Baltimore Ravens John Harbaugh talks about several of the players fighting at the opening practice at M&T Bank Stadium and the play of running back Terrance West. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Former Towson star Terrance West (Northwestern) continues to be one of the standout players in training camp for the Ravens.
After losing about 15 pounds, the 5-10, 225-pound running back appears to be in the hunt for more carries – and perhaps a starting role – when the season begins.
Having flamed out in both Cleveland and Tennessee during his first two years in the NFL, West is showing flashes of what he did in college, where he broke the Football Championship Subdivision record with 41 touchdowns as a senior in leading the Tigers to the national title game.
"I don't think Terrance is looking around, evaluating the situation," offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said Friday. "He's just out there working hard, trying to get better. He's running aggressively. He's much improved in terms of his understanding of pass protection, which is critical to getting on the field. He's got a tremendous attitude, in the classroom, on the field."
Towson coach Rob Ambrose, who attended practice Friday with his son, said his former star's performance is reminiscent of what he showed as a freshman when he was relatively unknown after spending a post-graduate year at the Fork Union Military Academy.
"I don't think I've seen him as focused, and as less distracted from the goal as he is right now," Ambrose said. "It reminds me of when he finally got a chance to play in college and he was extremely focused and hungry. It looks like the same guy, just better shape."
Ambrose isn't quite buying that it's simply a byproduct of losing weight.
"He told me he shaved 10 or so pounds off, I said, 'No, you just shaved off the distractions,'" Ambrose said with a smile.
Tucker won't get chance for 84.5-yard field goal
A day after Ravens kicker Justin Tucker's comment to the NFL Network that he could make an 84.5-yarder brought a challenge from one of his NFL counterparts, special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg tried to defuse the story by saying that Tucker won't get that opportunity.
Asked what the longest attempt he would give Tucker, who made a 69-yarder in practice in Owings Mills last week and whose career best is a 61-yarder, Rosburg said, "That is a difficult question to answer, because you don't know the conditions."
"You don't know the footballs, you don't know the altitude," Rosburg said. "We would make a decision before the game, typically. We would extend [the range of the attempt] if it is in the end of the half or the end of the game. I can't honestly answer the question, because we are not there. Until that time, we will see."
Tucker, whose longest career attempt was a 64-yarder against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that was blocked two years ago, said on the NFL Network that he hit the crossbar in Denver during warmups before last season's opener.
Denver kicker Brandon McManus, who once made a 70-yarder during a tryout with the Broncos, said that he saw Tucker make a few kicks in the mid 70s during warmups last season, "but he was kicking the ball where it would have hit the defensive lineman in the face. That's how low he was kicking."
McManus, only one of three NFL kickers to hit from 56 yards or longer multiple times in the same game, said that he would pay for Tucker to visit Denver to back up his claim.
"I'll kick with him," McManus said. "I'll witness it and I'll vouch to the world that he can do that."
Saturday's practice at M&T Bank Stadium begins at 6 p.m. and the activities will include a fireworks show after the workout ends. … A total of 18 players did not practice Friday, the most since training camp began. Safety Matt Elam started practice, but left the field with an undisclosed injury and did not return.