The Ravens hit the practice field once again in pads on Sunday under cloudy skies at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills.
The new run blocking system installed by Gary Kubiak was on full display with each member of the starting offensive line progressing smoothly.
Newly signed center Jeremy Zuttah showed exactly why the Ravens opted to trade a 2015 draft pick to acquire the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer. On several run blocking drills during 7 on 7 and 11 on 11, Zuttah consistently spread the defensive line wide creating running gaps for both Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. During a bull rush blitz, Zuttah handled Haloti Ngata with ease on two occasions. His understanding and experience in a zone offense should serve the Ravens well in 2014.
Other Notes & Observations
Full back Kyle Juszczyk is going to be fun to watch in 2014. After a disappointing 2013 training camp that ultimately led to the return of Vonta Leach, Juszczyk turned in another great day of practice in run blocking along with pass catching. Juice’s ability to get separation and find the soft spots in the defense has been spot on and very Danny Woodhead like.
Quarterback Joe Flacco had some ups and downs on Sunday, but the franchise quarterback was fiery. During 11 on 11 drills, Flacco executed a perfectly thrown pass to a well covered Steve Smith Sr along the side line for a touchdown. Afterwards, the veteran quarterback did his signature fist pump.
Flacco also connected with wide receivers Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown for touchdown passes towards the end of practice. Flacco’s lone pick came from Asa Jackson in which Flacco under threw a pass intended for Steve Smith Sr. When not on the field during team drills, Flacco was talking to his receivers as they waited to return to the action.
Wide receiver Kamar Aiken is turning heads as evident by his running with the second team offense. Aiken is using his size (6-2) and hands to get off the line of scrimmage creating separation on a consistent basis. Aiken has shown in numerous practices he isn’t afraid to go up and get the football.
Former Maryland Terp LaQuan Williams is heating up. After a nice day of practice on Saturday, Williams continued the trend on Sunday. Running with the third team offense, Williams found the endzone on a highly contested past from quarterback Keith Wenning and a spectacular catch in mid air over Brynden Trawick.
Left guard Kelechi Osemele continues to show he is fully healthy entering into 2014. The 6-5, 330 pound monster destroyed a blitizing linebacker Josh Bynes during 11 on 11 drills. Osemele’s explosion off the snap and ability to drive his assignment backwards or out wide is spectacular.
Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg was all business at practice on Saturday during punting and kickoff drills. On a botched special teams play by cornerback Deji Olatoye, Rosburg screamed for a sub to take over for Deji. “Get me a gunner out here. Deji, you just lost the game.”
Punter Sam Koch looked like his former self on the practice field today. After a rough 2013 campaign, Koch was booming balls during punting drills. On one punt in particular, Koch crushed a punt that went 65 yards.
Absent from Practice:
Rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro (ribs) and Offensive lineman Will Rackley (concussion) weren’t present on the field on Sunday.
Tight end Dennis Pitta was also not present for practice, but it appeared that he was just given the day off.