Monday Night Fights Under The Lights
Players donned pads for the third-consecutive practice, this time under the lights of the new grass field at M&T Bank Stadium.
The open practice drew a crowd far less than last year’s open practice at The Bank which attracted an estimated 22,000 fans. Those on hand last night honored members of the United States Military.
Missing In Action
Tight end Dennis Pitta left practice early after suffering a sprained thumb in an altercation with rookie linebacker Kamalei Correa .
Studs of the Day
Terrence West is running like a man on a mission since the start of training camp. West turned in his best practice to date, both rushing and catching passes out of the backfield. After failed stints in Cleveland and Tennessee, West has regained his form albeit in a small sample size. West recorded two touchdowns, one receiving and one rushing during 11 on 11 team drills. As West continues to stack productive practices, it grows increasingly less likely that the Ravens retain Lorenzo Taliaferro.
Tight end Benjamin Watson appears as if he’s been catching passes from Joe Flacco for years. The free agent acquisition’s rapport with Flacco has ramped up over the past few days and Watson was Joe’s go to receiver on Monday night. The veteran tight end showed solid hands and big catch radius on several reps and had an amazing diving catch to move the chains on third down during red zone drills.
Za’Darius Smith keeps finding a way to get into the Studs of the Day category for his continued dominant performances rushing the passer and stuffing the Ravens running backs in the backfield. Smith easily beat Ronnie Stanley during 11 on 11 team drills and tackled Justin Forsett and Buck Allen for losses. The second-year Kentucky product did draw the ire of John Harbaugh after he exchanged punches with Ryan Jensen during a blocking drill.
Duds of the Day
Unfortunately cornerback Jimmy Smith has landed in this category far too many times despite Monday night being just the team’s 5th training camp practice. While he may still be taking it easy following offseason surgery, the veteran cornerback hasn’t turned in a solid practice yet. At times he looks lost in the defensive scheme or appears to be disinterested in practice. On several occasions Smith was beaten on short and intermediate routes by Kamar Aiken. As the Ravens enter week two of camp they need Smith to flip the switch and become the shutdown corner they’ve paid for.
Dennis Pitta has been having an outstanding camp since returning to action this offseason following his hip injuries. The tight end appeared to pick up where he left off prior to his injury however the veteran tight end found himself injured once again during Monday’s practice. Pitta, who is naturally calm went after rookie OLB Kamalei Correa following a play and ended up punching the rookie and sprained his thumb in the process. John Harbaugh stated Pitta is likely to miss a few practices.
Arthur Brown continues to drop further and further down the Ravens depth chart at the linebacker position. He is still running with the third team defense and although he has been a solid contributor on special teams he still finds himself making little progress on defense. Brown was beaten in coverage multiple times by tight ends Maxx Williams and Daniel Brown.
Play of the Day
Tight end Benjamin Watson hauled in an off kilter throw from Flacco during red zone drills to pick up a first down. The veteran tight end laid out and made a stellar diving catch drawing many cheers from those in attendance.
Punter Sam Koch appears to have found the fountain of youth when it comes to kicking. The always reliable punter kicked several coffin-corner kicks with ease, drawing praise from Harbaugh and special teams coach Jerry Rosburg.
Tight end Daniel Brown is making progress every day it seems since making the move to tight end. Brown has seen reps with all three offensive teams and it’s clear the Ravens like what they see. Marc Trestman has utilized him all over the field in many different roles.
Rookie Tavon Young continued the trend of successful practices batting down several passes from Ryan Mallett and disruptive tackles on special teams. Young is working his way up the depth chart and is making his case to get reps with the first team defense.
Things got very chippy during practice with several fights breaking out during what is usually a dog and pony show under the lights at the Ravens open practice. Joe Flacco even got in the mix when he grabbed rookie Kamalei Correa by the facemask after a hard hit the rookie delivered on wide receiver Mike Wallace.
Justin Tucker went 5 for 5 on field goals from beyond 50 yards including a 63 yarder mid way through practice.
Quote of the Day
“He’s the quarterback. He’s the leader so I can’t say anything. He’s Joe Flacco.” Rookie Kamalei Correa on what Joe Flacco said when he grabbed his facemask after his hit on Mike Wallace.
The Ravens will have an off day on Tuesday before hitting the practice field for a 9 a.m. practice on Wednesday.
Follow me on Twitter @sportguyRSR