Two key pieces of the Ravens' offense, wide receiver Rashod Bateman and running back J.K. Dobbins, ramped up their practice activity Friday, participating in team drills for the first time.
Bateman returned to practice nine days ago and continues to work his way back from last year's foot surgery. Dobbins was activated four days ago.
"They're both out there in team drills moving around and looking good. So, that was great to see," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Our training staff and our strength staff have done a great job, and those guys, themselves, have done a great job. Rashod has worked really hard to get himself to where he is right now. He looked good today."
Bateman capped practice with a spectacular touchdown catch during 7-on-7 work in which he slipped behind cornerback Brandon Stephens and made an outstretched grab one-handed (left-handed) grab in the back corner of the end zone.
"That was a heck of a catch," Harbaugh said. "How did he stay in bounds? How did he make the catch? How did he track the ball? And to go in there and just throw it in there like that on his first day back on that kind of a drill, very impressive."
Injuries have stunted Bateman's first two years in the league, and he's eager to show his premier talent in Year 3. Though the Ravens added Odell Beckham Jr., Nelson Agholor and first-round rookie Zay Flowers to the receiver room this offseason, Bateman is still crucial to Baltimore reaching its heights in the passing game.
"He's been fantastic," Wide Receivers Coach Greg Ward said. "He's been on task with everything that I've asked of him and everything that he knows he needs to do. He's been awesome."
Here are other highlights from Friday's padded practice:
- New Ravens cornerback Ronald Darby looked good in his first practice, including making strong cuts during individual drills. He even participated in some full-team work. Darby suffered his ACL injury early last October. If he's going to be ready to play Week 1, it's a quick ramp-up with the season 23 days away.
- The Ravens started 11-on-11 work with a series from inside the 5-yard line. Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike was dominant, stuffing Dobbins at the line of scrimmage on first down, then pressuring Lamar Jackson (possibly for a sack) on third down to help force an incompletion.
- The second-team offense scored on its second chance as Gus Edwards rumbled over safety Geno Stone on an outside run. Rookie outside linebacker Tavius Robinson also lost his helmet on the play. Edwards continues to look like a bowling bowl going downhill that nobody really wants to get in front of.
- Undrafted rookie running back Keaton Mitchell scored on the first play with the third-team offense, bursting outside and through the reaching of rookie linebacker Trenton Simpson. Mitchell also had a good run later in 11-on-11 work in which he sped around quick backfield penetration to pick up about 15 yards.
- Stephens and Kyle Hamilton had excellent coverage on the first deep ball of practice. Jackson threw a well-placed bomb to Nelson Agholor, but the two defenders closed on it and broke it up with a physical play in the end zone.
- Wide receiver Devin Duvernay moved the chains when he caught a Jackson heater over the middle between two defenders. Duvernay continues to show his strength making catches in traffic.
- Despite the loss of Marlon Humphrey to foot surgery, it's not like the Ravens' cornerbacks have been getting picked on. Veteran Kevon Seymour came up with an interception during 7-on-7 drills.
- Running back Justice Hill had some more speedy outside runs, including a long touchdown when fullback Patrick Ricard helped to wall off Madubuike. Madubuike got another shot at it on the next play and ended up lifting Hill off the ground for a stuff of zero yards.
- Jackson hummed a touchdown to Andrews during 11-on-11s. He stepped up in the pocket and delivered a perfect throw over the middle. Jackson also had another touchdown to Andrews in 7-on-7s.
- Wide receiver Tarik Black had a good practice, including a touchdown on a nice back shoulder throw from Josh Johnson, and a leaping catch versus Kyu Kelly on a bomb during 7-on-7 work.
- The competition for the Ravens' final wide receiver spot is highly contested. Undrafted rookie Sean Ryan helped his case with arguably the best catch of training camp with a leaping touchdown over Tae Hayes. Ryan was shaken up on the play and went into the locker room early, but he'll feel good watching that grab back on the practice tape.
- At the start of practice, kicker Justin Tucker was working on 70-yard field-goal attempts from a tee. With the same crow hop he used on his record-setting 66-yarder in Detroit, Tucker hit two off the uprights.