It was a fairly quiet day at Ravens camp today. No fights, no Sportscenter Top-10 type plays; just a solid day of practice and a visit from the Commissioner.
Unfortunately, the weather has started to turn a little bit. After a week of mild Westminster afternoons, we had a hot and humid one today, which did not help my quickly-increasing farmer's tan.
Here are a few notes from today's practices.
Good news of the day: Cornerback Chris Carr returned to practice after missing two days with a back injury, but that wasn't the most encouraging cornerback update to come out of today. During the afternoon special teams practice, Lardarius Webb (who is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he rehabs his surgically-repaired right knee) spent some time off on a side field running and making quick, sudden cuts. It was just an individual drill and Webb has not yet been cleared for contact, but nonetheless, the second-year corner looked very smooth and comfortable in his movements.
Strangest drill of the day: In the afternoon session, a number of players took part in a bizarre special teams drill where they had to lunge at a trash can in front of them and tip it backwards without knocking it to the ground. I have absolutely no idea what purpose this drill served, and the players looked ridiculous taking part in it, but I'm sure there's some rationale behind it.
Most impressive tackle of the day: That honor goes to safety Haruki Nakamura, who took down Ray Rice in the open field after the running back had brought in a Joe Flacco shovel pass. Rice turned upfield and had plenty of open real estate ahead of him, but Nakamura closed quickly. Rice tried to give Nakamura a little shake and dance by him to the safety's left, but Nakamura held tough, and made the play. The tackle might have saved a touchdown.
Wide receiver note of the day: With Derrick Mason resting his sprained right ankle, many (including myself) would have thought that Donte' Stallworth would get the nod to replace the veteran wideout with the first-team offense. That wasn't the case. Mark Clayton was the one who saw the bulk of the first-team reps opposite Anquan Boldin today, and he delivered a strong performance. Clayton caught back-to-back passes from Flacco on comeback routes and turned the second upfield, avoiding two defensive backs and picking up about 25 extra yards. The six-year pro is turning in a solid camp.
Hit of the day: I would give today's hit of the day a 6 out of 10, but that rating would be much higher had the hit come in a game, not an intra-squad training camp practice. During the red zone portion of the morning session, Joe Flacco saw tight end Todd Heap over the middle of the field and lofted a pass towards him. Safety Ken Hamlin was there to meet Heap right as the ball got there, and he laid a shoulder into the tight end. Heap dropped to the ground, dropping the ball as well, and got up slowly. Hamlin could have put a lot more pop behind the hit, but held back a little. Good thing he did, or else Heap might still be down.
Quote of the day: "Someone ordered me a salad and coach [John] Madden said, 'You know, we've never had a salad on this bus before.' So, needless to say, I didn't eat the salad." - Commissioner Roger Goodell on his food options on John Madden's bus, which the two men are using to travel in between NFL training camps.