Even though the Ravens left Atlanta with a victory, plenty of errors from the players that matter the most were evident throughout the first quarter. The Ravens were outgained 192 to 9 in total offensive yards that quarter and the disappointment was evident on coach John Harbaugh’s face as he stood on the sidelines.
Today’s practice marked the return of many players who weren’t on the field from Thursday’s game. Even though they were in pads, Bernard Pierce, Matt Birk, Courtney Upshaw and Jimmy Smith didn’t participate in full squad drills as they are recovering from injuries or resting.
Upshaw’s right shoulder was heavily bandaged, as it’s clear he isn’t fully recovered yet. Injured tight ends, Dennis Pitta (hand) and Ed Dickson (shoulder sprain) watched practice from the sidelines. Dickson was wearing a sling when he first came onto the field but wasn’t fully dependent on it, as he wasn’t wearing it when he walked back to the locker room.
More than likely, the Ravens are being cautious with Dickson’s injury and are trying to keep both tight ends out of harms way. After practice, coach Harbaugh wasn’t sure if the team would add another tight end because of potential salary cap implications and also finding the right fit for the team.
One of the most alarming issues during the first quarter of Thursday’s game was the communication breakdown of the offensive line, specifically with center, Gino Gradkowski and left tackle, Bobbie Williams.
Gradkowski is receiving plenty of snaps with the first team offensive line as Matt Birk continues to sit out more than he practices. The struggles of adapting to the NFL have been more evident in the past week as Gradkowski has missed blocking assignments and also is overmatched lining up opposite players such as Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody.
Gradkowski’s frustration was noticeable while practicing yesterday. During one series, he was heard yelling (probably at himself) after a few snaps. Gradkowski also ended a few plays looking up from the ground and even rolled a botched snap on the ground to Joe Flacco.
Today definitely wasn’t one of Gradkowski’s best practices but it’s best for him to work out the kinks now instead of during the season.
As for the depth at tackle, Brandon McKinnie (LT) is still running with the second team as Michael Oher (LT) and Kelechi Osemele (RT) take snaps with the first.
After a strong three touchdown performance against the Falcon’s 3rd string defense, Curtis Painter is still running with the 3rd string offense.
Painter’s approach is totally different than that of current backup quarterback, Tyrod Taylor and the Ravens probably won’t be making a switch in their quarterback depth chart this season. I didn’t even want to make mention of Painter but his name was constantly mentioned on talk radio all of Friday.
After an impressive performance during his first NFL game, Bobby Rainey was given plenty of reps at practice today at both running back and as a kick returner. Rainey continues to look good while he’s on the field and even spent extra time fielding punts after practice.
It’s clear he’s doing as much as possible to make the Ravens 53-man roster.
After earning a way onto the Ravens roster last year with the special teams unit, Albert McClellan is seeing increased reps with the first team as an outside linebacker due to Upshaw’s shoulder injury.
With Paul Kruger entrenched with the first team, McClellan has jumped Sergio Kindle on the depth chart and has been seeing a lot of snaps. Kindle received a lot of playing time on Thursday and coach Harbaugh will continue to give him plenty of reps through this preseason.
Kindle hasn’t been playing poorly, he is in really good shape and standing next to him he’s an absolute monster. Hopefully he can put it all together and make an impact in 2012.
Justin Tucker continues to impress at camp and his workload was increased today as he made all 13 of his attempts. Tucker connected from 30, 36, 40, 44, 46 and 50 yards. While on the opposite side of the field, it appeared that Tucker also made kicks from 45, 45, 30, 50, 45, 44 and 32 yards.
Billy Cundiff was in full uniform but didn’t put his helmet on during practice. It’s likely Jerry Rosburg gave him the day off.
The Ravens will host their second and final fully open to the public practice today at Navy-Marine Corp Stadium in Annapolis. Gates open at 3:30 and practice begins at 5:00. Cold tailgating is permitted.
For more information about the Ravens and what’s happening during training camp, follow me on Twitter @RavenManiac.