackers. Here's how that group looks going into training camp:
Terrell Suggs, 6-3, 260 pounds, 8th NFL season
Where he stands: Suggs responded to signing a six-year, $63 million deal last offseason with the worst season of his career. He showed up to last year's training camp out of shape, injured his heel, and never got into a groove, posting a career-low 4.5 sacks. Suggs said he was going to make an effort to participate in the Ravens' offseason workout program, which he did to an extent, but when optional minicamps came around, he decided to return to Arizona to train. Simply put, the Ravens need more from Suggs this year.
What needs to be done: Suggs needs to be in better shape this camp. 'Nuff said. The Ravens would like for Sizzle to have dropped some weight - ideally he'd be back to around 260 pounds - and he claims that he's slimmed down a bit. The team also hopes that hiring Ted Monachino, Suggs' former position coach at Arizona State, as outside linebackers coach will help get the three-time Pro Bowler back into form.
Jarret Johnson, 6-3, 265 pounds, 8th NFL season
Where he stands: Quite possibly the most underrated player on the Ravens, Johnson played at a Pro Bowl level last year despite a painful shoulder injury which bothered him throughout much of the season. He had surgery to repair the shoulder this offseason, and should be back 100 percent healthy for camp. The Ravens would love it if he could repeat his 2009 performance (70 tackles, six sacks, two interceptions, and a forced fumble) this year.
What needs to be done: Make sure he's fully recovered from that shoulder surgery, and keep doing what he's doing. Johnson was one of the Ravens' most consistent performers last season, and hopefully he can carry that play into 2010.
Antwan Barnes, 6-1, 251 pounds, 4th NFL season
Where he stands: After spending some time in head coach John Harbaugh's doghouse last season (which led to him being inactive for five games in a six week span), Barnes started to progress as the year went on. The pass rush specialist had three sacks and a forced fumble in the final four weeks of the regular season.
What needs to be done: Barnes needs to keep his head on straight, stay focused, and continue to make strides. He seems to be settling into Greg Mattison's defense, and needs to work on refining his technique and improving his pass rush skills.
Prescott Burgess, 6-3, 253 pounds, 4th NFL season
Where he stands: The Ravens traded Burgess to the Patriots at the beginning of last season, then re-acquired him off New England's practice squad in early October. One of the Ravens' top special teams performers, Burgess led the team with 34 special teams tackles. He will try and earn more playing time from scrimmage this season.
What needs to be done: If Burgess can keep up his strong special teams play, he's got a good shot at a roster spot. Anything else the athletic, versatile linebacker can add will be gravy.
Edgar Jones, 6-3, 263 pounds, 4th NFL season
Where he stands: Jones is making yet another position change after spending last season as the Ravens' third tight end. He's now back on the defensive side of the ball, where he has spent the bulk of his career.
What needs to be done: Jones is on the roster bubble going into camp, and will need to show off his strong special teams play. His versatility and positive attitude will definitely help his cause. The Ravens know wherever they need Jones to play, he'll do it.
Sergio Kindle, 6-3, 250 pounds, Rookie
Where he stands: The Ravens' top draft pick in the 2010 class, Kindle will come into camp with high expectations but without a starting job. The second-round pick out of Texas will play behind Johnson to start the season, but should get plenty of opportunities to show off his toughness and his ability to get to the quarterback. He should make an impact on special teams as well.
What needs to be done: Kindle first needs to get to camp without a long holdout, and then needs to continue to dive into the Ravens' playbook. The gregarious linebacker said during minicamps that his biggest goal at this point is learning the plays to the point they become second-nature to him. Once he does that, he can let his athleticism take over.
Albert McClellan, 6-2, 254 pounds, Rookie
Where he stands: McClellan, an undrafted free agent out of Marshall, is at the bottom of a deep outside linebacker group, and will have trouble getting enough reps in camp to make a name for himself.
What needs to be done: Make the most of every single opportunity, and prove he can perform on special teams. McClellan would do well to earn a spot on the practice squad.