The Ravens are banking on Rashod Bateman to be a top-flight No. 1 wide receiver this season and practices like Saturday's make it look like a safe bet.
Bateman had his best practice of training camp after not playing in Thursday's preseason opener.
He opened the day with a release during 1-on-1s that was so filthy the cornerback hit the turf. Bateman popped wide open to catch a slant. Then, also in 1-on-1s, Bateman took Kyle Fuller deep and probably would've had a long touchdown had Fuller not taken him down with defensive pass interference.
Later, Bateman and Lamar Jackson connected on a deep shot when the wide receiver got behind rookie cornerback Pepe Williams. Then Bateman made a nice adjustment to pluck another long pass over the head of undrafted rookie David Vereen.
Jackson and Bateman also linked up for a touchdown in the back of the end zone on a dart with Tony Jefferson tight in coverage.
Overall, after Thursday's preseason game where 32 players didn't suit up and an off day Friday, it was a lively and crisp practice (with near perfect cooler weather). In particular, it was a good day for Jackson and his top weapons.
Here are other notes from Saturday's practice:
- Cornerbacks Brandon Stephens and Jalyn Armour-Davis, and wide receiver Slade Bolden, all returned to practice. They didn't take part in 11-on-11 drills.
- Running back J.K. Dobbins did not practice, as Head Coach John Harbaugh said it was scripted that he would sit out this weekend for reevaluation. Others not practicing were wide receivers James Proche II, Tylan Wallace and Bailey Gaither, tight ends Nick Boyle and Charlie Kolar, center Tyler Linderbaum, tackle David Sharpe, and defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, who has been dealing with migraines.
- Wide receiver Devin Duvernay also had a strong practice. He made the play of the day with an over-the-shoulder catch on a bomb from Jackson. Duvernay also took cornerback Robert Jackson deep during 1-on-1s. Duvernay has plenty of speed and his ability to stretch the field will be important for the Ravens offense without Marquise Brown.
- Kyle Hamilton and Isaiah Likely continue to highlight the 1-on-1 drills as the two rookies sharpen each other. Hamilton won Round 1 with a great jam at the line of scrimmage and pass breakup. Likely won Round 2, fending off Hamilton deep down the field to make a diving grab. The two chatted the whole way back.
- Undrafted rookie wide receiver Shemar Bridges caught another end zone fade touchdown, but fellow undrafted rookie Makai Polk also had a strong day. Polk turned Williams with a sweet 1-on-1 route. Williams later broke up a deep ball to Polk. Polk led the Ravens with six catches for 43 yards in the preseason opener and he continues to flash.
- It was another day of Mark Andrews dominating. He got Hamilton on a deep route during 1-on-1s. Something that stood out about Andrews Saturday is that he always looks so calm on the field – mid-route, during the catch, all the time. It's been a huge camp for the All-Pro tight end.
- Marlon Humphrey knocked a catch out of Likely's hands during 1-on-1s and had a good practice overall with multiple pass breakups.
- Brent Urban and Broderick Washington both got their hands on passes. Rookie defensive tackle Travis Jones tossed center Jimmy Murray to the turf on one play late in practice.