The first day of practice in which the pads were on and the players were allowed to hit brought some must-see action to the forefront. The line play was at center stage, with Kelechi Osemele looking like a natural fit in Gary Kubiak’s zone scheme. I’ll admit, I had my doubts about K.O.’s ability to pull and get out and space, but he was putting on a clinic today.
K.O. was particularly impressive on a screen pass to Ray Rice. K.O. did a great job of laying an initial hit on an oncoming rusher, then maneuvered in front of Rice to locate and cut down safety Darian Stewart in the open field. The play ended up going for a big gain down the left sideline.
Overall, the third-year guard was locked in on his assignments, whether he needed to cut off the backside pursuit or get out and lead on a pull block. K.O. was able to track, locate, and finish his blocks in space with consistency.
In a particular pass blocking situation during 11-on-11 action, the left guard was also able to deftly handle a Haloti Ngata spin move, maintaining his balance and keeping his arms extended to secure the block.
KO wasn’t the only lineman that made a strong impression today. A.Q. Shipley has been a whipping boy for the fans and media, but he got his revenge against a few players. In particular, Shipley owned Timmy Jernigan on a run block in which he drove the rookie backward to open a lane. The former starter also looked comfortable getting out into space.
Conversely, second-year tackle David Mims looked lost in space on at least two instances in which he was asked to pull.
ONE-ON-ONE MATCHUP OF THE DAY: DUMERVIL VS. WAGNER
During an 11-on-11 sequence, two starters – Elvis Dumervil and Rick Wagner – had the chance to lock horns and Wagner generally held his own.
On the first encounter, Dumervil tried a straight bull rush and laid into Wagner, but Wagner maintained his position, stayed square, and kept the rusher from advancing.
On the next play, Dumervil used his patented dip move to get underneath Wagner’s arms. However, Wagner was just able to grab Dumervil’s shoulder pads to keep him from getting by too quickly. On the play, Wagner was driven back close enough to Joe Flacco, but the quarterback got rid of the ball in time.
ROOKIE SCOUTING REPORTS
OFFENSE: OT JAMES HURST
Hurst got most of the second-team snaps at the left tackle position. As a pass locker, Hurst had a rough outing. Pernell McPhee got the better of him on two plays – McPhee was able to get around the tackle when he set up too far inside on one, and on another Hurst let McPhee get past his outside shoulder for a would-be sack (if they were allowed to sack the QB).
The rookie struggled again with an outside rush in which the defender used a swim move to get by his initial punch. When Hurst overextended too far wide to deal with the speed rush, he was beaten inside.
DEFENSE: MLB C.J. MOSLEY
The first-round pick showed flashes of why he was the Ravens’ top pick while also showing why he’s still a rookie. Mosley looked like a natural in pass defense. In coverage, he shows fluid hips and good positioning in his zone coverage drops.
On one specific play, he was able to close quickly on a sideline dump-off to tight end Owen Daniels, and dislodged the ball from Daniels before the tight end went to the ground.
Mosley was also involved on a couple of plays in which he tightened the passing windows in the middle of the field.
Where Mosley struggled at times was as a rusher. Although he came free on one blitz (that would have been a sack), he had a hard time getting through on another play in which he used a straight rush move and was held up at the line.
In blitz pickup drills, Mosley was schooled a few times by the pass-blocking tailbacks. All in all, Mosley will have to learn to use some counter moves to be more effective in those situations.
- Receiver Michael Campanaro was absolutely stoned at the line by Omar Brown on a 7-on-7 play. Brown jammed the rookie at the snap and kept him from getting a free release. As a slot receiver, Campanaro will face plenty of press coverage, and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts as camp progresses. After all, if he can get a free release, he has the quick footwork to get separation.
- Steve Smith continues to put on a show at training camp. His best play was a deep sideline grab during which he came back for an underthrown Flacco pass and leapt over the cornerback to hijack the football. That was vintage Smith.
- Rice showed great burst on a few runs in which he was able to bounce the ball off-tackle, working off of backside blocks. When the holes were there, Rice ripped through the second and third levels of the defense.