With a heat index reaching 109 degrees, the Ravens sweat through a scorching practice at the Under Armour Performance Center.
The Ravens slowed down the pace of much of practice, doing less full-speed 11-on-11 work than on previous days, which were hot, but not this hot. Baltimore's players got through it well, and some of the second- and third-teamers got more chances to shine.
Here's what stood out in Friday's practice:
- Isaiah Likely made the play of the day with a lunging one-handed catch on a pass from Lamar Jackson over the middle. It remains to be seen what kind of target share Likely can get this season with more wide receiver weapons around him and Mark Andrews still commanding a lot of attention, but plays like that help his cause.
- Wide receiver James Proche II also got a big reaction from Ravens fans when he snared a one-handed grab along the sideline, although he was ruled out of bounds. Still, it was a spectacular catch. Are Odell Beckham Jr.'s one-handed ways rubbing off on his teammates?
- Safety Kyle Hamilton deserves credit for his hustle, even on such a hot day. On a short throw to Mark Andrews in the flats, Hamilton came screaming downhill and pounced on the ball when it hit the turf. He then took off down the field just in case it could have been ruled a backwards pass/fumble. Hamilton ultimately kicked the ball, but realized he shouldn't make a member of the equipment crew fetch it, so he jogged all the way back down the field himself.
- Jackson showed off his arm talent when he rolled to his right and flicked the ball 30 yards or more down the field to an open Devin Duvernay, who could've taken it for a touchdown. Jackson made the throw look so simple. Getting comfortable in command of Monken's offense is the most important objective for Jackson this offseason, but he's throwing the best ball he ever has under first-year Quarterbacks Coach Tee Martin.
- It's fun watching Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen sniff out some of the trickery coming from new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken. Those two are so fast flying to the ball, and their chemistry seems to be at an even higher level after a full offseason together.
- The first impression of Melvin Gordon III is positive. He looks to be in great shape and showed good shiftiness and burst on a strong run up the middle during an 11-on-11 red-zone drill. Gordon has also been effective as a receiver out of the backfield. Undrafted rookie Keaton Mitchell also exploded for what would have been a touchdown run from about 15 yards out. He drew high praise from Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton after practice, too.
- Marlon Humphrey had textbook coverage on a Proche out route during 7-on-7 work to get a well-earned pass breakup. It's also interesting seeing Humphrey's dress code. He's the only player to sport a kind of throwback look, with his jersey sleeves not rolled up, longer shorts, loose white socks, and plain black cleats. Humphrey is a man who always does his own thing and I respect it.
- Rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers did not practice for unknown reasons. He finished Thursday's practice and spoke to the media. The Ravens will be back in action Saturday at their M&T Bank Stadium open practice.