Practice Report 8/2: Defensive Mistakes Raise Ire of John Harbaugh

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During the “dog days” of training camp, coaches are known to bark at players.

Friday was one of those days for the Ravens’ defense. The end of practice featured a rough period for the defense, drawing the ire of Head Coach John Harbaugh.

First Harbaugh yelled at the defense for several mistakes that led to penalties and for complaining about penalties being called. Then when cornerback Cyrus Jones jumped offside, he was kicked out of practice. Jones was soon followed to the locker room early by cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who jogged off the field and caught up with Jones.

“For a second, I thought it was a baseball game after seeing guys get ejected, but that’s all a part of being where we are in training camp,” Ravens Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale said. “I was a little disappointed today with our situational awareness.”

The Ravens were working on special fourth-down situations in which the offense might be trying to get the defense to jump offsides, and it worked multiple times. Harbaugh was right. It’s the sort of penalty that could cost Baltimore a win.

Thursday was not Harbaugh’s day to meet with the media, but veteran outside linebacker Pernell McPhee said he was all in favor of Harbaugh tightening the screws during practice.

“That’s Harbs, man,” McPhee said. “If he doesn’t get on us, we’re going to lose the game. I love it. Everywhere you go, coaches are going to be like that. You need a coach like that to keep us humble and keep us in our place. When a coach gets on me, I don’t say nothing but, ‘Yes sir,’ and tighten up.’’

Martindale called Friday’s practice “a great teaching experience”, but the closer the Ravens get to the regular season, the more they want to decrease mistakes. The Ravens had the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense last season, and the team’s lofty defensive standards haven’t changed.

Martindale said the mistakes made during Friday’s practice would be used as a teaching tool. He expected the defense to bounce back quickly when the Ravens returned to the practice field Saturday.

“Now, we sit down and talk about the situation,” Martindale said. “For example, the new pass interference calls. Once again, I’ll sit up here and say it, Roger Goodell and the NFL doesn’t care if I think it’s pass interference or not. So, for me to sit there and go off instead of thinking about the next call, I’m doing a disservice to Baltimore and to our defense and to John. We have to play the next play, and sometimes it takes things like today for people to understand that and go from there.”

In other observations from Friday’s practice:

  • Undrafted free agent wide receiver Antoine Wesley high-pointed the ball on a nice leaping reception and continued to make plays. Wesley is using his 6-foot-4 size well, as he battles to make the roster. Jaleel Scott, Chris Moore, and Miles Boykin also had strong days at the wide receiver spot. Moore made a terrific one-handed catch, tipping the ball to himself without breaking stride. This has been a good training camp for the wide receiver position.
  • For the third straight day, rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown ran well during individual passing drills but was held out of team drills due to his recovery from foot surgery.
  • Left guard Jermaine Eluemunor didn’t take a step forward in his quest to win the starting job. Eluemunor had two false starts early in practice.
  • Lamar Jackson had another good day throwing the ball, as did backup rookie quarterback Trace McSorley. With Robert Griffin III’s hand injury keeping him out the next several weeks, McSorley is likely to get plenty of reps and looks ready for them.
  • Cornerback Jimmy Smith returned to practice after missing two days due to a personal matter. Not practicing were offensive linemen Randin Crecilius, Alex Lewis (shoulder) and Marshal Yanda; safety Tony Jefferson and wide receiver Willie Snead IV.

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