The Ravens have been victimized enough times by Michael Crabtree’s ability to go up and make an acrobatic catch in the end zone. They were just happy to see him do it on their side, even if it was in a practice setting.
Crabtree, the 30-year-old veteran who signed with the team in March and is now the team’s No. 1 wide receiver, made the play of the day in Thursday’s organized team activity, reaching high over cornerback Tavon Young to catch a Joe Flacco fade route in the corner of the end zone. Crabtree, who just got two feet in bounds, celebrated the touchdown with his trademark football toss as several offensive teammates rushed over to congratulate him.
“Crabtree is the guy, because he’s got a little different way that he runs the routes,” Flacco said. “He’s really crafty with it, and he knows when to break away from guys and how to get open. He’s really good at doing that, but I would say it’s a little different than your normal guy. Like today, I’m trying to push fades to him just so I can see how he gets his released and how he does those things, and I think we’re definitely making strides toward it.”
Flacco and Crabtree connected several times in Thursday’s practice. Willie Snead IV, another of the team’s offseason receiver additions, also made several plays. John Brown, the other veteran added to the receiving corps, didn’t practice Thursday because he left the team to deal with a personal matter. However, he’s made a favorable first impression as well.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Crabtree, Snead and Brown have been as advertised.
“Hey, it’s the third OTA practice,” Harbaugh said. “But they’re veteran players. They’ve been in games. So what you see is what you get, and we’re seeing it.”
Solid OTA attendance
Overall, the Ravens had 77 of their 90 roster players taking part in Thursday’s voluntary workout in some capacity, continuing the positive vibes from the strong participation in the offseason workout program.
Most of the 13 players not participating are recovering from injuries. That list includes wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo (knee), offensive lineman Marshal Yanda (ankle), linebackers C.J. Mosley (ankle), Albert McClellan (knee) and Bam Bradley (knee), and defensive backs Jimmy Smith (Achilles), Maurice Canady (knee), Anthony Levine Sr. (hamstring) and Jaylen Hill (knee).
Veteran safety Eric Weddle was given the workout off. Rush linebacker Terrell Suggs also didn’t participate, but he’s been at the team facility throughout the offseason working out.
Inside or out?
Third-year linebacker Kamalei Correa was used Thursday both on the inside and outside, but that was out of necessity. The Ravens would like to move the 2016 second-round draft pick back to outside linebacker, the position Correa excelled at as a collegian at Boise State. He played almost exclusively inside last year, starting three games there before Patrick Onwuasor took over as the full-time starter.
However, the absences of Mosley, McClellan and Bradley from Thursday’s workout left the Ravens thin on the inside, so Correa got some repetitions there as well.
“I think everyone would agree that his natural position is probably on the edge,” Harbaugh said. “He believes that, and that’s where he starts. But I talked to him earlier week. It’s funny, I said, ‘Versatility is also your friend. If you can play every linebacker position for us, it is going to be a big edge.’ C.J. came up with just a little tweak – we didn’t want to mess with him today. The other guys were already injured. Getting [Correa] those reps in there are really valuable for us and him.”
A year after tearing his ACL in OTAs, Young has been a full participant in the workouts and he intercepted a Flacco pass Thursday that initially hit off the hands of rookie tight end Mark Andrews. … Harbaugh said Patrick Ricard will continue to be used at both fullback and defensive tackle. … Quarterback Robert Griffin III seems to have embraced his new organization. Some of his dreadlocks are purple. … Defensive linemen Brent Urban and Carl Davis, who are recovering from foot and shoulder surgeries, respectively, participated in the individual part of the workout but went inside once the team drills started. … Yanda and McClellan watched practice from the sideline. … Former Ravens safety Ed Reed visited with the team Thursday.