By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
8:35 PM EDT, August 10, 2014
Between chasing around athletic San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and trying to outduel Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley, Ravens rush linebacker Terrell Suggs hasn’t lacked challenges the past few days.
Kaepernick, one of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL, already has passed for 5,046 career yards and 31 touchdowns, and rushed for 937 yards and nine touchdowns in three seasons. He has excelled during joint practice sessions this week against the Ravens’ defense, providing them with a different look against a dual-threat quarterback.
“It’s very beneficial for the simple fact that not too many quarterbacks move like him anymore,” Suggs said. “He can throw the ball, and he can run the ball. We’re doing a good job of staying away from him, but he gives us flashes of him taking off a little bit. It’s good because not too many quarterbacks can do that, and it’s good for us to prepare and practice against a phenomenal quarterback like Colin.”
Suggs has also had his work cut out for him against Staley, who has regularly stopped the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year during one-on-one pass-rushing drills.
Staley, who was picked for the last two Pro Bowls, has extremely sound blocking techniques, and he is one of the more mobile offensive linemen in the league.
“You’re not going to find too much of a better tackle than Staley,” Suggs said. “He’s definitely one of the premier tackles. He’s one of the best tackles in the league, and it’s phenomenal to get to work against the guy every day. They do so many things on offense. You really have to be disciplined. You have to be technically sound. It’s been a very beneficial camp for me that way."
Heading into the joint practices between the Ravens and the 49ers, there was some concern about fights between the two teams.
But that hasn’t materialized heading into the final day of the practices Monday.
“We have all been helping each other,” Suggs said. “You would never have thought the two teams would have gotten along so well. I guarantee you if we face them in Arizona [Super Bowl] in February, there isn’t going to be that much brotherly [love].”
Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith joked last week that he might wear his Super Bowl XLVII ring to practice.
“Honestly, I don’t think either side could have predicted this, but it’s been very professional,” Smith said. “We’re sharing the facility, sharing showers. Everybody has been cool.”
Finding the end zone
Undrafted rookie wide receiver Jeremy Butler scored his first NFL touchdown against the 49ers when he caught a 7-yard pass from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor during the fourth quarter Thursday.
It was a big moment for the former Tennessee-Martin standout who has made a good impression on the coaching staff with his combination of size (6- feet 2, 220 pounds) and body control.
“It felt good,” Butler said. “I just ran a double-move. I had to stay patient and set the defensive back up, and everything worked out. I’m definitely making progress.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he’s still considering what kind of practice the teams want to conduct Monday. There’s a possibility the players may not be in full pads. … 49ers Pro Bowl outside linebacker Aldon Smith has been one of the most impressive players during the past few days, drawing praise from both coaching staffs. “No. 99, he’s pretty good,” Harbaugh said with a laugh. … Rookie free safety Terrence Brooks has been getting more work with the first- and second-team defense in recent days, with the third-round draft pick’s reactions starting to speed up following a slow start to camp. “I think he's finally settling down and understanding,” Smith said. “The coaches stay with him a lot and help him out a lot on learning everything. It's difficult to learn our defense at safety, especially. He's making strides. He's making plays. He's a physical guy. He'll hit you. He's been strong the last few practices. I think the sky is the limit for that guy.” … Rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro displayed signs of being a bruising runner against the 49ers on Thursday, busting through tackles for a game-high 71 yards on 13 carries. “That’s exactly what you want to see out of a big, physical back,” Harbaugh said. “We want to see him in tackling-type action. He played well. I was really happy for him with what he did in the game, but we’ll continue to build on that and see what he does next game.”