The Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles kicked off their three days of joint practices today and it as a good day for both teams.
First and foremost, the two teams exited the practice injury free. Right tackle Ricky Wagner looked to hurts his leg, but there was no update on the severity of the injury. Will Hill blew up Jordan Matthews on one particular play that Matthews wasn’t too happy about, but managed to come away unscathed.
Both teams had plenty to be excited about exiting the first practice. Sam Bradford took the field and looked good in 7-on-7 drills. Eagles rookie Eric Rowe made a lot of plays in coverage. Bryn Renner threw the ball well and Kyle Arrington made plays on defense also.
Turron Davenport of the Baltimore Times (@TDavenport_NFL) did a fantastic job of providing updates of the joint practice today. The star coming out of camp today according to Davenport is wide receiver Michael Campanaro.
Campanaro already had a leg up on some of the other receivers on the roster because he was tabbed as one of the favorites to land the punt return job. However, he has been impressive throughout camp as defensive backs have struggled to handle the shifty receiver coming out of the slot. He scored on a 45-yard reception from Matt Schaub in the preseason win over the Saints, and it looks as though that could become a staple in the Ravens offense.
The second-year player from Wake Forest was the Ravens seventh-round selection last season and was having a solid rookie season until a hamstring injury sidelined him for most of the season. Campanaro has captured the attention of fans not only for his skills, but because he is a local talent hailing from Silver Spring, Md.
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Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman is still without first-round pick Breshad Perriman due to a knee injury so the Ravens need another receiver to step up. Jeremy Butler, Kamar Aiken and Campanaro have all made plays during training camp and look to have taken a lead against the competition. With Steve Smith Sr. and Perriman being locks to make the team, some of the other wide outs on the roster need to stand out in the next week and a half if they want to stick around with the Ravens. That is five receivers already looking to make the squad with Marlon Brown and rookie Darren Waller also in the mix. It’s unrealistic to think the Ravens keep seven wide outs so something’s got to give.
With Perriman sidelined, it is good to see the other pass catchers taking advantage of their opportunities. You can never have too many receiving options to create mismatches. The Ravens haven’t had that great option across the middle of the field since the days of Brandon Stokley. Not saying that they are the same player, but Campanaro reminds me a lot of a healthy Wes Welker.
Slot receivers have become more and more involved as teams become more pass-heavy on offense. Campanaro’s ability to get open makes him valuable in the slot. Welker was successful for many years with Tom Brady had Peyton Manning. Aaron Rodgers has Randall Cobb working the slot. Eddie Royal has been an underrated slot receiver for several years now. These smaller, but shifty players create havoc for opposing defenses.
Campanaro’s play did not got unnoticed today as Harbaugh complimented the wideout in his press conference after practice.
Baltimore likes rooting for hometown players. Look at the reception they give Steve Clevenger on a consistent basis. Michael Campanaro is certainly making a case to be a vital part of the Ravens this season. A few more solid practices and another good performance in the upcoming preseason game could find Campanaro with a prominent role in the offense.
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