The Ravens and the rest of the NFL waited patiently on Thursday as the CBA fiasco reached its final stage. Around 4:30 pm, the players/owners finally agreed on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. With that agreement, the Ravens were finally able to practice with their newly acquired players including Vonta Leach and Bernard Pollard. So instead of starting practice at 1:30pm as it was originally scheduled, the players hit the field at 5pm. This resulted in a much cooler, quick paced, and hilarious day of practice involving big hits and big catches. Here are a few notes from Thursday’s practice.
- You noticed him as soon as he walked out the locker room. Vonta Leach is a man beast. Every time he walked onto the field during practice, you just knew somebody was going to get hit. He relishes contact. He gets excited every time he hits someone. He gets angry everytime he doesn’t hit someone. This guy is a huge pickup for the Ravens. He’ll excel in the AFC North.
- Bernard Pollard comes to the Ravens with a very large and visible chip on his shoulder. He wants to prove his doubters wrong and he’s putting the work in…….serious work. A couple of big shots were taken courtesy of Pollard. At one point, fellow Ravens safety Haruki Nakamura yelled “I don’t know if he can go backward, but he can sure go forward.” He was pointing out that he hasn’t seen what he can do coverage, but Pollard sure can hit. That’s what he was brought for. Pollard also erased some doubt about his pass coverage skills by intercepting a pass from rookie Tyrod Taylor. Good day overall for Pollard.
- Joe Flacco had perhaps his best day of training camp this year on Thursday. He could do no wrong. Launching several touchdown passes to his receivers with velocity and accuracy. TE Ed Dickson caught a 50 yard bomb from Flacco that was thrown from inside their own 10 yard line. Nakamura chased the tight end down, but had it been a live game he would have scored.
- I’m looking forward to seeing this receiving group play a preseason game. I’m not sure how they will fare in an actual game, but these guys sure can practice. Tandon Doss is playing like a young Anquan Boldin. Yeah….he’s that good. His routes are clean and he’s catching everything thrown his way. He may be the steal of the draft. Torrey Smith is playing lights out as well. He is fast and he’s making extremely acrobatic catches. Wide Receivers coach Jim Hostler is doing a magnificent job with these young kids.
- Ed Reed had the day off. During interviews he states that he was “preserving” himself for the regular season. Ray Lewis was very jolly today. He came out the locker room singing “They call me Big Meech.” He laughed it up with teammate Terrell Suggs. Ray Lewis didn’t practice too much today either. On the sideline, he went back and forth with QB Joe Flacco. At one point Flacco screamed, “Hey bro, you not even in the game and you talking.” Ray Lewis laughed so hard he fell over on his back. The cool evening air made for higher spirits in what has been a difficult camp.
- It wasn’t all smiles in camp on Thursday however, as Defensive line coach Clarence Brooks got into it with rookie Defensive tackle Bryan Hall. “WE JUST TALKED ABOUT THIS. HARD COUNT!! HARD COUNT!!! You’re on your way out of here. One more mess up and you’re GONE!!” Not a good day for Hall who jumped offsides during an 11-on-11 drill. Harbaugh was also a little ticked off at some of the players who were late in entering the practice field. I don’t blame him; they had an extra 3 hours to get ready.
- Jimmy Smith didn’t practice again today. He was out on the field wearing shorts. Ben Grubbs and Marshall Yanda did practice however.
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