The Ravens earned their paychecks during Saturday morning's training camp practice.
With temperatures in the high 90s and the heat index soaring to 110 degrees, the Ravens practiced in full pads for more than two hours at the Under Armour Performance Center.
"We were just talking to the guys in the locker room, and in my three years here that was probably the toughest practice we've had," linebacker Zachary Orr said. "We knew it was going to be a tough practice. Coach talked to us about it yesterday, and we're just really proud of how the team went after it."
The Ravens took some precautions because of the heat – longer breaks between drills, extra hydration – but it was still a brutally hot morning. To make it even more difficult, 23 players were sidelined because of various issues, which left the players on the field taking more reps than usual.
"I really commend the guys* *doing it," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "The numbers were low overall for practice, and the guys who went through the practice just did a phenomenal job. It was a fast practice. It was sharp. It was one of the things you have to look for in training camp."
Players did get a little reprieve for making it through the session, as Harbaugh put a little wager on the line at the end of practice. Harbaugh offered to give players the afternoon off from meetings if backup kicker Will Lutz drilled a 42-yard field goal, and the rookie nailed it.
Players then wanted to up the ante and also cancel Saturday's walk-through, so Harbaugh bumped Lutz back to the 50-yard line to try the "double-or-nothing" field goal. He drilled it, and the entire team swarmed him to celebrate.
"Will Lutz is definitely the most popular guy," Harbaugh said. "I'll have to admit, there wasn't a lot of rush pressure, for some reason."
Here were some of the other notes from practice:
- The list of players sidelined included tight ends Crockett Gillmore (hamstring), Dennis Pitta (finger), Dan Brown (undisclosed) and Maxx Williams (undisclosed), wide receivers Michael Campanaro (strain), Chris Moore (reported foot), Chris Matthews (undisclosed), cornerbacks Sheldon Price (undisclosed), Tavon Young (hamstring) and Kyle Arrington (undisclosed), safety Kendrick Lewis(undisclosed), defensive lineman Carl Davis(undisclosed), and offensive lineman John Urschel(undisclosed).
- Young left Saturday's game with an injury, and Harbaugh explained that the rookie fourth-round pick had a hamstring issue. He did not offer a timetable for his return.
- Wide receiver/returner Kaelin Clay left practice early with a foot issue.
- Rookie Keenan Reynolds made the most of his reps with the receiver group short-handed. He made a number of nice catches on the day, including a tough first-down catch over the middle in tight traffic.
- Tight end Darren Waller had a diving touchdown catch during seven-on-seven drills. He is suspended for the first four games of the regular season, but has shown promise during training camp.
- A fun part of practice was the one-on-one drills between receivers and defensive backs. Cornerback Jimmy Smith and wide receiver Mike Wallace had some good battles, with each player getting the better of the other at times.