Setting the scene: The Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers took the field at the Ravens' Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills at 2:45 p.m. under sunny skies with one of the largest crowds of training camp looking on. The 49ers finished about 5:30 p.m., with the Ravens' workout ending moments later. The teams were in full pads, but the drills were primarily noncontact.
Throw it, Tyrod: After he ran the ball five times and was sacked three times Thursday, quarterback Tyrod Taylor appeared to be under clear instructions not to tuck the ball and run Saturday. He didn’t have much success through the air, though. A few big plays aside, Taylor tended to speed through his reads and settle on his checkdown receiver, who typically was covered.
Super Steve Smith: One of Taylor’s big throws was to wide receiver Steve Smith, who was the best offensive player in the Ravens’ white jerseys Saturday. Smith split a pair of 49ers defenders and caught a 50-yard bomb from Taylor during team passing drills. It was one of at least three big touchdowns Smith caught on what was his best day of practice since the start of camp.
Wow, Joe: Joe Flacco made another of his jaw-dropping throws during 11-on-11 drills when he scrambled to his left and, with a defender in his face, threw 60 yards downfield to Marlon Brown. Brown got behind a pair of defenders, the ball hit him in stride, and he strolled in for a touchdown. Again, Flacco hasn't lost his deep-ball touch in the predominantly underneath passing game the Ravens have run.
Musical chairs at guard: A few series before guard Ryan Jensen went down with a left leg injury, he was taking third-team reps, with rookie guard/center John Urschel taking second-team snaps. Veteran guard/center A.Q. Shipley switched between the left and right sides, depending on who was in. Jensen didn’t have a good game Thursday, and could see a diminished role because of it.
Poor Dennis: Tight end Dennis Pitta has rightfully earned plaudits for his receiving skills and fit in the Ravens’ new offense. But on Saturday, 49ers pass rushers exposed a weakness in Pitta’s game. San Francisco rookie linebacker Aaron Lynch planted Pitta on his backside during early running drills, and Pitta was pushed into the backfield two other times. Pitta’s teammates don’t seem to go at him that hard in pass rush, but the San Francisco defense had no such reservations.
Poor Chykie: San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick must read these highlights every day, because he seemed to know the way to beat the Ravens defense was to attack cornerback Chykie Brown. Kaepernick continually picked on Brown, which helped the 49ers' first-team offense earn a collective victory over the Ravens’ defensive starters.
Tale of two tackles: The Ravens’ outside linebackers had vastly different results against the 49ers’ first-team tackles. Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil had his way with new 49ers right tackle Jonathan Martin, who was involved in last year’s Miami Dolphins bullying scandal. On the left side, San Francisco tackle Joe Staley kept linebacker Terrell Suggs out of the backfield all day.
Injury report: Jensen went down with a left leg injury mid-practice, though he later returned to action. Safety Brynden Trawick left practice with a back injury, while linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) dressed but didn’t practice. Long-term absentees include cornerback Lardarius Webb (back), guard Will Rackley (head), nose tackle Terrence Cody (hip) and defensive end Brent Urban (knee).
Overheard: “Was Ray Rice standing here?” -- Flacco, who stands 6 feet 6, said to the assembled media as he raised the microphone to his level for his press conference. To be fair, it wasn’t the 5-foot-8 Rice but coach John Harbaugh who needed the microphone slightly lower than Flacco did.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun