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Practice Report: Physicality Ramps Up on First Day in Pads

DT Justin Madubuike
DT Justin Madubuike

Fans in attendance at Monday's training practice didn't have to squint to see that the Ravens had put on their pads for the first time in training camp. They could surely hear them popping.

Practice had a different intensity level at the Under Armour Performance Center as the defense came out to, as linebacker Patrick Queen said, set the tone. Temperatures that went from the high 90s to the mid-80s certainly helped too.

Here's what stood out at Monday's padded practice:

  • The Ravens' defensive line had a day, showing why coaches are not concerned about a drop-off after the loss of Calais Campbell in free agency. Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike stood out. On the second series with the first-teamers, Madubuike curled running back Justice Hill as he was trying to rip the ball out of Hill's arms. Later in practice, Madubuike bullied his way into the backfield for what would have been back-to-back sacks.
  • Queen got the biggest pad crack of the practice when he screamed across the field to pop Hill near the sideline. Queen had a grin after practice talking about how much the defense enjoyed getting to be a little more physical.
  • Baltimore's edge rush duo of Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo continued their strong practice play. Ojabo was super fired up after teaming up with Madubuike for another sack.
  • It was a step up in difficulty for rookie sixth-round pick Sala Aumavae-Laulu with the pads on. Aumavae-Laulu continued to run with the first-team offense and got his first taste of NFL physicality from the Ravens' talented defensive line. He'll grow from a practice like this.
  • Despite the pressure, the passing attack had its sharpest day yet. The offensive play of the day had to be a red-zone touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson to Nelson Agholor. Jackson floated a pretty pass and Agholor showed his impressive leaping ability to sky over Brandon Stephens and come down with the touchdown.
  • Rookie linebacker Trenton Simpson flashed his speed and physicality, catching wide receiver James Proche II from behind to shove him out of bounds, and thumping running back Melvin Gordon III. Harbaugh said it's easy to see how fast Simpson can get from point A to Z.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. nearly made a spectacular diving deep catch down the sideline, but the ball seemed to pop out when he hit the turf. What was encouraging to see was how Beckham had an extra gear at the top of his route to accelerate and nearly make the play on the slight overthrow.
  • Beckham showed off his hands and awareness on two other plays. One was a contested catch against Marlon Humphrey, who also seemed to enjoy the ramped-up physicality of practice. The two met at the ball and it popped into the air. Beckham quickly located the deflection and brought it in, much to Humphrey's chagrin. The other was an effortless one-handed pluck during individual drills that drew a gasp and cheer from fans.
  • Tyler Huntley launched a perfect long touchdown pass to wide receiver Laquan Treadwell, who got behind second-year cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis. Its clear Huntley's shoulder is feeling better than last year, and Huntley had one of his best days yet.
  • Undrafted rookie outside linebacker Malik Hamm got one of the biggest reactions of any player when he put undrafted guard Tykeem Doss on his butt with a nasty long arm move. Hamm's teammates swarmed him, led by a leaping bump from Oweh. A pass breakup at the line of scrimmage by veteran defensive end Brent Urban also had most of the defense reenacting Urban's patented PBU celebration.
  • Safety Geno Stone exited with about 30 minutes left in practice and was eventually taken to the locker room with what appeared to be an ankle injury. Harbaugh said, "it didn't look too serious."

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