Baltimore Ravens

Ravens pass defense has ups and downs in afternoon practice

Setting the scene: The Ravens took the field in full pads about 4 p.m. and practiced until 7 p.m. on perhaps the nicest day of the summer. Because of the number of absences, every available player ran with either the first or second team, giving the coaches opportunities to better evaluate some players.

Costly turnover: As the team ran through a two-minute, end-of-half scenario, the defensive scored a hollow victory over the first-team offense. Rookie wide receiver Darren Waller adjusted nicely to catch a pass from quarterback Joe Flacco that was behind him, but cornerback Kyle Arrington punched the ball out. Safety Kendrick Lewis, a standout since training camp began, injured his right leg jumping on the ball and didn't take a repetition for the rest of practice. Coach John Harbaugh didn't have an update on his status.


Eliminating weakness: Second-year inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, tied for the team lead with two interceptions last year, frequently was targeted in the underneath passing game as a rookie. He and the rest of the linebackers have improved in coverage all training camp, highlighted by Mosley's interception of a pass from Flacco to tight end Crockett Gillmore in the flat. Mosley has been fully active after offseason wrist surgery and appears improved since last year's Pro Bowl season.

Canty surely can: The Ravens' defensive end depth took a hit with the news of second-year pass rusher Brent Urban's torn biceps muscle, but starter Chris Canty showed the group still has plenty of talent. In one two-play sequence, Canty used his 6-foot-7 frame to bat down a pass from Flacco at the line of scrimmage, then teamed up with outside linebacker Terrell Suggs for a sack of Flacco.


Dropping the ball: With wide receivers Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Breshad Perriman (knee) and Marlon Brown (back/hamstring) missing, receivers Michael Campanaro (River Hill), Jeremy Butler, Aldrick Robinson and Waller had chances to shine. The first three did, but Robinson had at least four drops in practice Saturday, including several in the end zone. The former Washington Redskin isn't doing himself any favors.

Boyle-Smith showdown: A one-on-one blocking drill pitting running backs and tight ends against linebackers featured a best-of-three series between rookie tight end Nick Boyle and rookie outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith. Boyle was flagged for illegal hands to the face in the first round but got the better of Smith in the do-over. Before the drill ended, Smith called him out for a rematch and scored a big win. The series was ruled a draw.

Injury report: Guard Kelechi Osemele (foot/ankle) and tight end Maxx Williams (eye) returned for the early portion of practice but went inside after the early individual drills. Steve Smith (family matter) and Aiken (fatigue) sat out, while Perriman and Brown missed another practice. Guards John Urschel (concussion) and Robert Myers (concussion) did not practice, nor did starting guard Marshal Yanda, whom Harbaugh gave the day off. Cornerbacks (day off) and Tray Walker (hamstring) were not present, nor were outside linebacker Zach Thompson or defensive end DeAngelo Tyson.

Overheard: "Hey, Matt, your guys are the guys in purple." — Suggs to backup quarterback Matt Schaub. Schaub was overthrowing receivers a lot early in practice, and though no passes ended in the hands of a white-jerseyed defender, Suggs felt the need to remind him that he should try to throw to his own guys.