With Patrick Onwuasor sitting out practice Saturday for unspecified reasons, rookie Kenny Young lined up next to C.J. Mosley as the inside linebackers in the first defense’s 3-4 alignment.
Young, the second of the team’s three fourth-round draft picks in April who tied for fourth among Ravens in tackles with four in Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Bears, hurried quarterback Joe Flacco into dumping a pass off to running back Buck Allen during practice.
“It felt good to get back in practice after a win, after a day off, getting back in the groove, running to the ball, working on your technique,” Young said.
In addition to Onwuasor, safeties Tony Jefferson and Kai Nacua, wide receiver Tim White, rookie cornerback Anthony Averett and guard Maurquice Shakir did not practice for undisclosed reasons.
On the flipside, running back Kenneth Dixon (hamstring), outside linebacker Tyus Bowser (unspecified) and a pair of rookies, tight end Mark Andrews (muscle tissue) and offensive tackle Greg Senat (undisclosed), did practice — although all four left practice early.
“Some guys returned to practice,” coach John Harbaugh said. “You saw that. Those guys, as we said, had minor issue-type things they were working through. And they didn’t practice the whole practice either. We’re working them back in, and hopefully as we go, they will practice more. Some guys that weren’t practicing, same issues — whether it was the PUP guys that were out or they had small things from the game that we just didn’t think they were ready to practice today.”
Offensive line problems
While the Ravens wait for Marshal Yanda to return, their larger priority is shoring up an offensive line that showed its youth against the Bears.
In that game, the quarterback trio of Robert Griffin III, Josh Woodrum and rookie Lamar Jackson were sacked a total of eight times with Griffin and Jackson getting taken down three times each. A fourth sack of Griffin was negated by an offsides penalty on the Bears, but Harbaugh made it clear the offensive line’s play is an area that will continue to be address ahead of Thursday’s game.
“We’ve got to be better up front with our young offensive linemen,” he said. “Our quarterbacks don’t need to be under that kind of duress, and we need to block the run game better. So we expect more out of those guys.”
Two days after the Ravens were flagged for two penalties involving defensive players leading with their helmets, Harbaugh said he is remaining open-minded about how the NFL intends to remove helmets out of tackles. “The officials on the field, they expressed, ‘It’s tough,’ ” he said. “It’s a new rule for them, and all these new rules always kind of get worked out in the preseason. So we just have to see what they can actually see and what they can’t see, and I told our guys, ‘There are going to be some called that they’re going to come back and say shouldn’t have been. And there are going to be others not called that should have been.’ We’ve just got to tackle the right way – with our heads up, see what we tackle, and use our shoulders and not use our head as a weapon. That’s what we’re striving to do.” … Harbaugh said he, defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, punter Sam Koch, Yanda, quarterback Joe Flacco, long snapper Morgan Cox, kicker Justin Tucker and Mosley traveled to Canton to attend Ray Lewis’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony before returning in time for Sunday’s practice scheduled for 8:40 a.m.