After being limited to the weight room and individual drills for the last several weeks, the Ravens were able to get back on the practice field this week as part of Organized Team Activities (OTAs).
The return to the practice field was a welcomed change for the players and coaches. Head Coach John Harbaugh referenced a conversation with veteran defensive lineman Chris Canty to show how excited the team was to practice.
"He said that we are not professional weight lifters. We aren't professional gasser runners," Harbaugh said. "We are professional football players, so guys like to get out there and practice football. Coaches like to get out there and coach football. That's what we do. It's exciting in that sense."
Wednesday's practice was open to the media, and here are some highlights and observations from the day:
- Joe Flacco makes throwing the football look so effortless. He shines leaps and bounds above the other quarterbacks on the field.
- The competition at wide receiver is still very much wide open. Tandon Doss, LaQuan Williams, Deonte Thompson, Tommy Streeter and David Reed all got a ton of reps, and it's far too early to have a clear leader in the race.
- Doss did have a couple of nice catches in traffic. One of the highlights of the day was a fully-outstretched, diving catch he made over the middle of the field. Doss is known for his hands, and he definitely showed them off on that play.
- Streeter looked much more polished than he did at this point last year. The sixth-round draft pick was a raw prospect when he came into the NFL, and that showed in the early part of last year's offseason workouts. He appeared more solid in his route running, and was also physical with defenders coming out of his breaks.
- Torrey Smith looks like a No. 1 receiver. He's added layers to his game over the last two seasons and has come a long way from when he was just a downfield threat. Smith burned the defense deep on one play, and then came back with a nice route over the middle of the field when he snuck by the coverage.
- Left tackle Bryant McKinnie is participating in the workouts and he looks to be in good shape. He's made a commitment to playing at a lighter weight this year, and he was able to keep pace during a hot, up-tempo practice.
- Offensive lineman Jah Reid was able to participate fully in practice after ending last season on injured reserve with a toe injury. He did not show any hesitation or lingering effects from the injury.
- Rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk showed off his versatility with some catches out of the backfield. He's known for having great hands, and his ability to catch out of the backfield could be a significant benefit.
- Tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson both had a solid day of practice. They were definitely involved in the passing game and both had their share of tough catches.
- Cornerback Lardarius Webb looked good during individual drills. He had a solid burst when breaking for balls, and also showed no hesitation when backpedalling. He didn't participate in full team drills, but it's good for the Ravens to have him out on the field.
- Linebacker Jameel McClain also participated in individual drills, but not full 11-on-11 work.
- Safety James Ihedigbo intercepted Flacco on a deflected pass over the middle of the field. Ihedigbo then showed off some solid return skills by weaving in and out of traffic and running all the way back into the end zone.
- Running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce are studs. With the two of them in the backfield, the Ravens will have a great one-two punch this season.