Here are general observations from today’s morning session
– The overall focus of the offensive attack was executing roll-out pass plays to the right side. The results were mixed, with the best plays coming from the backs when they caught the ball in stride, and had enough space to turn upfield. One of the featured plays was an out completion to tight end L.J. Smith, who started off the left side of the line and motioned to the right.
-Flacco showed off his accuracy when he threaded the needle in-between three defenders to hit Marcus Smith on a post pattern.
-Ray Rice showed off his open-field shiftiness when he put a hard-hitting juke move on rookie linebacker Jason Phillips.
-Justin Harper owns the go-route. The second-year wideout was once again able to catch a long pass over-the-top and take it to the house. This time his victim was Evan Oglesby.
-Although Flacco made some head-turning throws, he also struggled when pressure was in his face. He continues to throw off of his back foot instead of setting his feet and following through.
-The linebackers were on top of their game when they had to defend the screen. Specifically, the group was able to run around pulling blockers to get to stop the ball carrier behind the line-of-scrimmage. Jameel McClain was one of the backers who impressed the most, as he was able to find a lane and twist his body just enough to trip up the running back.
-In addition to snuffing out all screen passes, the linebackers were disruptive gap shooters who consistently forced the running backs to shuffle their feet. On one play, rookie Tony Fein shot the gap so quickly and squarely that fellow rookie Cedric Peerman didn’t have the chance to shuffle his feet to find another hole – he was brought down to the ground in no time.
-In pass coverage, Haruki Nakamura and Frank Walker worked together to defend high and low. Nakamura was the underneath defender, working out of the cornerback slot, while Walker was the safety responsible for deep coverage.
-At one point, rookies K.J. Gerard and Lardarius Webb used bracket coverage to defend Justin Harper.
-The unit practiced punt returns and punt coverage. Punter Sam Koch worked on his directional kicking. While the punter had a few clunkers, he was able to get off one punt which was downed at the 10-yard line by K.J. Gerard.
-Webb handled the punt return duties behind starter Chris Carr. It will be interesting to see what Webb can do at full-speed, as he appears to have terrific change of direction.