ITEM: Is LG job Reid’s to lose?
When the Baltimore Ravens lost Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs via free agency, Coach John Harbaugh said he would be comfortable opening the 2012 season with Jah Reid starting in that spot.
As the Ravens opened the first phase of their offseason program, Reid said he intends to take advantage of this opportunity.
“Ben was a great guy and a great teammate and a great mentor, so I have some big shoes to fill,” Reid told the Carroll County Times. “I welcome the challenge to be a reliable starter for this team. This is a great opportunity. I’m pumped. I can’t wait to play left guard. That’s going to be great. My goal is to start every game.”
Drafted in the third round out of Central Florida a year ago as an offensive tackle, Reid (6-foot-7, 335 pounds) practiced at left guard last season. He played in every game as a rookie, both as a backup tackle and an extra tight end in short-yardage situations.
“I practiced a lot at left guard, and it’s a little different,” Reid said. “You have to bend your knees and be flexible to get a low pad level. I work on that a lot. All offensive linemen have the same purpose: protect the quarterback and open holes for the running back. I have the strength for drive blocking, I believe that strongly. Having a year in the system and being out on the field last year, it’s going to do nothing but help me in the long run.”
ITEM: Ravens reportedly interested in Dennis Dixon
The Ravens are among three teams interested in Steelers unrestricted free agent quarterback Dennis Dixon, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos also are in the running for Dixon, according to the report.
Dixon, 27, was a fifth-round pick by the Steelers in 2008, and he made one of his three career NFL starts in Baltimore against the Ravens in 2009.
ITEM: WR Shipley still rehabbing ACL
Bengals wide receiver Jordan Shipley told Joe Reedy of Cincinnati.com he has been informed by the team’s medical staff that he is still in the rehabilitation stage, but that he’s hopeful about being on the field when OTAs begin on May 22.
“I’m planning on doing some stuff but it depends on what they want me to do,” Shipley told Reedy. “If it was up to me I would be out there.”
Shipley tore in the ACL in his left knee during the third quarter of the Sept. 18 game at Denver. It is the second time he has suffered an ACL injury, the first coming to his right knee during his freshman season at Texas in 2004.
“I’m planning on doing all the workouts with the guys. Some days I feel really good and other days I feel close,” said Shipley. “At this point in the process it is based on how you feel that day. Some days I’m 100 percent.”
ITEM: Shurmur finally gets a shot at an offseason
Coach Pat Shurmur’s rookie season as coach of the Cleveland Browns happened without the benefit of an offseason that he could have used to introduce himself and his system to his team. That introduction ultimately took place during training camp, and Shurmur sees this offseason as a chance to reinforce his method.
“It’s exciting,” Shurmur said on a conference call when the Browns’ workouts began. “For coaches to see players back, that’s an exciting thing. So I’m looking forward to it. I understand and realize how important these workouts can be, so that you can get your systems in place, to refine. The players have a chance to work together and start to develop a winning chemistry.”
Shurmur told the Plain Dealer he was impressed with the attendance at the voluntary workouts.
“There’s a couple of guys that weren’t here and I knew why,” he said. “But it was a great turnout in my opinion.”
Shurmur stressed the benefits of having this time to fine-tune the schemes, because he met most of his players last season when training camp opened in late July.
“From what I saw, the players are looking forward to revisiting the things we did well last year and making improvements on the things that we didn’t do well,” said Shurmur. “You get to work with some of the new coaches and some of the new players. For me, I just have a much better view of what our team is and the areas we need to improve in to get ourselves in a position to play in the playoffs and compete to play in the big game. And I think that’s what we’re looking to do.”