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Mike Preston’s observations from the Ravens’ seventh padded practice | COMMENTARY

One thing you can’t coach is speed, and Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown has plenty of it.

On Monday, Brown was running down the left sideline with safety Jordan Richards and cornerback Khalil Dorsey draped all over him. Around the 35-yard line, Brown looked back, saw a pass that was overthrown and put his head down to blow by both defenders.

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Brown didn’t look up again until the 15-yard line, where he caught the ball and went into the end zone untouched. Neither Richards nor Dorsey appeared disappointed because there was nothing they could do.

It’s hard to believe that anyone is that fast and can accelerate past defensive backs, some of the fastest players in the game.

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Not missing Thomas

Without safety Earl Thomas III in the starting lineup, the Ravens might lose a little punch in run defense. Thomas was good around the line of scrimmage and strong in run support last season, but he had problems going backwards in pass defense.

Thomas’ replacement, DeShon Elliott, doesn’t have Thomas’ experience, but certainly more speed. He appears to know the defense better than Thomas, who had trouble adjusting to some of the calls in the secondary.

There certainly won’t be as much miscommunication with Elliott teaming with fellow safety Chuck Clark. Overall, I don’t see the Ravens losing a lot without Thomas, especially with defensive end Calais Campbell starting for the Ravens. He can make up for Thomas’ absence in run defense.

Pushing paper

If Thomas files a grievance against the Ravens for terminating his contract, the Ravens have to prove why and how his personal conduct adversely affected the team. That’s going to require a lot of paperwork, which should include dates of missed practices, late arrivals to meetings, fines, fights with teammates and other things.

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I’d love to get my hands on that document. Hey Eric DeCosta or Steve Bisciotti, give me a call when you get a minute, please.

Fisticuffs

The best Ravens training camp fight I ever saw happened in 1996 under coach Ted Marchibroda.

Running back Earnest Hunter and safety Bennie Thompson exchanged words on one play, and came to blows on the next. Thompson delivered a three-piece combination to Hunter to bow him down, then lifted Hunter’s helmet off his head.

Thompson whirled the helmet from one practice field to the other, and everyone’s fear was that Hunter’s head was still inside. Thompson launched it like a rocket going into space.

MVP form

Quarterback Lamar Jackson attended practice Monday after missing the past two days because of a possible slight groin injury.

If he were still having problems, you couldn’t tell. He moved around in the pocket and threw the ball well. The only difference was that he didn’t take off on one of those 50-yard runs after scrambling.

The MVP was back.

Offensive line depth

I have been watching the depth on the offensive line, and if the Ravens lose either of their starting tackles, Ronnie Stanley or Orlando Brown Jr., for a substantial period of time, they could be in trouble.

Both backups, Sean Pollard and Will Holden, played different line positions in college and would have trouble with speed rushers on the outside. Pollard, though, has more potential. He started at center for Clemson, but he is only a rookie, while Holden is in his third year out of Vanderbilt.

Dobbins impressing

J.K. Dobbins, the rookie running back out of Ohio State, continues to impress with not just his running, but his pass-catching ability. If starter Mark Ingram II gets hurt, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dobbins jumped over backup Gus Edwards for the starting job.

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