Baltimore Ravens: Veterans Day Off, Young Players Step Up


Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken (11) carries the ball to score a touchdown as New England Patriots strong safety Patrick Chung (23) defends in the first quarter during the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens’ veterans had a day off Friday, which meant more reps for the younger players. It also meant many players were not on the field. Between injuries and veterans day off, 20 players were sidelined.

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A few of these players were linebackers Terrell Suggs and Daryl Smith, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., and running back Justin Forsett. Tight end Maxx Williams was sidelined after being poked in the eye during Thursday’s practice, while rookie receiver Breshad Perriman (knee) and third-year receiver Marlon Brown (back) did not practice.

After the intense, full-padded practice on Thursday, the team pulled back the intensity with just shells and no full contact.

The younger players received a lot more reps than normal, mainly because they were the majority on the field. Quarterback Joe Flacco was still on the field, so the young receivers took advantage of the absence of the top receivers.

Rookie receiver Darren Waller took some snaps in the red zone, but he was never able to connect with the quarterback. His 6-foot-6 frame allows him to tower over most defenders. However right now, he needs to work on his chemistry with the quarterback.

The absence of Perriman and Brown have changed the way the wide receiver competition is unfolding.

With the absence of the other receivers, Kamar Aiken has done his best to step up. As long as Perriman and Brown remain sidelined, he is working his way even closer to a starting job next to Smith Sr.

Rookie DeAndre Carter was not left out with the absence of the other receivers. He had a very good practice with several good catches from quarterbacks Flacco and Matt Schaub.

The wide receiver competition was supposed to be one of the most interesting to watch this training camp. With the time Perriman and Brown have missed, the battle has changed. The two injured receivers may have had the second and third receiver spots, but now, Aiken has done very well to move into a possible week one starting role.

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According to the Ravens’ first depth report, the third-year receiver out of Central Florida is the starter next to Smith Sr. Perriman and Brown are listed as the second receivers behind the two starters.

Aiken could very easily be pushed back into the second spot if either injured receiver starts practicing consistently. Even if the other receivers do begin to practice, he may be doing enough to take the week one starting job.

With the first preseason game next week, the competition between the younger receivers is going to be interesting. If they can duplicate their success in practice against the Philadelphia Eagles, the competition could change instantly.

Next: Baltimore Ravens: Matt Schaub Continues to Struggle