By Jon Meoli
The Baltimore Sun
4:56 PM EDT, August 13, 2014
Setting the scene: The Ravens had an hour-long walkthrough before beginning practice at 1 p.m. on a cool, breezy afternoon in Owings Mills. Starters ended practice at 2:45 p.m., with the rest of the team working on special teams until 3:15 p.m. The team was in helmets and shells, not full pads.
Jernigan is unstoppable: The Ravens’ injuries at defensive line have overshadowed the show rookie defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan has put on. It wasn’t game action, but Jernigan was treating offensive linemen like traffic cones during a running drill, and carried it over into full-team action by blowing past right guard John Urschel. Jernigan’s role increases with every injury, and he looks ready to help the team immediately.
Right in the numbers: Fourth-year wide receiver Deonte Thompson had another glaring drop Wednesday, this time on what would have been a sure touchdown. Thompson got behind cornerback Jimmy Smith on a deep post route early in a skeleton passing drill, and quarterback Joe Flacco hit him in stride, but the ball bounced off Thompson’s chest and onto the ground. With every drop, Thompson’s path to making the roster gets a little rockier.
Finally, a fight: After the Ravens and 49ers made it through three practices without a fight, but the Ravens broke their personal no-fight streak Wednesday when reserve center Reggie Stephens and rookie outside linebacker Nicholas DiMarco got into a pretty heated scrap during full-team drill. Rookie offensive tackle Brett Van Sloten and defensive tackle Levi Brown also got involved in their own tussle. The whole thing perplexed Jimmy Smith. He shouted: “Y’all waited to do that against your own team?”
Back in black: Flacco and backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor each donned black practice jerseys for the first time in Wednesday’s practice, though rookie quarterback Keith Wenning was still in the traditional red non-contact jersey. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick looked pretty sharp in his black practice jersey over the weekend, so maybe the Ravens’ quarterbacks wanted to follow suit.
Expecting perfection: It’s a tough position for kicker Justin Tucker to be in, but even in the preseason, every kick he misses is notable. During a mid-practice field goal session, Tucker hit five of six, including longs of 46 and 50 yards, but missed wide right from 41 yards. That’s hardly a given, but the fact that the fans seemed to gasp in shock at the sight of him missing a kick says all you need to know about the kicker’s past success and future expectations.
Ranking the rookies: Rookie cornerback Sammy Seamster made a nice interception in coverage of wide receiver Jacoby Jones during one-on-one drills, catching a Wenning ball over his shoulder in the corner of the end zone. Seamster has a tall, athletic frame, but he’s behind fellow undrafted rookies Tramain Jacobs and Deji Olatoye on the depth chart.
Injury report: Tight end Owen Daniels was given the day off, while tight end Dennis Pitta was a full participant after being limited over the weekend by an ankle injury. Guard/center Ryan Jensen (leg) and safety Brynden Trawick (back) also returned after missing two practices with San Francisco. Long-term absentees include nose tackle Terrence Cody (PUP-hip), cornerback Asa Jackson (ankle), cornerback Lardarius Webb (back), guard Will Rackley (head), defensive end Brent Urban (torn ACL), and defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (Achilles).
Overheard: “Just wondering how I’m that skilled for 35 years old.” – wide receiver Steve Smith joked after one of his many catches Wednesday. Smith was making one-handed, acrobatic grabs all over the field during the practice, always toeing the line between taking it too lightly but playing so well that it’s hard to question what he’s putting into the session.
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