With the Ravens holding their 11th open workout of training camp on Monday afternoon, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. I ran out of ways to describe Justin Tucker’s brilliance years ago, but his four-year extension means he’s now under contract through age 38. Even some of the best kickers in NFL history played for multiple teams, so being in position to spend his entire career in Baltimore is special.
2. John Harbaugh refuted Monday’s NFL Network report saying Tyler Linderbaum is dealing with a Lisfranc sprain, but it’s tough not to feel a little uneasy about the rookie center’s foot with the way the information has trended since Thursday. Regardless of the specifics, you hope the injury doesn’t linger.
3. As J.K. Dobbins returned to practice, Justice Hill turned in the summer’s best play by a running back with a 45-yard touchdown catch. Looking good returning from last year’s torn Achilles, Hill slipped behind Josh Bynes in coverage as Lamar Jackson rolled left and hit him in stride.
4. Scrutiny for Kyle Hamilton has been overblown, but the rookie reined in his first interception as he broke on a Tyler Huntley deep ball intended for Shemar Bridges during an 11-on-11 period. The rookie also broke up a couple passes in 1-on-1 reps, which isn’t easy. He’s doing just fine.
5. James Proche continued his excellent summer with a highlight catch down the seam over Patrick Queen and in front of Hamilton in coverage. Jackson showed great touch on the throw, and Proche showed the toughness to hold on after the collision with the bigger Hamilton.
6. Calais Campbell batted down three passes while the defensive line caused problems in the pocket. Odafe Oweh and Justin Houston have given the Baltimore offensive tackles difficulties throughout camp, which is either a positive for the pass rush or a concern for an offensive line still waiting on Ronnie Stanley.
7. Rashod Bateman returned after missing two practices with a soft-tissue injury, but Marlon Humphrey was again absent after sitting out on Saturday. The two-time Pro Bowl corner is among those already confirmed to sit out Thursday’s preseason opener, but you typically have to drag him off the practice field.
8. In addition to Humphrey’s absence, Brandon Stephens being sidelined for a week, and Marcus Peters still not practicing, Jalyn Armour-Davis sat out much of Monday’s practice as cornerback depth dwindles. Adding veteran Daryl Worley to the roster helps, but the healthy corners are handling a ton of reps right now.
9. One of those cornerbacks garnering some attention is undrafted rookie David Vereen, who nearly intercepted a Jackson deep ball intended for Rashod Bateman during a 7-on-7 period.Though a steep climb to a roster spot remains, the Newberry product shows up with a solid play or two almost every day.
10. With Dobbins aiming to be ready for Week 1, the spotlight is on the other running backs to shine in preseason games. Position coach Craig Ver Steeg said he sees No. 1 potential in all his backs, but Hill is the only one who’s stood out of late.
11. Practice ended with rookies completing a wet ball fumble drill that included Jackson and other veterans operating the hose. It’s one of the more amusing drills I’ve seen over the years, especially when Kevin Zeitler demanded the hose for Daniel Faalele’s turn to recover the loose ball. Fun stuff.
12. When the Ravens announced the Tucker news using the word “EXTENDED” to open their tweet, I couldn’t have been the only one initially wondering if it might be a Jackson extension. With no disrespect to football’s best kicker, that news would have sparked a much more lucrative celebration from fans.