No afternoon practice today, nor will there be any morning practice on Wednesday as well. However, the offense turned up the heat today and made some real nice progress in the air game, with QB Joe Flacco seeming real interested in developing a connection with veteran wide receiver Kelley Washington.
Flacco throws a bomb that traveled over 50 yards in the air before Washington ran under it and reached out before falling to the ground to haul in the deep pass amid cheers from another huge crown in attendance. Joe also hit Todd Heap over the middle for a 20 yard TD and even Troy Smith got in on the TD action with a 20 yarder down the sidelines to a wide open Justin Harper.
It was nice to see safety Ed Reed in full pads and without the red (no contact) jersey. Tavares Gooden and Paul Kruger were running with Reed, Ray Lewis and the first team defense. Gooden looks like he'll be taking Bart Scott's position and Kruger is filling in for the injured Terrell Suggs.
In 11-on-11 drills today, Ray Rice looks explosive as he burst up the middle, while DT Justin Bannan collapsed the 2nd team offensive line to meet the running back in the backfield for a loss.
One of the funnier plays of the morning had Flacco rolling out looking for someone to throw it to before winging it out of bounds, but into a kneeling Ray Lewis' arms on the sidelines, drawing laughter from the players as well as the fans!
After an incomplete pass to L.J. Smith, DT Kelly Gregg rags on him, saying "way to go, LJ, stop thinking about Kendra," referring to Smith's former teammate on the Philadelphia Eagles, Hank Baskett, who is married to the former Playboy Playmate and Hugh Hefner's old girlfriend, Kendra Wilkinson.
Gee, have you seen this before? Troy Smith's overthrown pass was picked off by centerfielder Ed Reed and taken down the left sideline for a TD!
Flacco throws a bullet over the middle complete to Kelley Washington in traffic - again! On a simple screen play, it's interesting how the two lead blockers both blocked Ray Lewis, leaving T-Gooden and Dawan Landry unblocked to tackle the running back.
Field goal time: Steven Hauschka hit consecutively from 47, 34 and 36 yards, but missed from 47 and hit the crossbar (no good) from 51 yards. Similarly, Graham Gano hit from 46, 38, 36, but also missed from 47 and 51 yards. No clear cut difference between the two today, although Gano's leg has more distance on his kicks.
Flacco hits L.J. Smith in the corner of the end zone over Dawan Landry for a TD, with Smith tiptoeing to stay in bounds and then leaping over the rope and into the crowd of fans. He then hit LJ again over the middle for another 15 yard TD pass. The Ravens next surprisingly lined up four wide with Derrick Mason, Kelley Washington and Justin Harper on one side and Ray Rice on the other, before Joe hits Kelley for a nice five yard TD pass over the middle - again!
Finally the defense gets some revenge as Domonique Foxworth jumps in front of a Flacco pass to Harper and then fakes a lateral to Ed Reed, prompting Reed to jokingly yell, "you should have given it to me!"
LeRon McClain is on the sidelines, first on his knees and then laying on his back, complaining of a hard shot to his stomach. Later, Willis McGahee, Ray Rice and Derrick Mason gather around and give him a raft of stuff, teasing him.
Defensive lineman William VanDeSteeg (who?) drops back into coverage against RB Matt Lawrence and picks off a Troy Smith pass. Later, during punt coverage drills, Head Coach John Harbaugh is giving pointers to the players, including Special Teams' ace Kelley Washington.
The heat is oppressive and the players are glad when practice ends, as they head over to the throng of fans to sign autographs before getting a well deserved afternoon off.