You might expect a little letdown on the pace of practice now that the first preseason game is only a day away in Tampa. But the Ravens coaches have their pedals to the metal. I can almost hear what Ozzie Newsome (GM) is thinking— "Weed out the rookies and free agents now, not later…we've got some veteran talent that we'll need to make room for when free agents get released and fall our way."
Here's a thumbnail sketch of the Ravens' next to last practice before flying on down to Tampa:
They were fresh off their public practice down at Navy Stadium in Annapolis on Sunday.
Now it was back to the in-house grind.
“Very physical practice, I thought our guys did a great job,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
Here were some of the highlights, courtesy of Garret Downing of Ravens.com::
– Offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele showed some fire throughout practice and got into three different minor skirmishes. The second-year guard mixed it up with Haloti Ngata, Albert McClellan and Josh Bynes. Osemele and Ngata got into it after a running play, and the two exchanged blows to the facemasks. Osemele then got into a shoving match with McClellan and Bynes after the whistle later in practice. Teammates separated Osemele and the defenders in each instance. Harbaugh liked the physical play from his lineman. “I was just disappointed it wasn’t with more guys,” Harbaugh said with a laugh when asked about Osemele’s aggressiveness.
– There was some nervousness when Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice left the practice field with a member of the training staff and didn’t return, but Harbaugh said that Rice “just rolled his ankle.” Crisis averted.
– Linebacker Daryl Smith and nose tackle Terrence Cody both did not practice Monday, which Harbaugh said were scheduled days off for the veterans. Wide receiver David Reed (groin) also did not practice.
– Wide receiver Torrey Smith looks very much like a top wide receiver. He’s smooth in his routes and has tremendous athleticism. Smith also has good hands, which he displayed throughout practice. The best catch of the day for Smith came down the sideline when he leapt over cornerback Chykie Brown and caught the pass with Brown right in his face. The catch was reminiscent of the tough contested grabs Anquan Boldin made over the last three years in Baltimore.
– Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe ran with the first-team offense now that tight end Ed Dickson is sidelined for about a week. He caught a handful of passes from Flacco and is getting more involved in the passing game.
-Rookie Kyle Juszczyk is showing that he can be a valuable asset in the passing game. He made an impressive diving catch on a pass from quarterback Caleb Hanie in the flat, and also caught a few other passes during the day. Keep an eye on Juszczyk’s role in the passing game during the preseason.
-Rookie wide receiver Aaron Mellette got some work with Joe Flacco and the first-team offense. With Reed out, Mellette had a chance to run with the starters and he had a solid day. In one drill, the seventh-round pick caught a pass over the middle with Lardarius Webb in coverage.
– Receiver Tandon Doss had maybe the best play of the day when he reeled in a one-handed grab on an out route to the sidelines.
– Cornerback Corey Graham picked off quarterback Joe Flacco on a batted ball during seven-on-seven drills, and then turned upfield for a nice return. He probably would have had a pick-six on the play if it were a game.
– Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs doesn’t like when the music stops during full-team drills. The music quieted at one point, and he shouted, “Where’s the music at?” A few seconds later, the music went back to full blast.
Tough workout all the way around… Let the weeding continue.