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Ravens News 8/2: Camp notes, Hayden Hurst’s journey and more

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Minicamp Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line Continues to Shuffle - Ken McKusick

DL Alignment

Despite lots of maneuvering on the offensive line, the defensive line used for passing situations has not changed from last season. Terrell Suggs, Willie Henry, Za’Darius Smith, and Matt Judon lined up as the first unit.

Smith looks sculpted as always and shared a pressure with Judon that forced Flacco to throw a pass away. Even in a noncontact practice, they are an imposing pair.

OL Shell Game

The Ravens continued to confound roster handicappers with their alignment of interior linemen. On Tuesday:

Ones: Ronnie Stanley, Matt Skura, Alex Lewis, Jermaine Eluemunor, Orlando Brown. Skura also took some snaps at center with Lewis at LG.

Twos: Justin Evans, Bradley Bozeman, Maurice Shakir, Nico Siragusa, Andrew Donnal. Siragusa also had snaps at center.

While Skura has the most first-team reps, no center has emerged as a clear leader at the position. The team benefited from having a mauling center (Jensen) in 2017, which helps keep lanes clear for the power run game, but there is not an obvious replacement. Conversely, it appears Orlando Brown would need to play poorly this exhibition season to lose the starting RT spot. Not only is the team short on other viable options at RT, but appears Brown may be first up at LT if something happens to Stanley.

If Orlando Brown locks down the right tackle job, pushing James Hurst to left guard and Alex Lewis to center, Baltimore’s offensive line will average more than 315 pounds per man.

Practice Report 7/31: Smokey Brown’s Hot Training Camp Continues - Garrett Downing

- Cornerback Jimmy Smith continues to make solid progress. He’s less than eight months removed from a torn Achilles, but he looks like he’s in midseason form. Smith has practiced fully from the start of training camp and his quick recovery was on display Tuesday when he ran step-for-step with speedy receiver Chris Moore on a deep ball. Smith didn’t give up any ground or show limitations as the pass fell incomplete, and Moore actually drew a flag on the play for pushing off Smith.

Jimmy Smith was in the midst of his best season before his Achilles began bothering him last year. With a $15.4 million cap hit, he is the team’s second highest paid player. Despite their tremendous depth at cornerback, the Ravens need the top cover man on the field as much as possible this season.

NFL releases fact sheet on new helmet rule - Herbie Teope

The NFL implemented a new helmet rule in late March, and league officiating crews are making the rounds visiting team training camps to educate coaches and players on the changes.

But there has been confusion among some players in the past week, leading to the league to release a fact sheet Wednesday morning related to the rule.

According to the fact sheet, the penalties for a violation include a loss of 15 yards or ejection, which includes a set of standards:

1. Player lowers his helmet to establish a linear body posture prior to initiating and making contact with the helmet.

2. Unobstructed path to his opponent.

3. Contact clearly avoidable and player delivering the blow had other options.

The “contact clearly avoidable and player delivering the blow had other options” portion seems particularly problematic. Even before this rule change, defenders were routinely penalized for hits that appeared to be clearly unavoidable.

Rookie Hayden Hurst Has Come an ‘Incredibly’ Long Way. Now He Wants to Show It - Ryan Mink

It’s been an up-and-down start to camp for the South Carolina product. He missed a couple practices early in training camp because of a soft-tissue issue, which set him back a bit. But he’s been on the field for more than a week since.

“Just annoying for me,” Hurst said. “It was a little nagging injury, but it’s gone now and I’m 100 percent. The competitor in me got a little [ticked] off I guess, but I’m back 100 percent now, so there’s no looking back.”

Hurst is the Ravens’ best all-around tight end. Veterans Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams are both reliable pass-catchers, but their strengths are blocking. Fellow Ravens rookie tight end Mark Andrews, a third-round selection who is primarily a receiver, has missed seven straight practices.

“There’s so much that I continue to work on daily; I’m never going to be perfect,” he said. “But from where I was when I first got here to now, it’s incredible how far I’ve gotten.”

Hayden Hurst has a prime opportunity to become an impact rookie for the Ravens. The multifaceted tight end is expected to be a starter in an offense and with a quarterback that features the position.