Ravens dispute claim of increased practice length during playoffs


Over the weekend, Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun reported that the Ravens faced a potential revolt over the duration of practices in advance of the division-round loss to the Steelers, with players threatening to go to the media and/or to the union over it.

The Ravens have responded, via an item posted on the team’s official website.

“I am here for every practice, year-round, and [coach] John [Harbaugh] informs me about the structure of practices, including length and repetitions,” G.M. Ozzie Newsome said.  “I know practices were shorter, not only the week of the Steelers playoff game, but the weeks before, through our successful run to the postseason in December.”

Two Ravens — cornerback Chris Carr and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata — agreed with that assessment.

“They really didn’t want us to hit much, so it wasn’t really physical.  We got a lot of mental work done,” Ngata told BaltimoreRavens.com.  “The coaches didn’t want to have much contact, and it was pretty much the same, just not as physical as earlier in the year. . . .

“If you take the sport seriously, you’re going to have to have a great offseason, knowing that your team is going to make it into January,” Ngata added.  “If you sell yourself short and do your workouts any other way, your body is going to break down earlier.  I think our coaches do a great job of keeping our strength and conditioning up, and that’s why we do make it into January most of the time.”

“I can’t speak for my teammates, but I can speak for myself,” Carr said.  “I think practices were scaled back from a week before the playoffs.  In the playoffs, it was pretty much mental reps.  It had nothing to do with why we lost.  I just think it was the mistakes we made.  I didn’t feel tired.  Nobody out there was complaining that they were tired.

“I think the practices were definitely scaled back in our favor.  It was beneficial, not a hindrance.”

Of course, all this means is that Preston’s source wasn’t Carr or Ngata (or that, if the source was Carr and/or Ngata, they sang a different tune to Preston).  And even if all 53 players on the postseason roster were to publicly declare that they had no problem with the practices, it doesn’t change the fact that someone complained, accurately or not, about the situation.

Given the rancor regarding the decision to fire quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn, which resulted in quarterback Joe Flacco speaking out publicly against the move, it’s fairly clear that a certain amount of dysfunction currently exists within the organization, and dysfunction can manifest itself in all sorts of different ways.

21 responses to “Ravens dispute claim of increased practice length during playoffs

  1. is that why they blew it in pittsburgh? if not who cares! ray says it wasn’t the defenses fault, 3rd and 19 maybe the D should practice longer!!

  2. This is a typical example of Mike Preston trying to cause trouble. He has a few snitches in the locker room. No locker room has perfect harmony and it is the rare case to see everyone love the head coach. Preston finds the guy who has an axe to grind and lets him grind it. Preston is probably the biggest hack writer the Sun has ever had. He is minimally talented and his claim to fame was play college football for Towson State. BFD.

  3. Behaving like such babies might cause Mark Sanchez to have romantic interest in you Ravens. Better hide those feet!

  4. @longthao82

    I’m sorry but that was incredibly stupid. The Ravens already said they will franchise tag Ngata and he said he doesn’t mind it while they get a longer deal worked out. Apparently a brain isn’t required for computer usage.

  5. Preston was asked today on a Balt. radio show “who had an issue with longer practices?”

    Mike Preston said he could not reveal the Ravens he spoke to, but it should be easy to figure out. He went even further when he asked the caller to guess what veterans would be upset when practices were not scaled back. He also said it was a distraction that was not needed

    So it would not have mattered in the game as the offense sucked and left the Ravens D hung out to dry as they had all year.

    BUT it is a HUGE deal that Mike Preston is starting crap with the Ravens, won’t back down, and has no basis to his claims.

    BTW the call was disconnected by 105.7

    Preston needs to be banned from the Ravens facilities

  6. Flacco spoke publicly. Where are Preston’s public sources? Preston didn’t offer one word of corroboration for his comments. Given a choice between believing some columnist who’s been known to embellish stories on the Ravens or Ozzie Newsome, it’s not a difficult decision.

  7. This guy made his living smashing Brian Billick for having camp cupcake. Now his latest is players are upset because they had to practice too long? What’s next Players don’t like running wind sprints???? He’s writing has now turned out to be mostly a gossip blog so he can spit out unnamed gossip to compete with the likes of PFT. Looks like it’s working! Unfortunately when they combine his blogs and create “an article” with three or more of his blogs rolled into one giant turd they tend to contradict each other. Hence, he’s making most of it up as he goes.

    Are there really any reporters left out there? Seriously think of the drivel that get’s made up just to keep fishwraps like the sun and their “media” empires alive. Today’s entire news industry, tv, print, internet has become about as relevant and fact driven as a 6 hour superbowl pre-game show!

  8. If they consider Ray Lewis’s preaching & holding mass a practice, then I have to think they have a valid case.

  9. After that melt down in Pittsburgh that cost this team a definite trip to the Super Bowl, I think they should practice every day, year round.

    Look in the mirror long and hard Ravens and Ravens fana. It was there for the taking and you blew it.

  10. Mike Preston to sports is the equivalent of the Enquirer Magazine is to the tabloid world. They seem to be able to publish crazy stories without facts, everything comes from an “anonymous source and it never seems to line up with the facts. Problem is people have been reading and believing the stuff for years. He does not understand that he is invited onto these shows to made a fool out of and create controversy, not because of his acute since of sports knowledge !!

  11. The real moral to the story is that here is another example of the Ravens complaining about something. Everytime something doesn’t go their way, “someone is out to get them.” I live in Baltimore and not a Ravens fan at all, teams definitely take on the attitude of their city.

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