2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Defending champion Ravens enter camp with new cast

By DAVID GINSBURG - AP Sports Writer
    2013-07-23 11:10

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - The parade, the lavish ring ceremony and the trip to the White House are only a memory now.

The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens aren't going to relive last season at training camp this summer. The first full-squad practice Thursday will mark the beginning of a renewed quest for greatness, making the Ravens vastly similar to each of the other 31 NFL teams.

``To me, it feels like we're working to get a Super Bowl, because there are a lot of new people, a lot of new faces,'' offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie said. ``The chemistry has to grow with all the new people and everything. Different people have to play different roles this year, as far as stepping up and becoming leaders.''

This team has undergone a vast makeover in the months since Baltimore defeated San Francisco 34-31 in the Super Bowl.

The retirement of linebacker Ray Lewis, the trade of wide receiver Anquan Boldin and the loss of free agents Ed Reed, Paul Kruger, Cary Williams, Bernard Pollard and Vonta Leach means Ravens will defending their title with an altered cast of characters.

Five things to know as the Ravens open camp:

1. MAN IN THE MIDDLE: For the first time, the Ravens won't have Lewis in the middle of their defense. His retirement means someone else will have to play middle linebacker and perhaps provide leadership for the unit. Jameel McClain is the leading choice, but he's coming off a neck injury and might not be ready to go at full strength. Either way, the Ravens will probably give rookie Arthur Brown a strong look as a potential starter in their 3-4 alignment. Josh Bynes, Albert McClellan and former Jacksonville Jaguars standout Daryl Smith will be given plenty of opportunity to impress.

2. SECONDARY TO NONE: The loss of Reed, Pollard and Williams means the Ravens will enter training camp with a revamped secondary. Free agent Michael Huff should fill the void at one of the safety spots, and top draft pick Matt Elam will quickly be blended into the mix. Cornerback Lardarius Webb, who tore his ACL early last season, will probably see limited action in training camp but hopes to ultimately reclaim his starting spot. Jimmy Smith, who finally lived up to his potential in the Super Bowl, will also be considered as a potential starter along with Corey Graham. Cornerbacks Chykie Brown, Mark Anthony and Asa Jackson are also expected to receive playing time. ``I'm looking forward to seeing how that competition will play out,'' coach John Harbaugh said. ``You talk about the starting positions, and it will be interesting who wins. Who is the Top 2? Who is the Top 3? Absolutely, I get that. But, they are all going to play, and they are all going to have to play like starters.''

3. HERE'S THE CATCH: General manager Ozzie Newsome did a fine job filling plenty of the holes, but he has yet to come up with a suitable replacement for Boldin. Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones are deep threats, but Baltimore needs a receiver capable of mixing it up in the middle on third-and-6. At this point, Harbaugh hopes the answer is someone already on the roster. LaQuan Williams, Tommy Streeter, Aaron Mellette, David Reed, Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson all have a decent shot at making the team. None of them are as good as Boldin, however, so Newsome could end up making a belated move.

4. CENTER OF ATTENTION: The retirement of center Matt Birk left Gino Gradkowski as the heir apparent, but he saw little playing time as a rookie last year. That's why the Ravens got A.Q. Shipley in a trade with Indianapolis. Shipley started five games for the Colts last season and will compete for the starting job.

5. MONEY MAN: There's no reason to believe a new $120.1 contract will take the competitive edge off quarterback Joe Flacco, but now that he's reached elite status, the pressure is on for him to play that way. Although Ray Rice is one of the NFL's best running backs, the Ravens relied heavily on the pass last season and will almost certainly do so again in 2013. Thus, the Super Bowl MVP must be just as a good as last year, even though he won't have Boldin to depend upon and will be taking his snaps from a different center.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Philip RiversDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, P Mike Scifres, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 16.

Carlos HydeDec 20 07:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20.

Ahmad BrooksDec 20 07:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared LB Ahmad Brooks, OG Andrew Tiller, RB Carlos Hyde, OG Joe Looney, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Tramaine Brock inactive for Week 16.

Dennis KellyDec 20 03:32p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, WR Jeff Maehl, S Jerome Couplin III, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, DE Taylor Hart, LB Trent Cole inactive for Week 16.

Leonard HankersonDec 20 03:12p

The Washington Redskins have declared CB Chibuikem Okoro, LB Gabe Miller, DL Jason Hatcher, OG Josh LeRibeus, LB Keenan Robinson, WR Leonard Hankerson inactive for Week 16.

Roy HeluDec 20 03:02p

Washington Redskins RB Roy Helu (toe) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Peyton ManningDec 19 07:42p

Updating a previous report, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was officially limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, but he threw more than he did than the day prior, [ More ]

Frank GoreDec 19 05:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) was limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, and is questionable for Week 16.

Keenan AllenDec 19 04:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) and WR Keenan Allen (shoulder, ankle) have been ruled out for Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cam NewtonDec 19 04:12p

Updating previous reports, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) has yet to officially be cleared to play in Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns, but head coach Ron Rivera [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice all week but is questionable for Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Peyton ManningDec 19 02:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was back to a full practice Friday, Dec. 19, after being limited Thursday, Dec. 18. Manning made several strong throws in the portion open to the media.

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:12p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice again Friday, Dec. 19, and RTV6's Mike Chappell is convinced that Hilton will not play in Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

C.J. SpillerDec 19 12:53p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) has been added to the active roster and is probable for Week 16 against the Oakland Raiders.

Cam NewtonDec 19 12:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) is listed as probable for Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns.

Blake BortlesDec 19 12:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (foot) completed only 13 passes for 115 yards in the win over the Tennessee Titans Thursday, Dec. 18, but he didn't show any signs [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 11:52a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

Julio JonesDec 19 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

DeMarco MurrayDec 19 10:52a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) is likely to play in Week 16, according to a source. Murray has a high threshold for pain, and according to the source, [ More ]

Eddie LacyDec 19 10:12a

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (eye) said he wasn't able to read a teammate's nameplate a few feet away in the locker room Thursday, Dec. 18. Lacy said [ More ]

Leon WashingtonDec 18 11:32p

Tennessee Titans RB Leon Washington caught a team-high seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown in the team's 21-13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday, Dec. 18. He [ More ]

Philip RiversDec 18 11:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) looked good throwing the ball in the practice Thursday, Dec. 18, according to head coach Mike McCoy. 'Philip had an outstanding day,' [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) continues through the concussion protocol this week, but head coach Jim Harbaugh anticipates Gore suiting up in Week 16 against the San [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

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