Spotlight on Jackson
With starting quarterback Joe Flacco making an abbreviated appearance at the opening day of training camp, the Ravens offense was placed in the hands of rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, the team’s second of two first-round picks in May’s NFL draft. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner had a few nice passes, with his best throw traveling 50 yards before rookie wide receiver Jordan Lasley caught the ball between cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste and safety Chuck Clark.
Working out the kinks
It was not all rainbows and gumdrops for Jackson. His first pass intended for rookie tight end Hayden Hurst during a full-team exercise was tipped by cornerback Tavon Young and intercepted by Clark. Jackson threw his next two passes over wide receiver John Brown and rookie tight end Nick Keizer, and bobbled a snap from center Matt Skura (which the quarterback recovered).
In an unofficial take of “whatever you can do, I can do better,” quarterback Josh Woodrum followed Jackson’s 50-yard pass to Lasley with a 58-yard throw that was caught by DeVier Posey in the end zone just before rookie cornerback Anthony Averett and safety Bennett Jackson converged on the wide receiver.
Every quarterback not named Flacco faced pressure. Defensive end Bronson Kaufusi and then defensive tackle Carl Davis pulled up without sacking Jackson; outside linebacker Tim Williams and then Davis did the same thing with Robert Griffin III; and defensive end Patrick Ricard and rookie linebacker Kenny Young would have sacked Woodrum.
Catch of the day
Maxx Williams has been more effective as a blocker, but the tight end showed off his catching skills during a seven-on-seven drill. Jackson floated a pass over the outstretched arms of strong safety Tony Jefferson. Williams tipped the ball into the air and had the presence of mind to reach back and clutch it to his chest and touch his feet in-bounds before falling along the right sideline.
Kicker Justin Tucker converted his first four field-goal attempts — from 33 yards twice, 39 yards and 40 yards — before missing two of his last three. His first try from 58 yards clanged off the right upright. He then nailed his second attempt from the same distance before pushing a third try wide right. After the exercise ended, Tucker successfully kicked his fourth attempt from that distance with a few yards to spare.
Ricard might have led the Ravens in total repetitions Thursday. When he was not lining up against the reserve offensive linemen as a defensive end, it seemed he was helping them clear space as a blocker. He even caught a pass near the sideline before rumbling upfield.
Overheard at practice, Part 1
During a drill with the defensive linemen and edge rushers, defensive line coach Joe Cullen slipped while backpedaling and almost put himself into the path of an onrushing Terrell Suggs. The seven-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker exclaimed, “Watch yourself!”
Overheard at practice, Part 2
A fan remarked, “He’s a phenom” after Jackson slipped through pressure from Kaufusi and Davis and broke out into the open field for a series of jukes. Never mind that Kaufusi and Davis, like every other lineman, were under strict instructions to not even breathe on a quarterback.