BALTIMORE — For their final training camp practice at M&T Bank Stadium Aug. 29, the Ravens ran through their full pregame warmup, they stormed out of the tunnel as they would for a game, they heard the public-address announcer call the action over piped-in crowd noise — all designed to replicate game conditions in this pandemic-altered season.
On the field, though, the Ravens still showed some preseason hiccups, which head coach John Harbaugh and running back Mark Ingram acknowledged must improve before the Ravens open the season Sept. 13 against the Cleveland Browns.
At one point during a red-zone drill, the Ravens’ offense was whistled for false starts twice in a span of four plays, leading quarterback Lamar Jackson to slam the ball down in frustration. On the next play, Jackson’s end-zone pass to a well-covered Mark Andrews was tipped away by Marlon Humphrey.
The Ravens’ offense was whistled for at least four false starts overall.
Harbaugh said practicing in a “semi-realistic” game environment was beneficial, but he added, “I just think we can be a lot better execution-wise in every area. It was good to see some tackling, especially from the young guys. … But we have work to do. It’s a different kind of preseason, so we’ve got to learn from it and we’ve got to improve every day as we go forward.”
Jackson was off target for the early portion of the scrimmage as the offense struggled to sustain drives, though the reigning league Most Valuable Player did find his stride later.
On his first deep pass of the night, which came just after a simulated halftime, Jackson underthrew Marquise Brown and was intercepted by rookie safety Nigel Warrior. Jackson and Brown later connected on a 40-yard touchdown after Jackson scrambled away from trouble and then found Brown behind safety Geno Stone.
Then on the final drive of the night, simulating a late-game situation with the clock winding down, Jackson zipped a touchdown pass to Andrews.
Still, the cancellation of preseason games has left the Ravens with few chances to simulate game conditions, and after this one, they recognize there is room for improvement.
“We’re not all the way ready,” Ingram said. “We still have strides to go to be the team that we want to be. … There’s lots of different operational things that we need to improve and sharpen up.”
The stadium practice wraps up the training camp portion of the Ravens’ preseason. The players are off Aug. 30, and beginning Aug. 31, the Ravens move into regular-season mode, with only the first 30 minutes of practice open to media viewing.
The Ravens must cut their roster down to 53 players by 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5.
SEVEN PLAYERS MISS PRACTICE; WHITE, MADUBUIKE SHAKEN UP: Seven players who have missed workouts recently with injury sat out the stadium practice as well but all were in attendance. That group included wide receiver Chris Moore (finger), wide receiver Jaleel Scott (ribs), cornerback Anthony Averett (groin), cornerback Marcus Peters (undisclosed), running back Kenjon Barner (leg), cornerback Josh Nurse (undisclosed) and running back Justice Hill (undisclosed).
Head coach John Harbaugh previously said that he doesn’t foresee any of the injuries to those players being serious.
Wide receiver-kick returner DeAndrew White and rookie defensive lineman Justin Madubuike were shaken up during the practice. White was hobbled on the first kickoff return, though he later returned to action and left with a trainer. Madubuike was having his leg stretched out by a trainer before heading to the locker room.
TUCKER WITH RARE MISS: Kicker Justin Tucker appeared to be in midseason form as he nailed a 57-yard field goal with room to spare during pregame drills, and he went 5-for-5 in simulated game action. But after Andrews’ touchdown catch on the night’s final offensive play, Tucker hooked the extra-point wide left. Tucker, the most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history, has made 298 of 301 extra-point kicks in his career.
After the team’s final huddle, players begin walking toward the locker room but Tucker, long snapper Morgan Cox and holder Sam Koch went back onto the field for one more extra-point try. After Tucker made the kick, he slammed his helmet to the ground.
HARBAUGH: A ‘GOOD TEST’ FOR SKURA: Harbaugh said the simulated game action was “a good test” for center Matt Skura as he continues his recovery from a major knee injury last season. Skura began training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list and has gradually been ramping up his activity since returning to the active roster. “We’ll look at the tape and see how he did in this setting,” Harbaugh said, “but to see him out there and see him competing is a pretty big deal, at this stage for the injury he had. So he deserves a lot of credit for that.”
NOTES: Watching slot cornerback Tavon Young and slot receiver Willie Snead match up in practice is always entertaining. They compete hard on every rep and make each other better. … Rookie linebacker Patrick Queen could be seen directing defensive players while wearing the green-dot headset helmet. Chuck Clark is still expected to have that role once the season begins, but Queen looks increasingly comfortable with his spot in the middle of the Ravens’ defense. … At one point, 13-year veteran defensive end Calais Campbell and rookie receiver James Proche had a long discussion on the sideline. Other than the 6-foot-8 Campbell looking like a big brother to 5-11 Proche, it was easy to see how quickly the affable Campbell has assimilated himself into this Ravens team.
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