A Solid Ravens Practice
Today I went to the Under Armour Performance Center to take in the Ravens practice with the intent of making general observations, with a focus on the following players with the notated purpose:
• Kaare Vedvik: Could he pick up from his perfect preseason debut?
• Jermaine Eluemunor: Would he still be running with the 1’s after an awful outing v. Jaguars?
• Miles Boykin: Might the drops in the preseason game disrupt his stacking of successful practices?
• Antoine Wesley: He practiced well up to the preseason game? Would the drop v. Jaguars set him back?
• Jimmy Smith: He hasn’t had a good summer. Could he finally get it going?
• Marquise Brown: He’s mostly been an observer. Would he participate today in scrimmaging?
• Pernell McPhee: Will he play the joker role or be used primarily on the outside?
Vedvik connected on 5 of seven FGA’s. He was good from 25, 33, 44, 45, 45. He missed from 33 and 59, the last of which had the distance but was pushed a few feet right.
Against Jacksonville, the third-year guard from Texas A&M played like he was on skates and his feet were lassoed together. Yet here he was today, still running with the 1’s. Ben Powers has looked better and James Hurst is better at LG as well. Maybe the Ravens are just giving Eluemunor every opportunity to win the job. He’s the offensive weak link and maintaining his position on the depth chart is a headscratcher.
Boykin has a rather unorthodox way of catching the ball. He seems to snatch it. That works well for him during contested catches but at times when he’s looking to add yack, he’ll look away from the ball and drop it. He had two drops today but to his credit, he consistently creates separation and presents a big target. I don’t have the numbers, but on the days when I’ve attended camp, he seems to be the most frequent target. He’ll prove to be a third-round steal and I expect him to be a big play receiver, even in his rookie season.
Wesley had the best catch of the day during the one-on-one red zone drills. He won’t make the team but he’ll be a nice addition to the practice squad. He’s had a solid camp even if he didn’t show that to observers against the Jaguars.
The veteran corner has been torched regularly during camp but today he competed well, sticking to receivers much better with cleaner technique. He’s a notoriously slow starter so the more reps in practice, the better.
There’s 4.3 speed and there’s 4.3 speed. What I mean is that some fast guys can run but they’re chugging with their arms and legs. Defenders know that they are digging and in turn, so do the defenders. Brown glides. He gives the impression that he isn’t digging, lulls defenders into a false sense of security, then he’s gone.
Today Brown competed in full team scrimmaging and looked solid. On one hitch route along the right sideline, he pivoted after the catch and took off. The speed is real and he will attract safety attention provided he can fight off jams. That will be something to watch for.
I expected McPhee to be a player that the Ravens will move all over the defensive front. But he has been used often on the outside. That was the case again today. Hopefully as the regular season begins, he’ll be that interior disruptor that the Ravens edge guys need to prevent opposing QB’s from stepping up in the pocket.
Early during practice the wide receivers and corners (plus Thomas and Trawick), competed in one-on-one matchups in the red zone from the defense’s 10 yard line. The drill is heavily tilted in favor of the offense. There’s no rush, no defenders to block the QB’s vision and a wide open field.
Here are the results:
— Antoine Wesley (@antoine_wesley) August 10, 2019
Other Notes & Observations
Marquise Brown was involved in an interesting display of razzle dazzle. He started in motion from left to right when he approached Lamar Jackson, he went back towards the left sideline. The ball was snapped and Lamar ran left then threw the ball backwards to Brown who scampered down the left sideline for a decent gain…Another of the new guys, Justice Hill, showed his versatility as a dual threat. With Trace McSorley behind center, the QB recognized that Hill would be isolated on Kenny Young. Running a wheel route down the right sideline, Hill got behind Young and McSorley hit him in stride for a long TD.
Lamar connected with Chris Moore on a 9 route down the right sideline. The Ravens QB did a nice job surveying the field and then spotted Moore who had about 4 yards of separation from CB Brandon Carr. TOUCHDOWN RAVENS!…Lamar also did a nice job throughout practice of dropping his arm angle to avoid batted balls from oncoming rushers with their arms extended. His accuracy didn’t drop with the arm angle…Jaleel Scott had a solid practice and runs very well. His improvement over the past 12 months is rather remarkable. He ran a nice post corner just beyond the right pylon and caught a beautifully thrown ball from Jackson…Jackson’s rapport with Mark Andrews continues to blossom. Once again, he hit the big tight end deep in the end zone. It’s a signature Ravens play that was perfected by Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin. This pairing is beginning to approach that same efficiency.
It wasn’t all “sunshine and daisies”, as John Harbaugh would say, for Lamar today. Late in practice Jackson tried to hit Moore running a 9 down the right sideline. From the right slot Hayden Hurst ran a deep out but the depth of Hurst’s route brought defenders closer to Moore. By the time the ball arrived near Moore there were three defenders there, one of which was Humphrey. Moore looked and Humphrey and said, “What are you all doing over here?” The pass fortunately fell incomplete.
A few plays later, Lamar was picked off by Carr in 7-on-7 red zone scrimmaging…Bennett Jackson had a big game on Thursday. He followed that up today with another solid showing. Playing more like a safety in Cover 2, Jackson broke on a ball thrown by QB Joe Callahan intended for Jaleel Scott and finished the play with an impressive INT in the end zone…The Ravens practiced a few Hail Mary’s and also one of those last-minute desperation plays with multiple laterals. Let’s just say the Hail Mary’s need a rosary and the lateral play looked like a game of hot potato in the schoolyard.
Both need a ton of work.
And that’s why they call this a Ravens practice.