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)
Setting the scene: After a day off Tuesday, the Ravens returned to practice Wednesday with no pads (just helmets). They practiced from 8:45 a.m. until about 11:20 at their Owings Mills facility. Wednesday's practice featured more live action, mostly 11-on-11 with a good portion of time devoted to red zone drills. The Ravens will be back on the field Thursday morning.
Play of the day: In what is starting to become the Ravens' most effective passing combination, quarterback Joe Flacco again dropped a perfect throw into the arms of Mike Wallace on a back-shoulder fade route against Jimmy Smith. Wallace got off to a slow start, missing a practice last week after failing his conditioning test, but he still has the speed that led the Ravens to sign him.
Injury report: Wednesday's new injury was tight end Dennis Pitta, who missed practice after spraining his finger in a scuffle during Monday night's open workout at M&T Bank Stadium. No one returned from injury, as Will Davis (undisclosed), Crockett Gillmore (hamstring), Timmy Jernigan (ribs), Kenneth Dixon (knee), Chris Moore (undisclosed) and Maurice Canady (undisclosed) remained out. With the release of Trent Richardson, the Ravens now have five players on the physically unable to perform list: running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot), wide receivers Breshad Perriman (knee) and Steve Smith Sr. (Achilles) and linebackers Terrell Suggs (Achilles) and Elvis Dumervil (foot).
Low-key Wednesday: After the most heated practice of camp Monday, feturing several fights, this workout was much more subdued. Beyond the fact that the team practiced without pads, there was no fighting or shoving after the play for the first time since last week.
Flacco starts sharp: For at least the first half of practice, Joe Flacco put together his best workout of training camp. After the play of the day to Wallace, he threw two more touchdowns in the same red zone drill, one on an out route to Chris Matthews and one over the middle to Jeremy Butler. Later, in full-field drills, he drove the offense down the field easily on the first series. When Wallace found an instant of separation from Shareece Wright, he caught a pass from Flacco in stride, touched both feet down in the end zone and spiked the ball into the fence with a roar.
Turnover drills showing progress: The defense's increased focus on forcing turnovers has generated some positive early results. In Wednesday's practice, the defense jumped in and deflected three passes, tipping them into the air for interceptions. Linebacker Albert McClellan, safety Lardarius Webb and cornerback Kyle Arrington each caught one. Cornerback Jimmy Smith could have grabbed another and run it back, but he dropped it in the end zone.
Wide receivers earn opportunities: With Steve Smith Sr. and Perriman on the physically unable to perform list, the Ravens have pieced together a wide receiver corps. Wallace, Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro spent the most time with the first team for the short-handed unit. But the most impressive player may have been Jeremy Butler, who caught an early touchdown from Flacco and another from backup Ryan Mallett, and later found himself wide open downfield to haul in another long pass from Flacco.
Lewis-Moore uses opportunity: Another unit missing a body is the defensive line, which has played without Jernigan since the third-year Florida State product went down in practice Saturday. Carl Davis has taken many of the reps in Jernigan's place in the middle. Another impressive lineman has been Kapron Lewis-Moore, a fourth-year end out of Notre Dame who often lined up alongside Brandon Williams with the first team Wednesday.