Thursday morning's practice has been the marquee event to date of training camp.
After an off-day Tuesday and a light practice Wednesday, Head Coach John Harbaugh made sure his team ramped up the intensity when they stepped on the practice field Thursday. The Ravens were in full pads and the coaches didn't hold them back from getting physical.
"This is one of the toughest practices of the whole training camp," Harbaugh said. "This is when we get in there and really bang."
The most intense portion of practice came during the first period of 11-on-11 drills. The second teamers matched up in a goal-line drill, the offensive line cleared big holes for running back Buck Allen to cruise into the end zone.
Harbaugh let his backup defensive line know he wasn't pleased.
"A Ravens defensive line getting run over at the goal line? Are you [kidding] me," he shouted multiple times. He then challenged young defensive linemen Brent Urban by saying, "You have no idea what you're about to face this year."
The defensive line responded by picking up the intensity for the remainder of the day.
"That's trench warfare down in there," Harbaugh said after practice. "That's tough down in there, and I just thought the defensive line wasn't coming off the ball explosively enough."
The entire tone of practice shifted after the challenge. Players started hitting harder and the collisions got even bigger at the line of scrimmage. There was some chippiness between players late in the physical practice, but nothing escalated into the first fight of training camp.
Perry Flashes With Big Hit
Undrafted rookie safety Nick Perry flashed several times during practice.
He delivered perhaps the biggest hit of the day when he met running back Fitzgerald Toussaint in the backfield and knocked him off his feet. The collision drew huge cheers from his teammates and the fans in attendance.
A few plays later, Perry forced his way into the backfield again to pressure the quarterback. The Alabama product had a strong showing during the physical practice, which is a good sign as he's trying to play his way onto the team after the injury to Matt Elam.
Here were some other notes from the day:
- The hard-hitting day of practice took a toll as three players left early with injuries. Offensive linemen John Urschel and Robert Myers both left to get examined for concussions, and rookie tight end Maxx Williams got poked in the eye.
- Wide receivers Breshad Perriman (knee) and Marlon Brown (back), and cornerbacks Tray Walker (hamstring) and Chris Greenwood (hamstring), and outside linebacker Steven Means (ankle) all didn't practice. Starting left guard Kelechi Osemele sat out practice after getting his foot stepped on Wednesday.
- Kicker Justin Tucker practiced, but the Ravens had backup Justin Manton and punter Sam Koch take the field-goal reps.
- A funny moment of practice occurred when Harbaugh tried to distract Michael Campanaro from fielding a punt. Right guard Marshal Yanda yelled to Campanaro from the sidelines, "run his [butt] over!" When Harbaugh asked who said it, Yanda laughed and raised his hand as he jogged out to the field.
- Some of the reserve cornerbacks had a nice day of practice. Asa Jackson, Cassius Vaughn and Quinton Pointer all came up with interceptions during seven-on-seven drills. Jackson's interception was a pick-six against quarterback Bryn Renner and Vaughn had a pick-six against Matt Schaub.
- Watching the tight ends group is interesting because they are all so young. Second-year player Crockett Gillmore is the veteran of the group at just 23 years old, and the Ravens are counting on rookies Williams and Nick Boyle. It's clearly the youngest position group on the team.
- Second-year inside linebacker Zach Orr is having a solid camp. He has good instincts on defense and is one of the team's most reliable special teamers. During his reps with the second-team offense, he broke through the line of scrimmage to make a strong tackle on running back Buck Allen.
- Wide receiver Jeremy Butler continues to make plays down the sidelines. He made perhaps the best play of the day by reeling in a 35-yard completion from quarterback Joe Flacco. He has shown big-play ability – especially on the edge – throughout training camp.