Campanaro looking to hit high note

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro says he feels no pressure entering the preseason finale with a possible roster spot on the line.

After Campanaro sang the "SpongeBob Squarepants" theme song in a leprechaun outfit during training camp, everything else must be easy in comparison for the seventh-round pick.

Campanaro, by the way, was considered the best first-year player who performed at team meetings. He can only hope for the same favorable result in the unresolved wide receiver battle.

If the Ravens keep only five wide receivers, Campanaro is competing against Kamar Aiken, Deonte Thompson and Jeremy Butler for one spot. Thursday night's preseason game in New Orleans could go a long way in settling who stays and who goes.

“It’s a big game, and I’m actually excited to let loose," Campanaro said. "It‘s going to be my first chance to play a lot in a game, to be able to get into a rhythm and get a lot of opportunities. So, I would say I’m more anxious to get out there and play [and] get more opportunities this game than the previous three games.”

Campanaro, who grew up in nearby Columbia, Maryland, has only played 46 snaps this preseason. He could almost match those reps Thursday when a majority of the starters rest.

The Ravens' coaching staff, though, has been impressed with what they've seen out of Campanaro in practice. He has a strong upside because of his sudden quickness and route-running.

"He pretty much gets open all the time,' coach John Harbaugh said. "And he catches the ball and he gets upfield. He’s done a really good job, and those are the kinds of things you want to see him doing in real life. You want to see those things in a game. When the bullets are flying and when you have to convert a third down and everything is on the line, football-wise that’s what you hope for. I’m very confident he’ll do that.”

Campanaro can play slot receiver as well as back up Jacoby Jones as a returner. Because Thompson can fill the same role, the Ravens may only keep one of them.

Thompson has had a bigger preseason, scoring two touchdowns. Campanaro has caught two passes for 24 yards, and he's had kickoff returns of 44 and 30 yards.

This is why Campanaro wants to leave a lasting impression in the preseason finale.

“I think it’s a huge game," Campanaro said. "I honestly don’t know what goes into [making roster choices], but [the coaches] always talk about [how] they’re looking for consistent players. They want to see guys day-in and day-out do it. So, I think I’ve had a strong training camp, and I think this is a great opportunity for me to go out there and translate some of the things I’ve been doing out here on the practice field into a game.”