One way to stave off a big pass rush is to run the football or execute screens. On Tuesday the Ravens spent a significant part of practice focusing on both. Working in the red zone while facing a third and 10 from the 15, Joe Flacco, Ricky Williams and the O-line executed a flawless screen to the right that resulted in a touchdown, Williams scampering in untouched.
It’s interesting to watch Williams. He’s very professional and workmanlike seemingly speaking only when spoken to. He’s shown a burst in short spaces and looks to be faster than his predecessor Willis McGahee.
In the running game the offense focused a significant amount of time on quick pitches. The challenge appears to be getting the blockers out in space without losing gap integrity. It will be interesting to see how this plays out on Friday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Ravens also invested time in running deep routes in 7-on-7 drills and during one-on-ones. Cam Cameron had his unit practicing a couple variations of the post calling for Special 8’s and Action 8’s. Special 8’s are a post-corner-post while the Actions include a quick head fake to the outside to feign a post corner only to continue on to the post.
Torrey Smith stood out among the receivers making several deep receptions. He and corner Jimmy Smith pushed each other hard…LaQuan Williams continues to impress…James Hardy fans, forget about it. He has no shot as he was on the bubble before all of the missed time. There’s a better chance that Brett Favre is the Ravens backup QB than Hardy making the team. Williams and even 5 year vet Brandon Jones are far ahead of Hardy…Lee Evans is adjusting to Cameron’s offense. On one play he had a false start on an irregular Flacco cadence and after pushing the offense back 5 yards he faced up and blocked his man on the next play expecting a run. However Flacco delivered a timing pass to his side that sailed out of bounds while Evans, engaged in blocking had his back to his quarterback.
Joe Flacco delivered lasers for most of the afternoon (although he lapsed a bit towards the end of practice) and dropped a few 9 routes right in the bucket. Tyrod Taylor has received his fair share of criticisms from yours truly but he is really coming around. His passes still sail from time to time due to poor throwing mechanics but this guy is a football player. During his workouts earlier this summer at Towson University, I wondered what the Ravens saw in this guy and how he would even make the team. I WAS WRONG. Today, I can’t see any way he doesn’t make the team.
Hunter Cantwell is a different story. He reminded me of Kyle Boller yesterday on one of his few throws. Trying to connect with Brandon Jones on a post corner, the ball sailed well out of bounds despite next to no coverage on the play.
On the offensive line without Marshal Yanda (back spasms) and Matt Birk (knee) the first unit from left tackle to right included: Oher-Grubbs-Mattison-Tim Barnes-Reid. That will hardly strike fear into the hearts of opponents.
Paul Kruger continues to be a training camp star. He registered a couple of sacks and even picked off a Flacco pass along the left (offense’s) sideline intended for Jalen Parmele and returned it for the score. On the very next play Kruger pushed past Michael Oher and had it not been for the hands off policy he would have stripped Flacco
Pernell McPhee lined up at nose tackle in nickel/dime situations…Cary Williams is gaining confidence at corner and ran with the 1’s again on Tuesday. With Carr struggling and out with a sore hamstring, Foxworth’s slow responsiveness and Webb’s inconsistencies, Williams believe it or not has a shot to start if he continues his momentum. DC Chuck Pagano likes the idea of having tall corners and with Ed Reed patrolling center field, it affords him some blitzing luxuries, particularly with Bernard Pollard physicality. Pollard lined up beside Reed with the 1’s…Nakamura and Zbikowski ran with the 2’s…Art Jones continues to impress as does Sergio Kindle.
Back to the corners for a second, it’s hard not to wonder if the Ravens will strong arm Domonique Foxworth into a new deal at a reduced number to free up cap space. He’s being paid money somewhere between a No. 1 and 2 corner money, but at this point he is at best No. 4 on the depth chart.