Observations from Ravens M&T Bank Stadium Practice

Camp Notes Observations from Ravens M&T Bank Stadium Practice

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The WBAL live coverage from the sidelines was cheesy, embarrassing, distracting, oftentimes annoying and mostly unnecessary. If they had given Qadry Ismail the day off and just allowed Gerry Sandusky to set up Stan White to explain the various segments of practice albeit briefly, it may have worked. But for the most part it seemed like someone playing a boom box featuring The Backstreet Boys over the live tunes of Jimmy Buffett.

Throughout camp the Ravens have been emphasizing the back shoulder throw. When executed properly such a pass is nearly unstoppable. Flacco’s touch is coming along on such throws and it’s nice to see rookies Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss adapting nicely to them.

Smith looks strong and that strength combined with great hops make him an attractive weapon in the red zone. Doss is a polished route runner. He looks smooth on the field and he reminds me a bit of the Bills’ great WR Andre Reed in the way he moves. But on this Saturday he was an inconsistent pass catcher.

Joining Doss in the butterfingers category on Saturday was Dennis Pitta. Like Doss Pitta is a precise route runner and he does find soft spots in the defense. Let’s hope for both this was simply excess adrenaline running through their veins.

The offensive lines look shaky and they have been a strong match for Pagano’s version of organized chaos. With Tyrod Taylor as the current backup, this has to be a huge concern for John Harbaugh and Cam Cameron as they get set to start the preseason on Thursday. There’s a lot of work to be done for Andy Moeller and his unit.

Jimmy Smith is a big corner and his length and wingspan alone will help break up some passes that smaller corners simply can’t get to. He is often compared to Chris McAlister but to me he looks a bit taller and a bit more fluid in his hips. The Ravens snagged a keeper with No. 22.

UDFA WR LaQuan Williams is making a great case to land on the team’s practice squad. Keep an eye out for No. 15 on Thursday night when the Ravens take on the “Dream Team” in Philadelphia.

Oniel Cousins is the recipient of his fair share of criticism, mostly because LaMarr Woodley has beaten him like a drum in the past. But then again, many have been beaten by the Steelers’ Pro Bowl LB. Keep an eye out for Cousins though. He’s very physical and if he isn’t beaten on the first step, he can drive a would-be pass rusher into the ground.

Cousins will be part of an interesting camp battle with rookie Jah Reid. Reid is a beast and if he engages a pass rusher, it’s over.  Here’s a list of other camp battles to keep an eye on:

Starting corner: The bet here is that Smith will get the nod from day 1. The battle will be for the starting corner opposite Smith. Lardarius Webb, Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr are in the mix.

Strong safety: If the Ravens corners along with Reed can patrol the back end, newcomer Bernard Pollard’s physicality, strength in the box and his ability to blitz could influence DC Chuck Pagano to give Pollard the nod over Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura.

Running back: It looks as though the team will give Anthony Allen the early nod with Damien Berry and Jalen Parmele nipping at Allen’s heels. None has stood out as of yet but Berry looks to be the most explosive of the three. He has however struggled with ball security.

Defensive Line: Arthur Jones has come on strong and is running with the 1’s. Paul Kruger has looked better – stronger and quicker. If Pernell McPhee can stick (and I’m hearing the team likes him) Cory Redding could be in trouble. His $3.75M cap figure looks pretty vulnerable at the moment.

Inside Linebacker: McClain, Ellerbe or Gooden? It’s McClain’s job to lose or have taken away.

UDFA’s Who Have Impressed: CB’s Talmadge Jackson & Josh Victorian; S Mana Silva; WR LaQuan Williams.

RED ZONE EFFICIENCY
 
To set the table, in each of these down and distance scenarios, the offense is down by 5 points in Q4.
 
Game Clock 
Down & Distance 
Result of Play 
 
 
FIRST UNIT 
(0:32) 
4-Goal-9yd line 
Flacco incomplete to Harper  
 
 
 
(0:25) 
3-Goal-15 
Flacco to Pitta TOUCHDOWN 
 
 
 
(0:08) 
2-10-20 
Flacco to Boldin, 15 yards 
(0:03) 
1-G-5 
Flacco to Boldin, 4 yards, ruled down @ 1 ft. line 
 
SECOND UNIT 
(0:32) 
4-G-9 
Taylor to M. Smith TOUCHDOWN 
 
 
 
(0:25) 
3-G-15 
Taylor incomplete to M. Smith 
 
 
FG Cundiff, 32 yards GOOD 
 
 
 
(0:08) 
2-10-20 
Taylor to B. Jones, catch ruled OOB 
 
3-10-20 
Taylor to L. Williams TOUCHDOWN (Outstanding jump ball catch over Mana Silva back of end zone beneath cross bar) 

 

 

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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