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Ravens Easing Into Training Camp to Avoid Injuries

Harbaugh alters practice schedule.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens coach John Harbaugh does not want another spate of injuries to derail the season.

So, he has completely overhauled the way the team is going through training camp and practices.

Starting later in the afternoon, more stretching and building up to the most physical aspects of practice are all part of the plan. 

"We’ve kind of re-organized practices," Harbaugh said. "Especially the first four or five practices, we’re going to kind of ramp our way into some of the team stuff, try to get a lot of the football movement things in, try to get our timing down as much as we can. The challenge is that guys have got to go full speed on air, and that’s a little bit of a challenge. 

"So, you’ve got to put yourself in that setting, mentally, where you go full speed. So, we were pushing them a little bit to do that, because it’s a little harder without a defense over there. I thought they did a good job with it.”

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The Ravens coaches developed a presentation for the players outlining the benefits of the changes. Football performance coach Sam Rosengarten broke down the different parts of the day that should be dedicated to mental stability, nutrition, weight training, fitness and practice 

The coaches also balanced the benefits of working out in the afternoon as opposed to the morning. When the players practiced early and jumped right into football, there was a lot of potential for soft tissue injuries.

The players have bought into the new concept. 

"I know a lot of studying went into everything, but when we came back, even in OTAs and offseason conditioning, it seemed like there was a big change in just the way we did things. So, that research and everything carried over," cornerback Marlon Humphrey said.  "It’s a little different, but I like it. It’s good for me because I’ve never really – in high school, I used to go from football, I [ran] right into track, then summer track. 

"So, it’s been like … It makes sense. A lot of times football guys, we just want to be tough, and I like the science behind it so far, and I think it will work really well.”