OWINGS MILLS – The Ravens changed the start time of Saturday’s practice to 1 p.m. It had originally been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Fans holding passes for Saturday’s practice can still use them. Parking lots open at noon.
Here’s the buzz heading into practice:
1. The wide receiver battle:
Michael Campanaro (two catches, 58 yards, one touchdown) was the best receiver on the field during Thursday night’s preseason opener. As long as he stays healthy, I expect Campanaro to make the 53-man roster at receiver, along with Steve Smith, Marlon Brown, Breshad Perriman, and Kamar Aiken. That leaves either one or two wide receiver spots open.
Those on the bubble who made catches Thursday night were DeAndre Carter (two receptions, 33 yards), Jeremy Butler (one reception, 14 yards), Darren Waller (one reception, 12 yards), and long shot Tom Nelson (one reception, 19 yards). However, none of them sparkled.
So it’s back to the practice field, where those competing for jobs and playing time will look to shine, leading up to the Aug. 22 preseason game against the Eagles. Meanwhile, we’ll see if Perriman (knee injury) can return after missing 10 straight practices.
2. The injuries
Backup tight end Allen Reisner suffered a broken ankle Thursday that required surgery, but the Ravens did not update two players who left the game with injuries – cornerback Asa Jackson and outside linebacker Steven Means. There should be an update on both at some point Saturday.
3. Rookie outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith
Smith had the Ravens’ only sack Thursday, with Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs both playing briefly. The Ravens lost linebacker Pernell McPhee, who had 7½ sacks last season, to the Bears during free agency. It remains to be seen if the Ravens can get enough pressure on quarterbacks, and where that pressure will come from. Smith, a fourth-rounder, could emerge as one of the team’s most important picks if he continues to improve.