Practice Report 8/20: Ravens Defense Measures Up vs. Philly's Offense

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Practice conditions were extremely hot in Philadelphia for two straight days. Yet the Ravens’ defense never wilted.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw a deep sideline pass early in Tuesday’s session, but Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey wasn’t accepting long-distance calls. The completion was denied.

That was a familiar scene Tuesday – the Ravens’ defense flying around the ball, giving an Eagles team that features offensive weapons like Wentz, wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey, and tight end Zach Ertz all the competition they wanted.

The Ravens’ starting defense won Tuesday’s seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 battles against Wentz. Cornerback Jimmy Smith, back on the field after some time sidelined, was strong on the other side of Humphrey. As Ravens safety Earl Thomas said Monday, the Ravens’ defense wanted to set a tone of intensity during these two joint practices with the regular season drawing closer. Mission accomplished.

“I think what I’ve drawn from the last two joint practices are the competitive juices that you get from going against a new team,” Thomas said. “Plus, you’re going against … Carson Wentz is not a pushover, so it’s good to go against him. It’s good to go against that offense. The tight ends are pretty good, receivers are really good, so it’s a great challenge for us.”

In other Tuesday practice observations:

  • Rookie defensive tackle Daylon Mack may have enjoyed his best practice of the summer. The Ravens already have two big bodies up front with Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce, but Mack showed he’s next in the making.
  • The Ravens’ offense did its best work early in practice during seven-on-seven drills. Miles Boykin, Chris Moore, Mark Andrews, and Hayden Hurst all made nice receptions. Quarterback Lamar Jackson seems to be building the type of chemistry with Boykin during his rookie season that he built with Andrews last year, and the Ravens tight ends had a good day overall.
  • Anthony Averett saw significant time playing as a slot cornerback on defense. In the wake of top nickel corner Tavon Young’s serious neck injury, the Ravens will use a variety of players in the slot. “Almost all of the guys work in there,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “Marlon has been in there, Jimmy [Smith] has even been in there, so it just kind of depends. For us, the way we’re operating right now, it depends on the call, it depends on the matchup, things like that.”
  • On two occasions, there was some brief shoving between players after the whistle. But considering the heat and the intensity of practice, both sides did an admirable job keeping their composure.
  • Rookie quarterback Trace McSorley had some good throws early, but was picked off on back-to-back plays later in practice.
  • Players who didn’t practice for the Ravens were wide receivers Marquise Brown and Seth Roberts; offensive linemen Marshal Yanda, Ronnie Stanley, Jermaine Eluemunor, Randin Crecelius and Greg Senat; cornerbacks Young and Iman Marshall; linebackers Chris Board and Otaro Alaka; and defensive tackle Gerald Willis.

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