The Ravens took the field under sunny skies on Saturday morning in Owings Mills.
The first thing that stood out to me was how dominant the TE position looked. Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews practiced for the first time simultaneously and the product was excellent. Passes from Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson into double coverage were hauled in by both TEs, much to the shock and awe of the crowd. I haven’t seen anything like that since Todd Heap was in town. Hurst also burned Jimmy Smith and C.J. Mosley for about a 15-yard gain in the middle of the field.
All aboard the 2018 Flacco hype train! It was my first time seeing him in person this camp, and he was impressive as advertised. Joe fit passes into tight windows and was spreading the ball around for a majority of practice. It is clear, though, that his favorites are Hurst and WR John Brown, with whom Flacco executed difficult sideline and back shoulder passes.
We had a look at four of the five starting offensive linemen today; I was impressed with the way Alex Lewis looked, after missing all of 2017. Orlando Brown Jr. continues to amaze and tower over every defender. Matt Skura and Greg Senat both got practice time as well. There was a constant cycling of linemen throughout the day, likely to help them continue to build rapport with each other.
Alex Collins continues to get better and better. He hit the open running lanes with ferocity all throughout practice, although this wasn’t a padded practice. He is clearly the Ravens’ best option at running back, no contest. He has also very clearly been working on his receiving game, as he was the target of several Flacco short passes. Buck Allen and Gus Edwards look spry on the practice field as well. Edwards continues a long line of preseason heroes at RB, joining Taquan Mizzell (2017), and Bobby Rainey (2012). If Edwards performs well enough, he could edge out Kenneth Dixon for a roster spot.
In watching rookie wideouts Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley, it is clear that Lasley is more of the playmaking type than Scott. Lasley has an incredible nose for the ball and made several nice adjustments on not-so-good passes today. Both will likely make the roster, but one could be relegated to mostly special teams.
Kenny Young, the rookie ILB from UCLA, was running with the first team defense today and was playing fast as well as fundamentally sound. He seems like the frontrunner to take the ILB2 spot next to Mosley. Patrick Onwuasor seems to have lagged behind in the race, but will still see play time due to his ability to stop the run.
Chris Moore and Tim White will battle for a roster spot, that much is clear. Moore had an excellent one-handed grab in the end zone today, while nothing exciting for White. White saw more game action than Moore on Thursday night, and he can also play special teams. Any significant WR cuts will most likely come after week three of the preseason, as Breshad Perriman’s future is still uncertain as well.
John Harbaugh seemed overall pleased with the team’s performance on Thursday night, two days after the fact. He alluded to the rookies playing well and meeting expectations as well as the emergence of RGIII and Gus Edwards.
Justin Tucker is definitely rusty, as he missed five field goals from 40+ yards today. It’s most likely just a fluke, but Tucker’s body language after those misses was definitely those of a disgruntled kicker.
Patrick Ricard is a bus. He is incredibly fast for his size and I foresee a bigger part for him in the gameplan for this coming season.