Owings Mills-We’ve known since the start of training camp about the different faces that Joe Flacco has to get adjusted to with off-season departures of Anquan Boldin and the injuries to TE Dennis Pitta on the first day of contact drills.
But it appears that the injury bug continues to pile on for the Ravens, as two more of the offensive weapons for head coach John Harbaugh missed practice Saturday after sustaining injuries in Baltimore’s opening 44-16 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Joining the likes of the usual walking wounded for the Ravens including Pitta (hip dislocation), G Marshal Yanda (shoulder), LB Jameel McClain (back), G Ryan Jensen (broken foot), TE Ed Dickson (hamstring tear), DL Kapron Lewis-Moore (ACL surgery) were two of the team younger offensive players in WR Deonte Thompson (ankle) and RB Bernard Pierce (knee).
Also not present were MLB Bryan Hall and veteran DL Marcus Spears.
Hall, in his first real action since his positional change from DT to inside linebacker, told WNST Friday that his hamstring was sore after leaving the Buccaneers game with the injury.
Pierce meanwhile, who injured his knee and lower leg midway through the second quarter on his 20-yard touchdown run that put the Ravens up 7-6, said late Thursday that he fine but an MRI was still scheduled for Friday afternoon.
The MRI revealed a minor knee sprain, a source told the Baltimore Sun.
Thompson’s ankle injury is not believed to be serious as well.
Saturday’s session was the first time the Ravens took the practice field since returning from Tampa.
“If it’s something serious, I’ll let you know. I’m not going to get into every nick or bruise,” John Harbaugh said after practice to the media.
Many expect the Ravens to rely heavily on a two-back system in 2013 with Pierce and starter Ray Rice due to their holes in their receiving corps.
That would include Thompson, the 2nd-year receiver out of Florida, who left Thursday’s game before the end of the first half in a soft walking boot.
Several receivers worked well in place of Thompson, including wide receiver Tandon Doss, the third year receiver out in Indiana, as well as 6’5 receiver Marlon Brown, the undrafted rookie out of Georgia who missed half of his final season as a Bulldog due to an ACL injury.
Brown caught a long 30-yard fade from quarterback Joe Flacco over cornerback Chykie Brown in team drills that got the fans going.
Brown initially struggled in concentration coming down with the ball, but came down with the nice touchdown grab.
Doss meanwhile mostly had his success underneath. Despite catching several crossing and drag routes, Doss continued to have difficulty catching the ball down the field and over the middle-as he dropped a Flacco pass in the end zone as Doss saw safety Michael Huff readying for a hit.
While the offense has had its successes in practice, today was the defense’s day to shine. The defense flustered Flacco all practice, including CB Lardarius Webb picking him off on a pass batted up in the air by RB Ray Rice as well as cornerback Jimmy Smith getting the over-the-shoulder turnover.
This promoted LB Terrell Suggs, the vocal leader and chirp-box of the Ravens defense, to yell over to offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, “Jim, what kind of ship are you running over there? If this was a real game, it would be 40-0!”
Harbaugh also became frustrated with several of his players in Saturday’s session, including WR Aaron Mellette, who despite catching a TD, was called “lazy” by the Ravens head coach in front of everyone.
Harbaugh also removed RB Ray Rice from practice at one point to protect him from a poor front-five, and threatened to cut CB Asa Jackson after getting involved in an altercation between TE Billy Bajema and LB Courtney Upshaw.
“If you ever do that again, you are cut. It’s a penalty and an ejection. Learn the rules!”, Harbaugh exclaimed.
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