Yesterday, the Baltimore Ravens hosted an open practice for fans to attend, at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. Having never been to a Ravens practice, nor the Naval Academy, I made the trip down to take observations on how the team is doing. Although some key veterans were held out of practice, (Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle, Jeremy Maclin, etc.) I was still very much impressed with the team’s overall performance. Although the team played well as a whole, there were some players who out performed the rest and others who underperformed. Wide receiver Keenan Reynolds, is the most notable to play well.
Keenan Reynolds is a player that I have been pulling for since he was at the Naval Academy. When the Baltimore Ravens decided to draft the outstanding Midshipmen quarterback and convert him to wide receiver, I was ecstatic. However, last season he was unable to make the final 53 man roster and was placed on the practice squad. This season, however, it seems that Reynolds is in a great position to make the team. Throughout the offseason, the Ravens have been quietly praising Reynolds for his improvement on the football field. Last night, I kept my eye on Reynolds and found validation that he was a much better receiver than last season. He started out in special teams drills, catching punted balls. Not once did he muff the ball. The Ravens then moved into passing drills. Again, Keenan Reynolds did not drop the ball, once. Even without the precise throws of quarterback Joe Flacco, Reynolds still kept hauling in passes. If the ball was catchable, Reynolds would catch it. There were points where defensive backs were literally on top of Reynolds, and he would still manage to haul in the ball. Overall, Reynolds had the best practice performance of all the Ravens out there last night.
Reynolds was not alone in putting on a show. Undrafted wide receiver Tim White continued to shine. Although his performance was not on the same level as Keenan Reynolds’, he still played very well. I was very impressed with his playmaking ability. White caught almost every ball thrown his way, and made some nice contested catches. Another undrafted receiver, Quincy Adeboyejo, played lights out as well. Adeboyejo was spectacular at running deep routes and catching bombs. Another receiver that played well was undrafted free agent CJ Board, out of Tennessee Chattanooga. It was not the best performance in the world, but Board made some nice contested catches on short passes. On the defensive side of the ball, Tony Jefferson was able to snag an interception, as did Lardarius Webb. The secondary looked solid, although the practice was mostly non-contact.
Although most of the Ravens at practice played well, I was disappointed with some of the performances. Quarterback Ryan Mallet seemed to be struggling for the first half of practice, making underthrown and low passes more often than not. It was a concerning sight to see for a backup quarterback with the starter out, but Mallet seemed to clean up his act in the second half of practice. Another disappointing performance came from Baltimore’s seventh round selection, safety Chuck Clark. It seemed that every time Clark was covering someone, he let them catch it and/or get away. The night was filled with blown coverages by the defensive back from Virginia Tech, and I was heavily disappointed in what I saw from him. In all honesty, I can’t see him making the final 53 man roster.