Another practice in the books for the 2018 Baltimore Ravens. The rain also participated in practice, which may have been a reason for why the squad did not wear pads today. Because of this, I wasn’t observing the running game and offensive line like I’d planned last night. Instead, I watched passing from the quarterbacks and the route-work from receivers.
Player of the day: Kaare Vedvik
After Justin Tucker finished his kicking, Rosburg put in backup kicker/punter Kaare. After completing his first three, Vedvik and the field goal unit lined up for a 66-yard attempt. Fans were excited and whispering the distance back-and-forth with one another. Snap goes, hold is good and Kaare rocketed the field goal between the uprights. Honestly, I believe he could have completed a 70-yard kick with the leg strength he demonstrated.
Head coach John Harbaugh was asked about Kaare after practice today and how he’s been assessed so far.
“Pretty impressive, all he does is come out here and impress,” Harbaugh said. “He had a little wind at his back (laughter). He just kicks them straight, he’s a very talented guy. I’m expecting either he beats Tucker out or someone trades us a draft pick for him. What do you think? Which one do you think it could be?” Reporters all agreed on the latter.
The defense shined today, with multiple defensive backs creating pass break-ups. Unfortunately, they left something to be desired as back-to-back red-zone plays were dropped interceptions. Joe Flacco fired a pass to the back-corner of the end-zone and Marlon Humphrey made a big catch. It was pouring during these drills and clearly the weather affected his ability to secure the ball. He came down with it initially, but the ball bounced around and ultimately out of his arms. Nonetheless, no touchdown on that play.
Lamar stepped in on the next play and delivered a pass in tight coverage which Darious Williams had his arms around momentarily. Once again, though, the ball hit the turf.
Janarion Grant looked good today. This is the second time I’ve noticed him produce. After a couple catches in 11’s, he shook Tavon Young in the 5-man drills; the rain-soaked field clearly helped Grant. Initially, Tavon bullied him on the line in the slot, but Grant spun as Young was applying leverage and Grant broke free for a five-yard completion.
All along the running back depth chart, from Kenneth Dixon and Javorius Allen to Gus Edwards, this is a competition. The only player I feel exempt is Alex Collins. To me, he is the surefire starter. I’ve watched his footwork the past few practices and he’s capable of cutting quicker than we witnessed last season. Barring anything serious, he’s posting 1,000 yards. He’s also improved in the passing game, which will keep him on the field in third-down situations.
Kenny Young swatted a pass on a third-down red-zone situation against Joe Flacco. I’m liking what I’m seeing from both Anthony Averett and Kenny already.
Averett allowed a touchdown to Michael Crabtree during the 5-man drills. Flacco saw them line up and hit Crabtree next to the first pylon.
Overall, not a gaudy practice. A lot of running game stuff was worked on, but nothing I can analyze due to the lack of pads. I do like Collins’ footwork the most and it will be exciting to watch the first pre-season contest against the Chicago Bears here in ten days.