EbonyBird.com’s Keys To Training Camp

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Ellerbee vs. Gooden vs. The Field for the starting ILB job- Ray Lewis will need some support next to him. Dannell Ellerbee was very good for an undrafted free agent, but nowhere near Bart Scott’s level. Tavares Gooden has been extremely ambitious this offseason, saying that he is aiming for 100 tackles in 2010. Don’t sleep on Jameel McClain, either, and who knows, maybe an outside linebacker like Antwan Barnes could step in and be an aberration next to Ray-Ray. Whoever wins the job will have a lot of pressure on them to succeed. (JB)

A Defensive Sleeper?- Walt Harris, a former Pro Bowl cornerback whose best years may be behind him, was a key sign for the Ravens secondary as he will add valuable depth, and prove to be a leader and mentor as well as a (possibly) solidcontributor. The Ravens, who last year were penalitized time after time on silly pass interference calls now have a man in that secondary who can take young corners such as Ladrius Webb, Fabian Washington,  and Chris Carr under his wing and show them certain techniques and positioning in Greg Mattison’s schemes that could prove to be very key for a secondary looking to rebound from a shaky 2009 season. (Justin Silberman)

Player Updates– This is the first time that you will be able to see many players who are returning from injuries, or are injury prone. The first time that you see rookies come back as budding veterans. Training camps are the first time of the year when you get to see full action football. So, pay attention to your favorites, the Ray Lewis’, the Joe Flaccos’, and the Ray Rices’. But, also look out for Lardarius Webb and Donte Stallworth. Anquan Boldin and Todd Heap, pay attention to the players whom have questions swirling about them. (CD)

Another year of starting experience for offensive players- Joe Flacco is in his third season now, and should have that feeling of knowing what he needs to do to be at his best. Ray Rice was  a superstar last season, and probably being in his third season as well will help him keep his ego in check after such a great season. Jared Gaither and Michael Oher will benefit from experience on the offensive line and know how to carry themselves during training camp. These guys will be huge for a Ravens offense that is supposed to be great this season, and that experience may prove to be invaluable as they prepare for the season. (JB)

Just who will be Returning kicks for the Ravens? As many football fans know, special teams is an extremelyimportant part of any team, and sometimes the difference between good teams and great teams. No one knows this better than former special teams coordinator, (and now Baltimore Ravens head coach) John Harbaugh. Lardarius Webb, who proved to be one of the league’s best kick returners before going down in week 16 with an ACL tear may not want to come back with too much on his plate, and may just want to focus in on competing and keeping his job as a starting cornerback. So look for 4th string running back Jalen Parmele to battle hard for that kick returning job. Parmele proved to be very key in 16-10 Ravens victory in week 17 over the Oakland Raiders which clinched a playoff birth for the Ravens, as he had a couple of solid returns for the Ravens, which gave them solid field position throughout the day, making it a bit easier to score on a stingy Raiders defense. (JS)

Being the Sexy Pick– Who is one of the most popular Super Bowl choices this year? Your Baltimore Ravens. Along with the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, and Dallas Cowboys, the Ravens have had a lot of prognosticators throw down Purple when it came to choosing the Lombardi Lifter of the year. Will Coach Harbaugh acknowledge this or will he keep the team focused? The players must have noticed, and really, all that should do is get them more and more excited for this season, “Anything less than a Super Bowl win, really, is a disappointment to us. I think we’ve done more than enough over the last three years to put ourselves in a position to win a championship”, so it looks like Derrick Mason is ready for a run ending in Dalllas. (CD)