The second week of voluntary OTAs (Organized Team Activities) ended Wednesday, and while the Beatdown didn't receive credentials to be there this week (unlike the first week), we can still bring you all of the OTA news.
Pitta Hits the Field
The Ravens released this video yesterday of Dennis Pitta working out for the first time. While it was mostly just individual routes and blocking with Maxx Williams, it was certainly refreshing to see Pitta looking healthy and running. Ravens insider Jamison Hensley said Pitta "looked much more fluid in running his routes off to the side, and he even caught some passes from Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub." Pitta also did a "goal post dunk" after catching a pass.
Pitta is back on the field. https://t.co/O1w1VuexR0— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) June 4, 2015
In other TE news, Nick Boyle also performed well. Ryan Mink said: "Boyle gets open on intermediate routes and even hauled in a deep out route for a 25-yard gain. He catches the ball with confidence."
#Ravens rookie TE Nick Boyle has better hands than many anticipated. He was a frequent target in red zone.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) June 3, 2015
In his first OTA action, Maxx Williams "moved noticeably better [than Boyle] yet he was seldom targeted and was rather stealth during this particular practice session." These were the observations of Tony Lombardi, of Russell Street Report.
Daryl Smith's Presence Very Welcome
This story is from last week, but it carries over. Veteran LB Daryl Smith has impressed both coaches and players for his presence at the OTAs. His attendance has encouraged younger players, and he seems to be a role model, DT Brandon Williams said: "It means a lot seeing a guy of that stature who has been in the league that long coming out here and putting the work in just like us, "You can play with a guy like that. You can believe in a guy like that."
Coach Harbaugh said "Daryl being out there as a veteran leader on defense [is valuable]," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "[He is] getting guys lined up, just running the show and showing the young linebackers how to run the show. … It’s a big plus for us."
Smith also showed that he can still be a defensive force, even as he ages, as Harbaugh praised Smith's play: "I think he led the defense in production points per play yesterday in practice, too, so he can still play."
The Ravens are definitely lucky to have a great veteran presence.
Scramble for Starting Safety Slot
One of the fiercest and tightly contested battles of training camp is for the safety job, between Will Hill and Matt Elam. The coaches are giving them each a fair chance, as both are getting first-team snaps. The winner will play alongside new addition Kendrick Lewis. Per Ravens writers Sarah Ellison and Ryan Mink, "Elam has returned leaner and quicker (he lost about 5 pounds), and stood out in yesterday’s session open to the media. Per Ryan Mink, Elam made a leaping interception against Schaub, and later jumped to knock away a potential touchdown pass to tight end Crockett Gillmore." This is encouraging news for Ravens fans, many who have given up on Elam. Us here at the Beatdown still believe in him, as our blog editor Matthew Stevens wrote this great piece on him. Best of luck to both Elam and Hill, both are capable of earning the spot.
Jamison Hensley also reported this promising news about prospect Terrence Brooks.
#Ravens FS Terrence Brooks, a 2014 3rd-round pick who tore his ACL in December, continues to surprise. He participated in team drills today.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) June 3, 2015
Tucker is Great as Usual
Ryan Mink reported that Tucker nailed a field goal that "appeared to be from beyond 60 yards in wet conditions." It's nice to see Tucker continuing to improve his already great game.
What's Going on at WR?
Well, quite a lot. The battle rages on between the 11 WRs on the roster, competing for what we think will be 5-7 spots. Let's look at who had a good week, and who didn't.
- Kamar Aiken: My man Kamar had a great week. Ryan Mink of the Baltimore Ravens reported that "Aiken caught everything his way, including a long bomb over the top, a tough tiptoeing sideline catch, a lunging fingertips grab over the middle and a jump ball in the end zone." Tony Lombardi of Russell Street Report said that "he does appear to effectively fight through press coverage and comes back towards the ball. This helps him to create separation and give his quarterback an inviting target." Lombardi said he was " beginning to look a poor man’s Anquan Boldin."
- Jeremy Butler: His name isn't brought up often, but Mink said "Butler excelled running every kind of route and showed reliable hands. He’s quicker than his 6-foot-2, 218 pounds would suggest." Is a unexpected roster spot in Butler's future?
- Breshad Perriman: Delivered in his first OTA action. Mink reported that "He adjusted well to haul in a pass down the seam and split two defenders. Perriman consistently explodes off the line of scrimmage, even when pressed." And Lombardi had even higher praise for Perriman, saying "you would never know the guy has been labeled a player with bad hands."
- Darren Waller: Showed off his size, Mink said "he went up the ladder" to grab a pass. Lombardi reported that he "caught a go route down the left sideline for a score after hauling in an outstanding throw from Schaub."
- DeAndre Carter: Had a mediocre practice, both Mink and Lombardi reported good catches from him, however, there were drops.
- Michael Campanaro and Aldrick Robinson: both had bad weeks, going down with a quad injury, and MCL sprain, respectively. They will be out until training camp.
And that wraps up this week's OTA news, thankfully, most of it was good and encouraging news. The future is bright for the '15-16 Ravens. The final week of OTAs will be next week, June 8th-11th. I'm unsure if we'll be there, but we'll do our best reporting we can, there or not.