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Practice Report 8/1: Rookie Ben Powers Works With Starters As Left Guard Remains Undecided


Rookie left guard Ben Powers lined up with the starters at Thursday's practice, but the competition for the starting job remains wide open, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh.

Powers, James Hurst, Jermaine Eluemunor and Alex Lewis are all in the mix, though Lewis has been unable to join training camp as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

"We don't have a starter there, and who would you want me to put in there? He's the guy right now," Harbaugh said of Powers. "Jermaine has to get in shape still more, and those guys are competing, along with James Hurst, although James Hurst knows how to play the position. So we're giving those younger guys the reps. We'll see what happens."

Powers wants to make the most of every practice rep he gets as he goes through his first training camp with the Ravens.

"Camp's going good, it's a daily grind, it's waking up with the mentality every day that you've got to get better," Powers said. "It's a lot more fun playing with the ones. But at the same time, I've got to keep working on my craft. I've definitely gotten more comfortable with the offense, but I still don't have everything perfect."

Ravens right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. went through a similar process as a rookie last season. He practiced with the first-team offense for most of the summer before taking over as the starter in Week 7 after Hurst suffered an injury. It remains to be seen if Powers becomes a starter, but he has sought advice from Brown, who he played with at Oklahoma.

"I talk to him a lot, ask him questions," Powers said. "He told me to focus on me and my game. My main priority is to help the team win. If that's playing, if it's being the No. 6 or No. 7 offensive lineman, my job is to help us win. That's my mentality."

Powers has impressed veteran Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda. Yanda (6-foot-3, 305 pound) and Powers (6-4, 310) don't have the raw size advantage that Brown does, so Powers can learn a lot of technique pointers from Yanda.

"It's early, but I like the kid's attitude. I like his approach," Yanda said. "He seems like a smart kid. His head's in the playbook, and he has the plays down. Now he's just adjusting to the physicality of the game at this level. I like what I see so far, but it's early yet."

Powers held his own during Thursday's non-padded practice and looked forward to next week's joint practices with the Jacksonville Jaguars. That's another challenge the coaching staff will use to evaluate Powers' progress.

"Those practices will be a lot of fun," Powers said smiling.

In other Thursday practice observations:

  • Tight end Hayden Hurst capped the practice by breaking wide open in the secondary to catch a long touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson. Hurst said after practice that he has bulked up 17 pounds since last season, but none of his speed or agility appear to have been lost.
  • It was a good day for several outside linebackers. Tim Williams was active, forcing Jackson out of the pocket on one play and flashing into the backfield on several others. Rookie Jaylon Ferguson had an interception off a deflected pass. Shane Ray joined Williams in putting heat on the quarterbacks, and Ray may have turned a corner in his adjustment to joining the Ravens after signing as a free agent.
  • Several wide receivers had drops, including the usually reliable Antoine Wesley. It's been a good camp for Wesley, but the undrafted free agent needs to be very consistent to earn a roster spot.
  • Rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown practiced for the second straight day, but once again was limited to individual drills. Brown looked fast and decisive running routes, but the Ravens have taken a cautious approach as he returns from Lisfranc foot surgery.
  • Nickel cornerback Tavon Young had a nice pass deflection and receivers defended by Young have rarely been targeted during camp. The Ravens signed Young to a three-year contract extension in February, and at age 25 he looks determined to raise his game to another level.
  • Safety Earl Thomas III was around the ball frequently, putting himself in position to make several big hits had it been live game action. The hard-hitting Thomas-Tony Jefferson safety combination could make receivers wary about running crossing routes in their territory.
  • In addition to Lewis, absent from Thursday's practice were cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr, defensive tackle Brandon Williams and offensive lineman Randin Crecilius. According to Harbaugh, Williams and Carr received veteran's days off, while Smith was handling a personal matter for a second day.

Check out the on-field action from Day 6 at Ravens training camp.

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