Twelve Ravens thoughts at start of offseason training program

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(Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens)

With the voluntary offseason training program now underway in Owings Mills, I’ve offered a dozen Ravens-related thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Though some bristled over Steve Saunders describing offseason program changes as “little tweaks” on Wednesday, Baltimore ranked in the top half of the NFL in fewest adjusted games lost from 2018-20. Adjustments were in order after an injury-ravaged 2021, but the evidence doesn’t support making drastic changes.

2. Patrick Ricard noted more emphasis on stretching and warming up as well as a decrease in reps over the first few days of voluntary workouts. He also applauded the organization’s efforts to make adjustments over simply maintaining the status quo. It’ll be interesting to monitor modifications this spring and summer.

3. While much player tracking data remains proprietary, I suspect the Ravens will place even greater emphasis on using those numbers to help shape workouts, monitor practice workloads, and prevent injuries. As Saunders said, “Everybody is built a little bit differently. … You just have to know how to interpret everything.”

4. It’d be a blast watching Deebo Samuel in Baltimore, but I do wonder when the bubble bursts on trading premium picks for receivers requiring market-setting contracts, especially as more NFL-ready wideouts come out of college every year. However, the comparison some are making to running backs feels like a reach.

5. While I’d still endorse Eric DeCosta taking a swing on a bigger wide receiver later in the draft, I see a healthy Rashod Bateman taking a substantial step forward with a full spring and summer. Some extra offseason time put in with Lamar Jackson can only be a positive.

6. Though I’m not expecting Miles Boykin to put it together in Pittsburgh, I can only imagine the reaction of Ravens fans if the 2019 third-round pick becomes a meaningful contributor for the Steelers. Regardless, Boykin needed a fresh start and was making too much for what his role was here.

7. Asked to assess his play through two seasons, Patrick Queen said he was pleased with his improvement getting off blocks while acknowledging the need to find the ball more quickly in pass coverage. That will be critical in determining whether the Ravens choose to exercise his fifth-year option next spring.

8. Queen praised Mike Macdonald and Zach Orr, who both coached him as a rookie. “I’ve got a coach that trusts in me, a coach that really understands the game and is going to give me feedback on what I need to be doing right and what I was doing wrong.”

9. Justin Madubuike said he’s “grateful” to play with Calais Campbell another season, but the third-year defensive tackle acknowledged this being a big year. “I have a lot more to do, and I feel like I didn’t even peak yet. I feel like I can be great.” The Ravens are waiting.

10. Despite continuing his third stint with Baltimore, this marks the first spring Josh Bynes has spent with the organization since 2014 after rejoining the organization on the fly in 2019 and 2021. That’s unlikely to mean much for him individually, but his presence is a plus for the young linebackers.

11. At the end of the 2014 preseason, Bynes, then a fourth-year veteran, was waived as Baltimore kept an undrafted rookie inside linebacker out of North Texas on the 53-man roster. It’s pretty crazy how that player — Orr — is now Bynes’ inside linebackers coach despite being three years younger.

12. One of the longstanding criticisms of the Ravens offense that even predates Greg Roman has been the utter inability to run screen passes, which didn’t exactly make the following tweet from Football Outsiders all that surprising. It’s still pretty telling though.

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