OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Quarterback Trace McSorley looked to his left, then reversed direction and threw a pass toward running back J.K. Dobbins in the right flat. But cornerback Marlon Humphrey closed fast, deflecting away the pass and nearly coming up with an interception.
Later, quarterback Tyler Huntley threw a pass too low for running back Justice Hill, then tapped his chest as Hill approached as if to say, “My fault.”
It was that kind of day for the Ravens offense, which on the second day of training camp July 29 very much looked like a team missing its starting quarterback.
Lamar Jackson has been placed on the league’s reserve/COVID-19 list, leaving McSorley, Huntley and new No. 3 quarterback Kenji Bahar to lead the offense. McSorley and Huntley, who are locked in a spirited contest for the backup job to Jackson, were sharp in the first camp practice July 28 but more ragged a day later.
Still, however long Jackson remains in the league’s COVID protocol — head coach John Harbaugh offered no update when asked after practice, but it is a minimum of 10 days if Jackson is not vaccinated — these workouts amount to valuable, extended auditions for McSorley and Huntley with the first unit.
Both McSorley and Huntley were flushed from the pocket more quickly than they would like, and the timing and rhythm often weren’t quite there. McSorley had one pass batted by defensive end Calais Campbell right back into McSorley’s hands.
Still, there were some offensive highlights in team and small-group drills.
During one 11-on-11 period, Huntley lofted a touchdown pass of about 60 yards to wide receiver Jaylon Moore, who caught the ball between cornerback Davontae Harris and safety Anthony Levine.
Second-year receiver James Proche was one of the offensive standouts.
Proche made a diving end-zone grab in one 4-on-4 drill, and later made a contested catch against cornerback Jimmy Smith. He also caught a touchdown pass from Huntley during a full-team period. Earlier, in individual drills, Proche made a pretty, one-handed catch along the sideline, though the high pass had steered Proche out of bounds.
As a rookie sixth-round pick last year, Proche had just one catch (14 yards), and after serving as the punt returner for much of the season, he was inactive for the final two games after Devin Duvernay took over all return duties. In a strange twist, the only other two passes intended for Proche last year were picked off and returned for touchdowns in separate games by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After seeing the Ravens draft two receivers and sign veteran Sammy Watkins, and after losing the punt return job to Duvernay last year, Proche faces some pressure to make a statement this summer. This workout was a good start.
“He just does everything right,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a serious competitor. We were in the weight room this morning and he was in there with us. … He works all the time. He works within the play too, and he finishes every play.”
TRAINING CAMP NOTEBOOK
WR MARQUISE BROWN LEAVES EARLY: Not only was the Ravens offense missing its starting quarterback, but it also was without top receiver Marquise Brown for most of practice. Brown, who had shined in practice a day earlier, spent time stretching with a trainer before leaving the field. Harbaugh later said it was just precautionary.
CB MARCUS PETERS, NINE OTHERS SIDELINED: Cornerback Marcus Peters did not practice with what Harbaugh said was a minor toe injury. Peters spent part of the practice watching from the sideline alongside defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale. Other than Peters, nine others who missed the first practice on July 28 remained sideline.
In addition to Jackson, that group included running back Gus Edwards, who is also on the reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive; and cornerback Anthony Averett, who had not passed his conditioning test. The other absences were cornerback Iman Marshall (knee), linebacker Otaro Alaka (knee), tackle Ja’Wuan James (Achilles), tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle), tight end Nick Boyle (knee) and tight end Jake Breeland (knee).
ROOKIES FLASH IN INDIVIDUAL DRILLS: While the skill position players took part in seven-on-seven drills, the Ravens offensive linemen matched up in entertaining 1-on-1 battles with defensive linemen and edge rushers. Rookie outside linebackers Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes showed well in their individual matchups against reserve tackles, using athletic moves to get to the would-be quarterback. (No true contact took place.) But the offense won its share as well, including rookie guard Ben Cleveland, who used his massive frame to anchor and stonewall outside linebacker Chauncey Rivers.
KICKING OPERATION MARCHES ON: Justin Tucker was perfect on all his kicks during the field-goal portion of the practice, and fans in attendance might not have even noticed the significant change there. That’s a credit to new long snapper Nick Moore, who wears the No. 46 of his longtime predecessor, Morgan Cox. Moore, who was on the practice squad all last season, has looked smooth and has drawn little attention to himself, the ideal scenario for a long snapper.
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox
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