SETTING THE SCENE: Saturday’s outdoor practice started at 2:45 p.m. and ended at 5:20. The sun was out for most of the workout with temperatures hovering in the high 70’s. Players were in full pads after having Friday off from practice following Thursday’s 27-23 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
BELOW AVERAGE JOE: It was not Joe Flacco’s finest practice as the quarterback often was relegated to chasing down a defender who had just intercepted him, or hurling expletives in the air out of frustration. Flacco was intercepted by Lardarius Webb, Daryl Smith, Josh Bynes and Michael Huff and two of them would likely have been returned for touchdowns if the play continued. Veteran safety James Ihedigbo was also among the defenders to drop potential picks. Flacco was 0-for-5 with an interception on his first five throws of the first red-zone drill of practice and things only got marginally better from there.
THIS PASSES FOR DRAMA: The offense and defense were tied at 50 in the Ravens’ training camp scoring system when head coach John Harbaugh allowed the offense to run one play from in close to determine the winner. On the play – the final one of practice - Caleb Hanie threw to LaQuan Williams (Poly, Maryland) but cornerback Asa Jackson broke it up. The referee threw a flag for pass interference but Harbaugh ended practice without giving the offense another chance.
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TEMPERS FLARE: There hasn’t been too much extra-curricular activity in recent practices but that changed today with undrafted rookie offensive lineman Rogers Gaines getting into it with linebacker D.J. Bryant (Randallstown). Several punches were thrown and just about all of them landed before the two were separated. The fight escalated and involved several other players, including defensive end Chris Canty who was held back. Terrell Suggs ran over from another field to make sure order was restored.
PIERCE LOOKS SHARP: The Ravens played it safe with Bernard Pierce, holding out the second-year running back against the Falcons after he bruised his knee a week earlier in the preseason opener. Working at times with the first team today, Pierce showed no signs of any issues, being patient to find a hole and then accelerating through the line of scrimmage. Barring any setbacks, Pierce should be ready to go Thursday against the Carolina Panthers.
TOUGH GO FOR J-LO: Rookie cornerback Marc Anthony has gone by the nickname “J-Lo,” in training camp because he shares a name with singer Jennifer Lopez’s ex-husband. Unfortunately for Anthony, he heard the nickname a bit too many times today and not for the right reasons. The seventh-round pick was beaten badly on a long Tyrod Taylor to Williams touchdown pass. He also was victimized later by fellow rookie Aaron Mellette and then he was called for pass interference in the end zone while trying to defend Tommy Streeter. The Ravens hate cutting draft picks but Anthony is firmly entrenched on roster bubble.
LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE NEW GUYS: When veteran Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, who has missed just about all of training camp after having offseason shoulder surgery, lined up in a red-zone drill, Suggs joked, “We got a new guy in there. Who’s [No.] 73?” The actual “new guys” – wide receiver Brandon Stokley and tight end Dallas Clark – both were active in practice as it appears they have gained at least a basic understanding of the Ravens’ offensive schemes. Flacco repeatedly found both guys open though Stokley’s best catch in the back of the end zone was ruled incompletely when he only got one foot in bounds.
INJURY REPORT: Elvis Dumervil (groin) was the only Raven to miss practice as a result of an injury suffered in the second preseason game though Harbaugh said it’s a minor issue. Wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot), tight end Ed Dickson (hamstring), center Ryan Jensen (foot), linebacker Jameel McClain (spine) and defensive linemen Marcus Spears (hamstring) and Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee) remained sidelined. Wide receiver Marlon Brown (knee) and cornerback Chris Johnson (migraines) returned to the practice field.
OVERHEARD: “Hey, I’m working my [butt] off for my coach. Can your boys say the same? – a fired-up Suggs to run game coordinator Juan Castillo.