Yesterday I mentioned the dog days of camp. The team maybe getting a bit sick of one another and going head-to-head against the same damn guys. Today, a message was sent loud and clear that the hit-happy linebacker duo of Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen are ready to trade paint with those in their sights. All that and more in my latest training camp observations.
Folks, it’s a pleasure to announce wide receiver Rashod Bateman was on the practice field today. You knew that already, seeing as reactions flooded in as media members took photos of No. 7 on the sideline, turning the trio of Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor into a quartet. For the first time this season, the entire Ravens’ wide receiver corps practiced today.
Both offensive tackles Morgan Moses and Ronnie Stanley did not practice today. Many assume it’s a vet day for both.
As for other updates, running back Gus Edwards left the field during practice and did not return. He walked under his own power and appeared without issue but nothing is known as of now. Head Coach John Harbaugh didn’t speak today so there are no updates regarding his or others’ health.
- CB Damarion “Pepe” Williams
- LB Trenton Simpson (soft tissue)
- CB Rock Ya-Sin (knee)
- CB Arthur Maulet (hamstring)
- S Geno Stone (ankle)
The remaining absences are on the PUP/NFI lists.
- RB J.K. Dobbins (PUP)
- WR Rashod Bateman (PUP)
- OL Andrew Vorhees (NFI)
- OLB Tyus Bowser (NFI)
- LS Nick Moore (NFI)
Defense Poppin’ Pads
For 13 practices this team has been split in half by which side of the ball they play and worn separate jersey colors. Purple and black for the offense and white for the defense. They have yet to trot out onto the gridiron in united colors. It’s clear they’re a bit fed up with it. The offense wants to compete full speed and the defense is dying to tackle. The linebacker duo of Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen aren’t a bit fed up, they’re a lot fed up and took it out on a few undrafted rookies.
Smith and Queen made sure running backs Keaton Mitchell and Owen Wright were sturdy, as they brought both to the ground throughout practice. Mitchell lost the football on one play and an official signaled it was defenses ball after Queen recovered the fumble he forced. Another victim was tight end Travis Vokolek who got a crack or two of the pads. No hit was ever violent or punishing. Just a reminder that the defense has been forced to play with restraint and they needed to release a bit. Fullback Ben Mason was another to get stood up as Smith popped him as he caught the ball. As a result, the ball was jarred loose and incomplete.
Throughout camp there are many plays where you have to judge on the sideline, saying, “If that’s a live ball [Defense player] gets a shot on [offense player].” Sometimes it’s a sack, other times it’s a running back on the edge. Other times it feels like a receiver going over the middle isn’t de-cleated going for a high ball over the middle. Today, the linebackers let the pass-catchers and quarterbacks know that won’t fly in the regular season.
Red Zone Series Notes
The first 11-on-11 action of the day brought the most real-life situation in my mind. Lamar Jackson and the offense started 30-yards from the end zone against the first-team defense.
On first down, Jackson aired it out to Beckham along the far sideline and the receiver attempted a one-handed outstretched catch while battling with cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis. The official felt there was too much contact and it resulted in the offense lining up at the 1-yard line with a fresh set of downs.
On first down, running back Justice Hill was stopped for no gain.
Second down the run is blown up as defensive tackle Broderick Washington blows through the right side of the line forcing Melvin Gordon to cut outside to no avail as he’s met by Queen and David Ojabo.
Third down is a pass to tight end Mark Andrews that was broken up by Ar’Darius Washington.
The offense goes for it on fourth down. Jackson goes back to what got them to the 1-yard line, a floating pass to Beckham. But it falls incomplete as Armour-Davis redeems his penalty with a box out on Beckham. The defense held strong.
After the play, Queen and running back Melvin Gordon had some words with one another up close but nothing more.
- Safety Kyle Hamilton felt effective everywhere today. Good in coverage but a bit of a throwback to last season as he was at the line of scrimmage and flying off the edge to pressure the quarterback. His timing of the snap caused issue today, which led to him and Odafe Oweh to knock down offensive lineman David Sharpe.
- A lot of drills were first-team on one side playing second-team. Getting the second group a taste of first-team battles for the pending preseason and beyond, maybe.
- Zay Flowers had one rep in the one-on-one. It was the last rep of the drill and against Marlon Humphrey. It was three-step slant route but the release of Flowers gained him separation to make the catch and bolt.
- James Proche continues to do something I am impressed with in camp. He doesn’t stare down the ball in the air, which puts the defensive back at such a disadvantage. Against Jaquan Amos, he runs a developing inward route and the patience before he tracks the ball left Amos without time to put his hands up or get his head around, leading to a catch for Proche.
- Nelson Agholor’s first one-on-one route went against Kevon Seymour. He ran a clean comeback route that went for a reasonable gain. Then, he went against Armour-Davis and ran the same route with additional flair. First the stutter step and continued forward like a streak route, baiting Armour-Davis to slow and then recover. As the defensive back did so, Agholor stuttered his feet and ejected into a comeback route that left Armour-Davis reaching. However, a poorly-thrown ball left Agholor trying to catch the overthrown ball and get his feet inbounds, unsuccessfully. Not often have I heard any frustration out of Agholor but he appeared a bit dismayed after beating his man.