By Matt Vensel, The Baltimore Sun
7:13 PM EDT, July 28, 2013
SETTING THE SCENE: Sunday's outdoor practice started at 2:30 p.m. and finished around 4:45, the earliest end to a camp practice yet. Weather was mostly cloudy with temperatures in the low 80s. Players were in full pads.
HIS TIME TO SHINE: Tight end Ed Dickson will take on a larger receiving role now that Dennis Pitta is out for the season, and he made a couple of nice catches in the red zone, an area where Pitta was expected to be a key contributor. On one play near the goal line, Dickson ran a nice stick route and snagged a touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco. A few plays later, he made another catch, this one contested, on a short route. Dickson has talent and certainly the confidence, but with Pitta done for the season, the Ravens will need him to be this reliable.
THIRD DOWN'S THE CHARM: After a couple of sloppy days for the offense, Flacco and his wide receivers started to settle in Sunday. They particularly fared well in third-down situations. Flacco completed three passes for first downs to Jacoby Jones, including a nice gain on a post route, and another to Torrey Smith. David Reed, Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson all got involved, too. Reed is a shifty, little receiver who is showing a knack for getting open on shallow routes.
PIERCING THE DEFENSE: Running back Bernard Pierce has physically matured since his rookie season and has been running hard in training camp. He burst through the defense for what would have been a long gain in one 11-on-11 drill. Stretching the defense on an outside zone run, Pierce finally cut inside of cornerback Chykie Brown and sprinted down the right sideline. If the play wasn't whistled dead, Pierce might have taken it to the house.
SHAKING THE RUST OFF: Cornerback Lardarius Webb, who is making a comeback from a torn left ACL, has had his snaps in team drills limited by the team. In the first few days of camp, he looked a little tentative, but he was more aggressive Sunday. He allowed a couple of short completions while playing nickel cornerback, but he was decisive and closed on the receiver quickly. Webb also stuck on Thompson as he ran a vertical route then did his best Dikembe Mutombo impersonation to swat away a Flacco lob.
EXTREME MAKEOVER: Linebacker Bryan Hall, who played five games on the defensive line last season, has shed more than 40 pounds to make the position switch. He removed his jersey and shoulder pads on his way off the field, and his transformation is remarkable. Still, despite the uncertainty at inside linebacker, Hall is battling to stay on the roster. He will have to be a mad man on special teams, but no one can deny his dedication to the Ravens.
INJURY REPORT: Safety James Ihedigbo (lower arm) left the field but quickly returned. Wide receiver Tommy Streeter (heat) left early. Linebacker Daryl Smith tweaked his groin and fullback Kyle Juszczyk got his foot stepped on, but John Harbaugh said both should be fine. Guard/tackle Ramon Harewood (knee) and linebacker Spencer Adkins (undisclosed) sat out after practicing Saturday. Guards Marshal Yanda (shoulder) and Kelechi Osemele (right hamstring), center Ryan Jensen (lower right leg), linebacker Jameel McClain (bruised spine), and wide receivers LaQuan Williams (arm) and Marlon Brown (undisclosed) remained sidelined.
OVERHEARD: "Right here, J-Lo!" — secondary coach Teryl Austin said while pulling rookie cornerback Marc Anthony out of a drill. The seventh-round pick was given that nickname because he has the same name as singer Marc Anthony, who was married to Jennifer Lopez.
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