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Practice Highlights 8/10: Physicality Ramps Up

Posted Aug 10, 2014

Goal-line drill the main event. Jimmy comes up with pick-six. Crushing blocks in 1-on-1 drills.

The Ravens and 49ers knew they’d be in store for a physical three-day stretch when they decided to hold a series of joint practices in Baltimore.

And that’s exactly what they got on Sunday, as the intensity ramped up during the second day of combined practices.

“I love the way both teams competed and I love the way both teams took care of one another,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We got better today, and I believe they did as well.”

The main event was a full-speed goal-line drill between both teams’ second units. The drill was live just like a game, except the quarterbacks were off limits.

During the drill, the Ravens’ second-team offense started at the 5-yard line with a first-and-goal situation. The Ravens went up against the 49ers’ second-team defense for two series, and in both situations the Ravens ended up settling for a short field goal.

The 49ers’ second-team offense also had its shot in the drill, and they scored a touchdown on one of the series. On the other series, the Ravens defense stopped San Francisco when they went for a touchdown on fourth down. Linebacker Albert McClellan delivered a big hit on running back Glenn Winston, who went airborne at the line of scrimmage in an attempt to leap into the end zone. The hit from Bynes drew big cheers from the Ravens’ sideline.

While the practice was hard-hitting, it was another clean day free of skirmishes. Here were some of the other key notes of practice: 

-  The toughest part of practice was seeing defensive lineman Kapron Lewis-Moore carted off the field with an apparent season-ending Achilles injury. Players from both teams circled around Lewis-Moore and took a knee in prayer after he went down. Cornerback Asa Jackson also left practice early because of a minor ankle injury.

-   Tight end Dennis Pitta didn’t practice because of a “little tweak,” Harbaugh said. The other players held out of action were offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (leg), cornerback Lardarius Webb (back) and offensive lineman Will Rackley (head).

-  An exciting part of practice came early in the day when players lined up for one-on-one blocking drills. Ravens running backs and tight ends had the tough task of blocking the 49ers outside linebackers, including Pro Bowler Aldon Smith. There were some big collisions during this portion of practice, including a crushing block from Ravens fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

-  Cornerback Jimmy Smith came up with a nice play when he picked off 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for a pick-six during 11-on-11 drills.

-  The officiating of defensive holding and pass interference has been a point of emphasis during the preseason, and even during practice. Defensive backs around the league are trying to get a handle on what the officials will allow this season, and that’s a learning process during camp. Officials spent time talking with players after throwing flags to explain why the players were penalized.

-  Wide receiver Kamar Aiken pulled off an impressive leaping snag across the middle of the field from quarterback Tyrod Taylor during 11-on-11 drills.

-  Quarterback Joe Flacco was picked off by 49ers cornerback Dontae Johnson late in practice, and Johnson took the interception back for a touchdown.

-  A difference in the joint practices compared to the rest of camp is that the Ravens have eliminated loud music. Songs typically play during full-team drills, but not this weekend. It’s hard enough coordinating 180 players, so adding music to the mix could have made life even more challenging for the coaches.

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