As a pass sailed across the middle and into the hands of Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews, Ravens safety Marcus Williams had other plans.
As Andrews, the 6-foot-5 favorite target of Lamar Jackson, brought his feet down to the ground with the ball, Williams flew downfield and punched it directly out of his hands in one of the many dominant plays from the Ravens defense on Day 2 of training camp.
“I get the ball all the time. It’s nothing new to me,” Williams said after practice.
The Ravens will be counting on plays like that from Williams as he enters his second season in Baltimore. They’ll also be counting on his leadership. With Marcus Peters in Las Vegas and Chuck Clark in New York, Williams is taking on an increased role.
The results have been positive thus far. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey raved about Williams’ level of communication from the back end Wednesday. Harbaugh raved about the play after practice.
“Every day we just work to get better,” Williams said. “Each day I work to perfect my craft and do those little things by communicating, by being a leader out there just talking to my guys. We all come together, we make plays, and that’s just going to help us all get better.”
Williams is slated to start at safety next to second-year star Kyle Hamilton, who will be replacing Clark. Hamilton started camp strong with the play of the day Wednesday, ranging over to high-point and intercept a pass to Nelson Agholor in a seven-on-seven period.
“He looks great,” Williams said of Hamilton. “Since he’s been a rookie, he’s always been getting better. He’s going to continue to get better in the film room, out on the field, getting comfortable, playing together side by side. As long as he continues to focus, to lock in and come out here and do all he can to work, I think he’s going to be great.”
The Ravens don’t have to worry too much about the future of the safety position with Williams signed through 2026 and Hamilton under team control for up to four more seasons. If they continue making plays like they have on the first two days of camp, it’ll be hard not to consider them among the best duos in the league.
Here’s an overview of how Friday will go and a look at what we’re paying attention to:
The third day of full-squad training camp practice starts at 1:50 p.m. at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills. After practice, offensive coordinator Todd Monken will speak with the media, followed by defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald and special teams coordinator Chris Morton.
ICYMI: STORIES LEADING UP TO DAY 3
WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR
Will the offense respond?
Through the first two days of camp, the offense and defense have dominated one day each.
The offense was sharp to open camp and looked fast running plays out of the huddle and finding players in space. It looked much slower Thursday. The receivers were in check for most of the day, and they committed turnovers. In addition to the Williams punch on Andrews, the defense forced a red zone interception on Tyler Huntley near the end of practice in 11-on-11s.
Which unit gets the upper hand Friday? Battles are a great part of training camp. Let’s see which way the pendulum swings.
Monken on the offense
There have been endless questions to players and Harbaugh about the adjustment to Todd Monken’s offense, but Friday is the first time since minicamp that Monken himself will chime in.
Monken is scheduled to speak with reporters after practice, and his thoughts on Jackson’s progress with the offense and the weapons at his disposal should be interesting. How is Jackson handling the play calls and speed of the offense? How is he with getting the ball out faster? Monken’s thoughts about the unit as a whole should be good, too.
Macdonald on the defense
Mike Macdonald is entering his second season as defensive coordinator after replacing Wink Martindale, who moved on to the New York Giants. After a slow start in 2022, his unit came along strong. That has raised expectations for 2023.
Unlike last year, the Ravens are entering the season with first-team All-Pro Roquan Smith, who was a massive difference maker. The defense ranked 15th in adjusted efficiency before he arrived in Week 9, according to Football Outsiders, and third afterward. There’s also excitement about David Ojabo, a first-round talent before he tore his Achilles tendon in predraft workouts last offseason, who is primed for a breakout year. Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser are in line for bounce-back seasons, too.
Hearing from Macdonald about the defense going into this season and its progression should be good. It’ll be worth hearing his thoughts about the depth at corner, Hamilton starting next to Williams and the current group of pass rushers.
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The Banner will have multiple reporters at each day of training camp practice. Follow along for updates from them. Also check out our Banner Sports X (what used to be Twitter) account, plus other Baltimore media members covering the Ravens, in our X list below: