Reporting Mark Viviano
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s training camp. And it’s that time for the Ravens to come together and build a game plan for the coming season, and to build some team unity.
This year, the Ravens are turning to a number of younger players, expecting them to grow into leadership roles on what is an ever-changing roster.
Mark Viviano reports.
A number of Ravens in camp are back after contributing to the team’s Super Bowl championship. But a number of star players, namely Ray Lewis, are gone.
The Ravens are no different than most NFL teams during training camp, dealing with a pro football reality: Change is the greatest constant.
“It’s not unexpected. It is reality. And it’s our reality to deal with. And we’re all excited about that, too,” said Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh.
Exciting times for some Ravens who are expected to fill the voids of leadership left by the departures of some of the team’s top veterans.
Lardarius Webb could be counted on to lead a defensive secondary that no longer has Ed Reed.
And Ray Rice has grown in his five seasons as a Raven, counting on his experience to help lead a Ravens offense now that veteran Anquan Boldin is no longer around.
“I’m only 26, but I do feel like the veteran amongst my group. I’m going into year six at running back and I’m looking down and the guy behind me is in year two. And I can just keep going down the line. So it does feel a little bit like when I do talk, they’ll listen,” said running back Ray Rice.
“It’s a lot of responsibility being that guy. You have to look out for the younger guys. When the younger guys need help, they’re going to come to you now. So you have to put them on your back and you have to ride with them,” said cornerback Lardarius Webb.
Young guys get old quickly in a sport like football. The oldest Raven on the roster now is Bryant McKinnie, who will turn 34 in September.
He was held out of practice Thursday because he was over weight. He was allowed to practice Friday, but McKinnie didn’t make it through the whole workout.
Coach John Harbaugh says he’s still carrying too much weight.