Setting the scene
The Ravens opened full-team training camp Thursday in shells at 8:30 a.m. under cloudy skies that persisted throughout the cool morning. The practice was the first of the summer attended by the entire team, after days of practices with only the rookies, quarterbacks, and injured veterans.
Same old Steve
Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith said Wednesday that he was going to face any coverage by running through it, making the catch, spinning the ball and running back to the huddle. He did that several times Thursday, getting behind Lardarius Webb and Chykie Brown multiple times over the course of practice. Smith put a move on Webb during an 11-on-11 drill, got behind him, and caught a passs down the right sideline before his patented ball spin. During the final set of scrimmages, Smith again gained separation from Webb with an inside move to find a pocket space for Joe Flacco to hit him in.
In a scrimmage situation, Chykie Brown was fooled by play-action as third-year receiver Deonte Thompson caught a pass wide open in the flanks. A coach implored him to get better. Soon thereafter, Steve Smith burned Brown on a seam route and caught a Tyrod Taylor pass in stride a few steps into the end zone. With Aaron Ross out of the picture with an Achilles tear and Dominique Franks out of action until he passes his conditioning test, Brown had a big opportunity to get a head start on the competition to be the third cornerback and through one day, didn't take advantage of it.
Wide receiver Marlon Brown is carrying big expectations into his second year, but hasn't shown the sure hands that helped him nab 49 catches and seven touchdowns last year during OTAs or minicamp. He had another tough drop Thursday during a drill in which undrafted rookie cornerback Sammy Seamster was covering him. Rookies Michael Campanaro (River Hill), Jace Davis, and Jeremy Butler are all trying to make the team as well, and a poor camp could see one of them jump Brown on the depth chart.
McPhee covering his bases
Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee told the team's website recently that he hopes to lead the team in sacks this season, but he showed off a lesser-seen side of his game Thursday when he dropped into coverage on a flat route. McPhee, listed at 280 pounds, ran step for step with fullback Shaun Chapas in the right flat and swatted down a pass from rookie Keith Wenning. McPhee was a reserve last year, and faces crowded competition on the outside with Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, and Courtney Upshaw all above him on the depth chart.
Extra praise for Mosley
The defense usually celebrates every big play in camp, but there was a little more to it when veteran Ravens went out of their way to pat rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley on the helmet for breaking up a Tyrod Taylor pass to tight end Phillip Supernaw during a full-team scrimmage. Mosley didn't get first-team repititions at linebacker — that honor went to second-year player Arthur Brown — but the veterans and coaching staff are rightfully excited about Mosley's play.
Defensive tackle Terrence Cody was the lone holdover injury from the offseason, and is working his way back from a hip injury. Ross tore his Achilles tendon during his conditioning test before practice, and Franks cannot practice until he passes his conditioning test.