JUICE IS ON THE LOOSE
It’s one thing to hear all of forecasts for fullback Kyle Juszczyk’s expanded role in offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s offense. But today, his versatility as a move guy was on fully display at training camp. Juszczyk was the primary motion guy in many of the offensive sets.
His most intriguing motions were when he flexed out wide from the backfield, and when he flexed back into the backfield from the receiver position. Depending on the defensive alignment the Ravens face, Jusyzczyk’s motion can either create a favorable one-on-one matchup for himself or open up the coverage for other receivers.
His potential value to the offense as a bailout target was also on display, as he grabbed an underneath route and scampered down the sideline uncontested. The defense wasn’t even able to locate him on this play.
It still remains to be seen how effective he is as a runner. When he motions into the backfield, he’ll need to be a threat as a ball carrier, or all of the movement won’t be as deceiving.
CAMP BATTLES: WHO STOOD OUT IN THE RACES?
Ricky Wagner: Wagner worked with the first team and looked good in pass pro situations. He had chances to face linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs in alternate instances and held up well. He simply held his edge responsibility and forced both rushers to work around him.
Darian Stewart: If today is any indication, it’s pretty clear that Stewart is the odds on favorite to start at free safety. He worked on the first team with Matt Elam while Terrence Brooks was relegated to third team duties. Stewart was active as a slot nickel corner when the defense went to a single-high safety look. More than Elam, Stewart’s athleticism was noticeable and he could be an intriguing flex defender that covers receivers and tight ends alike.
MYTH BUSTER OF THE DAY
A lot was made about Elvis Dumervil being more of a one-dimensional, situational pass rusher last season. But his run defense is really taken for granted. Dumervil flashed some of those skills when he engaged the offensive linemen he faced, showing that he can get off blocks quickly. He also maintained his contain assignments and had a couple of chances to drop into coverage.
Overall, Dumervil looked active and ready to take on more responsibilities as a run and pass defender.
THE UNDRAFTED ROOKIE SPOTLIGHT
Jeremy Butler was the spotlight rookie of the day. The rookie from Tennessee-Martin caught some tough catches today, including a diving snag down the sideline in which he fought off bump coverage the entire way. It was impressive to see him deal with the contact, keep his balance, and still finish the play.
Outside of that highlight, Butler was pretty consistent catching the ball and showed that he can be big body target in traffic. At 6-2, 218 pounds, he has the frame to compete already.
Other rookie notables:
- Speaking of big frames, tight end Crockett Gilmore stood out as well for having enormous hands and a stout lower body. He runs well for a guy his size, and he displayed soft hands on a couple of intermediate routes. He will be fun to watch in goal-line situations.
- In a one-on-one matchup with offensive tackle James Hurst, defensive end Brent Urban showed a hard jab step to the right to set Hurst up wide left, only to dip through the gap inside once Hurst over-committed. On the play, Hurst overextended too far in his stance and Urban capitalized.
- Receiver Michael Campanaro showed his quickness and ability to get separation off the line when he ran a double move. He did a nice job of selling an out pattern to the sideline, only to break back inside.