With the Ravens leaving Owings Mills to conduct the first of three scheduled summer practices at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. Lamar Jackson missed a second straight practice with what was described as “soft-tissue thing” by John Harbaugh, who wouldn’t expand when asked if it was related to the tired throwing arm mentioned by David Culley Saturday. A few hours later, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Jackson would return Monday. Alrighty then.
“I’m not getting into all that. I know you guys are sleuthing it out and all that kind of stuff — playing Dick Tracy — but it’s training camp. We’re getting close to the season, and we’re really not talking about injuries too much.” https://t.co/NiuYTjUrjq
— Luke Jones (@BaltimoreLuke) August 24, 2020
2. Without Jackson on the field, the defense easily won the day and didn’t show any hangover from the news of Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas being released, playing with energy and even chirping with offensive players on the opposite sideline during 11-on-11 work. I’m sure that was only coincidence.
3. DeShon Elliott looked comfortable and communicated frequently in his new spot as a starting safety next to Chuck Clark. Showing no shortage of athleticism and swagger, Elliott forced an incompletion with good coverage on Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews in an 11-on-11 drill.
4. Marcus Peters has also missed back-to-back practices with a “soft-tissue” injury, but the Pro Bowl cornerback observed on the field and even assisted with defensive back drills. He didn’t look like someone who would be out for long.
5. It remains to be seen how J.K. Dobbins will factor into the carry distribution, but the rookie running back made a terrific jump-ball catch over rookie linebacker Kristian Welch in a 1-on-1 passing drill. He definitely impressed over the first week of open practice.
6. Dobbins also broke off a 20-plus-yard run in a period of live tackling that included rookies and backup players at the end of the practice. Rookie quarterback Tyler Huntley threw a touchdown pass to tight end Jerell Adams to cap off the brief scrimmage.
7. Anthony Averett continued his strong start to camp by breaking up a pass intended for Marquise Brown in a 7-on-7 rep and batting away a Trace McSorley throw intended for Jaleel Scott in an 11-on-11 period. With Jimmy Smith playing a little more safety these days, Averett’s development is important.
8. One of the more interesting drills from Sunday’s practice was watching the defensive backs practice blitzing off the edges, a reflection of how aggressive and unpredictable Wink Martindale loves to be with his pressure packages.
9. Nigel Warrior came away with the first interception in a 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drill out of six open practices, picking off McSorley on a pass intended for Brown. Defensive players responded with an pronounced celebration around the undrafted rookie safety.
10. A sleeper I’m watching is outside linebacker Aaron Adeoye, who spent last year on the practice squad. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Southeast Missouri State product batted down a pass and later blew past Parker Ehinger to pressure McSorley into falling in the pocket. He’s an impressive athlete.
11. I’m used to hearing artificial crowd noise covering baseball from the press box at an empty Camden Yards, but the Ravens using it at the stadium still felt weird. Of course, that sort of thing is nothing out of the ordinary for the Atlanta Falcons.
12. Calais Campbell is no stranger to an NFL stadium entering his 13th season, but I caught the five-time Pro Bowl defensive end doing a little version of the Ray Lewis dance as he walked out of the tunnel for the first time as a Raven. That was a fun scene.