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Marquise Brown participates in first full-team practice work with Ravens

Posted on 10 August 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown has taken another step toward establishing his “Hollywood” nickname at the next level.

The first-round pick took his first full-team reps of training camp Saturday, but the Ravens defense wasn’t ready to anoint the former Oklahoma superstar just yet. Inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor was only willing to give Brown the first half of the moniker, but encouraging signs were there as the speedster caught five passes in roughly a dozen snaps split between 11-on-11 and seven-on-seven periods of practice. Brown took reps with Lamar Jackson and the starting offense as well as with fellow rookie Trace McSorley and the second string.

“They’re always joking around,” said Brown, who also dropped a pass thrown slightly behind him by McSorley. “They’re like, ‘You’re Holly right now. You don’t get the full name.’ I’m just trying to make some plays to earn my name.”

The Ravens have brought Brown along slowly since he made his practice debut on July 31. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound receiver had only taken part in individual position drills and did not play in the preseason opener against Jacksonville, but he was pleased to finally be competing against defenders again.

Head coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal about Brown’s status for the second exhibition game against Green Bay after the rookie sat out the final 30 minutes of the 2 1/2-hour workout. His activity level being ramped up is certainly a welcome sight for the organization that made him the first wide receiver selected in the 2019 draft and just the fourth wide receiver to be chosen in the first round in franchise history, joining Travis Taylor (2000), Mark Clayton (2005), and Breshad Perriman (2015).

Having undergone Lisfranc surgery on his left foot in January, Brown was still experiencing soreness when making certain cuts at the start of training camp. Minimizing that discomfort was considered the final hurdle for his return to the field, but the Ravens will continue to exercise caution with the start of the regular season still four weeks away.

“It seemed like he handled quite a bit,” Harbaugh said. “He was out there in quite a few drills, and we’ll see how he responds tomorrow with that. It’s a good first step. We’re all happy to see it.”

Brown told reporters his foot feels good, but he’s still regaining his confidence and pre-injury form, according to his position coach. That hasn’t stopped his speed from standing out, however.

“He looked real fast,” wide receivers coach David Culley said. “He didn’t feel fast, but I told him I didn’t see anything that would say that he’s been injured. He’s not quite where he was before, but I like where he’s at right now.”

Injury report

The Ravens returned to practice for the first time since their 29-0 victory over Jacksonville with three veteran players missing from the field.

Wide receiver Seth Roberts, running back Kenneth Dixon, and cornerback Maurice Canady didn’t practice with undisclosed ailments. Injuries severely hampered both Dixon and Canady over their first three seasons, a factor working against them in their respective battles for roster spots in deep position groups.

“Just little things. Nothing that will keep anybody out for too long,” said Harbaugh of the three injuries. “I don’t remember off the top of my head what they were. Seth just told me there that he’ll be back pretty quick — within a week or so. That’s what he said. The docs said it was maybe two or something, but nothing serious.”

Harbaugh confirmed outside linebacker Mike Onuoha sustained a broken wrist in Thursday’s game and will be out indefinitely. Linebacker Nicholas Grigsby and offensive lineman Randin Crecelius were also absent from Saturday’s practice after sitting out the preseason opener.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III continues to do light throwing with the football, but Harbaugh reiterated he won’t play in the preseason as his right thumb heals.

“He has the protective device on his thumb, so it’s just a matter of gripping the ball,” Harbaugh said. “He won’t be able to do anything until that fracture heals, which is a time frame. I think it’s three to four weeks before it even heals, and then we’ll work from there. We anticipate the first week of the season, if all goes well.”

The Ravens signed former Philadelphia and Carolina defensive tackle Elijah Qualls, who was a 2017 sixth-round pick of the Eagles. The Washington product has appeared in six career games and filled the open 90-man roster spot created by the Alex Lewis trade.

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Earl Thomas provides first big practice highlight with Ravens

Posted on 31 July 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Early practices had mostly looked like a feeling out process for new Ravens safety Earl Thomas.

In addition to returning from a fractured lower left leg suffered last fall, Thomas has acknowledged a learning curve with Wink Martindale’s complex defensive system after nearly a decade of running mostly Cover 3 looks with Seattle. That’s not to say there was any reason for concern this early in training camp, but the six-time Pro Bowl safety had yet to really make a splash play to remind why the Ravens gave him a four-year, $55 million contract that included $32 million guaranteed in March.

That changed Wednesday morning with Thomas breaking in a flash on a Lamar Jackson pass intended for slot receiver Willie Snead over the middle and returning the interception for a long touchdown. Thomas played to the crowd in celebration after his return and flashed the same play-making ability that made him the NFL’s best safety since former Raven Ed Reed, who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend.

“He caught it so in stride [that] I thought he was a receiver at first,” cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. “But I think that’s going to be the story this year — Earl making plays, the whole secondary just flying to the ball. That got me going. I said on Twitter the other day, the energy he brings, I can just already tell. I cannot wait to be on the field with him.”

Already sporting one of the league’s deepest and best secondaries last season, the Ravens identified Thomas as a way to take the group to another level after parting with former Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle. Viewed as a clear upgrade from the 34-year-old Weddle from a physical standpoint, Thomas, 30, is looking more and more comfortable in his new surroundings after a quiet spring.

That was evident when Thomas broke in front of Snead for the highlight pick.

“I think the communication has been smoother and better,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “Hey, he’s in this defense for the first time. These are new calls for him, but they’re also football. They’re football calls and he understands football, so he’s picking it up really quickly and doing a great job.”

Roster shuffling

Quarterback Joe Callahan made his Ravens practice debut in the wake of the thumb injury sustained by backup Robert Griffin III last weekend.

Callahan, 26, was coached by offensive coordinator Greg Roman at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, N.J. 11 years ago and will share the reps behind Jackson with sixth-round rookie Trace McSorley. The journeyman quarterback has spent time with Green Bay, New Orleans, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Tampa Bay since going undrafted from Division III Wesley in 2016 and has appeared in just one regular-season game in his NFL career.

“Greg takes full credit for his career by the way,” said Harbaugh as he laughed. “Not really. He moved him from safety to quarterback. He said, ‘This kid can really throw. Let’s give him a shot.’ They won the state championship that year in New Jersey, so that was a good one.”

The Ravens also signed linebacker Nicholas Grigsby, who spent part of the 2017 season on their practice squad and has appeared in 23 games with the Los Angeles Rams, New England, and Detroit, mostly in a special-teams capacity. Grigsby took the roster spot of wide receiver Jordan Lasley, who was waived just a year after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 draft.

Wednesday’s attendance report

Rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown’s practice debut drew the attention, but nickel cornerback Tavon Young and guard Jermaine Eluemunor returned to the field after missing two straight practices with minor muscle issues.

Both Eluemunor and right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. took some snaps with the first-team offense after being relegated to the second string for failing the conditioning test at the start of training camp. Eluemunor split reps with rookie Ben Powers at left guard while Brown shared time with veteran James Hurst.

Harbaugh said veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith was excused from practice to take care of “a family-business situation” Wednesday. Offensive linemen Alex Lewis (shoulder) and Randin Crecelius also remained absent from practice.

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