Observations and news from the Ravens’ third training camp practice Sunday:
Martindale on the prowl
Ravens first-year defensive coordinator Don Martindale will be calling plays from the sideline this season instead of the coaches’ booth.
The decision from where to monitor the game and make the calls varies from coach to coach, but Martindale has called them from both spots. He prefers the sidelines.
“I’ve always done it that way. It works better from me,” Martindale said. “It’s faster. I have confidence in the eyes of the coaches upstairs and I have a better feel for the game.
“I’ve tried the other way before, but it’s faster to communicate on the field than to have that gap in communication from the booth. You can make one or two calls right there face to face, and you’re right there among the action.”
Crabtree has the hands
It is fun to watch good receivers run routes and snatch the ball. The good ones grab the ball and suck it in like they’re wearing a catcher’s mitt.
New Ravens receiver Michael Crabtree has those kinds of hands, and so did former Ravens receivers Derrick Mason and Steve Smith Sr.
Flacco showing up
Quarterback Joe Flacco is moving well and has more touch on his passes when throwing on the run. Flacco is stepping up in the pocket, something he has failed to do throughout most of his career.
I even heard a hard count from Flacco in practice Sunday, which drew the defense off sides. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was watching Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Like a book
The best read of the day came when defensive lineman Patrick Ricard smothered running back Mark Thompson on a screen pass into the right flat. I think Ricard might have been in the huddle when the play was called. He even beat Thompson to the spot where he was supposed to catch the ball.
Hits and misses
Rookie cornerback DeShon Elliott cracked rookie tight end Nick Keizer on a swing pass in the right flat and the hit got a lot of “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd.
Coach John Harbaugh and Martindale weren’t happy. The hit occurred in a drill that really wasn’t supposed to be full-contact, and Martindale jumped Elliott about tackling with his helmet and having his head down.
Fortunately for Elliott, the Ravens have Orlando Brown Jr. on the roster and not his late dad, Orlando Brown Sr. If that had happened to one of the offensive players during the dad’s tenure, Elliott would have been taking a few uppercuts to the jaw.
Speaking of little Orlando, the rookie right offensive tackle out of Oklahoma missed a block during a half-line drill against the defense and at one point was told by offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris to either make corrections “or get his ass off the field.”
Jackson on the run
Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson has made significant progress in a short time and he is accurate throwing on the run, an ability he showed while playing at Louisville.
“Coming out of college, where he was very well-coached by the way, that was one of his strengths,” Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. “He was really a fine passer on the run. You see that here as well. He’s done a fabulous job here of improving every day becoming a pocket passer.”
Not backing down
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The first fight of training camp might be between guard Alex Lewis and defensive tackle Willie Henry. They’ve had several verbal exchanges in the past two practices and neither will back down.
Henry, though, did put Lewis on his backside during the 11-on-11 period late in practice.
It was nasty, the mother of all pancakes.
Making a name
I don’t know much about guard/tackle Randin Credelius, a free-agent rookie out of Portland State, but he has pass blocked well, and held off second year linebacker Tim Williams during a pass rush drill.
Running back Alex Collins said he has added five pounds to his playing weight of 200 from a year ago. It’s good for him, because he is certainly going to take more of a pounding in 2018 than he did in 2017.
“I came in a little heavier this season just trying to see what I’m comfortable at this year,” Collins said.
The good news is that he looks just as quick as last season.