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Defense holds edge over offense early at Ravens practice, plus other highlights

Setting the scene: The Ravens began practice around 8:45 a.m. and finished at about 11:30 at their Owings Mills facility. The weather was the nicest of training camp to this point, in the 70s and sunny with low humidity. The team was back in pads Thursday and will practice again Friday in Owings Mills before moving back to M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday night.

Play of the day: Backup quarterback Ryan Mallett may have thrown his best pass of camp when he threaded the needle and hit tight end Darren Waller over the middle between defenders. Mallett has struggled at times during camp, but that throw during a skeleton drill was the best of the day.

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Injury report: The Ravens suffered their most serious injury to this point when rookie defensive end Bronson Kaufusi who was caught up in a pile and broke his ankle. He will likely miss the entire season. Crockett Gillmore (hamstring), Dennis Pitta (finger), Timmy Jernigan (ribs) and rookies Chris Moore (undisclosed) and Maurice Canady (undisclosed) missed practice again. Linebackers Elvis Dumervil (foot) and Terrell Suggs (Achilles), wide receivers Breshad Perriman (knee) and Steve Smith Sr. (Achilles) and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) are still on the physically unable to perform list. Coach John Harbaugh did not provide updates on any of them. Safety Lardarius Webb and wide receiver Michael Campanaro each had regular days off.

Dixon, Davis back: Running back Kenneth Dixon and cornerback Will Davis both returned to the field. Dixon, who injured his knee last Thursday and hadn't played since then, stayed off to the sideline and did agility drills during practice. Davis had Monday and Wednesday off after feeling discomfort in his knee — he tore his ACL last year for the second time in as many seasons — but returned Thursday and made a nice tackle for loss in the backfield.

Early miscues: After the passing game ran smoothly for the first part of Wednesday's practice, the defense stifled the offense early Thursday. Safety Eric Weddle was among a few defensive backs who broke up passes, and backup running back Buck Allen dropped a screen pass in the open field. The defense kept it up for most of the day, holding the edge over the offense.

Reynolds struggles in return game: One of the last drills of practice was a punt return drill, and rookie Keenan Reynolds (Navy) had a rough time. He dropped three punts fired by a machine from the opposite end of the field, and Harbaugh approached Reynolds after the third. Kaelin Clay and Stephen Houston also took reps in the punt return drill. Clay caught every ball, and Houston dropped one.

Special teams tries new drill: Midway through practice, the Ravens gave their field goal unit some more work, this time with a different purpose. They installed their field goal block play, putting a mat between the long snapper and holder to cushion the blockers' falls. Anthony Levine Sr., Tavon Young and Sheldon Price each blocked kicks.

Mixed day for Josh Johnson: The Ravens brought in veteran quarterback Josh Johnson in May to compete with Mallett and Jerrod Johnson. Josh Johnson has had a good camp so far, proving to be the most mobile quarterback of the bunch. He made another nice scramble Thursday but also threw two interceptions, one to Matt Elam on the play that injured Kaufusi and another to Jerraud Powers in a one-on-one drill.

Overheard: "Tavon, look at all the laundry! The guy just had an 80-yard return for a touchdown and it's called back because of you!" – special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg to Tavon Young after Young committed a penalty on a kick return.

Overheard, part two: "That's a lot better than No. 12 did last year," Rosburg to Darren Waller during a blocking sled drill. Waller changed positions from wide receiver to tight end this offseason, and changed numbers from 12 to 84.

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- Jeff Zrebiec and Jake Lourim

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