Practice Report: Wide Receiver Unit Gets Thinner, But Help Is on the Way

082321-PR
WR Marquise Brown

The Ravens' wide receiver unit is so short-handed right now that Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked whether he's going to start using cornerbacks as wide receivers – and he didn't immediately dismiss it.

Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, Sammy Watkins, Rashod Bateman, Miles Boykin and Deon Cain are all still not practicing.

Then James Proche II, who hasn't missed a single day of training camp so far, went down in pain midway through practice. He was tended to by a trainer and remained on the field but did not return for action. Not long after, Jaylon Moore stayed down after taking a hard fall in the corner of the end zone.

Harbaugh said Proche was just dealing with cramps and it looked to be the same for Moore, but it highlighted just how thin Baltimore is right now. For a red-zone drill near the end of practice, Lamar Jackson was throwing to Tylan Wallace, Siaosi Mariner and Devin Gray.

Jackson and the offense were not particularly sharp for much of practice and it's understandable why. Harbaugh also pointed to the heat, lack of fans and coming off a road trip and preseason game in Carolina as reasons why Monday's practice was tough.

"We had to push through that a little bit," Harbaugh said, frankly stating that the players are tired.

Now for the good news. Help appears to be on the way for Baltimore's receiving corps.

Brown, Boykin and Cain all went through a strenuous and long workout on the adjacent field, including full-speed sprints. At one point, Brown was dragging weighted chains behind him. At another point, he was starting at half speed, then exploding midway through the run.

Here are other highlights from practice:

  • The best news of the day was that left tackle Ronnie Stanley went through a full practice for the first time, including 11-on-11 work. During one-on-one pass blocking drills, he handled a speed rush by Justin Houston around the edge, then stood up Tyus Bowser when he faked outside and tried to rip past Stanley's inside shoulder. It sure looks like the Ravens' All-Pro left tackle will be good to go for the season-opener in Las Vegas.
  • J.K. Dobbins made an unreal leaping, spinning, one-handed (with his left) catch deep down the field that brought gasps from the Ravens sideline. It was a display that Dobbins' drops last season weren't indicative of a hands problem, but rather concentration. Dobbins can catch and he's adamant that he'll do more of it this season.
  • Proche was having a bit of a tougher day before his injury, which happened when he twisted awkwardly to snag an off-target pass. When Proche didn't break free from safety Chuck Clark in a red-zone drill, Pass Game Specialist Keith Williams had a long chat with him. Proche has stacked many strong practices, but he's still looking to break out in a game.
  • Tavon Young nearly got an interception when he jumped underneath a route, then he had a chance for a pick on a long pass and miscommunication, but it went off his hands. It would have been a tough play for Young to make but Peters still gave it to him. "That's a drop!"
  • Second-year defensive tackle Broderick Washington continues to flash and undrafted rookie defensive tackle Jovan Swann showed some major power in one-on-one drills.
  • After catching seven passes for 50 yards on 10 targets in Saturday night's preseason win, tight end Josh Oliver continued to be active and make plays in practice Monday. He elevated to make a great sideline catch during one red-zone drill. Oliver's grip on the third tight end spot appears to be strengthening.
  • Jackson has worked on his mechanics this offseason but his sidearm throws aren't going anywhere (for good reason). Jackson is so adept at finding throwing lanes to squeeze passes through the trenches, as he did on back-to-back passes for completions underneath.

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