At the final open practice before the Ravens’ preseason opener, on maybe the hottest day of training camp, quarterback Lamar Jackson opened 11-on-11 action by making quick work of a depleted secondary.
On his first drop-back Tuesday, he found tight end Isaiah Likely in a soft spot down the left sideline for a first-down throw. On the next, he delivered a quick completion to wide receiver Devin Duvernay over the middle. Jackson and his offense were missing wide receiver James Proche II, and tight end Mark Andrews was limited, but they at least had Duvernay and Rashod Bateman back.
The secondary, meanwhile, didn’t have Marlon Humphrey (limited to individual drills), Brandon Stephens or rookie Jalyn Armour-Davis. It seemed like the start of a one-sided afternoon in the sun.
It was — just not the way that Jackson would’ve wanted. In one of the offense’s shakiest performances of camp, he completed less than 50% of his passes. Jackson went 0-for-3 in his final competitive 11-on-11 period, including two incompletions to Bateman, one of which was dropped and another that cornerback Kyle Fuller almost picked off near the sideline.
Jackson won’t be playing in Thursday night’s game against the Tennessee Titans, and Tuesday’s practice, held without pads, was more focused on execution than competition. But it marked a down note in an otherwise strong camp for Jackson, whose accuracy most days has hovered between 60% to 70%.
Tuesday’s afternoon practice was the Ravens’ eighth in the past nine days, with only a handful of cool patches in that span. But Duvernay said the team was “holding up just fine” in the muggy weather.
“It’s part of it — part of football, part of training camp,” he said Tuesday. “I think we’re all probably accustomed to it growing up, playing college football, high school football and things like that. I think it will work out well for us in the long run.”
With a thinned defensive backfield, the Ravens got help from big names and overlooked reserves. Safety Marcus Williams, the team’s top offseason signing, broke up a red-zone pass intended for Likely in seven-on-seven work. One play later, cornerback Kevon Seymour nearly had an interception, besting Bateman easily on a throw into the back of the end zone. Rookie cornerback Damarion “Pepe” Williams helped force two incompletions in a three-plan span in an 11-on-11 drill.
Even when Jackson did connect, the gains were sometimes inconsequential. On a red-zone quick hitter to Patrick Ricard, inside linebacker Patrick Queen stopped the fullback short of the goal line, prompting a celebration by the defense. That group looked ready for Thursday; the offense, less so.
“I think preseason is very important, especially for young guys and then guys in my position who are trying to show that they’ve still got something in there,” safety Tony Jefferson said. “I think you have to turn it on once it’s game time, because it’s life or death, really, for a lot of guys. You never know what’s going to happen after; you can’t just assume [that] if things don’t work out here, you’re going to get picked up somewhere else, so you just want to put out the best tape you can possible.”
On a ragged day for the offense, Tuesday’s one-on-one period provided at least some positives. But the defense held its own against about a dozen red-zone throws, too. Among the highlights:
- After a long-developing out-breaking route, Bateman shed Humphrey near the back of the end zone, getting enough separation to bring in a pass.
- Likely beat Jefferson with an outside move and scored easily.
- Fuller contested wide receiver Jaylon Moore on a jump ball to help deny a catch.
- Wide receiver Tylan Wallace, who’s struggled somewhat in one-on-ones, won his matchup with Damarion Williams.
- Safety Kyle Hamilton jammed wide receiver Makai Polk twice — once at the line of scrimmage, and again as he made his first break — leaving the undrafted rookie stumbling to the grass as his pass arrived.
- Seymour shadowed Duvernay well to force an incompletion.
- Wide receiver Binjimen Victor beat rookie cornerback Denzel Williams over the top on a fade, continuing his recent surge.
- Facing third-and-goal in an 11-on-11 drill from about 7 yards out, Jackson found Bateman on an end-zone fade for their best completion of practice. Bateman got a step on Fuller before high-pointing the ball and securing the score.
- Running back J.K. Dobbins left practice about 15 minutes earlier than he did Monday, when he made his training camp debut. His knee rehabilitation continued with on-field workouts, including full-field sprints. “There’s a great plan with the doctors and the trainers going forward, so we’re just going to follow that,” running backs coach Craig Ver Steeg said Monday. “We’re going to add a little bit each day and see how it goes.”
- Along with Proche, Armour-Davis and Stephens, the Ravens were missing offensive tackle David Sharpe and rookie wide receivers Bailey Gaither and Devon Williams. Rookie center Tyler Linderbaum (foot) also remains sidelined, while rookie wide receiver Slade Bolden left practice early.
- The Ravens marked Tuesday as Military and First Responders Appreciation Day. After practice, Harbaugh acknowledged the crowd.