Miles Boykin keeps doing things to make the Ravens more intrigued with his potential.
Thursday night in Philadelphia, Boykin wasn't satisfied after making a sideline catch. He split two Eagles defenders and headed down the sideline. Then he saw Eagles safety Rodney McLeod with the angle to force him out of bounds.
Instead of trying a fancy move or simply stepping out of bounds, Boykin lowered his shoulder and collided with McLeod to gain two extra yards. Players on the Ravens' bench went crazy over the 44-yard gain, and particularly loved Boykin's physicality.
When Boykin returned to the sideline, Marquise Brown congratulated his fellow rookie wide receiver, but asked why he didn't try to shake McLeod with a move.
"I'm like, 'Hollywood, I'm not 5'9! I'm not your size,'" Boykin said. "I just have to put my shoulder into them, ,,, That's been my mentality ever since I was at Notre Dame – just finish the play. No matter what it is, I'm not going to step out of bounds."
Boykin looks destined to be an important piece of the offense, challenging for a starting role and consistently getting open. Perhaps the only concern is that Boykin hasn't avoided drops. He had one against the Eagles, a ball that he should have caught even though it was thrown a little behind him by Trace McSorley.
However, here's another thing the Ravens like about Boykin. When he makes a mistake, he doesn't make excuses. After Saturday's practice, Boykin remained on the field catching passes from his coach that were behind him and low.
"I understand that I have to get better each and every day," Boykin said. "Drops happen, I understand that. But, for me, that's unacceptable, especially for the way that I've played my whole career. The biggest thing for me is just getting back to the fundamentals and that's what I plan on doing. We have almost two weeks before we play Miami, so just until then, just kind of harping on my fundamentals, my mechanics, and just doing what I know how to do and just going out there and just playing."
With five catches for 83 yards this preseason, Boykin looks like a rookie who's ready for his regular-season debut. The third-round pick from Notre Dame is getting open in practice against talented corners like Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr. He's getting open in preseason games. Boykin believes his playmaking ability will carry into the regular season.
"You're playing against people who have obviously played games in the NFL," Boykin said. "From that standpoint, when you watch the film, I've been getting open. Some plays I haven't made, some plays I have. The biggest thing is that I know I can get open in this league, I know I can catch the ball in this league, I know I can play in this league now."
Where Does Bradley Bozeman Fit in Offensive Line Puzzle?
The Ravens head into their preseason finale having yet to announce their starting left guard. It could be James Hurst or Jermaine Eluemunor, and Bradley Bozeman started at left guard against the Eagles. Both Patrick Mekari and rookie Ben Powers have also taken reps there.
Bozeman can also play center, making him valuable as a backup to Matt Skura as he competes to be a starter. The second-year player from Alabama isn't trying to predict where he fits into the mix. Bozeman is simply playing as well as he can, and he doesn't assume his spot on the 53-man roster is secure.
"Hey, everybody's on the chopping block," Bozeman said. "You just never know, so I'm just going to continue to compete and showcase what I can do."
A sixth-round pick from Alabama last year, Bozeman believes his versatility works in his favor.
"That helps anybody at any position," Bozeman said. "Just the more you can do. If you can play guard, center and tackle, that adds more value than just being able to play two positions."
John Harbaugh Cancels Practice, Takes Team on Road Trip
Instead of holding practice Monday, Head Coach John Harbaugh took the team on an outing via buses. He didn't disclose where the team was headed, but Harbaugh has taken the team to the movie theater at the end of camp in the past.
The Ravens will practice Tuesday as they prepare for Thursday night's preseason road game against the Washington Redskins.