After receiving their first day off since training camp began last Thursday, the Ravens returned to the Under Armour Performance Center to continue installing their offense and worked on disguising blitz packages as well. The team was once again in pads, but they haven’t had that many contact drills since Sunday’s practice.
Wide Receivers: Drops, Drops and More Drops
From what I’ve seen, It’s not looking good for the wide receiving corps. Even though there were a few deep touchdown passes today, the Ravens wideouts also shot themselves in the foot on numerous occasions. While the group is searching for players to make up the lost offensive production from Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, no one has really grabbed the bull by the horns except Torrey Smith.
Both Jacoby Jones and Tandon Doss had multiple drops today, with Jones being the worst of the pair.
Sandwiched in between drops was a glimpse of the Jones we’re used to seeing. During full-team drills, Jones turned on the afterburners, and torched cornerback Corey Graham for an 80-yard touchdown. Jones’ trigger man Joe Flacco high-stepped to midfield during his celebration.
The celebration didn’t last too long for Jones, as he then would drop an easy pass on a slant pattern at the goal line.
For Doss, he’s operated as status quo. He made a tremendous highlight reel catch over Graham, pulling the ball from the sky with one hand and shifted it into a two-hand grasp as he came falling to the ground. Unfortunately, he also failed to complete a few routine grabs.
Today’s practice was proof positive that the Ravens really need to address the position of wide receiver and it needs to be done before the start of the regular season. Even with a healthy Dennis Pitta, the two wide outs the Ravens are relying upon most, so far, aren’t getting it done.
Tight Ends: Furstenburg turns on the burners, Schiancoe is so so.
Ed Dickson has really stepped his game up and has plenty of confidence as his teammates have gone out of their way to support him. That’s good news for the Ravens as they hope Dickson can follow in Pitta’s footsteps as a major offensive weapon.
Unfortunately for the Ravens, there is no one behind Dickson if something were to happen to him.
Former Maryland Terp Matt Furstenburg had one of his best practices of the season, seeing some work with starters on occasion. The highlight of Furstenburg’s day came when he exploited a defensive communication breakdown and hauled in a 70+ yards scoring strike.
On the play, Furstenburg displayed tremendous speed for a tight end. During the combine, Furstenburg ran a 4.62 40-yard dash, good enough for second-best amongst the tight end group. After practice, we got to learn more about Furstenburg. Our one-on-one interview will be posted on Thursday (tomorrow).
Visanthe Shiancoe has been working hard to familiarize himself with the Ravens offense. Each day, he’s working on the side with coaches and Flacco to get extra reps following practice.
When initially asked about Shiancoe, head coach John Harbaugh praised him for being in good shape. However his conditioning hasn’t translated to effectiveness on the field. He’s dropped a few passes, been pushed around and just has looked a little out of place during his first few days. Hopefully, it’s just some getting-to-know-you jitters of a new team. But when it comes to projecting him on the depth chart, Shiancoe’s experience is the only thing going in his favor at this point.
Chykie Brown continues to shine, gets into a shoving match with Torrey Smith
Chykie Brown was called upon last season as the cornerbacks weathered the storm when it came to injuries to Lardarius Webb (ACL) and Jimmy Smith (sports hernia surgery). Brown will likely start the season as the Ravens fourth cornerback, but it’s a big improvement given that many thought he would be on the roster bubble a year ago at this time.
During today’s practice, Brown was often seen reaching around the bodies of the wide receivers to knock passes to the ground. Brown hasn’t been playing against the scout team receivers either, he’s been running with the starters as the Ravens begin to ease Webb back into full team drills.
Today, Brown had very good pass deflections against both Smith and Doss.
Brown also got under the skin of Smith today, a person who rarely retaliates with any kind of physical threat. Following a play where Brown and Smith both went up for a pass, Smith and Brown bumped, potentially causing injury to Smith. Clearly upset with a verbal confrontation, Smith and Brown briefly exchanged shoves.
The shoving was mild and was on the lowest tier of a training camp tussle you could imagine, however, Smith’s reaction was out of character. Perhaps frustration is mounting given the struggles of his receiving corps mates. The best part of the tussle was that while they were shoving each other, Flacco was yelling from 30 yards away, “Get ‘em Torrey!”
Chris Canty is HUGE
I’ve been meaning to make a mention of this since camp started — Chris Canty is absolutely HUGE.
Listed on the Ravens roster as 6-7 and 317-pounds, it seems that Canty has extremely low body fat and closely resembles a big bodied NBA forward. The investment the Ravens made during the offseason to sure up their defensive line will pay huge dividends for them if teams attempt to run. Canty will undoubtedly start for this team, and utilizing him on the defensive line in some combination with Haloti Ngata, Arthur Jones, Marcus Spears and rookie Brandon Williams will make sure teams respect the Ravens rushing defense this season — a welcomed distinction from last season’s defensive front.
The Ravens will be at it once again tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.
For more Ravens news and updates, follow me on Twitter @RavenManiac.