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Ravens LB coach stands in for Suggs

April 09, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Even though he works in football, Baltimore Ravens coach Ted Monachino now knows how a relief pitcher feels.

On Saturday, he got the call to take over for linebacker Terrell Suggs. He was on hand to accept the player of the year honors during the Ravens Roost No. 7 Double EE banquet at the Hagerstown Elks Lodge.

It’s just the way things go these days for the Ravens and the rest of the National Football League. The league is in lockout status after the collective bargaining agreement expired last month, so there aren’t any players working out, let alone accepting awards.

“For us, it has been business as usual,” said Baltimore’s second-year linebackers coach. “We have been doing as much as possible to get ready for the (upcoming NFL) draft. After the draft, I’m not sure.”

The lockout has made things a little sketchy. Players are missing from the Ravens’ training complex. There is no one working out, no one rehabilitating and no one to work with to get ready for the 2011 season. That is, if there is a 2011 season.

“It’s all guessing,” Monachino said. “Only a few people — those who have been in the meetings — really know what’s going on.

“I think the biggest thing is not being able to see how our injured players are coming back from injuries. This is a time that a lot of people improve by making big gains in the weightroom. But we have to have questions about how (defensive back Domonique Foxworth) and (linebacker and 2010 first-round draft pick Sergio Kindle) are doing.”

It’s not that their injuries will affect the Ravens’ draft strategy, but it could raise other concerns and needs. Still, Baltimore will take its usual approach to its selections.

“With (general manager Ozzie Newsome’s) philosophy, every position is on high alert,” Monachino said. “He has taken the best player available and worked with what’s on the board.”

Monachino coaches Baltimore’s outside linebackers, but he feels pretty comfortable. The Ravens have worked to become more diverse on offense, but on defense, they stay as close to status quo as possible.

“The great thing about being a defensive coach, you know that No. 52 is there to run the show,” Monachino said. “The way we are right now, we will go as long as Ray (Lewis) says he can play. I’m not going say he will play forever, but after last year, now I can’t say he can’t. It will be all up to Ray.”

Everything will come down to how, and when, the lockout sorts out. Monachino said things like free agency will be fast and furious as teams will be forced to make aggressive bids for players.

Some fear the season is in jeopardy, but Monachino isn’t one of them.

“I don’t believe (there won’t be a season),” he said. “I think there will be delays, but the season will start on time. The two sides just have to work some things out.

“We have a bunch of men who want to play football. We have coaches who want to coach. And we have fans who want to see games.”

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