Ravens head into 5-week break with two new cornerbacks…



Dominique Franks (free agent from Atlanta) is signed to the Ravens roster along with Aaron Ross (formerly of the Giants and Jags) to compete for that 3rd corner position in the Ravens secondary. I mention Franks first because I believe he has the best chance of winning the opening day “starting” nickelback among the other candidates which include Asa Jackson, Chykie Brown and now Ross.

Franks, 26, played for the Atlanta Falcons the last four years. He has been a special teamer and reserve cornerback, making 30 tackles and three interceptions during his career. Franks had a solid week at minicamp according to all observers, including a nice pass breakup during Thursday’s practice.

Ross is older at 31 but has had playoff and Super Bowl winning experience with the Giants as a starter when his defensive coordinator there was Steve Spagnuolo, the Ravens’ current secondary coach. That link with Spags may be the edge that Ross has in the competition with Franks, but Dominique has the greater physical and footspeed upside.

The cornerback roster battle should be an intriguing one for Ravens fans to follow in training camp.

The Ravens also signed inside linebacker Austin Spitler (Dolphins), outside linebacker Nick DiMarco (UDFA- William Penn) and wide receiver Mike Willie (Chargers practice squad). Right now they look like camp bodies—but you never know.

The Ravens waived undrafted rookie defensive backs Avery Patterson and Dexter Moody, and linebacker Xavius Boyd. The roster is now at 90 players.

John Harbaugh gave his team a summer vacation pep talk before officially closing minicamp. His basic message— “Stay out of trouble” and “Come back in top condition and ready to work”…

“I’m disappointed in some of the silliness that has gone on,” Harbaugh said. “Character is very important to us. It’s something that really matters to us. We think that everything you do off the field has an impact on what you do on the field, and vice versa.”

“We will always have the same high standard for our guys, and it’s the same message,” Harbaugh said. “There is always an emphasis – different types of emphasis – on different things, and we’ve emphasized what we need to with our guys. We have good, really good guys. Football matters to them. The more it matters to you, the less inclined you are to do anything to jeopardize that.”

The implied message there is mainly directed at the rookies—don’t be running around with your old pals, and stay in touch with your veteran position group leaders.

Get your lifting in, and keep doing your 2-mile runs and your sprints. Don’t fall behind. And keep your nose in your iPad playbook…at least as much as you spend on Twitter.

“This is a tough time to kick back, but you only have a couple of weeks before you’re back here, and you have to keep your body in shape, you have to keep your mind sharp,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “You can’t go home for the next four weeks and kind of zone out totally, because you’re going to forget stuff and you’re going to come back and you’re not going to be where you want to be.”

The guys also know that the conditioning test will be awaiting them when they return in July, and Harbaugh will immediately jump into a grueling training camp regimen.

“We expect them to come back in tip-top shape, just like we expect them to come to this minicamp in tip-top shape,” Harbaugh said. “We will start practicing full speed, and they’re going to need to be ready for it.”

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.