A steady rain during the second half of Friday’s joint practice with the Colts in Westfield, Ind., gave the workout a little more flavor.
Dealing with wet conditions is something the Ravens could face often during the regular season. There is just one indoor game on their schedule – Week 13 against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Head Coach John Harbaugh was pleased with how his players dealt with Friday’s slick conditions. Footing was a little dicey and the ball was slippery, but the Ravens’ offensive execution remained crisp.
“It was good for ball-handling,” said Harbugh. “You got to play in the North Atlantic. This is a good day for us to have. We haven’t really had a rain day yet. It was pouring so hard back in Baltimore, we had to go inside the one or two times with the lightning.”
While the Ravens’ offensive players focused on securing the football, defensive players focused on taking it away. It was a solid day for the Ravens’ defense getting reps against Colts starting quarterback Andrew Luck, one of the NFL’s best players.
Luck is taking every practice very seriously, coming off shoulder surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2017 season. However, the Ravens’ defense made several impressive plays against Luck, including a near pick-six by linebacker Albert McClellan, who dropped one of Luck’s passes after controlling it momentarily.
The Ravens’ goal in these joint practices is to leave Indiana a better team than when they arrived. Friday was a good first step.
Here are some other Friday observations:
- Rookie tight end Hayden Hurst found soft spots in the Colts’ secondary and made a pair of nice grabs off throws from quarterback Joe Flacco. Especially for a rookie, Hurst is showing a knack for using subtle moves to get open, and Flacco seems to anticipate well what Hurst will do. Remember the kind of chemistry that Flacco had with former tight end Dennis Pitta? It takes time to build that kind of connection, and too early to make that comparison. But if he continues to progress, Hurst could become one of Flacco’s favorite targets.
- During a red zone play, rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson waltzed easily into the end zone against the Colts’ defense from the 3-yard line after his receivers were covered. Not all of Jackson's throws were on money. However, his elusiveness is one of many things that makes him intriguing as he continues to develop as a passer. Having a quarterback who is a running threat in red zone makes any offense tougher to defend.
- Inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor made a nice interception against Colts backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Not only did Onwuasor read the pass pattern quickly, he completed the play by holding onto the football for the interception. The play by Onwuasor seemed to momentarily bother Brissett, whose next pass was way off target. That’s the kind of impact the Ravens’ defense hopes to have against young quarterbacks.
- Wide receiver John Brown made a nice over-the-shoulder catch off a nice pass from Flacco. Asked to describe Brown’s showing since joining the Ravens, Harbaugh was effusive in his praise, saying, “John Brown has shown that pretty much every practice … I expect a really big year from John Brown.” It’s a positive sign that Brown continues to make plays, even when facing other teams’ secondaries.
- Ravens cornerback Maurice Canady left practice midway through with what Harbaugh said was a minor leg strain.
- The Ravens’ secondary received a good test dealing with Luck and his corps of receivers led by T.Y. Hilton. Ravens cornerback Marlon Humprey held his own against Hilton. The receiver that gave the Ravens the most trouble was Kasen Williams, who had a couple of nice receptions. Facing Luck, who gives them a different look that Flacco, will be another benefit of this trip.