BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 15: Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens intercepts a pass intended for Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans during the fourth quarter of the AFC Divisional playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 15, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Texans 20-13. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
The Baltimore Ravens training camp picked up pace a bit yesterday with a lot of action on the fields at their Owings Mills Under Armour Performance Center. The emphasis was on passing and mostly in 11-on-11 drills, led of course, by QB Joe Flacco.
Directing traffic as his offense came to the line of scrimmage, Flacco points receivers and running backs to their correct positions, barks out signals, takes the snap and calmly drops back looking for an open receiver and usually hitting his target.
I say usually, but not always, as Bernard Pollard, Lardarius Webb, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis all picked off passes, but a couple of them were tipped balls that could not be blamed on poor throws. Reed's pick of a deep pass was reminiscent of his last minute interception against the Houston Texans in last year's AFC Divisional Playoff win. Ray's pick was a tipped ball that he immediately lateraled to Reed in such a smooth way that it's obvious their chemistry is so clear between them.
(Read more on Wednesday's Training Camp recap after the 'Jump')
Second year WR LaQuan Williams is targeted on a regular basis by Flacco as well as Tyrod Taylor and responds well. In fact, right now I would say that Williams has the clear lead in the race for the 4th WR spot, over Tandon Doss, Tommy Streeter and any other receiver in camp.
Speaking of Tyrod Taylor, he is clearly the second best QB on the field, ahead of Curtis Painter. A nice double pump fake, freezes the cornerback and he lofts a TD pass to WR Logan Payne and then hits rookie RB Bobby Rainey in stride across the middle. Another Taylor pass over the middle to rookie TE Matt Balasavage split the coverage but Balasavage was rocked to the ground, losing his helmet on a hard hit by safety Omar Brown.
ESPN NFL analyst John "The Professor" Clayton was at camp today taking in the action and getting some one-on-one face time with coaches and players. I'm a huge fan of his, as his knowledge and delivery is so professional and solid. I do, however, miss his fun debates with former analyst Sean Salisbury.