The Ravens had 13 players not participating in any part of practice Saturday and another two (tight end
) who didn’t finish the workout because of injuries. The potentially season-ending Achilles tear to linebacker
was the biggest blow obviously, but the loss of practice time for first or second-year players like
(back) shouldn’t be overlooked. Upshaw is the only one on the list that was a near certain starter, though Smith is competing with
for a starting role. But the rest of the above-mentioned group figure to, at the very least, be key reserves. Ravens coach
does a great job not publicly fixating or fretting about injuries, but I’d have to imagine the coaching staff is getting anxious with how much practice time these guys are missing. The good news is Upshaw says he is real close to a return and Doss said that he expects to practice today.
Speaking about fretting about injuries, before anyone does such a thing about center
extended absence from practice, it’s probably worth remembering that the veteran barely practiced last training camp and he wound up playing all 18 games for the Ravens.
Five guys that stood out to me after second week of camp:
Some members of the media have scoffed at the quarterback’s comments that he’s not even thinking about his contract. I understand the skepticism, but if you’ve watched Flacco in training camp for even a day, you’d be assured that he’s not the least bit distracted. Calm, accurate and in control, Flacco looks primed for a big season.
Getting most of the repetitions at right tackle with the first-team offensive line, the rookie second-round pick had some crushing blocks on
, among others. He may be a little raw technique-wise, but the physical tools are there.
So much time is spent discussing and dissecting his contract and his comments to the media that you forget how much Reed still loves playing football. He remains all over the practice field, ranging sideline-to-sideline to get his hands on the football.
4. RB Bobby Rainey –
I still would be moderately surprised if the undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky makes the team, but I think there’s a spot for him somewhere in the
. He’s shifty and makes things happen with the ball in his hands.
5. K Justin Tucker –
I was trying to avoid putting guys in this space for consecutive weeks, but the undrafted free agent agent is impossible to ignore. Even
, who is trying to hold off Tucker for the starting kicker job, said that Tucker has been “lights out.”
Five quick observations:
Dickson earned the criticism about his hands by dropping so many balls last year, but I’ve seen significant improvements from him in that area during training camp.
I understand that
athleticism and speed are tremendous assets for him. However, there are times I’d like to see him stand in the pocket a little more and make some throws.
I think the first couple of preseason games will be big for linebacker
. I don’t think he’s in danger of getting cut by any means, but he’s had a relatively quiet camp and the Ravens are pretty thin at linebacker and need him to contribute.
doesn’t get talked about as much as Kindle and others, but I expect him to not only make the team, but to play a meaningful role.
The play of wide receiver
was the talk of OTAs. Carr continues to play pretty well, though Thompson has slowed down a little bit and had a number of drops last week.
The Ravens have used roster space in recent weeks to upgrade the depth at linebacker (
Stevie Baggs Jr.
, Blackstock), wide receiver (
), tight end (
) and offensive line (
). With Pierce ailing and
having relatively quiet training camps thus far, I wouldn’t discount the Ravens looking into adding a veteran running back. There are plenty free agents available, including
. Ultimately, the Ravens are content to go young at backup running back, but at some point they are going to need one of their current backs to emerge and separate himself from the pack in training camp. That hasn’t happened yet.
I saved this for last because I don’t want to steal anybody’s thunder here, but I’d like to welcome
to our Ravens’ coverage team at
The Baltimore Sun
. I’m sure if you are reading this, you are familiar with Aaron’s work and coverage of the Ravens. He’s done a fine job covering the Ravens for
The Carroll County Times