DRESS REHEARSAL: Near the end of their last open practice before Thursday night’s preseason opener, the Ravens ran a two-minute simulation where the offense had to drive the length of the field. The first-team defense got the better of the starting offense, forcing quarterback Joe Flacco to settle for short completions, which quickly wound down the clock. After Flacco spiked the ball with eight seconds left, kicker Billy Cundiff missed a game-tying attempt from 58 yards.
TURBULENT TYROD: Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, as has often been the case this summer, was up-and-down during the indoor practice. The second-year scrambler zinged a touchdown pass between three defenders to wide receiver Logan Payne and tossed another to LaQuan Williams, who beat Chykie Brown in a seven-on-seven drill for a long score. And in the late-game simulation, he threw five incompletions and took a sack, but drove the second-team offense to set up a 42-yard field goal.
RICE THROWS A PICK: Late in practice, the Ravens reached into their bag of offensive tricks and had running back Ray Rice, who threw a touchdown pass in 2011, chuck a pass down the field to Flacco. The duck was picked off by safety Emanuel Cook, who quickly took a knee. But the pick was planned; the defensive coaches were reinforcing what to do in certain late-game scenarios.
STANDOUT PERFORMER: Third-year tight end Davon Drew, who has struggled with drops at times during training camp, had reliable hands throughout Tuesday’s practice. After getting behind linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo in the red zone with a post route, Drew made a strong grab near the back of the end zone, tumbling to the turf with a touchdown cradled in his arms. Later in practice on a fourth-down play, Drew secured a Tyrod Taylor pass to move the chains.
NEWCOMER WATCH: Payne looks to be developing chemistry quickly with Taylor, who threw his way often again on Tuesday. Payne caught two touchdown passes from Taylor inside the red zone, and Payne was targeted a few times underneath the safeties in the seven-on-seven drill.
INJURIES: Rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw returned to practice after missing the past seven practices with a sprained right shoulder. Safety Ed Reed, who missed practice Monday, returned to practice. Running back Anthony Allen, right guard Marshal Yanda, linebacker Jameel McClain and defensive end Pernell McPhee -- who all left practice early Monday -- practiced. Wide receiver Jacoby Jones didn’t participate fully in practice. The other Ravens not participating included running back Bernard Pierce (hamstring); wide receivers Patrick Williams (lower left leg) and David Reed (knee); tight end Dennis Pitta (hand); offensive linemen Matt Birk (back) and Jah Reid (calf); linebackers Josh Bynes (back), Darryl Blackstock (groin), Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) and Terrell Suggs (Achilles); defensive end Arthur Jones (hip); and cornerback Jimmy Smith (back).
OVERHEARD: “Joseph! I love you!” -- Rice to Flacco as Flacco spoke at his post-practice news conference. Finally, after Rice and wide receiver Torrey Smith tried to distract Flacco for about 10 seconds, Flacco stopped in the middle of an answer and dismissively said, “Yeah, OK, Ray.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun