Injuries have been minor, of the “routine training camp stuff” through July 28, that’s the biggest thing for a Ravens team which has seen way too many players wiped out of a season by this time in years past.
Per most reports by visitors to Camp, this one has a much more upbeat atmosphere about it than last year’s session.
According to Ravens media writer Garrett Downing, here are some highlights of camp practices so far:
Wide receiver John Brown and QB Joe Flacco are hooking up big-time in drills and simulations. Flacco hit Brown perfectly in stride for a 40-yard bomb on Thursday, and the speedy receiver did a nice job running under the pass.
“Flacco came back to hit Brown on a deep out route for a first down and then again for a touchdown during seven-on-seven drills. On the second touchdown, Flacco put a pass just over the shoulder of cornerback Brandon Carr and Brown made a nice snag just inside the pylon for the score.”
The practice showed off Brown’s speed, as well as his ability to make tough catches and get open with precise route running. The Ravens have said since signing Brown in the spring that he’s more than just a speed threat, and he demonstrated that in Thursday’s practice.
“I’m feeling good about it,” Brown said. “Joe’s a great quarterback. Even with the backup quarterbacks, we have a lot of weapons. It just feels good to get the connection down with all of them.”
Other Downing notes from practice:
– Rookie first-round pick Hayden Hurst participated in about half the practice as he continues to work his way back from a soft-tissue issue. He certainly doesn’t look hobbled, and he made a pair of nice catches from Flacco before heading into the locker room. Fellow rookie tight end Mark Andrews (soft-tissue injury) did not practice. Veteran defensive tackle Brandon Williams also didn’t practice.
– After having a week to acclimate to training camp, the veteran players are spending more time on the field this week. Veteran safety Eric Weddle and Carr both went through the full practice for the first time of camp.
– Rookie receiver Jordan Lasley had a couple nice plays. He showed nice vision once he had the ball in his hands and used his shiftiness to spring him for some extra yardage. He also beat Humphrey for a touchdown on a double move to catch a deep pass from Flacco.
– Humphrey gave up a few deep completions on the day, which is uncharacteristic for last year’s first-round pick. Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale said he still needed to watch the tape to see exactly what happened on those plays, but he did stress that they tell their defensive backs to avoid unnecessary contact in practice on those types of plays.
– After starting practice red-hot, the offense had some miscues down the stretch. Flacco got picked off by linebacker Patrick Onwuasor on a slant route in the red-zone, and the offense also had a false start and bobbled snap. Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said the group was working on some new plays late in practice, which was part of the reason for the issue.
– Defensive tackle Willie Henry has been an active interior pass rusher early in practice, and he showed off that ability by sliding through the offensive line and touching down rookie Lamar Jackson for a sack in full-team drills.
– John Harbaugh’s father, Jack, was on the practice field Thursday. Harbaugh talked earlier this week about a text message he received from his father regarding his comments about “callousing up” young players, and the head coach shared the text message from his dad: “Absolutely love the message you sent on callousing up the mind and body. I believe human beings will live up or live down to the expectations we have for them.”
On Friday, safety Tony Jefferson had some shining moments as he picked off two Flacco passes. Jefferson’s second interception came when Flacco tried to hit tight end Hayden Hurst down the seam but slightly overthrew his target. Jefferson was waiting over the top for it and leapt to make the catch. It would have been perfect had he not tripped over his own feet during the return, getting a laugh from his defensive teammates and the crowd.
Some other notes from practice:
- Guard Alex Lewis, running back Kenneth Dixon, rookie tight end Mark Andrews, rookie tackle Greg Senat and cornerback Bennett Jackson did not practice today, along with the four players on the physically unable to perform list. Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser left the field early with trainers. Head Coach John Harbaugh said they’re all minor camp injuries.
- Wide receiver Chris Moore made the play of the day when he hauled in a deep pass from Flacco with one hand along the sideline. It’s the second time this summer that Moore has made such a play. This time, he did it despite Humphrey getting flagged for defensive pass interference. Moore has all but solidified his No. 4 spot on the wide receiver depth chart.
- Cornerback Maurice Canady had a nice day, including a couple pass breakups during the one-on-one passing drills.
- Rookie linebacker Kenny Young got some buzz when Martindale mentioned him as being in the running for the starting inside linebacker job. Young delivered with a good play in coverage Friday when he broke up a pass down the seam intended for Hurst.
- There was a little sloppiness on the offensive side with multiple bad or mistimed snaps and two false starts. Hurst and left tackle Ronnie Stanley were both flagged for jumping early and both ran down the sideline and back as self-punishment.
- Slants to veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree seem automatic. He’s so good at setting up the route and reliable at catching the ball and getting up the field.
- Wide receiver Tim White continues to flash and is making a solid case to make the 53-man roster for both his skills as a pass-catcher and returner (where he’s atop the depth chart). There’s still a long way to go, however.