Baltimore Ravens Rookies Impress In Practice At M&T Bank Stadium


M&T Bank Stadium was rocking again on a summer night and it was not for a Billy Joel concert or a USA soccer game. The reason that stadium was built was for Baltimore Ravens football and they were back on the field last night.

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The Ravens held a free practice open to fans and 22,111 made the trip to downtown Baltimore to see their team practice live. It was a small preview of what is to come in the 2015 season that starts with a preseason game against the New Orleans Saints next Thursday.

The Ravens have rarely played in front of their home crowd on a Monday night and it was something that Head Coach John Harbaugh was critical of after practice. The Ravens have played eight of their nine Monday night games away from home since Harbaugh became the coach in 2008.

“Monday night is valuable,” Harbaugh said. “It’s hard to travel. It’s hard to come back the next week and play.”

Baltimore is known for having die-hard Ravens fans. They finished fourth in an Emory University study that ranked every team’s fan base based on 15 years of data that included attendance, prices, revenues, market populations, win-loss records, median incomes and many other factors. That’s why Harbaugh is clamoring for more games in Baltimore on Monday nights.

Harbaugh was also asked why the Ravens organization holds these open practices. He talked about how it was important for the newcomers to get used to the atmosphere, but also that the casual fan gets to experience everything that M&T Bank Stadium has to offer for free.

“I really feel great about the fans that don’t have a chance to come out here normally during the season – it’s a pretty expensive place to be,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a chance to be in this environment. This is a gem of a place.”

It was the first time the Ravens’ rookies took the field at M&T Bank Stadium and they did not disappoint those who made the trip.

While many were hopeful to see first-round pick Breshad Perriman in action, he was held out of the practice due to the knee injury he suffered last week. The injury is not serious and the Ravens held him out for precautionary measures. While it would have been exciting to see Perriman on the practice field, the other rookie wide receiver the Ravens selected in this year’s draft was phenomenal.

Darren Waller is a dominating presence on the outside and he is going to be a weapon for Marc Trestman. During one-on-one drills, safety Will Hill was simply no match for Waller’s height as Waller easily plucked a deep ball out of the air for a touchdown. The more repetitions Waller receives, the more of an impact he is going to make on the Ravens offense. His size is something that most cornerbacks and safeties are going to struggle with and it is going to be difficult for the Ravens to leave him off their 53-man roster.

Running back Buck Allen is also having a fantastic camp and is positioning himself to be the backup to Justin Forsett. He made a nice open field move to beat linebacker Albert McClellan on a screen pass for a touchdown and has consistently impressed the coaching staff. Allen drew praise from Harbaugh when asked who stood out after practice.

“Buck Allen, I thought, was a young guy who looked really good, just off the top of my head,” Harbaugh said.

Maxx Williams and Carl Davis also impressed last night. Cornerback Tray Walker joined Perriman as the two rookies who did not practice last night.

While the rookies looked great, not all is well with the Ravens. Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun composed a slideshow today highlighting the Ravens best and worst performances of training camp thus far. It’s disappointing that the five players listed as having lackluster starts are all on defense and three of them are in the secondary. Lardarius Webb is having an average camp after failing his conditioning test on the opening day of camp. Matt Elam is gone for the season and Asa Jackson has been getting scorched.

It’s rather troubling to hear that some veterans are struggling out the gate, but the encouraging play of the rookie class brings excitement to the team. This could simply be a case of the veterans easing their way into the process while the rookies are trying hard to impress right away.

There are plenty of training camp battles underway and injuries have already creeped up on the team. Perriman and Marlon Brown have missed practices and Jeremy Butler and Kamar Aiken have impressed. Someone needs to step up and take over Elam’s role. The Ravens need Williams to make an impact at tight end.

There are only eight more days until the Ravens take on an opponent for the first time this season. The Ravens have the day off practice today as Harbaugh and his staff have another week of practices before they host the Saints next Thursday.

A clearer picture of the 2015 Ravens 53-man roster will come about in the upcoming days as we are just 30 days until the NFL season begins.

Next: Ravens Feeling First Effect From Injury

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