The Ravens finished their second day of training camp practice Friday, and it’s too early to evaluate them seriously because the team is still in shorts. Players will put on pads for the first time Saturday night during a practice at M&T Bank Stadium. But here are some brief observations from the second day:
Starting quarterback Joe Flacco has a much better throwing motion than backups Robert Griffin III and rookie Lamar Jackson.
Flacco delivers the ball with an over-the-top motion while both Griffin and Jackson drop down and then deliver from a three-quarters angle.
Flacco isn’t always accurate, but his passes usually are tight spirals while both Griffin and Jackson flutter some throws. Unless their mechanics improve, Griffin and Jackson will get more passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage. If they start throwing over the top, they’d be able to get the ball to their targets faster.
Patrick Ricard, the second year fullback-defensive lineman out of the University of Maine, appears to have bulked up and added a few pounds during the offseason. He certainly looks the part of a more legitimate fullback.
When he is the lead blocker going around the end, there is no hesitation and he looks like a headhunter waiting to punish any oncoming opponent. There aren’t going to be many cornerbacks or safeties willing to take him on.
As a team, the Ravens look like they are in good physical condition. As of now we’re not aware of any player who failed the pre-camp conditioning test. There are always questions about the physical status of veteran outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, but he isn’t carrying any extra weight.
During drills Friday he was explosive off the ball and had the quickest get-off or movement off the snap of any of the linebackers.
Another player with surprising quickness was rookie Zach Sieler, a defensive tackle from Ferris State. He is a seventh-round draft pick whose explosiveness will get him more serious looks as the Ravens go deeper into training camp.
Big men with wheels
I saw fourth-year defensive tackle Carl Davis chasing a running back 40 yards downfield in practice Friday. That was impressive. More impressive was that Davis wasn’t breathing hard.
That’s a good sign for a player who needs to come up big in this training camp.
Also, second-year defensive end Chris Wormley, a third-round pick out of Michigan, is running a lot better this season as opposed to last when he was very stiff.
They’ve got rhythm
Flacco and new receiver Willie Snead IV had a good chemistry Thursday and they hit it off several times Friday even though coach John Harbaugh limited their practice time.
I’ve always liked the rhythm between a quarterback and slot receiver because that receiver can go in motion and work the entire field as opposed to outside receivers who might be limited.
Unfortunately on Friday the Ravens threw a lot of check-down passes to running backs. I thought it was game day instead of practice.
Young and hungry
Two young players I have been impressed with so far are cornerback Tavon Young and outside linebacker Tyus Bowser. Young, in his third season out of Temple, is feisty and competitive. He won’t back down.
Bowser, in his second season out of Houston, looks more confident and comfortable, and maybe that’s because the Ravens have a more definitive role for him in 2018.
Picking up the pace
The Ravens have maintained a nice pace at practice
Harbaugh has limited practice time for veterans, which is a good move because it allows the rookies to get more acclimated to the speed of the game. It also shows them how practices are run once the tempo increases a little in a week or two.
The Ravens also get a chance to see more of their rookies as well as move around some veterans such as James Hurst, who is expected to start at right offensive tackle but spent Friday at right guard.
Rookie wide receiver Jordan Lasley got a tongue lashing from two coaches after he lost out on a contested toss-up of a long pass to cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste.
I don’t know if the coaches were more irritated with Lasley because he didn’t try for the ball hard enough or that he didn’t pursue Jean-Baptiste after the interception. One thing for sure, the rookie needs to play harder if he wants to make this team.
One of my favorite memories of training camp at McDaniel College in Westminster was watching a group of young guys arrive near the practice field at 6 a.m. on opening day with a couple of six packs of beer.
An hour later they were chanting, “Steelers suck!” as fans started to arrive.
When you are young you see things a lot differently than when you’re older, but those were still fun times.