There was a big crowd at the Baltimore Ravens first practice at M&T Bank stadium. The Ravens treated their fans to a very spirited practice. Everyone was excited to get back on the field at M&T but for some players this was their first opportunity to play in their home stadium.
Head coach John Harbaugh was on hand to greet the military folks that were in attendance. He spoke about what it means to him to be able to host the true heroes. “Freedom is not free and there are plenty of people that would take that away from us if they could. It was great talking to the military. It’s not hard getting them fired up, they’re fired up by nature. We appreciate the things that the military does for us.”
Another thing that stood out to Harbaugh was having the opportunity to get some of the people in the Baltimore area into the stadium for the first time in 2014. “The thing that really touches my heart, is the kids. We have dads that typically would not be able to bring their kids to an NFL football game due to the cost, and that’s most of us – that’s most people. We never saw an NFL football game growing up ever, other than on TV, so the opportunity to do that and come out there and be at the stadium and then get an autograph on top of that and to look and see the pride in a mom or a dad’s face – to see the excitement in the kid’s face – that’s priceless.”
Harbaugh continued as he was sure to point out that he sees how much the city loves the team. “Thanks to all of our staff and everyone who works for the Ravens. We have an amazing staff to put this together. When the buses came through, we took the long way. We went through a couple of neighborhoods and the people were going crazy. It was great for the guys, especially the rookies to see how much the people love the Ravens.”
Rookie linebacker, C. J. mosely said the thing he likes the most about Baltimore is how much they love football. He said it reminds him of back home in Alabama.
It is interesting how Harbaugh used the open practice as a learning tool for his players. He said that it “amps up the intensity of the practice” because it gives some of the guys their first opportunity to perform in front of the Baltimore crowd. Harbaugh referred to the time at M&T Bank stadium as another step football wise.
PLAY OF THE DAY
The play of the day came during the red zone period. Torrey Smith went up and made a leaping, acrobatic one handed grab on a slant from Joe Flacco. The throw seemed to sail a bit on Flacco but Smith climbed the ladder and hailed it in to the delight of the crowd.
One of the funnier moments came via a Matt Elam interception. He picked off a throw intended for Dennis Pitta and had a nice return but almost ran into a fancy Ravens golf cart driven by Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. Harbaugh joked about it after practice. “Steve told me that Matt Elam saw him all the way and was going to ask him why he almost made him tip over his cart.”
Standout on Defense
Pernell McPhee continues to have a great camp. He has shown himself to be quite a pass rusher. McPhee is not your typical linebacker for the Ravens or any other team for that matter. McPhee stands at 6-3 and weighs in at 280 pounds. He was able to get constant pressure on the quarterback. McPhee reminds me of former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker, Levon Kirkland.
Standout on Offensee
Kamar Aiken had a very good practice. The 6-2 215 pound wide receiver showed the quickness and very good footwork that is a necessity when it comes to getting off the line of scrimmage. Aiken had two very nice catches in front of the crowd during team periods.
Steve Smith showed that he still has some burst and explosiveness when he caught a slant and split the safeties en route to a nice catch and run on a slant pattern.
Mike Campanaro is a shifty wide receiver that is very hard to tackle. Campanaro will easily make defenders fall and has become a fan favorite because of local ties. He catches everything with his hands and offers a different skill set from the other receivers on the roster.
Chris Canty was excused from practice due to a family emergency.
Lardarius Webb will continue to work through his back problem. Webb is getting further tests on his back injury.
Asa Jackson and Chykie Brown will continue to fight for the nickel corner position. Brown returned from a hamstring injury. He said that his hamstring felt good after getting lood Ned up. Jackson got reps with the first team due to Webb not practicing.
Justin Tucker hit two 58yd field goals each from their respective hash marks.
Ray Lewis was on hand to greet the crowd. He drove around on a golf cart with the Ravens owner. Lewis was speechless when asked to describe his feelings about a statute of himself that will go up later this season.
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