Prior to Thursday's session of training camp, Ravens rookie Jah Reid had taken the vast majority of snaps at right tackle. Meanwhile, his primary competitor to start at that position, Oniel Cousins, was not permitted to practice until Thursday.
Still, coach John Harbaugh said that Cousins is leading Reid in the race to open the regular season against Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11 as the starter at right tackle.
"It would be unfair for me to just probably put a grade on it right now without watching the tape, but I thought [Cousins] held up fine for the first day out there," Harbaugh said after Thursday's practice. "Jah is a little bit tired right now, and he should be. Gosh, he went every rep for three straight days. He took every rep. He said, 'Coach, I want to take every rep.' We know he can go long. Now we just need to see if he can go well. I think it is going to be a good battle. Oniel would have the edge, obviously, with his experience. So we'll see."
Cousins, however, didn't quite share his coach's thoughts on the contest between third-round picks (Cousins in 2008 and Reid in April)."I wouldn't say that," he said. "There's always competition. You've got to put your best foot forward, and that's what I'm doing. I'm competing, and that makes each and every one of us better. On the offensive line, we compete with each other, but we've all got to stick together. At the end of the day, this will only make me better, and it will make whomever I'm competing against better, too."
Cousins also insisted that Reid's status as rookie should not be held against him.
"Ain't nothing easy in this business," he said. "Like I said, you never know. One day, you can be real high, and the next day, stuff can hit the fan. Like I said, my mentality is to just get better as a player and continue to compete and do whatever I can to help this team win."
Cousins has played in 25 career games, including four starts. His intent is to add a fifth start against the Steelers.
"You want to be a starter, and that's my goal," he said. "My goal is to help this team win games. I'm going to try to work on my technique this year. That's real critical for me. With my aggressiveness, I think if I put my technique with that – and with [offensive line coach Andy] Moeller and [assistant offensive line coach Todd] Washington, I know that I have a long ways to go – I can take it one day at a time."