Tuesday, May 19, 2009

CAMP NOTES: May 19 Passing Camp

The mood was spirited in Owings Mills today as the Ravens participated in their second day of passing camp and the first open to the media. The scare of the day took place late in the practice when the first team offense took on the first team defense. Joe Flacco was flushed out of the pocket and dashed towards the left sideline with Tavares Gooden in hot pursuit and gaining ground. After a gain of 10+ yards Flacco fell hard to the ground as he neared the far sideline, rolled and then popped up on his feet as if nothing happened. At the time it was unclear if Gooden’s feet became entangled with Flacco’s or if Flacco was tripped up by another player or fell on his own. The fall triggered a boisterous reaction from most of the players watching. Flacco continued with no ill effects from the fall.

(Since the initial posting of these camp notes it has been learned that a light collision between Flacco and Brendon Ayanbadejo caused Flacco's fall. 3:56PM)

It is clear that Flacco is in command and that will undoubtedly help him during the ’09 season. In the past so much of the focus has been on the play of the quarterbacks during OTA’s. This season there will be no open competition and consequently the team seems more galvanized.

Flacco had a decent day overall but he wasn’t helped by TD drops from Justin Harper and Yamon Figurs. Harper beat his man down the right sideline and Flacco dropped in a beauty 7 yards deep in the end zone with the line of scrimmage set at the defense’s 45 yard line. Later from the 25 yard line Flacco delivered a strike to Figurs about 5 yards in the end zone. Running a skinny post on the play, the shaky receiver seemed a bit distracted by the safety closing in on the play. On the very next snap Flacco hit Kelley Washington who ran a nice stop and go against CB Anwar Phillips for a 25 yard score. Flacco also tried a couple of other deep throws on the day, one to Mark Clayton and another to Justin Harper. Derrick Martin intercepted the pass intended for Clayton. He had tight coverage on the play and made a nice over the shoulder catch. Clayton could’ve been a better defender on the slightly underthrown pass. The toss to Harper was overthrown and well covered by Frank Walker.

Just prior to the Martin interception the offense practice a 9 second drill, the goal of which was to effectively use the team’s only remaining time out and get the field goal unit in on the field before time expired. Flacco hit Clayton on a bubble screen, a bit of a surprising call with only 9 ticks on the clock but Clayton helped the cause with a heads up play, sliding on his own after the catch and a short run and calling a timeout. He could have advanced the ball farther but time would have expired. Two seconds remained after the stoppage and the heads-up play brought enthusiastic praise from Cam Cameron.

Backup quarterback Troy Smith looked sharp early on throwing darts to Edgar Jones on a deep crossing route from the right hash to the left sideline. The throw was perfectly placed and Jones showed nice hands and footwork along the sideline before getting out of bounds. On the next play Smith hit Figurs streaking down the right sideline for a 48 yard score. Figurs adjusted well to the slightly underthrown pass and beat Phillips on the play.

Of the three quarterbacks, John Beck was the most inconsistent. He threw an interception to Tavares Gooden outside the left hash mark. The second year backer showed a great burst to the ball and from this writer’s perspective he’s the fastest linebacker the Ravens have ever had – at least on the practice field. Beck while inconsistent did deliver a few darts of his own during the practice. One of those throws was from the 5 yard line when he split two defenders to hit Washington for the score. Washington playfully imitated Ray Lewis’ dance and the two players shared a laugh afterwards.


OFFENSE: Jalen Parmale is a player who joined the team mid-season in ’08 and didn’t have the benefit of familiarity. That changes this season and that could change the team’s usage of the second year back from Toledo. Parmale has shown a nice burst during the OTA’s thus far. During his senior season as a Rocket Parmale had 276 carries for 1,511 yards and 14 TD’s…Hopeful OT Joe Reitz was schooled by Jarret Johnson and Paul Kruger on successive plays. A bullfighter's Ole comes to mind…UDFA WR Edward Williams snagged a couple of passes, one a 25 yard heater from Smith. The Lane College product is 6’4” and 215 pounds…Kelley Washington was the most consistent performer among the receivers and scored three times during the session…the Ravens seemed to emphasize a power pitch to a single back set up to the left or the right of the QB in shotgun formation…Demetrius Williams made a nice catch on a comeback route between the sideline and left hash while going up against Domonique Foxworth. After the catch Williams quickly pivoted to his right to extend the play with YAC…those wondering what UDFA WR Eron Riley looks like in practice, let’s just say you saw as much from him at your office today as those of us watching practice.

DEFENSE: Derrick Martin had a nice interception (see above) to go with a couple of passes defended (PD). On one crossing route Martin cleanly batted the ball away from Marcus Smith after trailing slightly behind…Domonique Foxworth showed good closing skills while intercepting one pass and later batting another down…Paul Kruger is menacing during OTA’s. It will be interesting to watch him in camp and then later during the preseason to see if his prowess without pads translates well to full combat duties.

SITTING OUT: A number of players wore red jerseys and participated in a very limited way today or they sat out completely: (Limited) Samari Rolle; Todd Heap; Jason Phillips; Oniel Cousins; Adam Terry; Demetrius Williams. (Out) Willis McGahee; Chris Carr; Fabian Washington; L.J. Smith; Quinn Sypniewski…Some players wore read but still participated (signifying no contact) such as: Ed Reed; Frank Walker; Antwan Barnes; Kelly Talavou.