After Saturday's practice, Lamar Jackson was asked about the Ravens' tight end group and said, "It's looking like a three-headed monster this year."
It looked that way during Monday's practice as Mark Andrews, rookie Isaiah Likely and Nick Boyle all made signature plays.
Likely had the day's most spectacular catch, leaping high in the air to come down with the football despite being bracketed by two defenders. Malik Harrison and Marcus Williams were both in the vicinity but were unable to keep Likely from making the play.
Likely also made a diving end zone catch during one-on-one drills against Geno Stone, stretching out parallel to the ground and snatching the ball out of the air. Fans oohed and aahed after Likely's difficult grab, and Stone nodded his head as if to say, "Nice catch."
Likely was called for two holding penalties during Thursday night's preseason opener and will continue working on that aspect of his game. But his potential to make an immediate impact in the passing game is obvious, and Head Coach John Harbaugh said Likely is absorbing things quickly from veteran teammates and the coaching staff.
"He's taken tons of reps; it has to help you as a rookie, as a young player," Harbaugh said. "And then working with Mark , working with Lamar … [Tight Ends Coach] George Godsey does a great job with those guys; [Offensive Assistant] Travis [Switzer] does a great job with those guys. So, hey, it's a young guy, he's a rookie, and it'll be up to him. We'll see how he does."
Andrews had more catches than anyone during practice, a familiar story for an All-Pro tight end who remains fiercely driven. Boyle is one of the NFL's best blocking tight ends, and he had a collision with Odafe Oweh that knocked the second-year outside linebacker to the ground. Boyle said last week that he's looking to regain his physical blocking mentality as he continues to work back from his 2020 knee injury.
Here are other observations from Monday's practice:
- Veteran safety Chuck Clark had a strong practice, breaking up consecutive passes intended for Andrews, which isn't easy to do. Clark doesn't shy away from stepping in against Andrews during 1-on-1 drills and has had a good camp overall.
- Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike returned to practice after being out this weekend because of migraine headaches. The Ravens were still down three receivers who didn't practice – James Proche II, Tylan Wallace and Bailey Gaither.
- Along with cornerback Marcus Peters, second-year safety Ar'Darius Washington, coming back from a foot injury, returned to practice for the first time in camp.
- Undrafted rookie cornerback David Vereen (5-foot-9) showed his vertical leap, going upstairs to swat away a pass intended for Shemar Bridges (6-foot-4). Giving up seven inches of height to Bridges didn't stop Vereen from making the play.
- Inside linebacker Patrick Queen had a nice play in pass coverage running stride for stride 30 yards downfield with Tyler Badie to force an incompletion. Becoming a more consistent past defender would give Queen an opportunity to make even more impact plays.
- Devin Duvernay ran a superb deep route for a 35-yard touchdown pass from Jackson, as he and Rashod Bateman both had strong days catching the ball.