The Ravens hope to get through training camp much healthier than last season, and they dodged a potential setback at Saturday night's practice at M&T Bank Stadium.
Devin Duvernay avoided what could have been a more serious injury when he collided with Chuck Clark while trying to catch a deep pass from Lamar Jackson. Duvernay was slow getting to his feet and was examined by medical personnel on the sideline. Head Coach John Harbaugh said Duvernay suffered a thigh bruise, but he watched the rest of practice and could have resumed action if necessary.
"He hit his thigh, so [it's] good news [that] it's nothing serious there," Harbaugh said. "He could have come back; I just said, 'No, not tonight.'"
There were no new absences from Saturday's practice. Those who remained sidelined were Tyus Bowser, Ben Cleveland, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Charlie Kolar, David Ojabo, Marcus Peters, Ronnie Stanley, Ar'Darius Washington.
Jet Sweeps Could Become Bigger Part of Offense
Duvernay was a Pro Bowl returner last season, and his running ability could be utilized more in 2022. Harbaugh said the Ravens may incorporate more jet sweeps into their offense, with Duvernay and others taking handoffs after they go in motion prior to the snap.
"It's something he's done his whole career [and] in college too," Harbaugh said. "He's going to be a big part of that. I don't know if he'll be in the backfield as a running back, per se; I think [it'll] be more as a jet-sweep guy, a mover guy. But that's part of our offense. Running backs run those plays too, so he's going to definitely be doing that."
Cleveland Misses Fourth Straight Practice
Ben Cleveland missed his fourth straight practice and had not yet passed the conditioning test according to Harbaugh. The second-year guard is battling Ben Powers, Tyre Phillips and Patrick Mekari for the starting left guard position, but missing practice time will make it more difficult for Cleveland to make his case. Harbaugh said Cleveland will not practice until he passes the conditioning test.
"He's been struggling with that part of it," Harbaugh said. "We're not going to put a player out there until he can do it; we think it's that important. I know he can do it; he's going to do it; he's just got to get out there and get it done."
The Ravens have a day off Sunday and will return to the field for their first padded practice on Monday.
"The pads are coming on Monday, so it's going to be exciting to see," Harbaugh said. "The biggest thing to look for is how the guys handle the mental part of it. All of a sudden, they've got something more to think about – the physical part of it – and not let it be too big for you."
Michael Pierce Feels Good About His Start to Camp
After missing all of mandatory minicamp for personal reasons, defensive tackle Michael Pierce has practiced every day at training camp and showed he was working while away by passing the conditioning test. Pierce is expected to be a major piece of the defensive line rotation and wanted to make a positive first impression. He spent his first four NFL seasons with the Ravens (2016-19), then returned to Baltimore during free agency.
"I'm just glad to be back," Pierce said. "I've gotten a lot of reps and I'm feeling pretty good. It's a blessing to be back, a lot of familiar faces and new faces. Just getting my timing back. I missed OTA's with some personal stuff, but I've been playing pretty good in camp. I've got time between now and Sept. 11 (Week 1).
Pierce declined to give specifics on why he missed mandatory minicamp.
"I like to keep my family business outside the media," Pierce said. "It's just something that needed my immediate attention. I had to wrap my arms around my family. We got everything handled and I'm glad to be back playing football."