The Ravens took to the field for an 8:45 a.m. practice Monday morning under sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-70’s.
Players were donned in shorts and shells for practice, which lasted two hours and fifteen minutes, following the usual schedule of positional drills followed by even-on-sevens and eleven-on-elevens.
Missing in Action
WR Chris Moore (unknown), TE Dennis Pitta (sprained thumb), TE Maxx Williams, S Kendrick Lewis, CB Tavon Young, CB Kyle Arrington, TE Daniel Brown, CB Sheldon Price, CB Sam Brown, WR Chris Matthews and P Sam Koch did not participate in practice.
Studs of the Day
CB Jimmy Smith continued his run of successful practices Monday morning, looking like the shutdown corner the team desperately needs (and that he’s being paid to be). Smith was stellar in coverage and had a number of passes defensed against Mike Wallace and Kamar Aiken. Jimmy looks as if he is healthy for the first time in awhile.
The rapport between Benjamin Watson and Joe Flacco is getting better by the day. The veteran tight end turned in a solid outing on a day when most of the offense struggled. Watson displayed his sure hands and comfort in the offense at all three levels of the route tree. He was Joe Cool’s safety valve for much of the morning.
While most of us have given up on the former first-round draft pick, Matt Elam has put together a string of decent practices lately. On Monday, he was clearly one of the best defenders on the field, taking reps with both the first- and second-team defenses. The former Florida Gator was responsible for several pass break-ups and also recorded an interception in the end zone during seven-on-seven drills.
Duds of the Day
Despite putting together a decent outing against the Carolina Panthers, Ryan Mallett struggled throughout much of the day. He continued to exhibit poor decision-making as well as having accuracy issues. Several passes from the backup quarterback were either too high for his receivers or too low, despite no pressure from the defense. Mallett was fortunate to only be picked off twice as several corners had dropped interceptions.
With rookie Alex Lewis manning the left guard position on the first team defense, it’s James Hurst who continues to see his stock drop at left tackle. Hurst had no answers for blitz situations even without players being in pads. LB Za’darius Smith made quick work of the former undrafted offensive lineman.
Play of the Day
During red zone drills, Elam made an incredible diving interception on a pass intended for tight end Nick Boyle. Elam was quick to jump the route and hung on to the football after hitting the turf. Following the play, safety Eric Weddle was the first one to congratulate his defensive teammate.
Punter Sam Koch was absent from practice today but that didn’t stop the Ravens special teams unit. Weddle assumed Koch’s holder job on all field goal attempts.
With the news of injured wide receiver/kick returner Kaelin Clay being released from the team early Monday morning, Michael Campanaro and Keenan Reynolds took the majority of reps at kick returner and punt returner.
Terrell Suggs returned to practice in a limited role. Suggs participated in positional drills but was kept out of team drills. The Ravens are expected to limit his reps going forward but Suggs did appear, at least to the eye, to be in shape.
Fourth-year defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore showed his much improved run defense skills again today. Lewis-Moore was responsible for several no gains against the second-team running backs.
Tight end Crockett Gillmore’s return to practice was a quiet one. Taking reps with the second team offense, Gillmore caught a few passes and it appeared as if there were timing issues with Mallett.
Joe Flacco was off and on for the most part throughout practice. He struggled on deep passes and looked average on short and intermediate routes. His best throw came on a touchdown pass that was a bullet to Michael Campanaro during seven-on0seven drills.
His worst pass came late in practice when he overthrew a wide open Mike Wallace down the left sideline.
Quote of the Day
“Darth Sizzle is back. It felt great to be back on the field with the team, there is nothing like it.” Terrell Suggs, in a prepared statement released to the media.
The team will return to the field for another 8:45 a.m. practice on Tuesday morning. John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Benjamin Watson and Kyle Juszczyk are slated to speak at the podium.
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