Brown sits; Har­baugh says WR ‘re­cov­er­ing’

Baltimore Sun - - NFL - By Jonas Shaffer

Ravens rookie wide re­ceiver and firstround draft pick Mar­quise “Hol­ly­wood” Brown missed prac­tice Mon­day, two days af­ter he par­tic­i­pated in team drills for the first time at train­ing camp.

Coach John Har­baugh did not say say whether Brown’s ab­sence was due to an in­jury. Brown had been steadily pro­gress­ing in his re­cov­ery from Lis­franc (foot) surgery, which he un­der­went in Jan­uary.

“Just re­cov­er­ing, you know,” Har­baugh said. “All those kind of things are just part of train­ing camp. I’m not go­ing to get into ev­ery sin­gle guy or why he’s here or why he’s not. We don’t have any se­ri­ous in­juries, and it’s just part of our process.”

Brown missed off­sea­son work­outs and did not prac­tice un­til July 31, where his work was mostly limited to po­si­tional drills. On Satur­day, af­ter sit­ting out the Ravens’ pre­sea­son opener, he lined up against de­fend­ers in seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 pe­ri­ods. His speed and ac­cel­er­a­tion were ap­par­ent, but de­fend­ers made sure to avoid con­tact.

Brown par­tic­i­pated in team drills again Sun­day, but his par­tic­i­pa­tion was more limited. “He’s not quite where he was be­fore, but I like where he’s at,” wide receivers coach David Cul­ley said af­ter­ward. But on Mon­day, Brown did not take the field, mean­ing an ap­pear­ance in Thurs­day’s pre­sea­son game against the Green Bay Pack­ers is un­likely.

De­fen­sive back-linebacker An­thony Levine Sr. said he saw Brown work­ing with head ath­letic trainer Ron Medlin last week. He left im­pressed by his ath­leti­cism in a high-knee work­out. “Oh, man. He can pick ‘em up and put ‘em down,’ ” he re­mem­bered think­ing. Levine said the main ob­sta­cle to Brown’s NFL de­but is men­tal.

“With our or­ga­ni­za­tion, we’ve got a great train­ing staff, our weight room is good, our train­ers are good, so they make sure that we’re good and we stay on top of things,” he said. “And as long as he gets it men­tally, as long as he gets it in the class­room, on the field, man, we’re out here play­ing foot­ball. I don’t think it’s a big set­back at all.”

Also miss­ing were wide re­ceiver Seth Roberts; of­fen­sive line­men Mar­shal Yanda, Greg Se­nat and Randin Cre­celius; out­side lineback­ers Matthew Judon and Mike On­uoha (wrist); cor­ner­backs Tavon Young, Mau­rice Canady and Iman Mar­shall; and safety Earl Thomas.

Cor­ner­back Jimmy Smith left the field mid­way through prac­tice. Har­baugh said it was for “noth­ing se­ri­ous.”

Un­drafted guard en­ters mix

The left guard who joined the Ravens’ start­ing of­fen­sive line for the first 11-on-11 rep­e­ti­tions of Mon­day’s prac­tice was an un­likely can­di­date: two Di­vi­sion I of­fers com­ing out of high school, a two-year starter at tackle for Cal­i­for­nia, un­drafted, then ab­sent for manda­tory mini­camp.

But even with train­ing camp end­ing Tues­day, the Ravens’ left guard com­pe­ti­tion is wide open. Rookie Ben Pow­ers opened camp with the first team. Then Jermaine Elue­mu­nor stepped in. James Hurst has re­mained in the mix. On Mon­day, it was the sur­pris­ing Pa­trick Mekari who shared rep­e­ti­tions with Elue­mu­nor.

“We’ve kind of been work­ing him up to this,” coach John Har­baugh said. “He played well in the [pre­sea­son] game [Thurs­day against the Jack­sonville Jaguars]. He had a good prac­tice yesterday. Let’s see what he can do. That’s our plan. That’s what we’re do­ing. That’s what train­ing camp’s for.”

And mini­camp is there to ease the tran­si­tion to the NFL, but the 6-foot-4, 308-pound Mekari missed it en­tirely, side­lined by a back in­jury. He said he feels “100%” now, which is a fair bit bet­ter than he did in June.

“Just be­ing out ob­vi­ously [stinks], es­pe­cially when you’re an un­drafted rookie,” he said. “You’re just try­ing to find your place and make your way and im­press the coaches. So that was frus­trat­ing, but I was able to get back in and get into the swing of things.”

Mekari’s foot­ball ca­reer has been hard to predict. Af­ter three years at cen­ter on the var­sity at West­lake High School (Calif.), he had just two of­fers to play col­lege foot­ball. One was from Utah State. The other was from Cal, where his brother, Tony, played nose tackle.

Mekari (pro­nunced muh- CARE-ee) chose to fol­low fam­ily. As a true fresh­man in 2015, he ap­peared in six games at guard. The next year, he started at left tackle, right tackle and left guard. Over his fi­nal two sea­sons, he earned All-Pac-12 honor­able men­tion and sec­ond-team all-con­fer­ence hon­ors as the Golden Bears’ left tackle.

A leg in­jury ended Mekari’s se­nior year in late Novem­ber, and he wasn’t able to play in the NFLPA Col­le­giate Bowl, a post­sea­son show­case. The Ravens signed him af­ter he went un­drafted, and he’s split time be­tween guard and cen­ter, in­clud­ing in Thurs­day’s opener.

“Just work­ing hard,” he said of his ap­proach to camp. “It’s kind of just my at­ti­tude about things, just come out here and prove some­thing. Yesterday doesn’t mean any­thing. It’s all about to­day. Just want to keep work­ing out here, and if I get the op­por­tu­nity, just want to take ad­van

tage of it.”

Ex­tra points

Quar­ter­back La­mar Jack­son had done well to avoid costly in­ter­cep­tions for much of train­ing camp — un­til Sun­day. For the sec­ond straight day, Jack­son threw a pick-six in prac­tice. First, it was cor­ner­back Mar­lon Humphrey cut­ting in front of a pass at the goal line; had the play con­tin­ued Sun­day, no one would have stopped him from scor­ing.

On Mon­day, de­fen­sive back-linebacker An­thony Levine Sr. broke on an out route by tight end Mark An­drews and picked off Jack­son’s pass. This time, there was no stop­ping him from sprint­ing the 25 to 30 yards to the end zone.

Humphrey also added an­other goal-line in­ter­cep­tion on a bob­bling grab in front of wide re­ceiver Jaleel Scott.

Of­fen­sively, wide re­ceiver Miles Boykin and tight end Nick Boyle had strong days for a pass­ing of­fense that of­ten strug­gled to break free against the Ravens se­condary. Scott also had a long com­ple­tion down the side­line af­ter blow­ing by cor­ner­back Justin Bethel.

ULYSSES MUÑOZ/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Ravens wide re­ceiver Mar­quise Brown catches a pass dur­ing warmups be­fore Thurs­day’s game against the Jaguars.

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