Here's a look at recent national media coverage of the Ravens:
• ESPN.com's James Walker says Troy Smith has a chance to grab the starting quarterback job after Kyle Boller's struggles in the first preseason game against the New England Patriots:
After a two-turnover performance by Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller against New England, this is a golden opportunity for Troy Smith to take the lead. Smith will get the start Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings. If Smith proves he can move the offense and, most importantly, take care of the football, it should give Smith some separation in this three-way race with two preseason games remaining.
• Ravens coach John Harbaugh told NBCSports.com's Tom Curran that the success of the quarterbacks in preseason games will outweigh the importance of practice performances:
Harbaugh said that Smith will start the next preseason game for Baltimore. How will the Ravens decide who starts the season under center? "What they do in the game is the biggest indicator," said Harbaugh. "That's not to say that practices are not important. I couldn't give you percentages and say 40 percent practices and 60 percent games or anything like that. Some of it is going to be gut on the part of the coaches as well but the game is important. In the end, we just have to go with the guy that we feel is going to give us the best chance to win the next game and if that's a gut decision. That's what it is."
• Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says offensive lineman Jared Gaither is on the hot seat, and could face stiff competition for the starting job:
Gaither was a fifth-round supplemental pick out of Maryland last year. He moves well for a man so massive (6-9, 330) but injured an ankle early in camp. If he isn't ready for the season opener, Chad Slaughter likely will fill in. Slaughter, who spent six years with the Raiders, had been out of the league for a year and was pouring concrete at his home when the Ravens called a few weeks ago.
Starkey also notes that veteran linebacker Jarret Johnson is starting to step up his performance:
The sixth-year pro from Alabama faced a ton of pressure last season when he signed a three-year, $13 million deal and replaced All-Pro Adalius Thomas. It took Johnson a while to find his niche in the defense. He returned with increased confidence and is having an outstanding camp. He has dropped 15 pounds and is expected to be more of a pass rusher.
• The injury to starting running back Willis McGahee has opened the door for rookie Ray Rice. FoxSports.com's Alex Marvez thinks McGahee should watch his back for the former Rutgers standout:
Even though he's still young (26) and ranked eighth in the NFL last season with 1,207 rushing yards, McGahee should be looking over his shoulder. McGahee doesn't have the same kind of home-run ability that Rice has flashed during his first NFL preseason. The Carroll County Times also reported Monday that McGahee will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. That may not bode well for the long term considering McGahee suffered a gruesome injury to that same knee in college.
• Director of player development and former Raven O.J. Brigance has been battling Lou Gehrig's disease since May 2007. He addressed the team in a videotaped statement during training camp and encouraged them to take advantage of their opportunity in the NFL by working hard. Jason Cole of YahooSports.com wrote that Brigance has helped 'set the tone' for Harbaugh's first season as coach:
After Brigance, diagnosed with the disease formally known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis approximately a year ago, finished his four-minute talk to an ovation from the players, Harbaugh came to the front of the room and called upon chaplain Rod Hairston and asked the players to gather as well, take a knee and pray.It's a moment that has set the tone for Harbaugh's first training camp with the Ravens. Harbaugh has come in with a set of rules and a different way of doing things. Last week, a general manager from another team wondered if those methods would be met with resistance, particularly from established veterans who might expect more favorable treatment.Instead of complaints, Harbaugh and his methods have been embraced.
[Compiled by Kyle Goon]Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times