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Ravens News 8/19: Dark Horse Emerging and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens OTA Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens camp observations: Is there a competition at No. 3 RB? Tempers flare, James Proche and DBs up to task - Jeff Zrebiec

Andrews, by the way, didn’t get much resistance from the Panthers defense. He found space throughout the practice and had a number of catches. For the Ravens offense, though, the standout was Proche, who made a leaping catch down the sideline for a big gain. Proche also got over top of the Panthers defense in a red-zone drill and Tyler Huntley hit him in stride. With so many of the Ravens’ top receivers out, Proche continues to flourish with the additional opportunities.

Cornerback Anthony Averett stood out in the matchup between Ravens defensive backs and Panthers wide receivers and tight ends. Averett made a strong recovery after he was initially beaten to break up a pass intended for rookie Terrace Marshall Jr. Ravens cornerback Chris Westry forced an incompletion and Peters had a breakup versus Krishawn Hogan. Ravens safety Geno Stone, however, was beaten on a deep pass to Shi Smith.

All-in-all, it was a very good day for the defensive backs, who were competitive and around the ball. Nigel Warrior had two pass breakups and should have turned one of them into an interception. Ar’Darius Washington had his daily pass breakup in the end zone. But the defensive play of the day for the Ravens belonged to Tavon Young, who wrestled the ball away from Carolina standout receiver DJ Moore on a deep pass down the sideline. Young played the ball perfectly.

Ravens vs. Panthers practice observations on James Proche’s big day, offensive line struggles, a dark-horse RB and more - Jonas Shaffer

The Ravens seemed to be laying a foundation for a strong practice in pass protection. In one-on-one drills, one Carolina pass rusher after another tried and failed to uproot, shake past or speed by a Ravens offensive lineman.

Then they’d get to 11-on-11 work, and the struggles of Saturday night’s preseason opener played out once more.

The Ravens’ woes up front aren’t dire, and perhaps will be resolved by next month’s season opener.

But right tackle Alejandro Villanueva struggled against the Panthers’ edge rushers in one-on-ones and team drills, and was called for a holding penalty midway through the practice.

With Justice Hill still sidelined by an undisclosed injury, Ty’Son Williams is making a strong push for the Ravens’ 53-man roster.

He was solid again Wednesday, when his biggest highlight might’ve come on a play in which he didn’t touch the ball. After a rough stretch for the Ravens’ offensive line, the 6-foot, 220-pound Williams took on Panthers linebacker Clay Johnston (6-1, 225) on a blitz pickup. Williams didn’t cede any ground; instead, he put Johnston on his backside. Johnston got up slowly before heading over to the sideline gingerly.

Defensive lineman Justin Madubuike continues to impress as a run defender, chasing down a couple of pitches and off-tackle runs from the back side. He also got his hand on a pass at the line of scrimmage.

Ravens’ Tyler Huntley goes from beating Lamar Jackson to backing him up - Jamison Hensley

“He made plays with his arm, with his feet and with his head. I thought he did an excellent job,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He took a big step in that direction to be the backup quarterback.”

Huntley is considered a great fit for the Ravens, and that has been reinforced over the summer. There have been times when Huntley’s ability has resembled that of Jackson with how he can escape pressure in the pocket and make plays with his legs.

“He’s a playmaker,” Ravens wide receiver Devin Duvernay said. “He can throw it. He can run it. He can do it all. He has a good deep ball. Overall, he’s electric.”

Asked what he has seen from Huntley, Ravens wide receiver James Proche said, “The same thing you all saw — he is balling. A lot of the passes [that] I’m on the catching end of, you look back, ‘Who threw that? No. 2 Tyler Huntley.’”

NFL’s top nine defenses in 2021: Rams and Bucs reign supreme, but Broncos have immense upside - Adam Schein

4. Baltimore Ravens

2020 RANKINGS · Points: 2nd | Yards: 7th

Always bank on Baltimore. Don “Wink” Martindale is a fine coordinator, having fielded a top-three scoring defense in each of his three seasons on the job. Credit is due to general manager Eric DeCosta, who put together an excellent brew of defensive players, as always. Let’s go front to back ...

Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams and Derek Wolfe form a rock-solid core up front. Baltimore will surely miss free-agent departures Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue, but are you willing to bet against the Ravens creating pressure off the edges? It’s what they do. At linebacker, it really feels like Patrick Queen is going to break out into stardom in Year 2. He was everywhere in the preseason opener, piling up four tackles (two for loss) and a sack in just 20 snaps. The secondary is headlined by the stellar CB duo of Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, but the unit is exceedingly deep and talented.

Here’s a fine nugget from NFL Research: The Ravens have allowed 20.0 or fewer PPG in each of the last four seasons, the longest active streak in the NFL. In today’s offense-centric league, that’s quite an accomplishment.

PFF Era All-Rookie Team: Best NFL rookies since 2006 - Michael Renner

RT MARSHAL YANDA, BALTIMORE RAVENS (2007)

While Yanda’s work at guard is what will be remembered when he goes into the Hall of Fame, his two seasons at tackle proved that he would have been damn good no matter where he lined up. He earned an 85.9 overall grade at right tackle as a rookie before moving inside to guard.

S DAWAN LANDRY, BALTIMORE RAVENS (2006) & DERWIN JAMES, LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (2018)

While it was Landry’s brother, LaRon, who got all the hype coming out of college, Dawan made a bigger splash despite being a fifth-round pick. He picked off five passes and broke up four more for an 89.9 overall grade as a rookie. Nowadays, Dawan and LaRon would almost certainly have played linebacker in the NFL.