Ravens Players Off To A Good Start In Camp


It's still early, but some players are already making their mark on Ravens' training camp.

Every practice is valuable for players on the bubble and those looking to earn a starting job.

Here's a look at a few players who have impressed during the first few practices.

Corey Graham Making His Mark

When the Ravens added defensive back Corey Graham this offseason, the focus was on the impact he would have on special teams. But a week into training camp, the Pro Bowl special teamer has also shined on the defensive side of the ball. He has worked at cornerback and made a number of plays throughout the week.

During Saturday's practice, the first session in full pads, he stepped in front of a pass intended for Tandon Doss and returned the interception about 80 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Joe Flacco gave chase to him, but Graham was too fast, and he taunted Flacco as he ran into the end zone.

"One of the things about Corey is, that we've really liked, is his versatility," Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said. "We've played him at corner, we've also played him at the nickel spot now, and he's learned the nickel, and I've also told him to learn backup safety… You've always got to have those guys that are flexible."

Tandon Doss Has Great Practice

Second-year wide receiver Tandon Doss is looking to earn some more playing time this season and he's making a case with a strong start to training camp. He's made a number of nice catches in traffic and has caught the attention of the coaching staff.

"[Friday] was the best practice that he's had as a Raven," Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said.

The wide receiver spot is crowded right now, and Doss has primarily been working behind Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. Doss is battling for playing time with LaQuan Williams, who has also looked solid in camp.

If Doss continues to impress during training camp, then he could force the coaches to find a spot for him on the field.

"We all know the kind of player he is," Cameron said. "If he can stay healthy, he's a guy that I think is going to be an outstanding player, a guy that we won't have a tough time finding a role for him. But, this guy is a player."

Sergio Kindle Makes His Presence Felt

The former second-round draft pick also had his best practice in a Ravens uniform on Friday. He picked up a number of sacks and also snagged an interception, showing the kind of promise the Ravens want to see from the former top pick of 2010.

A head injury before his rookie season has limited Kindle's production during his first two seasons, but the coaches have seen a big improvement in his understanding of the mental side of the game.

"Sergio has made a lot of progress in this year," Pees said. "Basically, he had a lot of time off, and that's tough, and with an injury. But, I think he's really progressed."

Both Kickers Looks Solid

After the first week, there doesn't appear to be any edge in the highly-anticipated kicking battle.

And that's a good problem for the Ravens because Billy Cundiff and rookie Justin Tucker have both been perfect. Neither player has missed a kick during game situations.

"The kickers are performing well," Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. "It's early; they are getting a lot of work done."

During Saturday's practice, Tucker and Cundiff each drilled field goals from 30, 41, 51 and 55 yards.

Flacco Continues Sharp Offseason

The Ravens have been raving Flacco all offseason, and he has continued to look good into the start of training camp.

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron even said that he can't remember the last time Flacco had a bad practice.

The Ravens are currently negotiating a long-term deal with the five-year veteran, and the team has big expectations for what he could accomplish this season and beyond.

"We've got a quarterback that is ready to continue on his path to becoming a great quarterback," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "It's going to be fun to watch."

Michael Oher Has No Problem At Left Tackle

When Bryant McKinnie didn't show up for the start of training camp, the Ravens slid Oher over to the first-team left tackle spot.

Oher, who started at right tackle last season, looked comfortable on the left side and Harbaugh said that he'll be the starting left tackle until further notice. The fourth-year lineman was solid in pass protection and run blocking, giving the Ravens confidence that he could start on the left side this season.

"Just for the record, we've always believed Michael Oher is a left tackle here," Harbaugh said. "I am very comfortable with Michael at left tackle."

LaQuan Williams Impresses Again

Williams earned his way onto the roster with a great showing at last year's training camp, and he once again looks good this season.

The second-year receiver has made a number of impressive catches during team and individual drills, showing that he could have an elevated role in the offense. Competition is tight at the wide receiver position, but Williams looks like he is once again off to a great camp.

Upshaw Jumps In With First Team

The Ravens top draft pick has been running with the first-team defense and looks good doing it.

He has shown off impressive pass-rushing skills and also looks to be a force as a run stopper.

"Courtney looked good, man," linebacker Jameel McClain said. "He's a great player. We can all see that within him. He's strong; strong as an ox."

Bobbie Williams Is A Great Asset

The Ravens had concerns about their left guard spot after Pro Bowler Ben Grubbs left in free agency, but Williams appears to be the right answer. The Ravens signed the veteran just before minicamp last month and he has been plugged in as the starting left guard.

The 13-year veteran, who reported about 13 pounds lighter and in great condition, brings stability to the position at a time when there are questions along the offensive line.

"He is a great asset," Offensive Line Coach Andy Moeller said. "He's going to be great for us at left guard."

A Year Makes Big Difference For Torrey Smith

In last year's training camp, Smith noticeably struggled. The wide receiver had a number of drops and was also raw in his route running.

There is a noticeable difference this season.

The second-year receiver is showing good hands and improved route running. After a breakout rookie campaign, Smith will be a key piece of the offense this season and he looks poised for a big year.

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