The overcast in Owings Mills, Maryland, left a noticeable drear to begin the Ravens’ Monday morning practice. After stretches and warm-ups, special teams followed. To fans, especially fans of Baltimore, the value of special teams is immeasurable, but the excitement it brings isn’t always thrilling. But by the end of practice, players and fans alike celebrated big-time plays.
Player of the day: Tavon Young
While there were exciting touchdown’s scored, I don’t put the greatest value on these plays; I look for consistent success. My notes nor my memory recalls a completed pass this morning when defended by the cornerback. Young has clamped down on receivers and the starting slot cornerback role. The closest one came to catching a pass was Janarion Grant during one-on-one drills. Grant hit a double move which opened a yard or two of separation. Fans responded with ‘ooh’s’ as it looked Grant won the play, but Young’s recovery speed topped Grant’s ability to stay open, ending in Young back beside Grant and earning a pass break-up.
The tale of two halves as the Ravens wide-outs went from dropping multiple passes in basic pass-and-catch drills to hauling in deep throws from Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III. Specifically, Jordan Lasley switched his day from a drop and special teams troubles to catching the practice-winning catch in the end zone from Lamar.
The pass-catchers receive a lot of attention during this time, but RB Mark Thompson is somebody to focus on. He’s played more reps than everyone other than Javorius Allen and Alex Collins.
Today posed an unusually tough practice for Hayden Hurst and Andre Levrone. Hurst jumped offsides, dropped a pass and also couldn’t reel in the fourth-down catch as Chuck Clark broke up the play. Levrone suffered two dropped passes, one of which was a deep ball in coverage drills from Jackson.
There were many big plays today, but the most exciting occurred on the final drive of practice. Lamar was leading the team down midfield when a pass was tipped three times before falling into the arms of an offensive player. As a result, the first-team offense on the sidelines were jumping up and down and signaling for the first down.
The excitement peaked as the offense hurried back to the line. Jackson dropped back and completed the pass to Lasley in the corner of the end zone: Touchdown.
”We won! We won! That’s game, baby,” the offense shouted. The scoreboard read the offense won by a single point.
Head coach John Harbaugh didn’t let this play settle it, though. He put Kaare Vedvik out to complete the finale with a PAT. Unsurprisingly, Vedvik scored.
Fans and myself included started wondering if there was something more nagging at Marlon Humphrey after a stretch of tough practices. The cornerback posted on Twitter after the end of Saturday’s practice mentioning he needed to step it up. Today, the sophomore cornerback out of Alabama produced a strong practice, breaking up two passes against Michael Crabtree and one more against Chris Moore.
The defense held strong against a four-down drive as Eric Weddle tackled Alex Collins for no gain on third down and Clark broke up the fourth-down catch from Hurst.
Both Terrell Suggs and Tim Williams swatted passes at the line this morning. It’s good to see Williams get a good play after Tyus Bowser misses another practice. But Suggs didn’t receive veteran treatment when jumping offsides; head coach John Harbaugh instructed the pass rusher to run a lap for the pre-snap penalty, just as he did with Kamalei Correa on Saturday. Suggs wasn’t the only one to receive extra cardio though, with Hayden Hurst, Andrew Donnal and Jaleel Scott all producing a false start on the same play and jogging a lap.
Darious Williams had a tough practice today. His first play against Chris Moore was near-perfect coverage, but somehow Moore made the catch from Flacco. He spoke with Harbaugh after and then faced Jaelon Acklin. It looked as if Williams jumped the route, expecting an inside throw, but Acklin punished him with a double-move down the field for a wide-open touchdown. His last one-on-one matchup was good defense on Willie Snead IV, which left Darious finishing the drill on a positive note.