It only took almost a month but tempers finally flared enough today for the first fight at the Under Armour Performance Center – and it was a good one.
After the fight, we posted a quick blog that you can read here for more details.
Here are some other, non-fight related, notes from Wednesday’s practice.
Terrence Cody The Punt Returner?
Practice was cut nearly 45 minutes short today, some of which may have been a result of the fight. To conclude practice, the team huddled and then separated by offense and defense and walked to opposite sides of the field.
Punter Sam Koch stood 55 yards from the goal line and booted a punt high to Michael Oher – who was standing in the end zone. Oher centered himself under the ball and made the catch with ease and the approval of his teammates could be heard in the background.
Next up, 349-pound Terrence Cody waddled into the end zone for his shot. Koch again launched a ball high into the air and Cody stood under the ball waiting for his turn. As Cody positioned himself, the ball seemed to move away from him, but then Cody reached his arm up and pulled the ball in with one hand.
On both sides of the field, cheers erupted from the team as if someone had just been dunked on in an And1 street basketball video.
This was a great piece of coaching by John Harbaugh as he took a moment where his team was divided and brought them back together. After practice, he also said there would have been some negative consequences for dropping the ball. It appears the team got a night off from meetings in exchange for the great athleticism of both Oher and Cody.
Bobbie Williams’ return from two days of rest to help reduce swelling in his often injured ankle has helped paint a picture as to how the offensive line may shake out.
It has been widely believed that Bryant McKinnie would be the starting left tackle when the season begins. Earlier this week, McKinnie was promoted from the second team offensive line to the first. The move shifted a few players around and most notably moved rookie second-round pick Kelechi Osemeleto left guard.
When the Ravens lined up today to walk through some passing patterns, McKinnie was standing back with some of the reserve players and watched Michael Oher play at left tackle – Osemele had moved back to right tackle as Williams assumed his position at left guard.
Williams’ health seems to be the liability along the offensive line and it was surprising to see the team have confidence in a rookie at right tackle as opposed to going with two proven veterans like Oher and McKinnie at each tackle position.
During practice, Bernard Pierce received reps with the first team offense as the second-string running back. Anthony Allen ran with the second team offense and was the third running back used.
Pierce should see a significant amount of playing time on Friday as the Ravens gauge if they need to add more veteran depth in the backfield.
It doesn’t appear that Allen or Damien Berry are the answer and Bobby Rainey’s only shot at the active roster is going to be on special teams. If Ray Rice is injured, the team could be in serious trouble without some veteran help.
For the first time in weeks, Courtney Upshaw participated in team drills and resumed playing alongside the first team defense. Upshaw’s presence on the first team has bumped Albert McClellan back to the second team alongside Sergio Kindle.
Jimmy Smith’s back may become an issue as the season progresses. Smith, who missed almost a week of practice last week, reinjured his lower back today while leaping high in the air.
Smith was unable to deflect a pass and fell awkwardly on his back. It first appeared the wind was just knocked out of him, but he got up and grimaced as he walked off the field to the sideline.
This is definitely a story to keep an eye on.
The Ravens are among the healthiest they’ve been all training camp with only nine players missing practice today. Along both the offensive and defensive lines, only one player in total was missing – Ryan McBean who broke his ankle against the Falcons.
Returning to practice:
Bobbie Williams (LT), Jacoby Jones (WR) and Ed Reed (S).
Missing from practice:
David Reed, Torrey Smith, Devin Goda, Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta, Josh Bynes, Darryl Blackstock, Terrell Suggs, Ryan McBean
The Ravens will prepare for their game against the Lions with a practice closed to the media tomorrow. They also have concluded training camp at this point. There may be access given with an extended training camp period but it’s up to the team if they’d like to move into “regular season mode” or not.
Follow me on Twitter for more Ravens news and information from training camp @RavenManiac