There was a clear star of Tuesday's open practice during organized team activities (OTAs):
Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.
"I watched him today and it was his best day with me out here," Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak said. "Each day he is getting more comfortable with what we're doing."
The veteran wideout was all over the field during practice, hauling in passes down the sidelines and over the middle. Nothing thrown his way hit the ground.
Smith practices at a high level, and he was consistently running away from defenders. During one play in 11-on-11 drills, Smith was clearly fired up after catching a pass over cornerback Lardarius Webb down the sideline. He jumped up from the ground, pounded his chest and came running back to the huddle.
"He is just so competitive," Kubiak said. "He brings an edge to practice all the time. He challenges people as far as how you play and how you go about doing things. And he challenges coaches too. Every good offense I've been around, I've had a few players saying, 'Give me the ball, Coach.' That's a good thing and that's what you want. He works to get the ball. That's impressive."
In addition to the big plays from Smith, here were some of the other highlights from practice:
- Running back Ray Rice also had an impressive day on the field. He made a one-handed snag at one point, and had several plays where he showed a good burst out of the backfield. He took a pitch during an 11-on-11 drill and beat everybody to the edge to get upfield. He seems to have regained the speed that was lacking because of a hip injury last season.
- The offense overall was sharp. This was the group's best practice that has been open to the media. Quarterback Joe Flacco was on target with his throws and didn't have a single interception during the full-team drills.
- Tight end Owen Daniels is coming along nicely in the offense, and he seems like he'll be a nice fit at tight end. Flacco threw his way several times throughout the afternoon, and he could end up becoming a nice safety blanket when the Ravens need a first down.
- Rookie first-round pick C.J. Mosley looks fluid on the field. As the linebackers went through pass coverage drills, he drifted backwards and made several impressive grabs.
- Wide receiver Michael Campanaro (hamstring) and Aaron Mellette (knee) were both back on the field participating in full-team drills after missing some time earlier during OTAs. Neither showed any lingering signs of injuries that held them out of action earlier.
- Fullback Kyle Juszczyk had a nice touchdown catch over the middle of the field at the end of practice, and then he dunked the ball over the goal posts as part of a little celebration. Good thing he didn't try that in a game. That celebration will be a penalty this season.
- The practice playlist continues to have variety, including some Kanye West, the Killers and Pearl Jam.