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Ravens notes: Defense dominates practice, solo act for Justin Tucker

FootballJustin TuckerTerrell SuggsNFL Pro BowlDeonte ThompsonArthur Brown

The Ravens' defense dominated practice, particularly during goal-line drills where they stonewalled the running game.

Rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk got stood up by inside linebackers Arthur Brown and Bryan Hall in lead-blocking situations.

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs exclaimed, "Where the [expletive] is Vonta Leach?" in a reference to the Pro Bowl fullback who remains in talks with the Ravens.

"Offense and defense, we both want to win, we've got to fight tooth and nail," tight end Ed Dickson said. "Defense played really good, offense has to pick it up and we got to improve in a lot of areas."

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees cautioned against reading too much into the early days of camp.

"I don't think you can base anything on three days of training camp," he said. "We have a long, long way to go as a defense."

Tucker's solo act

Unlike a year ago when kicker Justin Tucker unseated former Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff, there's no competition for him at camp.

Tucker established himself as a rookie, connecting on 30 of 33 field goals and hitting the game-winning kick in a double-overtime playoff victory over the Denver Broncos.

"It's a little different only having one kicker," special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. "You have a lot more individual attention. Justin is handling it well. We've had good days so far. He's prepared well during the offseason.

"While it's been a while since we've only had one kicker or punter in camp, it's worked out well. I'm actually looking at it from a little different of a perspective. It's not that he doesn't have any competition, it's just that he gets a lot more attention."

End zone
Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell praised wide receiver Deonte Thompson, who's arguably the fastest player on the roster. Thompson is working on refining his pass patterns. "He has really made some improvements," Caldwell said. "He's making good progress." ... The Ravens signed former Jacksonville Jaguars inside linebacker Daryl Smith during the offseason, a move that could pay dividends with Ray Lewis'retirement and Dannell Ellerbe now with the Miami Dolphins. "Daryl is a very intelligent player," Pees said. "You can tell he's a veteran. He plays smooth. He's got heavy hands. He's a tough guy. I really love his personality, fits right in with our room. We've been very pleased so far." ... Unlike a year ago when Suggs was recuperating from a partially torn Achilles, the defense has benefited from his relentless presence from the start of camp. "It's great to see [Suggs] out here at camp this year," Pees
said. "It wasn't fun last year during training camp, [great] seeing his smiling face out here."

awilson@baltsun.com

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FootballJustin TuckerTerrell SuggsNFL Pro BowlDeonte ThompsonArthur Brown
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