Mike Preston's Ravens observations

Mike Preston offers his observations on the Ravens after 10 practices this summer.

Rookie offensive lineman Alex Lewis, the fourth-round pick out of Nebraska, has been taking the reps for injured starter Ronnie Stanley at left tackle.

Stanley’s injury isn’t believed to be serious, but the Ravens really need him back in the lineup as soon as possible. It isn’t that Lewis has performed poorly in the last two practices, but it’s a hard adjustment moving from college to the pros.

It’s also tough playing left tackle after spending most of training camp playing guard. Lewis is a specimen and a rugged competitor. I just think that at this time he doesn’t have the finesse or quickness to play left tackle, but might be more effective in the future.

Lewis has good feet and he can run and make blocks into the second level. The Ravens made a good choice with Lewis, and he will be an eventual starter in the NFL.

Jimmy Smith holding back?: I am hoping cornerback Jimmy Smith is one of those veterans who is holding back in training camp, but will turn his game up a notch once the regular season starts.

So far he hasn’t played well and doesn’t look like the shut-down type this team desperately needs. Former Ravens safety Rod Woodson was like that in training camp, but he also was a Pro Bowl player.

Smith has shown potential to be of that caliber, but has lacked consistency, mostly due to injuries. He also probably needs to realize that not many players can turn it on and off easily.

Jernigan back: Starting defensive end Timmy Jernigan was back at practice Monday after missing several days with what was described as mild rib injury.

He practiced hard but I still want to see more of reserve end Lawrence Guy in the rotation of defensive linemen. Every practice, he seems to make several plays because of a strong motor which allows him to stay in pursuit from the backside.

He is easily one of the toughest players on the team.

Campanaro out again: Every time we start talking about third year receiver Michael Campanaro he comes up injured. He has played well in training camp but has missed nearly half of the team’s 10 total practices because of injuries.

With him out, coach John Harbaugh gets to look at other receivers; the one that stood out the most Monday was Jeremy Butler.

He was making catches along the sideline and pulling down passes in the end zone despite double coverage. The third year player out of Tennessee-Martin was the best receiver on the field Monday.

Dixon will be fun to watch: Keep an eye on rookie running back Kenneth Dixon out of Louisiana Tech. He has quick feet and might some day be the Ravens' top halfback. He is going to be fun to watch in the preseason.

Also, every practice rookie cornerback Tavon Young makes a tough play look so easy because of his ability to turn his hips and run with receivers.

The Ravens have enough talent in the secondary that veteran cornerback Kyle Arrington might not make the team.

Mallett not cutting it: After watching backup quarterback Ryan Mallett perform in off season mini camps and then in training camp, I find it hard to believe he was once a starter in the NFL.

Maybe he is holding back like Smith.

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