There's no better ball hawk in the game today than Marcus Peters. There's no better ball hawk in NFL history than Ed Reed.
In Monday's practice, Peters provided a throwback to the Hall of Famer with an interception and lateral for a touchdown. Five days into training camp, it was the first interception the defense has gotten in 11-on-11 work, and it wasn't surprising that it came from Peters.
Peters came out of nowhere to pick off Trace McSorley's pass as the quarterback scrambled to his right. The three-time Pro Bowl cornerback then weaved his way across the field before seeing Chuck Clark trailing for the pitch.
"Some guys play with their eyes up. Some guys play with vision," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "You combine that with talent and technique, and you've got something. And we've got something with him."
Harbaugh also joked that Peters is on the (short) list of players who he's fine with lateralling the ball after an interception.
Peters has 31 interceptions in his six seasons, more than anybody else in the league. He had four in last year's regular season, plus one more to seal the Ravens' divisional playoff win in Tennessee.
"I know a big part of what I do is getting the ball back, and that ultimately helps our team get wins," Peters said. "I do a lot of other things, too, with me knowing how much football I know, and me giving the game out to everybody else in any ways that I can. I'm an open book for everybody just to read, as far as my teammates. I give the game because the game was given to me, so I'm never stingy with those things."
The Ravens are looking to get more splash plays from their defense this year, and betting on "Juiceman" is never a bad idea. Peters said he grew up watching the greats, such as Reed.
"I love the game of football. I grew up watching football since I can remember," Peters said. "It's players like that, they make their mark on the game, and you've got to pay homage and respect to him. So, I can say I remember some plays of them lateralling the ball like that."
Here are other notes from Monday's practice:
- This was the last day (for now) of practicing in "shells" as the pads come on for four straight days this week. Harbaugh said there will be some live hitting sessions, particularly for the younger players.
- The offensive linemen will be particularly happy to get in pads because it was a good day for Baltimore's pass rush Monday. The quarterbacks were under more duress, including "sacks" from first-round pick Odafe Oweh, fellow rookie Daelin Hayes, free-agent addition Chris Smith, Tyus Bowser and Jaylon Ferguson.
- Oweh continues to stand out, as his speed is just too much to handle at times on the edge. Oweh blew by the right tackle on one play to track down Huntley, then once again had coaches hollering when he sprinted to catch another quarterback run from behind. The Ravens were thrilled to sign Justin Houston, but Oweh isn't going to fade into the background.
- Wide receiver Miles Boykin had a tough day with a pair of drops, then heading to the locker room early with a hamstring injury, Harbaugh said. Boykin made a nice play to come back for a deep ball on the first, but then dropped it. The second drop on a perfect pass from Huntley down the seam should have been an easy catch. Boykin did make one nice grab as he went to the turf with rookie defensive back Brandon Stephens draped all over him.
- Speaking of drops, veteran Sammy Watkins also had a pair. After an excellent first week for the wide receivers and talk of using soccer balls to improve their catching, it was a bit of a bugaboo on Monday.
- One wideout who did not catch the bug was James Proche II, who continued his torrid start to camp with another strong day. He made a pretty touchdown catch in red-zone drills and made a one-armed grab with his left hand while sprinting toward the sideline.
- Undrafted rookie tight end Tony Poljan made a tough grab in traffic on a low pass from Huntley, who got the ball out just in time to beat a safety blitz. The Virginia product is huge, standing in at 6-foot-7, 251 pounds, so to see him go low for that grab was impressive. Tight end Josh Oliver also came up with a pretty catch during a red-zone drill. His 6-foot-5 frame provides a big target down there.
- Outside linebacker Aaron Adeoye made his presence felt when he went wide to break up a pass in the flats intended for Devin Duvernay.
- Look out, but another undrafted kicker is starting to heat up at Ravens training camp. Jake Verity drilled a 50-plus yarder and was locked in on Monday with Justin Tucker getting the day off. Verity even had a "double-doink" (as said by The Baltimore Sun's Jonas Shaffer) when he hit the camera pole directly behind the uprights, then the ball drilled the referee below in the head (he was alright but was on the lookout after that one).