The introduction of rookie defensive tackle Patrick Ricard as a fullback in the Ravens' 31-7 walloping of the Miami Dolphins a week ago would seem to be a less-than-encouraging omen for Lorenzo Taliaferro in his quest to fill that role on offense.
But Taliaferro insisted after Thursday's practice at the team's training facility in Owings Mills that he is not feeling vulnerable because of Ricard's presence.
"At the end of the day, we're just going to keep competing and do whatever we have to do to get each other better and the team better," said Taliaferro, 25. "Whichever guy is chosen, that guy will be chosen, and the next guy will do whatever he can to keep showing up."
While Ricard's versatility works in his favor toward making the 53-man active roster, Taliaferro, a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft initially selected to vie for a spot as the featured back, has been the first fullback in the first two preseason games. Even though he has played only 21 snaps compared with rookie Ricky Ortiz's 46, that is indicative of Taliaferro's being pulled from action when the first offense takes a seat.
But the 6-foot, 232-pound Taliaferro — who has carried the ball six times for 15 yards, but has yet to catch a pass in the preseason — did not interpret his early appearances in games as an advantage in the competition to replace Kyle Juszczyk, who parlayed a Pro Bowl 2016 season into a four-year, $21 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers.
"I don't think anyone is ahead of anyone because the reps have been limited," Taliaferro said. "I think we're all equal when it comes to reps and stuff, and I think we've just got to put more stuff on film during the games and keep progressing during the week."
Earlier in training camp, running backs coach Thomas Hammock said Taliaferro — who has prematurely ended each of his first three years on injured reserve — is picking up the finer points of the fullback position.
"Every day is a new day, and he is learning," Hammock said Aug. 7. "Fullback is the one position where you are always making adjustments, and you always have to make things right. He is learning those adjustments daily."
Taliaferro agreed, saying: "It's not easy. There are a lot of responsibilities for the fullback. But I just want to play football, I just want to win and make this team and make this team better. I've got my eyes on the trophy of making this team."
Strong safety Eric Weddle is tied with tight end Benjamin Watson and running back Danny Woodhead for the longest playoff drought on the team, which began in 2014. While answering a question about the defense carrying the offense to wins, Weddle said he would like to end the playoff-less streak now. “I’m tired of losing,” he said. “It irks me every day that I didn’t have a chance in the playoffs. That’s not me, it’s not what I’m about. Even if they do have a problem, I don’t care if they have a problem. It’s the way we’re going to win. You put your ego aside for what’s best for the team. It’s all about the team and what gives us the best chance to win.” … While conceding that he hasn’t kept in touch as much as he should, Harbaugh is looking forward to seeing Bills head coach Sean McDermott, who was the assistant defensive backs coach when Harbaugh was the defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2004 to 2006. “Sean has always been a great friend,” said Harbaugh, who also worked with Buffalo defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, offensive line coach Juan Castillo and quarterbacks coach David Culley when they were employed by the Eagles. “I have known him since he got into football. He was there early on in Philly. He has done a great job. I am very proud of him and what he has accomplished and what he is doing in Buffalo. You can see what he is building there when you watch them on tape.”