I truly try my best, every season, to not build the excitement of Ravens football too high. Five months without practice leaves us all excited at the notion of Joe Flacco simply picking up the pigskin. We see a completion and over-anticipate success. But this year, after this past week of practices, I cannot help myself. Too many times we’ve witnessed Joe look deep and hit his receiver in stride.
Player of the Day: Joe Flacco
I don’t place Joe’s recent play-making success on Lamar Jackson’s arrival. It may have contributed, but I’m far more under the belief of Flacco having multiple starting receivers on the offense being the cause. The trio of John Brown, Willie Snead IV and Michael Crabtree are tried and true targets, and Flacco’s demonstrating first-hand he can deliver. Joe completed multiple deep shots to a handful of targets this afternoon. As fans all know, Brown has been the recipient to many of these passes throughout the entirety of camp.
Though the deep shots are fun, the best event of the day came in the form of Flacco’s eight-play drive resulting in a touchdown pass to TE Nick Boyle. The Ravens utilized both the running and passing attack, finishing the series with seven more points on the board.
While Flacco owned today’s practice, most offensive players also produced a successful practice. Lamar hit multiple throws, including a 40-yard deep-shot to DeVier Posey for the touchdown. Though there was wobble on the throw, a touchdown pass is a touchdown pass. Lamar also hit Willie Snead down the sideline for a 25-yard gain.
Possibly the biggest cheers resulted from Joe Flacco connecting with Breshad Perriman on a deep shot. Soon as Perriman completed the catch the stands erupted with excitement and support.
After a few drops in the past few days, Jaleel Scott answered with a touchdown catch from Joe during red-zone drills. The window for the completion was tight in double coverage but Flacco hit Scott in the chest. A slight bobble from Scott worried fans initially, but he locked the ball in his arms as he came down with the ball in the end-zone.
It wasn’t a perfect practice though, as Hayden Hurst and Alex Collins dropped passes from Flacco. Both hit them in the hands in stride, but they couldn’t secure the football. For all those worried about Joe ‘not caring’, he dropped an expletive after the second drop. Yes, the big-man cares and demonstrated his frustration vocally.
Josh Woodrum also suffered a rough practice as two passes were tipped. Luckily for him, both were dropped by the defenders. On his offensive drive, he did find a running lane for 20-yards after finding nobody open on his progressions. The drive ended with a completed field goal.
The biggest note on defense, unfortunately, is another struggling practice from sophomore cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Over the past few days he’s been beat on multiple deep shots and in shorter routes. From my notes:
5 —> 13 complete for 30 yards, 29 in coverage
5 —> 15 complete for 12 yards, 29 in coverage
5 —> 10 complete for 6 yards, 29 in coverage
I’m unsure what’s going on with Marlon, but I’m confident he will bounce back soon. In fact, he posted on Twitter after today’s practice. Both Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle responded to his post.
RELAXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX— Eric Weddle (@weddlesbeard) July 28, 2018
The Ravens offense produced two false starts today, which looked to upset the coaching staff, but an offsides jump by Kamalei Correa was the ‘last straw’. The linebacker was instructed to go run a lap. Earlier in practice, though, KC shook a running back out of his cleats on a pass-blocking/blitz pick-up drill. I didn’t get to see who it was, though.
It wasn’t all bad by any stretch for the defense, though it sounds like it. Matt Judon and rookie safety DeShon Elliott turned up the contact during red-zone drills, laying booming hits on Andre Levrone and Gus Edwards, respectively. Both offensive players stood up after the hits without issue. You can tell the Ravens defensive unit is ready to play with live ammunition. I think the entire team is, to be quite frank. The thirst for hitting, scoring and play-making is days away from being quenched.