Ravens defensive observations: Odafe Oweh dominates for defense, but Commanders hold their own

Published 8/15/2023 3:45 p.m. EDT, Updated 8/15/2023 5:30 p.m. EDT

The Ravens had their first of two joint training camp practices with the Washington Commanders on Tuesday in Owings Mills. Here’s what you need to know about the defense’s performance.

Attendance

Did not participate: Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser (knee, non-football-injury list); cornerbacks Jalyn Armour-Davis, Damarion “Pepe” Williams (ankle), Rock Ya-Sin (knee) and Arthur Maulet (hamstring); and safety Jaquan Amos.

Limited: Inside linebacker Trenton Simpson (soft tissue) and safety Geno Stone (ankle).

Notes: Simpson and Stone, who returned from minor injuries for Monday’s walk-through-heavy practice, participated in some individual drills. With no full-speed hitting allowed, the teams were limited to “thud” contact.

11-on-11 highlights

  • Unofficially, Commanders starting quarterback Sam Howell went 10-for-13 against the Ravens’ first-string defense in 11-on-11 action, though he rarely looked deep and took several sacks. The Commanders generated some easy looks on run-pass-option and play-action plays.
  • Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh had a would-be sack on the Commanders’ first play, charging through tight end John Bates to get to Howell as he rolled out after a run fake. Oweh ended the period by striking Nick Gates in the helmet. The starting center answered with his own shoves, and the two had to be separated.
  • Oweh’s strong morning was just getting going. A few periods later, he beat left tackle Charles Leno Jr. on an outside rush for another sack. He got his third after stunting inside. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey said after practice that Oweh and Ojabo have been “looking really good” in camp. He added: “We have some guys that can really rush the passer, which makes my job a lot easier. … [Oweh and Ojabo] have really taken some strides. I’m ready to see them do it on Sundays and kind of be able to become household names for themselves.”
  • Safety Ar’Darius Washington sparked the biggest fracas between the units. After Howell targeted reserve tight end Cole Turner in the left flat, Washington lined up for a big hit. Turner dropped the ball as Washington approached, but didn’t give up on his attempt to stiff-arm Washington, who took exception to the hand on his helmet. Washington dumped Turner into the Commanders’ sideline, leading to a quick confrontation between Pro Bowl wide receiver Terry McLaurin and the Ravens’ defense. Tempers flared as other players entered the fray, but no punches were thrown, and peace was quickly restored.
  • That didn’t stop all the big hitting. Minutes later, Commanders backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett had a pass over the middle bobbled by wide receiver Dyami Brown. As Brown reached for the pass, defensive back DeAndre Houston-Carson, in his first day with the Ravens, knocked him soundly to the ground. Brown limped off the field.
  • The Ravens’ defensive line had the edge early against the run, ceding little ground against a Commanders offensive line that’s considered one of the NFL’s worst. The reserves, however, allowed a big run up the middle to running back Jaret Patterson, who wasn’t touched until he reached the second level. Oweh also later found himself out of position on a couple of decent gains.
  • McLaurin opened one period with two catches against Humphrey, the first coming on a quick hitter against off-coverage, the second on a possible sight adjustment. With a blitz coming up the middle, McLaurin made himself available for Howell in the vacated territory for a short catch. “It’s a give-and-take, but obviously Terry and [fellow starting wide receivers Curtis] Samuel and [Jahan] Dotson, those guys are legit,” Humphrey said. “So there was some really good work today.”
  • Inside linebacker Patrick Queen had a well-timed blitz to force Howell to throw a pass away.
  • Safety Kyle Hamilton drove instinctively on a short pass to the left sideline and nearly had a diving deflection. But Howell’s ball ultimately reached Dotson just in time.
  • Reserve wide receiver Marcus Kemp had a back-shoulder catch down the right sideline against cornerback Kevon Seymour for a solid gain.
  • Running back Antonio Gibson ran over Marcus Williams as the safety flew downhill to make a play about 5 yards past the line of scrimmage.
  • Undrafted rookie outside linebacker Malik Hamm had a would-be sack against third-string quarterback Jake Fromm and helped get another play called dead with a pressure in the final period.

7-on-7 highlights

  • Commanders quarterbacks were accurate but limited mainly to short- and intermediate-range passes. Howell completed his first four passes, connecting twice with McLaurin, but also had a play called dead after he didn’t attempt a pass within about five seconds of the snap.
  • Starting wide receiver Curtis Samuel went low to collect a pass from Howell, beating tight coverage from Hamilton on a crossing pattern.

1-on-1 highlights

Commanders offensive players and Ravens defensive players faced off in one-on-one drills.

  • Hamilton was glued to undrafted rookie wide receiver Kazmeir Allen initially, but his attempt to undercut an in-breaking route backfired when a Commanders quarterback slipped his pass past him.
  • Seymour, one of the Ravens’ most reliable cornerbacks in individual drills, helped break up a deep back-shoulder throw to undrafted rookie wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley.
  • Reserve wide receiver Dyami Brown got just enough separation from Ravens rookie cornerback Kyu Kelly on a dig route for a solid gain over the middle.
  • Not long after, Dotson also broke free of safety Daryl Worley on a similar in-breaking route for a catch.
  • Reserve running back Jonathan Williams got behind inside linebacker Roquan Smith for a deep catch down the left sideline.
  • Hamm had two of the Ravens’ best pass-rush repetitions. He set up reserve tackle Cornelius Lucas, who easily handled outside linebacker David Ojabo, with an outside rush before spinning inside and winning cleanly. Later, Hamm bowled over rookie tackle Braeden Daniels, a fourth-round pick, with a speed-to-power bull rush that sent the Ravens’ defense into hysterics. The undersized Hamm was also overpowered on a few reps.
  • Commanders starting left guard Saahdiq Charles pancaked Broderick Washington after the defensive lineman lost his balance trying to slip by him.
  • Rookie Ravens outside linebacker Tavius Robinson used a power move to open up starting right tackle Andrew Wylie’s inside shoulder and get to the backfield. Robinson also later beat reserve tackle Trent Scott.
  • Defensive tackle Travis Jones walked Stromberg back 5 yards with a bull rush. He made it look easy, too.
  • Defensive lineman Brent Urban beat reserve guard Chris Paul with his preferred swim move.
  • Defensive lineman Justin Madubuike split his back-to-back reps against reserve tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith, taking the second matchup with a power move.
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