Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Observations at Ravens minicamp Day 2
By Jamison Hensley
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Here are some quick thoughts after the Baltimore Ravens completed their second practice of this week's three-day minicamp:
Tempers flared in the 90-degree heat with the first on-field scuffles of camp. The first one involved two rookies: tight end Crockett Gillmore and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan started a fight that ended with a small pile-up of players. Then, in the final half hour of practice, wide receiver Steve Smith shoved Lardarius Webb after he felt the cornerback contested a pass too vigorously for non-contact minicamp. Smith shoved Webb, and Webb then retaliated. After this exchange, Steve Smith immediately caught a pass against Jimmy Smith and Webb followed that up by knocking down a pass away from Owen Daniels on the next play. Smith and Webb are very competitive players.
Wednesday's minicamp saw a whole lot of action from the Baltimore Ravens' receiver corps.
Of all the practices open to the media this offseason, this was the sharpest one for quarterback Joe Flacco. There was a long stretch where the ball didn't hit the ground in full-team and seven-on-seven drills. His best throw was a deep one down the middle of the field to Steve Smith, who got behind safety Matt Elam. Flacco was spot-on with most of his throws.
While Flacco excelled, the wide receivers stood out for the wrong reasons. There were too many drops for a second straight day. Marlon Brown, Torrey Smith, Jace Davis and Jacoby Jones all let passes go through their hands in a short period of team drills. Defensive players do push-ups on the field when they drop interceptions. Maybe the same rule should apply to the Ravens' wide receivers.
Wide receiver Jeremy Butler continues to make plays this offseason. The rookie from Tennessee-Martin is trying to become the latest undrafted success story for the Ravens. Butler is making more catches than the other players who are competing for one of the last receiver spots on the team such as Michael Campanaro, Deonte Thompson and LaQuan Williams. Butler's path got easier when the Ravens waived Aaron Mellette, too.
It looks like it will be an uphill battle for Will Rackley to make the team. A third-round pick in 2011, Rackley started 25 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars before being released earlier this year. Right now, Rackley is running with the Ravens' third team and is behind backups A.Q. Shipley and Ryan Jensen on the depth chart.
Defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore joined the list of injured players not practicing after hurting his hamstring toward the end of Tuesday's workout. That led to more increased reps for rookie Brent Urban with the second team. The players not practicing for a second straight day are: defensive tackle Terrence Cody (hip), offensive lineman Jah Reid (calf), wide receiver Kamar Aiken (lower leg) and offensive tackle Parker Graham (undisclosed).