On a day overshadowed by Ray Rice speaking at the podium, the Ravens hit the practice field under cool weather conditions at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills.
Many eyes are focused upon the Ravens offensive line entering training camp because of the implosion they suffered last season. Many people are wondering if Rick Wagner, who currently mans the often-discussed right tackle position, can be the guy in 2014.
On Thursday morning, Wagner had possibly his best practice of training camp thus far. On several blitz plays during 11 on 11 drills, the 6-6, 310 pound Wagner stonewalled veteran linebacker Elvis Dumervil.
His success didn’t stop there. On the next play from scrimmage, Wagner knocked defensive end Chris Canty off his feet on one key block that allowed Joe Flacco to find Bernard Pierce running down the sideline for a long touchdown reception.
The right tackle postion appears to be Wagner’s job to lose. Last week, coach John Harbaugh alluded to the fact that Wagner’s competition would be Jah Reid and not Ryan Jensen who took reps at right tackle during OTA’s.
Other Notes and Observations
Fullback Shaun Chapas was used early and often throughout the morning practice taking reps with the second team offense and some with the first team. Chapas, the 6-2, 241 pound former Georgia Bulldog spent time with the Jaguars, Lions and Cowboys before signing with the Ravens in May. While second-year fullback Kyle Juszczyk has been used in a variety of different ways, Chapas looks better in run blocking drills.
Rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro‘s solid hands were on full display during many drills including special teams. During punt return drills, the rookie caught every ball kicked to him without dropping even one. During several intermediate drills, Campanaro showed his quickness after the catch to move the offense down the field.
Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. made two amazing catches snatching the ball out of mid air even when he was well covered. On one play Smith Sr. saved Flacco from a near pick six when the former Panther caught it through the hands of cornerback Asa Jackson.
Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro continued to shine in short yardage situations. Used on a variety of short yardage situations, Taliaferro moved the chains with ease pushing would be tacklers away with ease.
Several veterans were given the day off on Thursday including Jacoby Jones on the offense.
Absent From Practice
Undrafted wide receiver Jeremy Butler (unknown) and offensive lineman Will Rackley (concussion) were not on the field practicing.