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Practice Report: Ravens Defense Relishes Increased Physicality

ILB Roquan Smith
ILB Roquan Smith

The Ravens turned up the physicality in training camp practice Wednesday, and nobody seemed more eager or appreciative than inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen.

Smith and Queen each popped numerous pads during a practice that included some full tackling. Even when it wasn't full tackling, it seemed close to it.

Smith put a couple jarring hits on undrafted rookie Keaton Mitchell and had one on Ben Mason that popped the ball out of the fullback's hands. It was like Mason ran into a brick wall.

Smith also came over the top of tight end Travis Vokolek for a physical pass breakup, which Smith celebrated with an intimidating get-out-of-my-house-style leg kick. Smith said he focused on improving his pass coverage this offseason and it showed.

Queen also got a couple licks on Mitchell, including one slam into the turf and another that caused a fumble, which Queen wrestled away from the rookie. It was a welcome-to-the-NFL day for Mitchell.

Here are other notes from Wednesday's practice:

  • The defense made a goal-line stand with four straight plays from the 1-yard line. Running back Justice Hill was stuffed on a run up the middle with Michael Pierce being at the forefront. Broderick Washington, David Ojabo, and Queen slammed into Melvin Gordon III on second down. Defensive back Ar'Darius Washington chased down Mark Andrews and got a breakup despite the size mismatch. Cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis broke up a fourth-down pass intended for Odell Beckham Jr.
  • Another player who shined with the increased physicality was safety Kyle Hamilton. He is so strong coming off the edge. Hamilton had two sacks last season and it wouldn't be surprising to see him get some more in 2023.
  • It was another day of more impressive plays by rookie first-round pick Zay Flowers. He shook Marlon Humphrey, a Pro Bowl cornerback, during 1-on-1s. Flowers showed impressive body balance on a twisting leaping catch. Even when he made a mistake, he atoned for it. Flowers bobbled an open catch down the seam, but recovered to catch the rebound with one hand as defenders toppled to the turf around him.
  • The Ravens' streak of two practices without an interception ended when undrafted rookie safety Jaquan Amos corralled an errant throw from Lamar Jackson.
  • Devin Duvernay made an impressive first-down catch over the middle in which he nearly did a split to come back for the throw that was a little behind him.
  • Running back Gus Edwards walked off to the locker room early with a trainer. There was no indication of any specific injury. Offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses got what seemed to be a veteran day off.
  • Wide receiver Rashod Bateman returned to the field for limited positional work. As expected, he didn't do any 11-on-11 or 1-on-1 work.

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