The Ravens have worked diligently throughout training camp regardless of which players were able to participate. However, it was not surprising to see a high intensity level during Saturday's session with Lamar Jackson back for his first practice of training camp.
Jackson had an accurate day throwing, sticking mostly to intermediate routes while sharing reps with backup quarterbacks Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley. The Ravens got their work done while Jackson missed the first eight training camp practices (Reserve/COVID-19), but having one of the NFL's most electrifying players back on the field provided a spark.
"We had a good practice, very spirited," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We finished up with a live period, as you guys saw – that was great to see. One step at a time. Guys are working hard, very happy with how they're working. We got guy or two back you may have noticed, that was nice."
Here are observations from Saturday's practice:
- In addition to Jackson's return, starting safety DeShon Elliott was back on the field after missing Friday's practice with an illness. Elliott looked like he has plenty of energy, knocking the ball out of tight end Mark Andrews' hands after he made a reception. Elliott was a playmaker in college at Texas with nine interceptions and three forced fumbles. Elliott didn't have a pick and had two forced fumbles in his first year as a starter, but his play was solid, his potential to force more turnovers this season is clearly there.
- The running dimension that Jackson brings to an offense was on display several times when he escaped the pocket and found positive yards while being pressured. McSorley and Huntley are both mobile quarterbacks, but seeing Jackson on the field was another reminder that no quarterback moves quite like him.
- Marquise "Hollywood" Brown (hamstring) did not rejoin)[parenthesis] his teammates at practice, but he did conditioning drills on the side and appeared to be running well. Brown was smiling after practice, an indication he was pleased with how he felt. Harbaugh did not offer a timetable for Brown's return, and said a cautious approach would be taken. "It's a hamstring so he's got to kind of see where it's at," Harbaugh said. "You don't want to come back and re-injure it as we've seen before. That will be the key.
- James Proche II continued his strong camp, making a nice over-the-shoulder catch in the corner of the end zone after getting a step on Chuck Clark. Even after Proche made the play, Pass Game Coordinator Keith Williams quickly approached to offer some pointers on technique, but the second-year wide receiver is making plays on a daily basis.
- Second-year safety Geno Stone was around the football a lot and closed quickly during his reps. The Ravens' secondary is stacked with talent, making it difficult for a young player like Stone to crack through. However he's playing faster than he did as a rookie.
- Even with first-round pick Rashod Bateman (hamstring) missing another practice, the Ravens rookie class had more strong moments. Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh was hard to move when setting the edge. The physicality of offensive lineman Ben Cleveland showed up during padded practices this week, and Brandon Stephens continues to look comfortable playing safety.
- Rookie cornerback Shaun Wade had a nice pass breakup during what was one of his stronger practices. The Ravens have an abundance of riches at cornerback, but the absence of Jimmy Smith (ankle) and Nigel Warrior (knee) gave Wade a chance for more reps and he took advantage.