With 40 minutes remaining in today’s hot and humid practice, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh gave a proposition for kicker Justin Tucker: sink a 47-yard field goal and end practice. Tucker, who completed one from 65-yards a half-hour earlier, drove the ball through the uprights and the team celebrated before heading inside. According to Harbaugh, Damarion “Pepe” Williams was a player attempting to distract Tucker.
“He doesn’t always understand the situation,” Harbaugh said. “Like for instance, today, at the end we called [the players] up and said, ‘If Tucker makes this field goal, practice is over.’ The defense obviously was rooting for Tucker, in that case. But not Pepe. Pepe was over there giving the call out and making some certain noises to try to distract Tucker to make him miss.”
Though Pepe was attempting to distract Tucker, he sure looked to be the most excited player once Tucker completed the kick.
Justin Tucker’s practice-ending field goal— Kyle Phoenix Barber (@KylePBarber) August 5, 2022
Pepe Pick Six
Speaking of Pepe, he’s become the interception leader this training camp with two takeaways. He intercepted Lamar Jackson earlier this week and today picked off Tyler Huntley, who was being pressured, and took it 30-yards back for the defensive touchdown. Pepe’s been picking up steam as camp’s come along and appears more comfortable and confident. Harbaugh was asked about Pepe following practice.
“Yes, Pepe is great. He’s done well,” Harbaugh said. “Now, he’s made plenty of mistakes, too, which he hears about. But he takes it well, he’s very coachable.”
Pass Rush Revs Up
Though the players weren’t in pads today, the defense looked more raring to go and top outside linebackers Odafe Oweh and Justin Houston got theirs. Early in practice, Oweh got the better of rookie offensive lineman Daniel Faalele, who looked to be rotating in at left tackle. Later on, Houston also sped around edge of Faalele to notch his first of two sacks. Houston went back-to-back on sacks, though I don’t know if it was Faalele was blocking on Houston on the coinciding sack.
I don’t think this says much about Faalele in a positive or negative light. He’s a young tackle who needs a fair amount of coaching and was playing out of position. According to tackle Ja’Waun James, it’s a tough transition.
Ja’Wuan James described moving from right to left tackle as “trying to wipe your butt with your other hand.”— Kyle Phoenix Barber (@KylePBarber) August 4, 2022
Defense Responds in the Red Zone
The Ravens’ offense had their fair share of points on the board today, but the defense didn’t make it easy and had some responses of their own. On three-straight plays, the defense denied three passes from Lamar Jackson, with all three being strong coverage against wide receiver Devon Williams, tight end Mark Andrews and wide receiver Jaylon Moore, respectively. Maybe part of the reason the defense had a better day was not going toe-to-toe with wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay, who missed today’s practice.
Kyle Hamilton’s Day
I liked what I saw from the first-round safety Kyle Hamilton today. During 11-on-11, he had to pull off from a sack on quarterback Tyler Huntley. Had the play been full-speed, full-contact, I think Hamilton strip-sacks the football from Huntley, as Hamilton was around the edge and ready to rip at Huntley’s arm.
Afterward, the one-on-one section came, and once more, Hamilton faced off against rookie tight end Isaiah Likely three times.
The first was a short slant route that Likely caught with Hamilton maybe a half-step off. Likely used a lot of physicality to gain separation and Hamilton didn’t allow him to get behind him. The pass gained about four or five yards.
On the second rep, Likely worked on the outside for an intermediate fade route. Hamilton didn’t get his head turned all the way around, but he did get his hand up and get a pass defensed as the ball fell incomplete.
The final rep was a longer-developing comeback route. Hamilton didn’t allow Likely to get behind him, and was wrapping up Likely as he made the grab.
Marcus Williams had positive things to say about Hamilton following practice.
“He’s doing a great job,” Williams said. “He puts in a lot of work in, in the film room, he comes out here, he competes. He does all the things that you want out of a rookie. He’s not playing like a rookie right now; he’s playing like he’s been here and doing it, and that’s very impressive.”
Lamar Jackson Demonstrates the Extra Gear
It’s not often we see Jackson flex the speed in training camp. For the most part, he’s passing, going through his progressions and occasionally rolls out to buy more time. But every so often, an overaggressive linebacker grants Jackson the decision to pull back the pigskin from the running back and detonate into an open lane. Today, it was outside linebacker Steven Means who got caught in no-mans land, and Jackson, akin to a bolt of lightning was gone off the right side and 20-yards downfield before a cornerback and safety began to close in.