Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Twelve Ravens thoughts following final day of open training camp practice

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

With the Ravens holding their 17th and final open practice of training camp on Wednesday afternoon, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. The offense didn’t finish open camp on a high note with arguably its worst practice. As John Harbaugh pointed out, the starting defense had much to do with it, but there were too many examples of miscommunication, turnovers, and other self-inflicted mistakes. It’s been choppier than you’d like lately.

2. Marcus Williams was the star of the day with an interception on a Lamar Jackson deep ball intended for Mark Andrews in heavy traffic and another pick of Anthony Brown during a 7-on-7 period. The free safety was very active in coverage and showed physicality throughout the practice.

3. Just as Baltimore was finally working out with its full collection of defensive backs, rookie cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis left practice after hitting his head falling to the ground. He looked unsteady walking off with a trainer. Rookie offensive tackle Daniel Faalele sat out with “a little swelling,” according to Harbaugh.

4. In positive injury news, Harbaugh said Tyler Linderbaum will likely return to practice doing individual work on Friday, which would be just over two weeks after he injured his left foot. He won’t play against Arizona, but that’s still encouraging to hear with the season opener still three-plus weeks away.

5. The most impressive position group top to bottom on either side of the ball has been the defensive line with Calais Campbell saying, “All nine guys in our d-line room can play on Sunday and help us win ballgames.” They clearly won’t all stick, but that wasn’t a throwaway comment.

6. You’d prefer seeing a roster hopeful build on a standout preseason game with strong practices, but it’s been an underwhelming week for Shemar Bridges. Though several rookie receivers have flashed at various times this summer, I’m not sure any have built an overly convincing case beyond the Ravens needing bodies.

7. That said, former USFL receiver Bailey Gaither was an offensive bright spot when he outleaped Geno Stone to catch a Tyler Huntley pass and take it all the way for a 70-yard touchdown. Gaither also caught a long touchdown from Brown during a 7-on-7 period.

8. While it’s been a slow ramp-up for J.K. Dobbins and Marcus Peters, Ar’Darius Washington is already taking part in full-team drills and registered a pass breakup covering Rashod Bateman during a 7-on-7 period. The second-year safety has no time to waste if he wants to crack the 53-man roster.

9. It’s been a quiet camp for the undrafted rookie inside linebackers, but Zakoby McClain drew coaches’ praise during a 9-on-7 run game period. There’s an opportunity to push Kristian Welch for the fourth inside backer job if McClain or anyone else is up to the challenge down the preseason stretch.

10. In case you were wondering what range Jordan Stout might have if he had to fill in for Justin Tucker trying a field goal, the rookie connected from 54 yards with plenty to spare during Wednesday’s practice. Tucker served as the holder for him, which was a fun role reversal.

11. File this into the “things you wouldn’t expect to read” category, but offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James gracefully fielded a punt like someone who’s done it before. Harbaugh said, “That drill was designed for the ball to be on the ground. … But he just ruined the whole drill by catching it.”

12. Flying to Arizona Thursday, the Ravens will practice at Arizona State where they should get to visit with two Super Bowl XXXV champions — Brian Billick and Marvin Lewis — on Herm Edwards’ staff. To no surprise, Harbaugh confirmed Jackson and some other key veterans won’t play Sunday night.

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