As the Ravens went through the paces of another training camp practice albeit in air-conditioned comfort of the indoor facility on Thursday defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (hamstring) once again did not participate. Neither did rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw (arm). Neither did center Matt Birk, or offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie.
Several others in the running for roster spots also missed practice, including rookie running back Bernard Pierce (hamstring), wide receiver Tandon Doss (hamstring) and tackle Jah Reid (calf). All three of those players are potentially seeing their stock drop, as competition takes place without them in already crowded position groups.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but does it make the Ravens a better team?
To be sure, one-on-one drills in August dont count in the standings. If theres an issue with a player, its certainly shrewd to take the cautionary route now, rather than risk an injury that sidelines a player for a month or two.
Coach John Harbaugh has said that Birk, who just turned 36 and hasnt missed a start in six seasons, will be given extra days off.
McKinnies conditioning issues have been well documented, and although he is reportedly at the Under Armour Performance Center after missing the first couple of days of camp, he has not yet been on the field.
Ngata also has yet to practice, but Harbaugh said after Wednesdays practice that Ngata is pretty close. Were probably working him a little slower than hed like us to. But, hes starting to run now, and hes going to be fine very soon. I dont really have a timetable.
Upshaw, meanwhile, is in the running for a starting spot at outside linebacker -- and is listed as a starter on the Ravens official Web site depth chart -- but it's hard to win that job from the sideline. Still, defensive coordinator Dean Pees didnt sound any alarm bells when asked about that on Thursday.
What we just need to do is get him out there, especially in some preseason games, and have him hit, get hit, and actually play, Pees said.
Im not too concerned, yet, he added, until if we get down the road and hes not playing any games. Then I will be concerned.