Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith Sr., Chris Canty, Justin Forsett, Daryl Smith and Marshal Yanda were nowhere to be found at the Ravens practice on Sunday. John Harbaugh apparently gave these players a veterans day off, and there's no doubt they appreciate sitting out a Sunday afternoon practice in pads early in training camp.
Granted, the team had only practiced three times before Sunday, so it's not as if it's been a long, grueling grind at this point. But hey, the veterans will take it, and with those guys resting up, several other players took on larger roles. Here are a few of the players who stepped up on Sunday:
- With Steve Smith Sr. out -- and with Breshad Perriman (knee) still sidelined -- Kamar Aiken stood out as the top receiver. He caught a quick slant against Lardarius Webb and split the defense for a long touchdown. Yes, it's only early August, but Aiken, who made back-to-back tough catches on Saturday, is playing with a lot of confidence right now. Watching him lately, it's hard to believe he went three full seasons in the NFL without making a catch.
- With Justin Forsett out, the Ravens got a long look at Lorenzo Taliaferro and Buck Allen at running back, and they have to like what they see. Allen in particular had a good practice, showing decisiveness as a runner and good hands as a receiver. He also had a nice blitz pickup.
- With Canty out, second-year defensive end Brent Urban had his number called a lot and proved to be a handful for a Ravens offensive line that was down three starters (Rick Wagner was present at practice but sat out full-team drills). It will be hard for the 6-foot-7 Urban to sneak up on anyone, but he could be a factor this season.
- On the other side of the ball, rookie guard Robert Myers spelled Osemele, and he had a lot of trouble dealing with Urban, Timmy Jernigan and the rest of the Ravens front seven. But those reps are important for Myers, and giving Osemele the day off should prove beneficial for both guards.
Indeed, "veterans day" has a lot of benefit for younger players, too.