The Ravens held their fourth training camp practice in front of fans at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday night, and in front of an announced crowd of 23,589, a pair of the offense’s young pass-catchers continued to provide optimism for an improved passing game in 2021.
Second-year player James Proche II was targeted early and often and had another strong practice, frequently finding separation from the slot position. He also caught several touchdown passes during a red-zone drill.
Proche, a sixth-round pick in 2020, played sparingly on offense last season (25 snaps) and served as the team’s punt returner before being overtaken by draftmate Devin Duvernay late in the season. However, Proche has impressed his teammates and coaches with his consistency and work ethic.
“James is just an absolute workhorse,” quarterback Trace McSorley said. “The dude is the first one out on the JUGS [machine] every single day. He’s one of those guys that he works so hard on his craft that you can kind of rely on him to be in the right spot every single time, running the right route, running it well and it’s very clean. So, he’s one of the guys that, as a quarterback, you’ve got a lot of trust in him to be able to give him the ball, give him opportunities. And then, you’re able to see some of the catches he’s able to make and plays he’s able to make.
“The more he does that, it’s awesome for our offense. It elevates every single guy in that receiver room, elevates us as quarterbacks and even the offensive line guys get juiced up when he’s making plays. It’s awesome having him out there doing what he’s doing.”
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First-round pick Rashod Bateman also delivered a highlight play in practice, speeding by cornerback Marlon Humphrey along the sideline to record a 40-yard touchdown pass from McSorley.
“He’s been great,” McSorley said, “how he’s running routes, using his body, speed, size to be able to go up and make plays, running clean routes. You can tell just from spring to now, how much he was in his playbook over the summer how he’s able to just go out and he’s just making plays. He’s playing fast. And that’s what you want to see out of a young guy. He’s not out there thinking, trying to figure out what route he’s got, where he’s fitting in the formation. He knows all that already, so he’s able to just go out and make plays.”
Bateman was seen getting stretched out by a trainer late in practice and did not participate in the final portion of the session. But he said he felt fine and expected to be at practice Monday. Players are off Sunday.
‘Hollywood’ remains out; Alaka returns from PUP list
Wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown did not practice for the second straight day after getting his leg attended to and leaving Wednesday’s practice early.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith also did not practice Saturday but watched from the sideline in street clothes.
Inside linebacker Otaro Alaka, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 5 last season, had his first training camp practice, meaning he’s been activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Cornerback Iman Marshall (knee), offensive linemen Ja’Wuan James (Achilles), Ben Bredeson and Ronnie Stanley (ankle), and tight ends Nick Boyle (knee) and Jake Breeland (knee) also didn’t practice Saturday. Stanley, who is returning from a severe ankle injury suffered in Week 8 last season, was on the sidelines interacting with teammates throughout practice.