Training Camp Tour: Ravens still the walking wounded

Sam Monson visited Ravens camp, where the team has several guys still out with injury, but he did see some points of interest.

| 4 months ago
(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Training Camp Tour: Ravens still the walking wounded


On Day 10 of the Pro Football Focus training camp tour, the PFF analysis team traveled to Baltimore to take in Ravens camp.

BALTIMORE — Friday saw the PFF training camp tour take in Ravens camp from the team’s facility in Owings Mills. While most team facilities are sleek, modern looking buildings, the home of the Baltimore Ravens looks more like a high-end country club, complete with putting green out front. It is however an extremely well-appointed set up and the practice session out back saw the benefit of some cooler weather than we have seen in recent days.

Missing Players

The most notable thing from this practice was the sheer volume of players not in attendance either through injury or veteran days. Upwards of a dozen players were not out on the field including some of the team’s biggest names like Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Eric Weddle and Marshal Yanda.

The two pass-rushers are still on the physically unable to perform list, as are receivers Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman. With Kamar Aiken also missing, the Ravens were essentially down to a second-string wideout group before they even set foot on the field. The benefit of that, though, is that some lower-profile players saw a lot of snaps and action all day. Keenan Reynolds saw some snaps with the first-team offense, but sadly did little to justify them and looks a very unnatural receiver right now. Reynolds earned excellent grades at PFF over the past two seasons as an option quarterback at Navy, but struggled to catch the ball and wasn’t separating with ease. He was also back returning kicks and had a role as a personal protector elsewhere on special teams, which is likely to be how he earns a living this year, but as a receiver he has major work to do.

Maxx Williams ready for bigger things in 2016

Coming out of Minnesota in 2014, Maxx Williams was the consensus top TE in the draft and the best-graded one in the FBS that year according to PFF’s data. Williams played 485 snaps as a rookie, and what is perhaps most notable about those snaps is that he graded well as a blocker, something entirely atypical for modern day TEs, especially rookies.

“Well we didn’t play spread in college, so that helps,” Williams told PFF after practice. “Lot of credit to the coaches and guys around me that really helped me out last year. They really helped me learn how to do it [blocking], and hey, you only get one chance to be in the NFL so I figured I might as well sell out for my career and hope for the best.”

Williams was one of the better performers in practice, making some nice grabs including a tough catch from Joe Flacco on a pass that was behind him and needed some good body control to reach back and bring it in. The starting TE job is there to be taken and there is no reason Williams can’t be a thousand-snap player in 2016, improving on where he left off a year ago and really emerging as a top player in this league.

Same old Flacco

Judging by the crowd of fans at camp and the cheers and chants of his name, the Baltimore faithful still loves Flacco, but practice saw the kind of inconsistency we have come to expect from a player capable of blowing hot and cold. He made some nice passes over the course of the day, and during the two-minute drill late in the session he marched the team right down to the red zone… only to throw a game-killing interception in the end zone.

Flacco was PFF’s 24th-rated QB in 2015 and really didn’t have too many good games before being shut down, but he has already shown that he has the ability to run hot for just long enough to win a team a Super Bowl. The Ravens will be hoping he can show that again, but they can’t be too much poor play away from starting to think about future options. The good news from his perspective is that none of the other QBs taking reps looked like they were likely to force the team to think too hard about those options any time soon.

Other camp notes:

– This practice session featured more penalties, both pre- and post-snap, than any other we have taken in. There seemed to be an inordinate amount of jumping offside, holding and near anything else you care to mention. That’s something they will want to clean up in a hurry because penalties will cost teams with cheap yardage.

– Ryan Mallett once again looked inaccurate but did at least score one nice touchdown to Kaelin Clay in the front corner of the end zone that saw Clay hold onto the ball through contested contact from the defensive back. Mallett had his own shot at the two-minute drill late on that ultimately ended in failure, but could have been so different if he had not underthrown a wide open receiver down the sideline. An accurate pass there would have scored.

– Ronnie Stanley was playing at left tackle and looking very accomplished, locking down his side and looking very unlikely to surrender pressure. In a practice that wasn’t really taking players to the ground he also pancaked a defensive back on a pull block on an outside zone run that drew some cheers from the spectators.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • Corey

    You’d think a site supposedly built on data would be subjective, but this moron clearly has a vendetta against Flacco, likely due to the criticism received from how truly terrible Flacco’s abysmal ranking makes PFF’s metrics look. Can’t you just write the article without obvious digs at him? I’ve read four other recaps of this exact practice and all mentioned how good Flacco looked. His interception on the goal line? Bounced off his WR’s fingers! You’d think that’d warrant a mention, but not when you have an agenda to fulfill. Sam Monson is a moron and it’s writing (and closed-minded thinking) like this that make PFF such a joke.

    • Corey

      Meant to say “objective” in first sentence, obviously.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Sam most definitely is no moron but that doesn’t mean his opinions are always without fault. PFF has a clear bias against players which they consider to be overpaid. Flacco has the misfortune of being on their list along with Osweiler, Adrian Peterson and a few others.

      • Nicholas Kaioken Caljean

        There’s having a faulty, off base opinion, and then there is being just completely wrong….

  • Ugh PFF

    How is Maxx Williams going to be a full time starter in 2016 with Watson and Pitta being there as well as Crockett? The reason why he got most of the reps was because Watson had a day off. Pitta has a hurt finger. I think you are looking at 2017 or 18 as a full time starter for Williams.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      pitta has more than just a hurt finger, his hip is lucky to be achieve at this point. and maxx was highly regarded coming out of college, hence his draft status. gilmore is a nice player tho, for sure

      • Jenniferehager2

        <<t:i. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::::!!bz664a:….,…

      • Jack Raven

        Pitta’s hip is 100% healthy.

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          good to hear

      • Nicholas Kaioken Caljean

        Pitta’s hip is healed, hence why he is medically cleared. It is literally just his finger.

        And yes, all of us Ravens fans want Maxx to be great. We know his draft status….But Ugh PFF’s post is correct, how is he supposed to get 1000 touches when he is 4th on the depth chart? Your comment doesn’t disprove the person you answered at all.

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          you’re assuming i was attempting to disprove the person i replied* to

          • Nicholas Kaioken Caljean

            Fair enough, my bad.

            The hip is a non issue according to 88 so I just didn’t get why even bring it up except as a point to argue why Maxx would pass him on the depth chart and get many more touches.

            Crockett is actually the bigger injury liability at the moment btw. Haven’t heard any updates on his hammy.

  • crosseyedlemon

    I’m certainly no fan of the Ravens but PFF’s constant trashing of Flacco is getting old. The statement “he has the ability to run hot for just long enough to win a team a Super Bowl” is laughable. His career record as a starter is 75-47 and you don’t compile that win percentage with luck or an occasional hot streak.

  • terpmaniac

    Flacco almost always gets beaten up by the sports press. He’s kinda bland, too vanilla. He’s not a diva. He’s not sexy enough. He doesn’t showboat. He will not pout. It is what it is. Baltimore loves Joe. We know what he is capable of. Could care less how he is perceived elsewhere. I mean these are the same people who put Cam Newton and Tony Romo above him. That should tell you all you need to know regarding how much they know.

  • Jack Raven

    When the article starts out ” Same old Flacco”, you know it’s written with bias. That
    ” game killing interception” hit the receiver in the hands, only to bounce into a defender.

  • Nicholas Kaioken Caljean

    If you think that the current 4th string TE who was forced into extended duty by injury last season is suddenly going to double his touches this season, after the top guy just came back from injury and they picked up the top vet TE on the market, you shouldn’t be a sports writer.

    If you think that a 5th stringer dropping a pass in the hands is a
    reason your starting QB is “inconsistent”, and list that as his only
    instance of inconsistency, you shouldn’t be a sports writer.

    If you think that the Ravens are anywhere close to thinking about other QB options…….AFTER THEY JUST SIGNED HIM TO A 3 YEAR EXTENSION WITH A $40MIL SIGNING BONUS in March of THIS YEAR ………you should NOT be a sports writer.

    Sam Monson, you should not be a sports writer. I know sports media hates Flacco, especially PFF, but this article is just so off base that it is laughable.

    For PFF’s sake I hope they grade their writers, because, ” they (sic) can’t be too much poor play away from starting to think about future options.”

  • http://www.τwitter.com/StephanieGreece Στεφανία -7-

    You took a lone session, out of all the camp list of practices, where Flacco throws a pass that is intercepted because Waller didn’t grasp it well enough, even though it was thrown accurately, and judged Flacco as inconsistent just from that?

    he has already shown that he has the ability to run hot for just long enough to win a team a Super Bowl.

    And that is not enough? Jeez Louise, let’s inform all the other QBs with no SuperBowl yet that it’s not enough to win one! You have to have outstanding numbers, because hey, PFF won’t categorise you as an adequate, at least, quarterback for your team.

    I’ve read some Flacco dismissing articles, but never one that cited one interception in bloody practise, where it wasn’t even his fault, as a sign of decline. What did he do to you? Beat your team in the playoffs?

    Williams taking the starting job in his second year with Pitta, Watson and Crockett still available is at least a stretch, unless they both (knock on wood) fall to big injuries.

  • Jack Raven

    “Same old Flacco”. You mean the guy that averages 10-11 wins and playoff wins every year? That guy? Yes, thanks, we’ll take him.