With the Ravens concluding their eighth open practice of this unusual training camp, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. The defense had prevailed in recent workouts with Lamar Jackson missing time, but Tuesday went back and forth, culminating with a Trace McSorley touchdown to Miles Boykin against Anthony Averett to give the offense the “win” on a full-contact play. Excitement is palpable when John Harbaugh announces they’re going “live.”
2. Now more than a week into full-team practices, Harbaugh gave a number of veterans the day off, a list including Ronnie Stanley, Nick Boyle, Jimmy Smith, Derek Wolfe, and Pernell McPhee. Justice Hill, Chris Moore, Kenjon Barner, Eli Wolf, and Josh Nurse remained sidelined with injuries.
3. Harbaugh has mentioned Will Holden as a candidate for the swing offensive tackle job, but he acknowledged the option of flipping Orlando Brown Jr., something we saw with Stanley not practicing. In a drill against Matthew Judon, Brown more than held his own playing his old college spot.
4. During an 11-on-11 red-zone period, Tyus Bowser and Brandon Williams batted down Jackson passes on consecutive plays. Bowser said Tuesday he’s “nowhere where I want to be” entering his contract year, but he continues to have a good camp after an underrated five-sack campaign in 2019.
5. Ben Powers hasn’t yet challenged for the starting right guard job and has practiced at different interior spots to add some versatility, but Tuesday was forgettable. The 2019 fourth-round pick delivered poor snaps on three consecutive plays, prompting offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris to pull him from the drill.
6. Tavon Young can’t pinpoint the origin of his neck injury last summer, but he hasn’t skipped a beat in camp, impressively sticking right with Marquise Brown on a deep-ball incompletion Tuesday. The nickel playing at a high level would help the overall secondary move on from Earl Thomas more easily.
7. Frustration overwhelmed Jaleel Scott, who threw his helmet toward the woods after an inability to make a catch on a deep throw. After stewing for several minutes, Scott rebounded to catch a long touchdown from Jackson against Marcus Peters in coverage, but he hurt himself on the play. Tough day.
8. Justin Madubuike was buried by Brown at one point during a trench drill, but he’s made a fan in Wolfe, who complimented the third-round pick’s study habits and said, “The kid can play.” Madubuike needs to be a viable depth piece to avoid stretching the veteran defensive linemen too thin.
9. It was interesting hearing defensive line coach Joe Cullen recently acknowledge Patrick Ricard working exclusively on offense. An injury or two could change that, of course, but it lends credence to the idea of Ricard becoming a bigger factor as a tight end in addition to playing fullback.
10. The Ravens added camp depth by signing punter Johnny Townsend and wide receiver DeAndrew White on Tuesday. Appearing in 10 games for Carolina last year, White wasted no time jumping into the mix with a catch over the middle against Marlon Humphrey. He does have some limited return experience.
11. Credit Harbaugh for handling a question the right way about ambient crowd noise and fans not attending games at M&T Bank Stadium to begin the season unlike other tone-deaf coaches around the league whining about a perceived competitive disadvantage amidst a pandemic. “Playing winning football is what really matters.”
12. The retired Marshal Yanda is enjoying a much different August while shaming this reporter for still carrying a few extra pounds from a beach vacation last month. What position would the eight-time Pro Bowl right guard even play if he suddenly wanted to return? Tight end? Linebacker? Good for him.