Twelve Ravens thoughts as veterans report for training camp

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With veteran players reporting to Owings Mills ahead of the first full-squad workout of training camp, I’ve offered a dozen Ravens thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Report day brings an excitement reminiscent of the first day of school, but players arrived with heavy hearts remembering Jaylon Ferguson, who died of an accidental drug overdose the week after the conclusion of last month’s minicamp. Patrick Queen said they’ll be playing for their late teammate this season.

2. While there’s been much discussion about the status of J.K. Dobbins recently, Gus Edwards is regarded as a real question mark for Week 1. The fifth-year back tore his ACL days before the 2021 opener and has had 10-plus months to recover, but his return to practice isn’t close.

3. A healthy Dobbins provides the highest ceiling of anyone in Baltimore’s backfield, but Edwards provided one heck of a floor averaging at least 5.0 yards per carry in each of his first three seasons. The veteran additions of Mike Davis and Corey Clement feel a little more notable now.  

4. There are no guarantees, of course, but you sense more optimism regarding the other Ravens veterans on the active physically unable to perform list. That doesn’t mean we’ll see any of them practice before mid-August, but they should have enough time to get ready for the Sept. 11 opener.

5. For those who still had some lingering questions about the potential for a “hold-in” by Lamar Jackson, the star quarterback has already taken part in some practices since reporting to camp last week. Long-term contract or not, Jackson appears to be treating business as usual from a football standpoint. 

6. If we’re to see Baltimore and Jackson strike an extension before next offseason, the next week or so feels like the prime opportunity for it. Without an agent to push the deal across the finish line, Jackson figures to be more and more focused on football as the preseason advances.

7. David Ojabo is the NFL’s last unsigned draft pick. That’s not the end of the world with Ojabo destined for the non-football injury list anyway, but contract guarantees given to some other second-round picks could be complicating matters, especially with his Pro Day injury impacting his draft standing.

8. Charlie Kolar is currently dealing with a sports hernia issue. It’s unclear whether that will require surgery, but the fourth-round pick is going to miss valuable practice time at the very least. And yes, I could hear your groan over the injuries already starting.

9. Kolar’s absence opens the door for fellow fourth-round tight end Isaiah Likely to carve out an early role in the offense. Likely had a really nice spring with Mark Andrews acknowledging the rookie reminds him of himself “a little bit.”

10. While I like the long-term outlook of the pass rush, the Week 1 status of Tyus Bowser may determine just how problematic the short term could be. The Ravens have been optimistic about Bowser’s recovery throughout the offseason, which is somewhat surprising considering he tore his Achilles on Jan. 9. 

11. I’d say I’m surprised Baltimore still hasn’t added a notable wide receiver since the Marquise Brown trade, but we’re talking about a historical blind spot for a great organization. Perhaps these young receivers prove everyone wrong or it won’t matter for this offense, but it’s too “Groundhog Day” for me.

12. Beginning his 15th NFL training camp, Calais Campbell quipped how good the young players have it with two-a-days and live contact in the first practice being ancient history. Campbell was drafted just a few months after the Ravens hired John Harbaugh, speaking to how long they’ve both been around.