It was a beautiful night at M&T Bank Stadium for the team's first of three open practices, and Head Coach John Harbaugh smiled as he looked around at his players signing autographs for thousands of fans.
"I thought it was unbelievable. I mean, it was amazing, the crowd tonight," Harbaugh said of the 26,721 announced attendance.
"I think this is one of my favorite days of the whole year about this job. People get the chance to come in here, it's free, they bring their families. … This, to me, is what it's all about. This is why we do what we do."
Some of the biggest cheers of the night were saved for the autographs and fireworks/laser show, but the second-biggest gasp may have come after a big hit by inside linebacker Kamalei Correa.
Correa hardly saw any defensive action as a second-round rookie last season, but he's penciled in as the starter next to C.J. Mosley this year and showing he's up for the job.
At the end of practice, Harbaugh put the team in "live" 11-on-11 work with full tackling. It was mostly the second-team offense versus second-team defense with some select young projected starters in the mix.
Correa came off the edge and made a big hit in the backfield to bring down the running back short of the sticks on fourth down.
"That was a big play, fourth-down play," Harbaugh said. "It was good to see. I think Kamalei has had a very good training camp so far."
Here are some other notes from Sunday's practice:
- Undrafted rookie wide receiver Tim White showed off his athleticism in the open field when he broke a defender's ankles and then hurdled over him. White was a track star at Arizona State. White also caught a couple touchdowns, including one in the back of the end zone to end the "live" full-team drills. "To see a guy jump out like that in this environment, it's pretty eye opening," Harbaugh said. "He's had a solid camp up to this point."
- Undrafted running back Taquan "Smoke" Mizzell juked a few defenders out of their shoes to convert on fourth down and ran impressively throughout the drive, showing a ton of elusiveness and even a little power for a smaller back.
- Tight end Benjamin Watson is starting to look better as he comes back from his Achilles injury. He made a nice diving catch along the sideline.
- Keenan Reynolds muffed a punt, which isn't helping his bid to be the team's punt returner. Reynolds recently got props from coaches about his improvement in catching punts.
- Defensive tackle Carl Davis continues to dismantle the second-team offense line. He just has too much strength for them.
- It's easy to notice a difference with safety Tony Jefferson on the field. He's so quick to fill against the run.
- Scary moment when safety Eric Weddle and cornerback Jimmy Smith had a big collision in the secondary when Chris Moore darted between them for a slant.
- A highlight of the training camp practices is the kicking session by Justin Tucker. Harbaugh likes to get the crowd into it to simulate an in-game pressure situation. Tucker missed from 52 yards but made it from 61, bringing on the loudest ovation of the night.
- The Ravens secondary is suffocating. Even in seven-on-seven drills, they are contesting throws and knocking down passes. They're playing aggressive, flying around the field and gaining chemistry.
- Best part of practice, without a doubt, was the impromptu dance-off between Brandon Williams and a young girl in the stands. She won a football autographed by Williams. Even Harbaugh commented on it after practice, asking reporters who they thought should win.