Training camp opened Thursday morning in Owings Mills, and dynamic rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson took center stage for the Ravens.
With camp starting a week earlier than normal, the Ravens plan on giving their veterans plenty of time off early this summer. Starting quarterback Joe Flacco was among several veterans who left the field after individual drills, which gave Jackson a chance to get a heavy dose of reps with some of the first-team offense.
Like most rookies, Jackson had good and bad moments in his first training camp practice.
His day started on a sour note as his first pass was deflected and then picked off by safety Chuck Clark. But Jackson came back and hit beautiful deep passes to rookie receiver Jordan Lasley and then free-agent signing Willie Snead.
Those deep passes brought the biggest cheers of the day from the fans in attendance, and Jackson also had a play where he dazzled with his feet. Defensive linemen Carl Davis and Bronson Kaufusi both pushed their way into the backfield, and Jackson put on some juke moves before cutting through the middle of the defense to run down the field.
Baltimore's first-round pick has shown the ability to make plays with his arms and his feet, but he also had a handful of accuracy miscues on short passes early in practice. Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and Quarterbacks Coach Brent Urban both spent extra time in practice giving the rookie some one-on-one coaching between drills.
Here were some of the other notes from practice:
- Beyond Flacco, other veterans who left practice early were outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, safety Eric Weddle, cornerback Brandon Carr, wide receiver Michael Crabtree and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. The players practiced Thursday in shorts and shells, as the pads won't go on until Saturday at the earliest.
- Cornerback Jimmy Smith is one of the most impressive stories of the summer. After returning to practice in a limited capacity during last month's minicamp, Smith looked full-go Thursday. He participated in 11-on-11 drills and showed no ill effects from the torn Achilles in December.
- Safety Anthony Levine, linebacker Albert McClellan and cornerback Maurice Canady all practiced after being out throughout the offseason.
- Wide receiver Breshad Perriman is fighting for a roster spot this summer and he's getting work on special teams in training camp. He hasn't done much on special teams in his career, but he'll have to show he can in order to carve out his spot on the 53-man squad.
- Lasley looked like he had a strong day. In addition to the deep reception from Jackson, he made some nice snags and gained separation. He has good speed and fluid movement. Fellow rookie receiver Jaleel Scott also made a nice diving grab along the sidelines from quarterback Robert Griffin III.
- Justin Tucker looked like he was in midseason form when he drilled a 55-yard field goal.