Twelve Ravens thoughts following Day 3 of open training camp

August 19, 2020 | Luke Jones

With the Ravens conducting their third day of full-team practice on Wednesday, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Fighting the monotony of camp isn’t easy, but a spirited defense won the day with the highlight being a goal-line pop from Jimmy Smith on Nick Boyle to prevent a 1-yard touchdown. Defensive players erupted in celebration and mobbed Smith. Fun stuff with games still 3 1/2 weeks away.

2. John Harbaugh embraced the morning rain with ball security even more critical for an offense that runs almost exclusively out of the pistol or shotgun and requires precision at the mesh point. Footing was occasionally a problem, but the offense protected the ball well overall.

3. Patrick Queen is well on his way to starting Week 1, but L.J. Fort will have a strong say before the Ravens start two rookies at inside linebacker. Malik Harrison has flashed in coverage, but Harbaugh acknowledged there’s a learning curve compared to what he did at Ohio State.

4. J.K. Dobbins has shown off his speed and skill set over the first few open workouts, but he competed with an edge on Wednesday, jawing with safeties DeShon Elliott and Nigel Warrior at different points. The rookie running back doesn’t look like he’ll be intimidated at the next level.

5. Many veterans tend to keep to themselves and sometimes go through the motions during camp, but Marlon Humphrey remains enthused with a willingness to tutor youngsters like when Khalil Dorsey was flagged in coverage during one drill. Seeing that from one of the NFL’s best young cornerbacks is impressive.

6. One of the more entertaining drills was 1-on-1 blitz pickup in which reserve inside linebackers Chris Board and Otaro Alaka prevailed over multiple running backs. Potentially fighting for one roster spot, these two — and other bubble players — must find different ways to stand out without any preseason games.

7. James Proche made the play of camp thus far with a diving catch on a deep ball from Robert Griffin III (see the 0:19 mark below). The play technically didn’t count since Griffin was touched in the pocket for a sack, but you remember a spectacular grab like that.

8. Rookie guards Tyre Phillips and Ben Bredeson are finding their NFL legs and working their way up the depth chart after not having a normal spring, but they beat rookie defensive tackles Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington respectively during 1-on-1 drills. I feel for the rookies’ steep climb this summer.

9. Harbaugh said Monday that Jaylon Ferguson isn’t expected to miss much time, but he’s the kind of young player who needs as many reps as possible. Ferguson establishing himself as at least an intermediate answer is crucial with every other notable edge defender entering a contract year.

10. One player who’s benefited from Ferguson’s absence is Tyus Bowser, who impressively pushed Boyle back into Jackson on one rush snap. The 2017 second-round pick quietly took a step forward last season with five sacks and 10 quarterback hits, and Baltimore needs more of that in 2020.

11. Rookie receiver Jaylon Moore is an extreme long shot, but he didn’t flinch competing in a punt drill despite losing a shoe. The Tennessee-Martin product also made a terrific high-point catch over rookie corner Josh Nurse and chucked the ball in the air in celebration. I like the passion.

12. “Just being where we feel at home with all our best friends, all our teammates, getting better at what we do and what we love every day. That’s the most normal I feel during this pandemic — out at practice.” Boyle’s words on football resonate with anyone invested in the game.