SECONDARY SPARKLES: Even without eight-time Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed and cornerback Jimmy Smith, the secondary blanketed the receivers. During an exercise in which the cornerbacks were asked to cover wide receivers one-on-one with quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Curtis Painter taking snaps from the 12-yard line, Flacco connected on just three touchdowns among at least 10 passes. Painter did not throw a touchdown and was intercepted when a pass went through rookie wide receiver Dorian Graham’s hands and into those of rookie Jordan Maybin.
PRESSURE COOKER: With the secondary covering the receivers, the rest of the defense turned up the heat on the quarterbacks. Inside linebackers Ray Lewis and rookie Nigel Carr, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and outside linebacker Albert McClellan each got to the quarterbacks – with Taylor getting tagged three times. McClellan and fellow outside linebacker Sergio Kindle also posted at least one quarterback hit each.
OFFENSE SEEING YELLOW: Maybe the defensive pressure had the desired effect the unit was looking for, but the offense got flagged three times during two full-team exercises. All three penalties were related to players on that side of the ball moving before the ball was snapped.
STANDOUT PERFORMER: As a 13-time Pro Bowler, Lewis doesn’t need many accolades. But the 37 year old was seemingly omnipresent during the full-team drills. In addition to the sack, Lewis also applied pressure up the middle to force Taylor into throwing the ball away and got a hand on a pass from Taylor to tight end Billy Bajema that would’ve converted a second down-and-5 into a first down.
NEWCOMER WATCH: Asa Jackson gets this honor, but for the wrong reasons. The rookie cornerback muffed two punts. The second time he dropped a punt, secondary coach Teryl Austin yelled, “Catch the ball or you’re going to be fired!” Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg ordered Jackson off returns, adding, “You’re not going to be back there if you keep dropping the ball.”
INJURIES: Tight end Ed Dickson (right eye), cornerback Cary Williams (unspecified) and wide receiver Tandon Doss (hamstring) returned to practice. Doss’ appearance snapped a streak of six consecutive absences from practice. Reed (left knee), nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu (unspecified) and inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (unspecified) did not participate. And linebacker Darryl Blackstock, who injured his groin Saturday, did not practice. Players who did not finish practice included inside linebacker Jameel McClain (unspecified), right guard Marshal Yanda (coach’s decision), wide receiver Jacoby Jones (coach’s decision), defensive end Pernell McPhee (unspecified) and running back Anthony Allen (head). Center Matt Birk (back spasms) and rookie outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw (bruised right shoulder) missed their seventh straight practice. Tight end Dennis Pitta (broken right hand), rookie running back Bernard Pierce (hamstring) and linebacker Josh Bynes (undisclosed) did not take part for the sixth consecutive day. Wide receiver Patrick Williams (left shin/calf) sat out his fifth straight practice, while defensive tackle Arthur Jones (hip flexor) did not participate for the fourth consecutive day. Cornerback Jimmy Smith (back) did not practice for the third consecutive day. Players who are on the physically-unable-to-perform list include offensive tackle Jah Reid (strained right calf) and wide receiver/return specialist David Reed (knee surgery). Five-time Prowl Bowl outside linebacker and reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs (torn right Achilles tendon) is on the non-football injury list.
OVERHEARD: “Y’all better get some safety help over there.” – Wide receiver Torrey Smith to the secondary and the coaches after he and quarterback Joe Flacco narrowly missed on a long bomb to open a seven-on-seven drill.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times