With numerous players, including several wide receivers, sidelined on the most sultry day of training camp, James Proche II continued to shine.
The second-year wide receiver had a strong practice and particularly stood out during one-on-one drills, making catches despite being tightly defended by Marlon Humphrey and DeShon Elliott. Proche also had the play of the day when he wrestled a long pass away from safety Ar'Darius Washington.
There were 21 players missing from practice, the most since training camp began, and the wide receiver room was particularly depleted with Rashod Bateman (soft-tissue), Marquise Brown (hamstring), Sammy Watkins, Miles Boykin (hamstring) and Deon Cain (undisclosed) not in action.
That meant plenty of reps for Proche and he took advantage. As a rookie, he played just 25 offensive snaps and was targeted just three times, making one catch for 14 yards. He's one of many receivers in the mix for more playing time, and Proche looks more comfortable in the offense and has stacked consistent practices since the start of camp.
"Those guys that are out there every day that prove that they're durable and they have the ability to be on the field, that counts for a lot," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He's out here making plays every day. He has plenty of things to work on in terms of our offense and what he needs to do, but I'm nothing but pleased with James Proche."
The hot conditions tested everyone's stamina, but Harbaugh said he was pleased with the concentration and effort during the dog days of training camp in Week 3.
"The guys worked hard," Harbaugh said. "It was the second padded day in a row, I thought they fought through it really well. We're in training camp. We're in the middle of it right now."
Here are other notes from Wednesday's practice:
- With so many receivers sidelined, the tight ends also got plenty of targets and it was no surprise to see Mark Andrews on the receiving end of throws from Lamar Jackson. Andrews and Jackson hooked up for two completions early during 11-on-11s, and with Nick Boyle still recovering from knee surgery, Andrews has set the tone for the tight end group.
- The offensive line got a lift with the return of center Bradley Bozeman, who missed two practices with a strain. Recovering from a major ankle injury, All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley participated in his first training camp practice on Monday, then took Tuesday off. Stanley moved well during individual drills, and similar to Monday, he sat out the team portion of practice.
- While Stanley and Bozeman were back, rookie Ben Cleveland, who's one of several players competing to start at left guard, left in the middle of practice and didn't return. Right guard Kevin Zeitler (foot) and right tackle Alejandro Villanueva also did not practice.
- Jackson had his sharpest day throwing since returning from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. He was hitting receivers in stride, giving them more opportunities for yards after catch. In his fourth practice since his return, Jackson seems to be finding his rhythm, and the Florida native seemed unbothered by the heat.
- Rookie outside linebacker Daelin Hayes was in the backfield quickly on two occasions, showing his potential as a pass rusher. First-round outside linebacker Odafe Oweh did not practice, and Hayes got plenty of reps.
- Marlon Humphrey tried to punch the ball away from wide receiver Jaylon Moore, but he managed to hang on after making a catch. Humphrey has talked about getting more interceptions, but the "Fruit Punch" will remain part of his arsenal.