The Ravens just got off the field after today’s voluntary offseason team activity. Cornerback Jimmy Smith and left tackle Bryant McKinnie were present after missing last Wednesday’s practice, but 19 players, including second-year players Jah Reid and Pernell McPhee, were not. Here are some of the highlights from the practice:
--- Offensive guard/tackle Kelechi Osemele, who left last Wednesday’s practice and returned in street clothes, did not participate today. He said he is dealing with a minor injury, so the team could just be holding him out as a precautionary measure. With McKinnie back, Oher slid over to right tackle. And with Matt Birk absent, Gino Gradkowski was plugged in at center. Understandably, Gradkowski, a rookie, is still working on getting his timing down. On one play, the Ravens could have had nine or 10 guys flagged for a false start penalty because Gradkowski didn’t snap the ball when he was supposed to. But he will likely get on the same page in due time.
--- The players got extra competitive in a two-minute drill, with the offense and defense barking at each other between plays. I’d share some of the one-liners, but this is a family-friendly blog. On one play, cornerback Danny Gorrer accidentally tackled wide receiver Jacoby Jones after Jones made a contested catch on a slant route. Amidst the whooping and hollering from the sidelines, coach John Harbaugh called Gorrer over for a quick chat, likely telling him to be a little more careful out there when players aren’t in pads. Gorrer said, “Gotcha!” It was a fast practice, and the intensity will get ratcheted up for next week’s mandatory minicamp.
--- Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor had a strong practice. He threw the ball accurately and on time on most of his drops. On one play early in the practice, Taylor threw a nice ball to Tommy Streeter, who ran a hitch route and then shielded cornerback Corey Graham away with his back shoulder. The next play he made a sweet throw over cornerback Chykie Brown’s shoulder to wide receiver Devin Goda, who raced past Brown for a long touchdown. Later in the practice, during the two-minute drill, he eluded Sergio Kindle on a bootleg scramble and took off down the right sideline for a long gain. He capped the drive off with a touchdown pass.
--- We’ve gotten a chance to watch Billy Cundiff boot field goals the past three Wednesdays, and I can’t recall him missing a kick. He nailed all three I watched him attempt today, including one from about 50 yards. And for you wise guys (and gals) out there, no, we haven’t seen him attempt a 32-yarder at any point this spring.
--- At one point in practice, quarterback Joe Flacco was flushed out of the pocket to his left, and as he ran toward the sideline in an attempt to pick up a few extra inches, he tried to stiff-arm Jimmy Smith. Fun times.
--- Nigel Carr, who was signed as a rookie free agent out of Alabama State, keeps making us notice him. At the end of the practice, he picked off a John Brantley pass over the middle. It’s too early to say which undrafted player will be the next Jameel McClain or LaQuan Williams, but I like Carr and wide receiver Deonte Thompson as my favorite longshots heading into the minicamp and training camp. Remember those names.