The Ravens' wide receivers were the buzz of the first week of training camp, but now that the pads are on, the defensive backs are leveling the playing field.
Baltimore's secondary grabbed three interceptions during 11-on-11 drills Wednesday, all off Tyler Huntley. Cornerback Anthony Averett started the party with a leaping grab on a pass to the sideline, which he then took for a score. Then Marlon Humphrey held onto a throw that squeaked through traffic on a quick slant.
The third interception was the wildest, as tight end Eli Wolf first caught the pass over the middle, but cornerback Khalil Dorsey punched it out of his hands. The ball ricocheted off a leg and straight into the arms of safety DeShon Elliott, who returned it for a touchdown.
"Today, it was a big-time third-down situational practice, which gives the advantage to the defense, and that plays right to our sweet spot," Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale said.
"First two days in pads – I'm really pleased with where we're at right now. Like I said before we got into pads, I said, 'Wait until we get in pads,' and I like what I see. It's just demonstrating that physicality, especially for the younger guys."
Here are more notes from Wednesday's practice:
- Marquise "Hollywood" Brown and Miles Boykin, who are both dealing with hamstring injuries, are still out. The Ravens signed Michael Dereus, who was also with the team last summer, to fill in. In other injury news, cornerback Iman Marshall was activated and returned to the field after missing last season with a knee injury. He did individual drills.
- New defensive end addition Chris Smith showed his physicality, bulldozing a guard at the point of attack.
- Deon Cain continued to make plays, including a long catch against Humphrey during 7-on-7s. Cain also had a nice catch in traffic over the middle during red-zone work. He's taken advantage of the increased reps.
- Considering today's practice was focused on third-down situations, it was no surprise that there was a lot of blitzing from Martindale's unit. Huntley and Trace McSorley were often on the run, but McSorley did a nice job on several occasions of getting the ball out quickly or maneuvering in the pocket to escape.
- Running back Justice Hill sometimes gets overlooked in the Ravens backfield considering the other talents in his group, but when he gets to the edge, watch out. Hill looks to be in great shape and he can be used creatively. Baltimore is certainly no stranger to finding reps for three running backs.
- Tight end Mark Andrews made one of the best catches of camp so far with a leaping, one-handed juggling grab on the sideline during 7-on-7 work, in which he barely got his feet in bounds. Andrews has a few catches on the day.
- Rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman was one of hte offense's standouts with several grabs, including one over the middle working against Humphrey.
- Huntley showed good touch on a touchdown throw to the back corner of the end zone for James Proche II in red-zone drills. Huntley's deep ball has been consistently impressive and accurate.