The Ravens finished their third and final practice of minicamp on Thursday, taking the field one last time before training camp begins in late July.
Under hot and humid conditions, the team got an early taste of the usual training camp weather as they moved through practice at a fast pace led by John Harbaugh.
Undrafted wide receiver Jeremy Butler continued his trend of stacking solid practices. The 6’2, 218-pound wideout made several stellar grabs throughout the day and earned the praise of veteran Steve Smith, Sr. Rookie Breshad Perriman began practice working with his positional coach Bobby Engram on short catches. The youngster has been plagued with drops over the past two days however did turn heads making numerous tough receptions.
Quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub fared well for much of the morning practice, which didn’t go unnoticed by offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. After several minutes of drop back drills, Trestman could be heard yelling, “Giddy group here today.”
Flacco made nice throws to all depths and areas of the field consistently, including touchdown passes to Smith, Sr. and Perriman. Rookie Darren Waller had a few drops, but the sixth round draft pick did put his big-bodied frame to use on a touchdown pass from Schaub.
The youngsters led the pack in the running back corps with rookie Buck Allen showing why the Ravens think he will be an asset to their offense. Allen, along with undrafted rookie Terrence Magee (LSU) both showed their quickness and ability to catch out of the backfield. The duo of Allen and Magee each had touchdown receptions. Lorenzo Taliaferro showed his ability to cut up-field during run drills, but the second-year player struggled catching passes during three consecutive reps.
Tight end Crockett Gillmore excelled for the third straight day, making his presence known after the catch. On several reps, had the team been allowed to use contact, the 6-6 Gillmore would have trucked defenders. Rookie Maxx Williams left practice early due to an issue that head coach John Harbaugh later said was not serious.
The offensive line got another piece back today as center Jeremy Zuttah returned to practice, though he was limited to just individual drills. John Urschel again took snaps at center with the first team offense. Zuttah is likely to be full go by the time training camp gets here, per Harbaugh.
For the first time since offseason activities began, linebacker Arthur Brown stood out for much of practice with the first/second team defenses. Brown, who has been under scrutiny for his lack of development, had several key passes defensed today including two on Waller. Daryl Smith may be another year older this season, but the veteran linebacker moved with ease in pass defense. Smith dropped into coverage against Marlon Brown and made an outstanding play to break up a sure touchdown pass.
The secondary play has gotten increasingly better since the first day of minicamp. Safeties Will Hill and Kendrick Lewis saw most of the snaps with the first team defense with Matt Elam also seeing some reps. Elam has continued to impress and is having his best offseason yet. The true test will come once the team is allowed to put the pads on and tackle. Veterans Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb both practiced for the third straight day, looked healthy, and each defended a few passes.
For all the talk this offseason about how good the offensive line could be in 2015, the defensive line could be down right scary to opposing offenses. The size and speed of the players combined with their raw power has turned heads on several occasions. On Thursday, Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan were relentless against the run while Kapron Lewis-Moore and Brent Urban were equally as tough on runners from the second-team offense. The loss of Haloti Ngata this offseason leaves some big cleats to be filled, yet so far so good with Clarence Brook’s group.
Play of the Day: During 11-on-11 drills, Perriman made an outstanding touchdown catch over the back of Kyle Arrington in the corner of the end zone. Perriman was able to adjust his body and go up to the football despite Arrington’s tight coverage.
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