Quarterbacks, rookies and injured veterans returned to the practice field at the Baltimore Ravens Under Armour Performance Center yesterday for what will be the official start to the 2012 NFL season. The rest of the team will begin reporting to their Owings Mills facility on Wednesday, with the first full team practice on Thursday afternoon.
No more two-a-day practices like in the past, due to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed last summer. The team will hold most of their practices in the mid-to-late afternoons. Media, including Baltimore Beatdown, as well as lucky fans who had their names selected in the team's Lottery, will be there to watch them.
The Ravens took part in light drills for the most part, with the quarterbacks, defensive backs, and linemen in three main separate groups, although there were some combined drills between them. Cornerback Cary Williams put a nice hit on the exposed ribcage of rookie RB Bernard Pierce, who was reaching out with both hands for an incomplete pass.
With running backs Ray Rice and Anthony Allen part of the veteran group that should be reporting today, the depth chart on Tuesday looked to be Damian Berry, Bernard Pierce and Bobby Rainey. Of the three, Berry looked the most knowledgeable and polished, but Rainey was by far the better pass receiver of the group, snatching pass after pass without a single noted drop.
Veterans on the field included center Matt Birk and nose tackle Terrence Cody. Without his starting three wide receivers, it appeared that Flacco seemed to favor the speedy undrafted free agent rookie out of Florida, Deonte Thompson, who did not disappoint.
Justin Tucker was the field goal kicker in Billy Cundiff's absence and he nailed the first FG of camp, what looked to be a 35-yarder, as well as a few closer attempts. However, for Tucker to unseat the incumbent Cundiff, he'll need to blow away the competition and thoroughly impress the coaching staff.