Most folks saw the number 79 jersey out on the field with the Ravens Offensive Line unit this morning at One Winning Drive, but all I needed to see to know Ronnie Stanley had returned?
I’ll have to dig my notes from Training Camp last year but I’ve brought up Stanley’s’ camo shorts before and it’s as much a tell of his presence as the name plate on the back of his jersey. Glad to have you back Guru (even at limited capacity for a slow acclimation), especially on a day where we saw two more Offensive Linemen leave the field for undisclosed reasons.
Unfortunately, Center Bradley Bozeman and Right Tackle Alejandro Villanueva left the field for… well, for some reason unbeknownst to us, and dubbed ‘nothing serious’ by John Harbaugh, which technically now brings the count to four starting O-Linemen for the Ravens that aren’t practicing in full: Stanley, Bozeman, Al, and Kevin Zeitler.
Add in the TBD Left Guard situation and it’s really a frustrating situation for the line, and the offense, right now.
Alas, I think we can all take this with a grain of salt, as we watch Stanley work his way back, watch Tyre Phillips and Ben Cleveland duke it out for the Left Guard spot, and hearing Harbs say that Al, KZ, and Bozeman aren’t considered long-term concerns.
We still have over a month until Week One, and all of these guys missing are veteran players who we can trust upon return.
Namaste, Ravens Flock.
As for practice today, it’s hard to say which side of the ball ‘won the day,’ especially in shell where it’s hard to judge the pass rush and run stuffing ability versus the (makeshift) Offensive Line… I’ll call it a toss up. Here’s a few noteworthy items from the day:
- Mark Andrews paired some exceptional receptions with a pair of drops, the second of the ‘hit in the numbers’ variety in the end zone on a 3rd down play. He had a fairly strong day sans the miscues, but I did catch Andrews running with the wideouts in a few drills, presumably for Keith Williams to put some eyes on him and work on his hands vs body catching?
- Josh Oliver had the best day I’ve seen from him in camp thus far. A few spectacles of his own (back of the end zone all mitts coming down clean), and a great catch in traffic with defenders draped all over him… but like Andrews, Oliver had some drops of his own.
- Tavon Young got picked on a bit by the Ravens offense, probably because he was one of the only corners allowing any space for the QBs. Notably, James Proche planted on Young and cut inside and created some 3 yard cushion that was utterly insane to watch. Not down on Young by any means- he’s played in just two games over two years now- but the more targets he sees the better he’ll sharpen his skillset back to form.
- As a whole, the defensive backs had a ton of pass breakups out there today. The passing windows were extremely limited, and if I saw less than a half dozen passes deflected, I’d be shocked. I recorded PBUs from Humphrey, Peters, Averett, Westry (x2), Washington.
- The best PBU came on a deep shot by Trace McSorley to Rashod Bateman. Chris Westry stuck on Bateman step-for-step, Ar’Darius Washington came over to help, and Westry got up over Bateman to knock the pass down. Of course, Bateman caught it out of bounds off the deflection… but still drew the ooh’s and aah’s from the fans… no love for my boy Westry!
- Patrick Ricard make a sick catch on a Lamar Jackson pass. Ricard looked over his inside shoulder, tracked the ball, flipped to his outside shoulder and reeled it in for a 15 yard gain. Ricard had a drop earlier (a trend for all pass catchers) but redeemed himself here. Looked like a Baby Boyle out there on that reception!
- Anthony Averett had himself a day today, playing tight coverage, batting down a few passes, and pinning his man to the sidelines consistently. With Jimmy Smith out… actually, even with Jimmy healthy? AA is currently the third best outside corner on this team (and yes, Chris Westry is on his heels).
- Lamar Jackson and Sammy Watkins look in sync like they’ve played together for years. I know Hollywood Brown is out (running more today, I expect him back early next week, if not sooner) but I wouldn’t be shocked if Watkins becomes Lamar’s new favorite weapon while Bateman develops.
- Speaking of Lamar, the heat he was throwing today was the fastest I’ve seen him chuck a ball, possibly ever. On the two-minute drill, Lamar went 4-for-7, where one incompletion was an Andrews drop in the end zone, and the next play Lamar rolled right and threw across his body to a sliding Sammy and just missed him. This was just his second full practice coming out of COVID protocol. Unreal.
- Jake Verity hit the post of a field goal attempt that clanked the upright so hard, it literally looked like it could come down. That had ‘Jimmy Graham goalpost dunk’ damage written all over it.
- On an unrelated Special Teams note, Justin Tucker turned around to say hi to the media folks and asked us to write something nice about him so… “something nice about Justin Tucker.” It ain’t much, but it’s honest work…
Play of the Day
Lamar Jackson catching a touchdown pass from JK Dobbins.
That’s the only thing that matters.