Baltimore Ravens: Pads Come On, Defense Shines


Jul 30, 2015; Owings Mills, MD, USA; A general view of Under Armour Performance Center during day one of Baltimore Ravens training camp. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens’ defense has essentially been put on a leash during the early offseason practices and first couple of days of training camp. However, the pads came on Saturday, and the defense was let loose.

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With the pads on, the rookies saw their first practice time with NFL pads. Beforehand, they only had shells on. The rookies, such as defensive tackle Carl Davis and linebacker Za’Darius Smith, will be able to show how well they can tackle and take the punishment.

Saturday’s practice is new territory for the rookies, and the pads will be on again Sunday. The offensive rookies are tested especially when catching passes with the defense waiting to hit them.

Head coach John Harbaugh had the team doing full-team situational drills near the end of practice. The first-string defense dominated the first-string offense. They never allowed them to reach the end zone in three drives, which included cornerback Lardarius Webb intercepting a pass from quarterback Joe Flacco.

The only touchdown scored on the day was by the second-string offense against the second-string defense. The veterans had their chance against the rookies as well.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs nearly flattened tight end Maxx Williams on a one-on-one pass-rush drill. During the 11-on-11 drills, linebacker Courtney Upshaw drilled rookie running back Javorius “Buck” Allen after he caught a pass.

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The defense did what it was expected to do when the pads came on. They proved how tough and quick they are. They can do a lot during the early parts of the offseason, but only so much can be shown without pads on. For the players competing for positions, especially in the secondary, when the pads come on, they have to show up ready to play.

Linebacker Steven Means played alongside the first-team defense with linebacker Elvis Dumervil sitting out another practice due to tendonitis in his Achilles. Harbaugh still said he believes the injury will not keep him out for much longer.

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees said Means has shown an ability to be a good pass rusher, but in the base Ravens’ defensive schemes, he still has work to be done. He could lose a bit more playing time when Dumervil returns, but right now, he’s trying to make the most of the time he’s receiving.

Safety Matt Elam left practice early with a trainer, but did leave the field under his own power. However, there are no reports at this immediate time on the nature of an injury.

Wide receiver Marlon Brown did not practice, but no reason was given. Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman did not comment on any injuries he might have, according to former Baltimore Insider Aaron Wilson.

Even with Brown and the rookie Breshad Perriman (knee) missing practice, the wide receiver battle seems to be heating up. Jeremy Butler and Kamar Aiken both had strong practices. They are both in the middle of the competition for a spot on the roster.

With the addition of Trent Steelman, who will be transitioning from quarterback to wide receiver, the Ravens now have 12 receivers on the roster. The position is already deep, and it should provide some of the most exciting competition during training camp.

The excitement is not over yet. The team has another full-contact practice today at 4 p.m.

Correction: A previous version said the practice Sunday, August 2 was in the morning due to an either an error in a source or because the source had outdated information.

Next: Baltimore Ravens: News from Training Camp Day Two