OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Opinions vary on Lamar Jackson not attending the first two weeks of voluntary organized team activities, but the rest of the Ravens offense has been busy learning some new wrinkles in Greg Roman’s system.
Though the offensive coordinator echoed head coach John Harbaugh’s sentiment to let the star quarterback speak for himself in explaining his absence, Roman is “sure Lamar is working hard” and focusing on those players present for voluntary workouts. That doesn’t mean Jackson won’t have some catching up to do whenever he does report, however.
Roman wasn’t about to broadcast the specifics, of course, but he noted that Jackson will see some differences from previous seasons. With the Ravens beefing up their offensive line and tight end groups this offseason, many are anticipating a renewed commitment to a run-first, tight end-centric offense more closely resembling the record-setting 2019 unit.
“I definitely think we kind of went back and changed some things and added some things,” Roman said. “There are definitely some things that are new that we haven’t done. There are also a bunch of things that he’s pretty well adjusted to — probably 80% stuff he knows, 20% stuff that we look forward to working on.”
With the calendar turning to June on Wednesday, Jackson shouldn’t have any problem catching up on system tweaks ahead of the start of training camp in late July. Meanwhile, Roman says he’s pleased with the work put in by a young group of wide receivers that’s had perfect attendance for each of the two OTA workouts open to local reporters.
Whether those receivers would benefit from Jackson being there is another story.
“We’re not game-planning right now, we’re working on really installing things,” Roman said. “We may never run some of these plays, but [with] the concepts and the principles, we’re seeing really good progress from all those guys in terms of route-running and whatnot — the things you can get done this time of year.”
Restless nights for Linderbaum?
The Ravens typically bring rookies along slowly this time of year, but that hasn’t been the case for first-round pick Tyler Linderbaum, who’s worked exclusively with the starting offensive line over the first two weeks of full-team workouts.
“I told Tyler that it’s my goal to have him laying in bed shaking every night worried about the next thing,” said Roman as he smiled. “Hopefully, by training camp, he’s not, and then by the season, he’s feeling good. We’re trying to throw him in there and get him as much exposure [as possible]. He’s doing a really good job — you can see it every day.
“Some guys — you can just see it every day — they just take another step forward, and he’s one of those guys thus far. It’s a credit to him, and he needs to keep it going.”
Baltimore’s deep depth at safety has led to a more conventional approach with fellow first-round pick Kyle Hamilton this spring, but defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald said the former Notre Dame safety is “as advertised” from an ability standpoint and “right on schedule” learning the defense.
Wednesday’s attendance report
Jackson wasn’t the only veteran missing from the voluntary workout with defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Michael Pierce, cornerback Kyle Fuller, and right tackle Morgan Moses among the absences not believed to be related to health. Others not participating included running backs J.K. Dobbins (knee) and Gus Edwards (knee), offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and Ja’Wuan James (Achilles tendon), guard Ben Cleveland (undisclosed), defensive end Derek Wolfe (back/hip), outside linebackers Tyus Bowser (Achilles tendon) and David Ojabo (Achilles tendon), cornerbacks Marcus Peters (knee) and Iman Marshall (knee), and safety Ar’Darius Washington (foot).
Peters, Dobbins, and Ojabo all watched from the sideline for at least a portion of Wednesday’s practice.
Safety Marcus Williams, tight end Nick Boyle (knee), and outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson (undisclosed) were present and working after not taking part in last Wednesday’s workout open to media.
Personnel department promotions
The Ravens announced nine promotions in their personnel and football operations departments, a practice that’s pretty typical in the weeks following the NFL draft.
The list was headlined by David Blackburn, who was promoted from national scout to director of college scouting and is highly regarded entering his 16th season with the organization. Blackburn was previously Baltimore’s West area scout for seven seasons before being named national scout in 2020.
General manager Eric DeCosta also promoted Mark Azevedo to assistant director of player personnel. Now in his 18th season with the Ravens, Azevedo has run the rookie free-agent signing process since 2014.
Details of the other seven personnel promotions can be found HERE.