A few observations from Tuesday's practice:
The more I watch tight end Larry Donnell play the more I like the kid.
He was a late addition to the roster in training camp after Crockett Gillmore went down with a knee injury, but he is a big target at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds and gets deep down the middle of the field. He isn't afraid to go up and make catches and has enough speed to get behind linebackers.
As much bad luck as the Ravens have had this season with injuries they might have lucked into Donnell, who previously played with the New York Giants.
>>Recently signed right offensive tackle Austin Howard did not practice for the third straight day and hasn't stepped on the field since he signed a three year, $16 million contract Friday. Ravens coach John Harbaugh says Howard will practice when allowed by team trainers.
This situation reminds me of the massive embarrassment the Ravens suffered in 1997 when they announced they had signed Dallas Cowboys defensive back Brock Marion. They even held a press conference only to have then owner Art Modell walk in slowly and say the event had been canceled because Marion didn't pass his physical (scapula injury), and the deal had been nullified.
Maybe Howard is going through the same process after having shoulder surgery in January to repair a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum. If that's true, then the Ravens should just come out and say it. That's understandable. When they don't say anything it appears they are trying to hide something or embarrassed like they were with Marion.
>>Here is Brock Marion Part II: Top draft pick Marlon Humphrey, the rookie out of Alabama, missed his fifth straight practice with an undisclosed injury. I suspect it is either an ankle or hamstring because he has been seen limping.
Unfortunately, we won't get an update on that injury either. Just hoping it's not another Breshad Perriman situation where he was suspected to return soon but missed his entire rookie season.
>>Catch of the day belonged to receiver Chris Moore who hauled in a long pass from quarterback Ryan Mallett down the right sideline. It was a beautiful touch pass thrown in perfect stride. The reception made up for quite a few balls dropped early in the practice. The fatigue factor might have been setting in or the Ravens are looking forward to finally playing a game Thursday night.
>>I don't know who flattened center Jarrod Pughsley during a pass protection drill but it had a domino affect as Pughsley took down right guard Maurquice Shakir and a couple of defensive linemen. Pughsley is not going to want to see the film.
Also, I keep watching rookie guard/tackle Jermaine Eluemunor getting better every day. Once he learns how to use his hands more he might challenge in the future for playing time.
>>Outside linebacker Matthew Judon might be a first-year starter, but he spends a lot of time working with rookie linebackers Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser. This group has an inkling of how good they can become.
"He's been a great person, a guy that's always working with me and helping me out in the film room and on the field,' Bowser said of Judon. "As far as anything I'm doing wrong, he's always there to correct me and teach me the right technique or the right way to play different plays. He's been a great role model, especially with him being in his second year. He's been helping me with the plays and schemes and being that motivator in terms of helping me to work hard every day."
>>Wide receiver Michael Campanaro and cornerback Jimmy Smith have Cal Ripken Iron Man streaks going with consecutive practices without an injury.
Campanaro took a victory lap around the fields after practice Tuesday. It was like the Michael Jackson Victory Tour.
>>Veteran tight end Ben Watson hasn't stood out in training camp but he has been solid, and a good blocker. The MO on Watson is that he takes his game to another level once the regular season starts.
>>Third-year running back Buck Allen has made the most of his opportunity getting more opportunities for the injured and suspended Kenneth Dixon. Allen looks lighter and quicker and likes the new running game designed by Greg Roman, the Ravens' tight ends coach.
"Just the way he is coaching the offensive line, coaching the fullbacks and the tight ends," Allen said of Roman. "We all work together as one unit. Without the fullback, this won't get done; without the tight ends, this won't get done; without the left guard, this won't get done. It all is just coming together, and we are working as a unit and getting the job done. I have a great feeling about the run game."