The Ravens offensive line has been through quite a week to open training camp.
It started when center/guard John Urschel decided to retire two hours before the team's first practice, and then the Ravens took another blow Tuesday when rookie Nico Siragusa suffered a season-ending knee injury.
The injuries have left the Ravens shorthanded in the trenches, forcing them to cycle through a heavy rotation just to get through a full practice. That was evident Wednesday as Baltimore had Jermaine Eluemunor, Stephane Nembot, Matt Skura and De'Ondre Wesley all take some reps with the first-team offense.
Nembot and starting right tackle James Hurst took reps at both tackle spots after starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley tweaked his leg early in practice. Stanley stayed on the practice field, but didn't return to drills. He told reporters afterwards that he was fine, so that doesn't seem to be a major concern.
At times during the latter part of practice, the only expected starting lineman playing his natural position was left guard Alex Lewis. Everyone else was either out of position or moved up to the first team because of injuries. Veteran right guard Marshal Yanda isn't practicing in full-team drills right now as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.
"[Shuffling] was part of the plan, but I also think what's compounded it have been the injuries," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "With [Urschel's] retirement, then a couple injuries and Marshal not practicing, we probably had to do more of that than we want. Part of it is just to make sure we get through practice and we can run the plays."
All of the shuffling has created some opportunities for young players. Eluemunor, a fifth-round pick out of Texas A&M was particularly impressive during his work at right guard. Skura is also giving Ryan Jensen a good competition for the starting center job.
The offensive line is still very much in flux, and the injuries could lead them to look at bringing in depth through free agency or trades.
"In the end, I think it's good," Harbaugh said. "It's good for guys to get work at other spots, but I also want to make sure our starters get work at the spots where they're going to be playing."
Here were some of the other news and notes from the day:
- Wide receiver Breshad Perriman did not practice after tweaking his hamstring Tuesday. The injury isn't expected to be significant, but Harbaugh said after practice that he's not going to get into timetables for every player who is dealing with an issue.
- The biggest question on the injury front is still the status of starting quarterback Joe Flacco. He has yet to practice in training camp because of a back injury, but Harbaugh said all indications have been "very positive" in terms of his progress. The initial plan was to have Flacco rest for a week and then evaluate him again.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan visited practice. He spent most of his time chatting with Owner Steve Bisciotti and President Dick Cass.
- Alex Lewis and Tony Jefferson got into a little scuffle during full-team drills. Jefferson was certainly giving up plenty of size in that matchup, but he didn't back down from the offensive lineman. The scuffle was quickly broken up and the Ravens went right back into drills.
- Undrafted rookie fullback Ricky Ortiz had an impressive lead block during full-team drills, which sprung running back Buck Allen for a nice gain. Allen cut perfectly behind Ortiz on the play to get to the second level of the defense.
- Undrafted defensive lineman Patrick Ricard had probably the play of the day when he intercepted a pass at the line of scrimmage from quarterback Josh Woodrum. Ricard jumped to deflect the pass and pulled it into his chest for the turnover.
- Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin had perhaps his best catch of training camp. He jumped over the defensive back about 40 yards downfield to haul in a contested ball late in practice. Maclin and cornerback Reggie Porter wrestled for the ball on the ground and the veteran receiver came away with it.