Notebook: Helmets Flying In Ravens' Physical Practice


The Ravens had the pads on again for Monday's practice, and it was a physical day of work.

Players weren't holding back, as a number of guys even had their helmets popped off at various points of practice.

Linebacker Jameel McClain and defensive tackle Terrence Cody both lost their lids from some serious contact during practice, which included a big emphasis on short-yardage situations. McClain lost his helmet on a running play where fullback Vonta Leach came out of the backfield clearing the way for running back Ray Rice.

"[It was] a very physical day of practice," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "It included situational work: 3rd-and-short, 4th-and-short, coming out and goal line. Those are the toughest, most physical situations in football, and that's what we did today."

Lewis, Reed and Birk sit out

With the hard-nosed kind of practice that the Ravens had, some of the veterans were given the day off.

Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Matt Birk all watched from the sidelines, rather than putting on the pads and throwing their bodies around.

"They don't need to be in that practice," Harbaugh said. "A lot of other guys do need to be in it."

Even though they weren't out there on the field, the veterans were still actively involved. Reed was coaching up some teammates from the sidelines and Birk was also talking with younger linemen in between drills.

With Birk not practicing, rookie Gino Gradkowski took a number of the snaps with the first team.

J. Smith, Upshaw Bruise Shoulders

The Ravens' top draft pick sat out Monday after missing the end of Saturday's practice with a shoulder injury. He was out on the field watching from the sidelines.

Harbaugh did not give a timetable for when he could return to action.

"Courtney Upshaw got a bruise on his shoulder, so he is out for now," Harbaugh said. "It's a bruise, and he'll just take the time that it takes to get healed up."

Second-year cornerback Jimmy Smith also suffered a bruised shoulder during Saturday's practice, but he was able to return to the field for Monday's session.

Rookie wide receiver Tommy Streeter also didn't practice, but there was no update on what held him out.

Doss, Williams Trash Talk

Trash talking is commonplace between the offense and defense during practice.

And that was put on full display Monday.

Cornerback Cary Williams was guarding wide receiver Torrey Smith during one-on-one drills, and Williams started trash-talking Smith after the play. As Williams walked to the sidelines, wide receiver Tandon Doss got in the mix and told Williams to "stop crying."

Williams then started shouting back at Doss, who was not practicing because of a tweaked hamstring.

"You can't say anything, you aren't even practicing," Williams shouted to Doss.

The two went back and forth for a few minutes before finally calming down and going on with practice.

They were able to joke about it afterward, so don't worry about any bad blood brewing in the locker room.

Offense Gets Best of Defense

If practices had a winner, Monday's prize would go to the offense.

The offense got the best of the defense, especially in short- yardage situations.

"Offense got the better of it today," Harbaugh said. "The offense did a real nice job."

At one point during practice, Harbaugh yelled at the defense to pick it up. The second-team offense was dominating the second-team defense and he let them hear about it.

"You're getting your [butts] kicked defense," he said.

Some of the highlights for the offense included:

  • Running back Ray Rice breaking off for a long run while the offense was working from inside their own five-yard line.
  • Wide receiver Jacoby Jones made an impressive grab on a long pass down the sideline while Jimmy Smith was covering him. Jones made the catch with Smith right in his face and then took it the rest of the way for a touchdown.
  • Joe Flacco made some nice throws in tight space, including one to tight end Ed Dickson over the middle of the field while he was tightly covered.

Tucker, Cundiff Both Miss

Veteran Billy Cundiff and rookie Justin Tucker both missed from long range Monday, as they misfired on 55-yard field goal attempts. The miss on Monday was the first for Tucker during game situations in training camp.

Prior to missing on the long attempts, Cundiff and Tucker both connected on field goals of 20, 36, and 52 yards.

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