RED-ZONE SUCCESS The first full-team exercise involved the offense starting from inside the defense’s 20-yard line. The first offense fared well, scoring touchdowns on four of nine snaps. The second offense scored twice on 10 snaps, including back-to-back touchdown passes from quarterback Tyrod Taylor to wide receivers LaQuan Williams and Dorian Graham.
DEFENSIVE HIGHLIGHTS That didn’t mean that the offense had its way with the defense. Cornerback Lardarius Webb and rookie safety Omar Brown each came away with an interception, inside linebacker Ray Lewis and free safety Ed Reed almost got a pick of their own, and inside linebacker Ricky Brown and rookie safety Cyhl Quarles split a sack of Taylor.
POPPIN’ THE K-POP Since camp opened July 26, a sound system has been set up on a sideline, and the music blaring from the speakers is designed to create noise conditions that the team might find at opposing stadiums. On Thursday, the first song played was “Gangnam Style” performed by Korean hip-hop artist Psy. Reed and strong safety Bernard Pollard were just two of the defensive players who showed off their dance moves during the song.
STANDOUT PERFORMER Williams continued to burnish his highlight film for the coaches. His touchdown catch in the red-zone drill involved a leaping grab in the end zone. During a third-down exercise, he hauled in two passes good for first downs, including a leaping back-shoulder catch over rookie cornerback Jordan Mabin.
NEWCOMER WATCH He may have only signed with the team on Wednesday, but Billy Bajema ran good routes during practice. The tight end caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco before stepping out of the right side of the end zone. Then Bajema was the recipient of a perfectly-executed play-action pass by Taylor that went for a huge gain on third-and-1.
INJURIES In addition to the return of left tackle Bryant McKinnie and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, wide receiver Anquan Boldin (unspecified) and left guard Bobbie Williams (unspecified) also practiced after missing Thursday’s session. Center Matt Birk (back spasms/knee), rookie outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw (bruised right shoulder) and wide receiver Tandon Doss (hamstring) sat out their fifth consecutive practice. Tight end Dennis Pitta (broken right hand), rookie running back Bernard Pierce (hamstring) and linebacker Josh Bynes (undisclosed) did not participate for the fourth straight day. Wide receiver Patrick Williams (unspecified) missed his third consecutive practice, while defensive tackle Arthur Jones (hip flexor) did not take part for the second straight day. Cornerbacks Cary Williams (unspecified), Jimmy Smith (back) and rookie Asa Jackson (unspecified), fullback Vonta Leach (back) and inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (unspecified) also did not practice. 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 Pro 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 “Just put the ball down and snap it!” – Flacco urging rookie center Gino Gradkowski to begin the play while officials were sorting out a penalty.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun