With the Ravens completing their second full-squad practice of training camp on Thursday, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. It’s tough to deny the diminished buzz at practice with Lamar Jackson absent, a feeling that wasn’t helped by the backup quarterbacks having a so-so day. Taking nothing away from the rest of a talented roster, it reinforces how transcendent Jackson is and how different this team is without him.
2. Tyler Huntley and Jaylon Moore combined for the play of the day on a touchdown bomb in which Moore beat Davontae Harris and Anthony Levine. Huntley throws an impressive deep ball while Moore continues doing all he can to put himself in the roster conversation in a crowded receiver group.
3. Marquise Brown was a late arrival to practice and left the field early after having his leg stretched out by a trainer. John Harbaugh called it “precautionary” for his “muscle health” so early in camp. There’s no sense pushing Brown too hard when Jackson isn’t even on the field.
4. Marcus Peters was the only new absence as he deals with “a toenail issue” that’s only expected to be a “one-day deal,” per Harbaugh. The three-time Pro Bowl corner eventually walked out to the field to watch some of practice from the sideline.
5. Anthony Averett still wasn’t practicing after Harbaugh revealed he hadn’t passed the conditioning test. The Ravens have always liked his talent, but Averett is entering the final year of his rookie deal and there are other young cornerbacks vying for a spot. Availability has frequently been an issue for him.
6. Thursday was a strong day for James Proche, who made a couple impressive touchdown catches. If you’re of the belief that Proche and Miles Boykin are battling for the sixth wide receiver spot on the roster, the former has stood out more early on. Special teams will be a factor.
7. After nearly matching his previous career total in games missed last season, Calais Campbell is in excellent shape and batted down a Trace McSorley pass on Thursday. Undecided about his football future beyond 2021, Campbell is eight sacks shy of 100 for his career, a milestone he’s trying to reach.
8. It’s fair to expect some rust from Andre Smith after not playing in 2020, but let’s just say the swing tackle competition is wide open with hopes that Tyre Phillips can serve in that capacity if he doesn’t win the starting left guard job. Alejandro Villanueva’s versatility does help.
9. J.K. Dobbins wants to be “that home run hitter for the team” to “break the will of a defense.” Considering he had two runs of 40 or more yards and was tied for fourth in the NFL with eight runs of 20-plus yards last year, I like his chances.
10. Sammy Watkins is healthy and has looked the part with a number of good catches despite not having Jackson passing to him. It’ll be interesting to see how Harbaugh and the training staff manage his workload during camp to try to keep him healthy for a long season.
11. It’s been a fairly quiet start to camp for first-round rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman, but Watkins said, “I just feel like he’s already prepared; he’s already a pro.” In a classic veteran move, Watkins followed up that praise by smiling and saying, “I wouldn’t tell him that.”
12. His candor with the media appreciated over the years, Jimmy Smith described in frightening detail how he and his family were robbed at gunpoint in Los Angeles this offseason. You’re just glad they’re OK and Smith is back for his 11th season to contribute in the Ravens secondary.