The Ravens had their full team back in town for the start of mandatory minicamp Tuesday.
They held their first of three minicamp practices Tuesday, and it was a sharp start to the week.
"It went exceptionally well," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. I think all of us – coaches and players – are really pleased with it, and guys worked really hard. It was really fast. It's right where we need to be at this time."
The entire two-hour practice was open to the media, and here are some of the highlights from Tuesday's session:
- Tight end Ed Dickson says he wants to be more involved in the passing game this year, and he's off to a great start during the offseason. He caught a number of passes during practice, including the highlight of the day, which was an impressive one-handed grab down the middle of the field. Dickson made the catch with safety James Ihedigbo in tight coverage, and he then outran everyone to the end zone for about a 50-yard touchdown.
- Overall, the tight ends were a big part of the passing game. Dickson and Dennis Pitta both caught a number of passes over the middle of the field. Veteran Billy Bajema, who was re-signed earlier in the day, also caught some passes working with the second team offense.
- Terrell Suggs makes his presence known when he's on the field. He's constantly jawing at his teammates and cracking jokes. Even during the special teams portion of practice, Suggs came onto the field for punt coverage and caught a punt from Sam Koch. Suggs then took off down the field like he was a return man. Sizzle always keeps things interesting when he's on the field.
- Suggs not only brought character to practice, he also showed off a slimmed-down figure and an explosive first step. He looked really good and immediately went right back to work with the first team defense.
- Recently-signed linebacker Daryl Smith also got right to work in his first practice. He took reps with the first team and he will likely compete for a starting job this season. Smith still has to learn the defense, but he was fluid in his movement and kept pace during his first practice in Baltimore. He showed no lingering signs of a groin injury that held him out of all but two games last season.
- Fullback Kyle Juszczyk put a big block on Smith to start off 11-on-11 drills. The rookie out of Harvard was the lead blocker for Rice on the play, and he delivered a hard-nosed hit on his new teammate. Not a bad way to make a statement now that Vonta Leach has been release and the rookie is the likely starter at fullback.
- The defensive line looks good. Chris Canty, Marcus Spears, Arthur Jones, DeAngelo Tyson and Brandon Williams all worked through a number of rotations. Those players give the Ravens a deep defensive front to go along with Haloti Ngata (knee) and Terrence Cody (hip) when they return to full strength.
- Ngata, Jameel McClain, Lardarius Webb and Albert McClellan – four starters from last season – were all limited participants during practice. They participated during individual drills and then ran wind sprints during full team drills.
- Pernell McPhee, who is playing more outside linebacker this year, definitely looks slimmed down compared to last season. He's being used in more of a pass-rushing role, and getting after the quarterback is a task that could suit him well.
- Rookie outside linebacker John Simon has some pass-rushing prowess. The fourth-round pick showed off his motor on a number of plays and was able to get to the quarterback for sacks or to force quick throws.
- Running back Bernard Pierce is so shifty coming out of the backfield. He seems to glide with his blockers, and then can just cut through the hole whenever it opens up.
- Undrafted rookie wide receiver Rashaad Carter had a pair of really nice catches from quarterback Caleb Hanie. He made one catch in tight traffic, and then came back a few plays later and caught a 35-yard pass down the sidelines.
- The defense got the best of quarterback Joe Flacco on a couple of occasions, as safety Michael Huff and linebacker Josh Bynes both had interceptions.