The Ravens' offensive line got a boost Monday before the first rep ever took place. Veteran right guard Kevin Zeitler, who had not practiced since Aug. 3 due to a foot injury, was back on the field.
Zeitler was joined by All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who had his most extended practice since returning from season-ending ankle surgery. Stanley did some one-on-one drills against rookie outside linebacker Odafe Oweh, who enjoyed being matched against arguably the NFL's best left tackle.
"I've been trying to go against Ronnie for the longest, but obviously he's going through some stuff," Oweh said. "We want him to get better, we want him to compete during the season. It was good work against him today. He has that vet set. You've got to be on your p's and q's for everything, strong hands. He has good feet, you can try to break him down but you've got to be fast with the hands as well. It was a good rep."
The offensive line has been dealing with injuries throughout training camp, so watching Stanley and Zeitler take reps was a welcomed development. Starting center Bradley Bozeman is out of action after suffering a minor ankle sprain during Saturday night's preseason opener, and rookie guard Ben Cleveland has a concussion, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh, that has kept Cleveland away from practice since last week. Harbaugh said Cleveland, who is competing to start at left guard, could return for Wednesday's joint practice against the Carolina Panthers.
Meanwhile, Stanley's comeback is trending in the right direction and Zeitler's return gives him more time to settle in at right guard prior to the Sept. 13 season opener. Zeitler and right tackle Alejandro Villanueva were signed during the offseason to bring stability to the right side of the line. Both have plenty of experience, but as new teammates, Zeitler and Villanueva can still benefit from having reps together in practice leading up to the season opener.
In other practice observations:
- Wide receiver Sammy Watkins and rookie safety Brandon Stephens both left practice early, but Harbaugh said neither appeared to be dealing with anything serious. Watkins has been the Ravens' best receiver in training camp, and before leaving, he made a nice double-move on Marlon Humphrey to get open for a reception.
- Injured wide receivers Marquise "Hollywood" Brown and Miles Boykin were running on an adjacent field as they continued to recover from hamstring injuries.
- Second-year defensive tackle Broderick Washington got nice pressure up the middle on several reps, and he's one of many second-year players taking a step forward. There has been plenty of talk about how good Justin Madubuike looks, but Washington is another young defensive tackle who's harnessing his potential.
- Gus Edwards was back at practice after missing the preseason opener for personal reasons, while fullback Patrick Ricard returned after missing practice last Thursday. Ricard made a nice catch out of the backfield, showing his improvement in that department since entering the league.
- Former Calvert Hall quarterback Kenji Bahar was signed and back at practice as a replacement for Trace McSorley, who will miss several weeks with a back injury according to Harbaugh. Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley took most of the reps, and Huntley continued to throw the ball well after leading the Ravens on their game-winning drive Saturday night.
- The battle for the No. 3 tight end spot behind Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle continues to look close. Josh Oliver and Tony Poljan both had touchdown catches during practice.