One of the best things about Thursday's practice was that it was the first day and the Ravens still have time to find a cohesive offensive line.
But the clock is ticking ...
Both the Ravens and Bryant McKinnie are still waiting to exhale after the giant and often troubled left offensive tackle failed to show up for the opening of training camp.
According to head coach John Harbaugh, McKinnie was a no-show because of personal reasons, but after practice, quarterback Joe Flacco alluded to getting McKinnie into playing shape. It's clear the Ravens aren't happy with McKinnie who has had a history of being overweight going back to his playing days in Minnesota.
It was enough for Harbaugh to declare Michael Oher the team's starting left tackle until further notice, and it might be time for the Ravens to part with McKinnie. They have worked with him during the offseason on other personal issues and even gave him a $500,000 roster bonus in March.
Where is the payback?
The bigger question is who is the starting right tackle?
The Ravens had tackle Ramon Harewood working on the right side with the first unit Thursday, but he left practice early after he rolled an ankle. That is no surprise. Harewood has been injury prone during his three seasons in Baltimore, and it's a stretch for the Ravens to think Harewood is a starter. He's slow, stiff and has little bend in his knees.
The Ravens had Cord Howard and Jack Cornell working with the first unit after Harewood left, but who are these masked men? The Ravens have two other candidates at tackle, but both rookie Kelechi Osemele (back spams) and Jah Reid (calf) missed practice Thursday. Both could be available for practice soon, but it's highly unlikely either would be a consistent, solid starter.
For the unit to be effective it needs to play together and if McKinnie doesn't post soon, the Ravens will be looking around the league for another tackle.
Time is still on the Ravens sidebut not for long.
Jacoby Jones shines
No. 3 receiver Jacoby Jones had a reputation of being inconsistent when he played in Houston last season, and he had quite a few drops in several Ravens minicamps .
But he looked good Thursday in practice. In fact, most of the receivers performed well, and that's impressive considering it was the first day. Two rookies to keep an eye on are Deonte Thompson and Dorian Graham.
Rough start for backup QBs
Flacco looked more comfortable in the pocket Thursday than on any other opening day. His passes were sharp and well placed, and he didn't throw a bad pass until the final 30 minutes of a 2 1/2 hour practice.
But the same thing can't be said for backups Tyrod Taylor and Curtis Painter. If the Ravens have to use the 6-1 Taylor, he might have to operate out of the shotgun to get a better look into passing lanes, or they will have to roll him out of the pocket often.
As for Painter, he didn't perform well in minicamps and wasn't very good Thursday throwing three interceptions.
Ravens shape up
Overall, the Ravens appeared to be in pretty good physical condition. Starting left guard Bobbie Williams has slimmed down 12 to 15 pounds, according to Harbaugh.
A lot of talk has centered around the slimmed down Ray Lewis, but fellow inside linebackers Jameel McClain and Dannell Ellerbe also appeared leaner than a year ago. Defensive tackle Terrence Cody appears to have had a strong offseason , and he started practicing with the rookies Tuesday.
Waiting for Suggs
The Ravens haven't announced a plan for the return of Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, out with a torn Achilles.
But he'll probably only come back if the Ravens are in contention after the midway point of the season. It makes no sense to come back if the Ravens aren't in the playoff picture.
"Our feeling right now — and I haven't been here — but I can tell you how many guys want to go out there and perform for Terrell Suggs, to get him back healthy enough, because I know Terrell, " running back Ray Rice said. "Terrell is going to want to get out here faster than everybody else. But, if we are going ahead and taking care of business, he can actually sit back and say, 'Let me get myself recovered 100 percent, then go out there and help them boys out.'"
Despite Flacco throwing well, the Ravens cornerbacks broke on the ball well, especially Lardarius Webb, Cary Williams and Chykie Brown.
Webb picked off a Flacco pass and returned it about 35 yards for a touchdown. Williams had hip surgery in February, but played well Thursday and Brown knocked down several passes.
Auditioning kick returners
The Ravens are looking for a kickoff returner and they had running backs Anthony Allen, Damien Berry, Bernard Pierce, Bobby Rainey and cornerback Asa Jackson returning them early in practice.
Pierce also did a lot of work on offense as the No. 2 running back.
Harbaugh said Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata missed practice because of a hamstring injury suffered in the conditioning run, and your mind couldn't help but flash back to the team's mandatory minicamp in mid June when Ngata appeared overweight and slow.
Under Armour Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens have become the Under Armour Ravens.
The team has gone overboard with the signage at The Castle in Owings Mills. The Under Armour name is plastered over every thing including the street lamps on the driveway leading to the complex.
I can't wait for game day at the stadium.