Veteran Pass Rushers Are Starting to Stand Out
Much of the pundits’ concern about the Ravens’ defense centers on the pass rush, but the two veterans Baltimore signed later in the offseason – Pernell McPhee and Shane Ray – are impressing in training camp.
Pernell McPhee caught Owner Steve Bisciotti’s attention at Saturday’s practice at M&T Bank Stadium. Standing next to Head Coach John Harbaugh, Bisciotti noted how good McPhee looked on a rush off the left side.
“People talk about, ‘He’s getting older,’ and, ‘He can’t move.’ He can move. He can run,” Harbaugh said. “He looked really explosive. He looks good to me.”“He’s the old guard, or the ‘OG,’ as the players say it, and you can see that power and that old Raven rough, tough mentality,” Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale added the next day. “He’ll help bring that along with that group. We’re excited about our potential pass-rushing.”
Ray missed the first day of training camp practice, but he was ready to go the next day and has looked fast off the edge. On Thursday, Harbaugh agreed with a reporter’s assessment that Ray looks more comfortable now.
“I feel like Shane is starting to get a feel for the defense and starting to get his legs under him a little more, and he looks good,” Harbaugh said.
If McPhee and Ray can get back to producing at the level they were at a couple of years ago, it will greatly help the Ravens’ pass rush stay at a high level. McPhee posted 14 sacks with the Chicago Bears from 2015-2017 and Ray had eight sacks with the Denver Broncos in 2016.
Justice Hill’s Pass Protection Is Impressing Harbaugh
Everyone knew rookie running back Justice Hill was fast. So when he was difficult for Ravens linebackers to keep up with in one-on-one coverage drills Thursday, it wasn’t a surprise.
But what will help Hill see more time on the field is if he can be trusted in pass protection, and that’s what Harbaugh has noticed about the fourth-round pick, who stands in at 5-foot-10, 200 pounds.
“The thing I’ve been impressed with when the pads have been on, he’s looked solid in pass protection, which for a little bit of a smaller back is something you always concern yourself with,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh said he’ll have a better feel for the growth of the Ravens’ young running backs once the team practices and plays against other teams, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars beginning next week.