After two days in full pads, the Baltimore Ravens opted for a lighter contact practice as they scaled up the length of work to a full 2.5-hour affair. With more practice time came more drills, highlights, and more observations from yours truly.
The Ravens held out a few players from practice today, including wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., outside linebacker David Ojabo, safety Geno Stone and defensive tackle Michael Pierce. Interestingly, Pierce did join the team in his jersey on the sideline, but did not bring out his helmet or participate in drills. According to Head Coach John Harbaugh, Beckham was a vet day.
During the one-on-one portion of practice, cornerback Rock Ya-Sin appeared to suffer a knee injury against wide receiver Shemar Bridges. He left the field under his own power and did not return. According to Harbaugh, it’s not expected to be serious but also said it’s “wait and see.”
The Ravens also had rookies Kyu Kelly and Trenton Simpson get banged up in practice. However, both remained on the sideline through practices’ end before heading inside.
- RB J.K. Dobbins (PUP)
- FB Patrick Ricard (PUP)
- WR Rashod Bateman (PUP)
- OL Andrew Vorhees (NFI)
- OLB Tyus Bowser (NFI)
- LS Nick Moore (NFI)
- S Geno Stone (ankle)
- WR Odell Beckham Jr.
- OLB David Ojabo
- DT Michael Pierce
Lamar Jackson’s Accuracy
Jackson and the new offense has been the talk of the team and NFL. Speculation on how it will perform, the wide receivers involved, the offensive line, how the tight ends will fit in and what Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken is bringing to the team has been at the forefront of conversation for months. It took seven days before it felt like media members, myself included, gave more notice to Jackson as a passer. And today was Jackson’s best yet, hitting players in-stride, on-target and away from defenders. The lone blemish on Jackson’s passing was a ball that hit wide receiver Nelson Agholor’s hands, ricocheted off and into the waiting arms of cornerback Marlon Humphrey for the interception.
I asked Harbaugh what he’s seen from Jackson’s passing in terms of velocity and accuracy.
“I think he’s looked very good at that,” Harbaugh said. “We do measure all [of] that. We have metrics on that. There are chips in the ball, and we look at the numbers on that and the numbers bear that out, too. So, whatever you’re seeing in terms of your eye with the way he’s throwing, has been held true by the numbers. He’s throwing the ball really well.”
Let’s Talk 1v1s
As mentioned, today the Ravens were without pads, which means less contact. But that doesn’t mean you can’t compete, it’s about playing with technique. Keep in mind, the one-on-one drills favor the pass-catcher. There are no throwing lanes, it’s all available. There’s no rush. There’s no safety help. It’s all about these defenders going against some of the best athletes in the NFL. With that said, here are my notes.
Cornerback Kevon Seymour went against rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers for all three reps of the drill.
Rep 1: Seymour clung to Flowers’ hip well and defended what I believe was a curl route. Flowers made the catch I believe, but keeping Flowers within 5-10 yards I would say is a win.
Rep 2: Flowers released inside that had Seymour shaded out tracking and where Seymour had anticipated a break back toward the boundary was sorely mistaken. Flowers used leverage and some physicality to get Seymour to the outside before breaking inside for yards of separation and the easy catch.
Rep 3: A release outside, some hand-fighting and contact held well for Seymour, who though had good coverage on Flowers allowed a comeback-type route. A valiant effort from Seymour who went up against the rookie who feasted in his debut one-on-one drills yesterday.
Agholor had the best highlights of the drill today, beating safety Ar’Darius Washington twice with significant separation. Then, for the final rep of the drill, he lined up against Humphrey. It appeared Agholor got the better of Humphrey on the release, split free and it was a streak-route touchdown for the veteran, who celebrated by jumping and spinning around into the end zone.
Give credit to safety Kyle Hamilton for defending tight end Mark Andrews and winning a rep. On one of the two reps, he either got a hand to help break up the ball to Andrews or it was a drop by the tight end. Either way, to come away from the drill without Andrews waltzing into the end zone is a victory. On another rep, Andrews caught the ball on an eight-yard cutback route that you absolutely take as a defender as a win.
Veteran cornerback Arthur Maulet notched the lone interception during the drill. Initially, Tylan Wallace had gained separation on the outward breaking route but a shifty recovery and a cutting of the route turned into a pick.
Tarik Black continues to impress in these drills as he went against Jeremy Lucien. At the stem of the route he hit a split-second stutter step that Lucien gave too much respect for and Black was two steps ahead.
Laquon Treadwell did something similar to Black, but did a second hesitation stutter that even as an observer was fully expecting to be a change of direction. Instead, it was a downshift to gain acceleration for Treadwell and cornerback Jordan Swann couldn’t regain. It was one of the crowds biggest “Ooh’s!”
James Proche went against Brandon Stephens on a deep post route that was tight coverage from Stephens. What turned the play into Proche’s favor—and is a very hard trait in football—was Proche not turning for the ball until the last moment. When you turn back defensive backs know you’re tracking the ball and react with getting their hands up for a pass breakup or interception. But with Proche not turning for the ball until the last moment, it gave Stephens zero time to react and thus ended with Proche reeling in a tough grab from deep.
Del’Shawn Delivers ... Again
Yesterday in observations I noted how how Del’Shawn Phillips demonstrated a knack for the ball in seven-on-seven in the red zone. Today, he had another interception on Josh Johnson in 7v7. Many are of the mind that the ball shouldn’t touch the grass in 7s, as there’s no real pressure and the pass catching unit and quarterback should be able to get it done. Not often does the ball fall incomplete in most sessions. A pass breakup is going to happen from time to time but an interception? It’s challenging to generate and Phillips has done so on back-to-back days.
- During 11-on-11 red zone drills, Jackson threw a ball to Agholor who was covered by Humphrey. The ball was tipped from Humphrey’s coverage and for the second time this training camp, the receiver has managed to track the deflection and come down with it. This time, it resulted in a touchdown for Agholor who toe-tapped the boundary.
- The first flared tempers came about during 11-on-11 drills. It appeared offensive lineman John Simpson and linebacker Patrick Queen got into a shoving match that had to be separated. Nothing egregious occurred and neither were kicked out. Harbaugh approached the defensive sideline after the play and essentially told them scuffling is a waste of practice time.