For the second straight season, the Ravens held their final “public” training camp practice at Stevenson University. Mustang Stadium is the current home to the Division III men’s lacrosse national champions and the former practice home to the Baltimore Colts. The Ravens also practiced here for the first 8.5 years of their existence before moving to the building now known as the Under Armour Performance Center.
Rice Welcomes the Crowd
The stadium was filled to capacity (3,500 seats) as fans and children tried to catch an up-close glimpse of their favorite players. Ray Rice, always friendly with children, caught passes from kids throwing footballs from the stands. Rice also warmed up with the defensive line before practice, where he didn’t quite blend in, at six inches shorter and about 100 pounds lighter than a typical defensive lineman.
Smith, Dumervil Absent
A surprising no-show to start practice was wide receiver Torrey Smith. After practice, John Harbaugh said that he was just giving his speedster – who was spotted with his calf wrapped on Saturday – some rest.
Other players who have frequently practiced but weren’t available today included outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and running back Anthony Allen. John Harbaugh described Allen’s injury as a slight knee issue, and not serious.
After already missing a significant period of time, wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot), defensive lineman Marcus Spears (hamstring) and tight end Ed Dickson (hamstring) have yet to return to practice this week.
Marlon Brown and Dallas Clark with First Team, Shiancoe with Second Stringers
Benefitting from Smith’s absence today was undrafted rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown (Georgia). Brown lined up with the first team offense, flanked out to Flacco’s right. Jacoby Jones was to his left. Two of the Ravens’ latest signings also saw increased snaps with the first team including wide receiver Brandon Stokley in the slot and tight end Dallas Clark. Visanthe Shiancoe took his reps with the second team.
Juszczyk Shows Versatility
Kyle Juszczyk brought a dual label into the NFL as a fullback/tight end. Juszczyk’s versatility was one of the reasons the Ravens felt good enough about him to draft him in the 4th round (130th overall). Throughout training camp, Juszczyk has primarily lined up with the fullbacks and hasn’t sniffed the tight end spot, typically lining up as an H back. Juszczyk excels out of the backfield as a receiving option and has demonstrated very good hands for someone in that role.
During Sunday’s practice at Stevenson, Juszczyk was utilized as a slot receiver and made a great catch behind the secondary for a 32-yard touchdown strike from Joe Flacco.
Even though he played as a tight end in college, it’s unlikely that Juszczyk will be lined up in that position, based on what we’ve seen during camp. The competition he’s seeing in the NFL is far better than the guys he went up against while at Harvard. With Leach as the fullback for at least this season, if Juszczyk wants to find a way on to the field aside form playing special teams, he’ll have to utilize his versatility to his advantage and keep showcasing his good hands as he did today.
Justin Tucker Kicking Recap
Justin Tucker went 4-for-7 in field goal attempts, but fans shouldn’t worry. The only surprising miss for Tucker was from 46 yards out, a kick that he pulled wide left of the goal post. A 46-yard kick is essentially a chip shot for the Ravens’ second-year kicker, who looks primed to continue his success after a Super Bowl-winning rookie campaign.
Tucker made kicks from 20, 37, 35 and 51. His other misses came from 57 (hit the crossbar) and 64. The latter was by design so Marc Anthony could practice receiving short kickoffs.
Mixed Bag for Jacoby Jones
Jones was the team’s top receiving option Sunday evening with Smith not at practice. Jones started practice by muffing a punt during warmups, after which he heard it from some of the fans that were shocked he dropped the kick. Jones milked the attention and then caught the next kick, looking for their approval.
During red zone one-on-one drills, Jones had a nice catch over cornerback Moe Lee. On his next route, a pass was thrown low at his knees and he was unable to haul it in. For the most part, Jones had a solid practice. Drops are certainly a part of practice, but they stand out a bit more considering their prevalence so far this summer by receivers fighting to occupy spaces on the depth chart behind Smith.
Aaron Mellette Solid
Aaron Mellette displayed some good footwork, faking out cornerback Chris Johnson for a long touchdown pass from Flacco. While Mellette did have a drop in the end zone during practice, it was his only flaw as plenty of passes were thrown his way and subsequently hauled in.
Harbaugh’s Post-Practice Quick Hits
- Deonte Thompson has a “couple week” injury and will be further evaluated this week.
- Lardarius Webb and Marshal Yanda have a chance to play in the third preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. The team would like to see each of them play and get some reps this week.
- At this point of camp, Josh Bynes is the starting weak-side (“Will”) linebacker
- Mellette and Marlon Brown will both get some increased reps in practice and playing time versus Carolina. “We’re going to get some of those young guys an opportunity,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll probably play them a little bit more with the ones this week.”
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