5 Things To Watch For At Stadium Practice


Reporters and about 200 fans have watched Ravens training camp practices thus far.

Now it's time to swing open the doors.

The Ravens' first of three open practices is this Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. and practice starts at 5. The practice is free and open to the public.

Here's a guide of what to watch for:

1) Who's practicing and who's notThe first thing reporters at practice do is take roll. Printed rosters will be distributed at the gates, so fans can keep track. The Ravens have a number of players banged up, including rookie outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw, wide receiver Tandon Doss, running back Bernard Pierce and more. Getting any of those players back would be a good thing. It would also make for better competition.

2) Joe Flacco's progressionReporters have marveled at how Flacco has looked in Organized Team Activities, minicamp and now training camp. Watch for the little things: how competitive he is in 11-on-11 drills, how he takes control of the offense, how he communicates with his targets. Watch how precise Flacco is with his passing as well, and how eager he is to attack deep.

3) Who wins the 11-on-11 drillsThe Ravens break into 11-on-11 drills at two different points of practice, first for red-zone work and then for a two-minute drill at the end of practice. In the latter, the offense and defense go to opposite sidelines and it takes on a game-like pace and competitiveness (without the big hits). The offense and defense are about even thus far through camp, a good sign for the offense considering it usually lags behind early on as it tries to find its timing.

4) Competition battlesThe top competitions are at cornerback (Cary Williams vs. Jimmy Smith), wide receiver (Doss vs. LaQuan Williams), kicker (Billy Cundiff vs. Justin Tucker), defensive end (Art Jones vs. Pernell McPhee) and backup running back (Anthony Allen vs. Damien Berry vs. Pierce). They won't be decided in one day, but every practice counts when it comes to who will get the nod at the end of camp. It will also help those in the You Pick The Team contest.

5) How the rookies performIt will be the rookies' first time in their new home, and they'll likely be a little wide-eyed practicing in M&T Bank Stadium. Last year, wide receiver Torrey Smith put on a show at the open practice. Will another rookie do the same this season? Specifically keep your eye on tackle/guard Kelechi Osemele, and get an impression of sixth-round wide receiver Tommy Streeter (a player that has generated much buzz) for yourself.

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