The Ravens had one of their most physical practices of training camp today.
In one-on-one drills, center Ryan Jensen threw linebacker Za’Darius Smith to the ground, which set off a huge skirmish in the middle of the field. No one was injured during the altercation, but it was a positive sign to see the offensive line playing with some feistiness. Tight end Nick Boyle and defensive end Chris Wormley also had to be separated during a drill.
Running back Buck Allen caught the ire of special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg for some lackluster play on special teams. Allen recovered and had a solid practice running the ball.
Receiver Jeremy Maclin, left tackle Ronnie Stanley and linebacker Tyus Bowser did not practice for undisclosed reasons. All three players practiced the previous day at M&T Bank Stadium without any apparent problems.
Safety Eric Weddle also was forced to leave with about 30 minutes remaining in practice. Offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor also had to leave. The Ravens certainly cannot afford to lose any more linemen.
Finally, undrafted rookie wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo, who could have a bigger role given the season-ending injury to Tim White, appeared to injure his leg late in the day.
Other players not practicing were quarterback Joe Flacco, receiver Breshad Perriman, offensive tackle Stephane Nembot, receiver Kenny Bell, cornerbacks Maurice Canady and Brandon Boykin and linebacker Lamar Louis.
Coach John Harbaugh did not meet with the media on Sunday.
— The Ravens are a preferable destination for undrafted players because they can get a fair opportunity to make the final roster.
One of those success stories is defensive tackle Michael Pierce, who is primed for a breakout season. Pierce has been solid throughout camp and impressed coaches with his athleticism.
“It’s been a journey,” Pierce said. “ I can’t explain it. I just work hard and don’t really worry about working with the starting guys. I just come out and put everything on the line. That’s what I’m doing right now.”
Pierce is part of a deep defensive line that is shaping up to be one of the fiercest battles in training camp for the final roster spots. The unit is clearly led by Brandon Williams, who signed a five-year, $54-million deal in the offseason. He and Pierce are one of the top run-stopping duos in the NFL.
Carl Davis is also having a solid camp after struggling last season and undrafted rookie Patrick Ricard has been one of the biggest surprises. Willie Henry, a second-year player from Michigan, also has made huge strides.
Defensive line coach Joe Cullen called the number of talented players a “good problem.” The Ravens could even explore trade opportunities because of the depth. Most importantly, Cullen has been impressed with the team’s work ethic.
“I think it keeps everyone pushing each other,” Cullen said. “What we don’t ever want to have is ‘one’ and then the next guy that comes into the game is a huge drop-off. We want it to be right there. I think our guys are pushing to get to that level. Those are great problems for coach ‘Harbs’ and Ozzie to have.”
— Linebacker Terrell Suggs doesn’t limit his banter to teammates. At one point during practice, he took notice of a shirt worn by Chad Steele, the team’s vice president of public relations. The shirt was either purple or fuschia, depending on whom you asked. “The only person who can get away with that color is Prince,” Suggs said.
— Cornerbacks Brandon Carr and undrafted rookie Jaylen Hill came up with impressive interceptions. Carr’s pick would have easily been returned for a touchdown. Hill also had an interception Thursday against the Washington Redskins.
— James Hurst moved to left tackle without Stanley in practice. He performed admirably under the circumstances. That versatility should bode well for an offensive line already ravaged with injuries.