The Ravens offense ended their three day joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers on a good note keeping the heavily vaunted 49ers defense guessing, a feat not cheapened by the fact that both teams were in shorts and shells.
Gary Kubiak’s heavy utilization of the tight end position was on full display throughout practice as Owen Daniels, Crockett Gillmore and Phillip Supernaw were all on the receiving end of multiple passes from all three Ravens quarterbacks.
Fan favorite Dennis Pitta (ankle) returned to practice after sitting out on Sunday but didn’t participate much at all. It’s clear head coach John Harbaugh is being cautious with the veteran tight end.
Other News and Observations
Kyle Juszczyk has become a valuable weapon for Gary Kubiak and the Ravens offense throughout training camp. Whether it’s pass pro drills, run blocking or his pass catching ability, the second-year player is an easy choice for most improved player from last year’s training camp. His versatility to line up anywhere will keep defenses guessing far more than Vonta Leach did last season.
Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. made it through all three days against the 49ers without incident as he was the fans’ and media members’ “Most Likely To Mix It Up” player. Teammates placed bets on the over/under number of Smith fights with the Niners and the veteran walked away with kitty, betting under with “zero fights”.
The former Panther and Niners NFC foe had another solid day on the practice field, proving age is merely just a number when it comes to his playing ability. Smith Sr. beat 49ers first-round draft pick Jimmie Ward deep on two long passing plays.
While it was hard to gauge the running backs on Monday with the players donning their shells, it was easy to see how the unit is getting more and more comfortable with the new run offense. Ray Rice along with Bernard Pierce are decisive in hitting their rushing lanes while digging their feet in the ground and turning up field. Taliaferro continues to be used in short yardage situations as we saw against the 49ers on Thursday and could easily be the Ravens best pass pro running back.
With second-year guard/center Ryan Jensen missing practice once again on Monday, the second team offensive line consisted of of James Hurst (left tackle), A.Q. Shipley (left guard), Gino Gradkowski (center), John Urschel (right guard) and Jah Reid (right tackle). The unit fared much better against the Niners today than they did on Sunday providing the backs with ample running room. Rookie John Urschel seems lost at times when it comes to his blocking assignments involving pass protection.
After practice both teams took to the middle of the field together exchanging several handshakes and shared “good luck” sentiments. You can bet if the two teams meet in Arizona in February the competition won’t be nearly as friendly as it has been the last three days.
Ryan Jensen (leg), Will Rackley (concussion) were absent from practice once again from practice on Monday.
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