Hitting Allowed With Pads Coming On


We're one step closer to real football today.

The Ravens are holding their first padded practices of training camp Saturday and Sunday.

It will be a new test for the heralded rookie class, and the first chance for some incoming veterans to show their physicality. 

"Everybody is looking forward to it," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

"That's the next step, so we'll see guys actually blocking people and getting off blocks. … They'll be banging a little bit harder and the collisions or the tussles that they have in there will be a little more for real."

Harbaugh said he will still encourage players to stay off the ground. They don't want anybody going down and risking a major injury because staying healthy is of upmost importance. At the same time, you have to practice actual football to get ready for real football.

It will particularly interesting to watch the rookies, who will be hearing the NFL pads popping for the first time. They've only been in shells previously.

It's a good time to evaluate some of the rookie and young linemen especially, players such as third-round defensive tackle Carl Davis, outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith and some of the offensive tackles.

"That'll be an opportunity to see how those guys do when big bodies are coming off [the line of scrimmage] and putting full weight on them," Harbaugh said.

"That's going to be fun to see. I really think they're going to do well. I believe those guys are all very good players, but you can't be considered a really good player until you play really well for a long period of time, so that's what they have to do."

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