With the Ravens completing their third full-squad practice of training camp on Friday afternoon, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. Lamar Jackson almost always looks good in practice — he’s a former unanimous league MVP after all — but Greg Roman suggested this is “probably better than I’ve ever seen him throw it” early in camp. That said, Friday’s focus was primarily on shorter passes in 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 periods.
2. It’s been difficult to get a feel for the depth chart of healthy running backs with Baltimore not working on many running plays during the ramp-up period. More run game work was mixed in on Friday, but that’s a good reminder of how early in the process we still are.
3. The 1-on-1 period was the highlight with Devin Duvernay catching a bomb against Robert Jackson, Rashod Bateman running an excellent curl route to best Marlon Humphrey for a reception, and Mark Andrews separating from rookie Kyle Hamilton for a touchdown. Remember the offense has a distinct advantage in that environment.
4. The wide receivers remain under scrutiny, but Bateman and James Proche ran crisp routes and 6-foot-4 rookie Shemar Bridges flashed to warrant a mention. Roman said, “If anybody wants to count them out, then go for it and make it public because we’ll just pin it up on the wall.”
5. Geno Stone came away with the first interception of training camp against rookie quarterback Anthony Brown, who had a very rough patch that also included a near-theft by Chuck Clark and a Tony Jefferson pick. The defense was having a blast over those few minutes of practice.
6. Roman said Ben Powers has the early lead at left guard, but that wasn’t shocking with the 2019 fourth-round pick offering the highest floor when acknowledging availability concerns with Tyre Phillips and Ben Cleveland. That said, Powers doesn’t offer as much upside in the final year of his rookie deal.
7. With Hamilton off to a quiet start in training camp and the Ravens having so much depth at safety, I found the following assessment from defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald to be interesting even at this very early stage:
8. Macdonald says he’s “fired up” to have Brandon Stephens, who’s seen a ton of reps as an outside cornerback with Marcus Peters not yet practicing. The defensive coordinator called him “a Swiss Army knife” who can play every position in the secondary, which should prove valuable on game days.
9. Jalyn Armour-Davis has played with more physicality and aggressiveness than I would have expected, which will be a plus if he can harness that in a game setting. The Alabama rookie isn’t practicing scared, which is important at such a difficult position like cornerback.
10. Roman summarized this opening week nicely by reminding, “We haven’t put pads on yet, so the evaluation on some things really hasn’t begun.” That’s why these early observations and highlights should be taken with a grain — if not a boulder — of salt.
11. Somewhat reserved in his interactions with the media to this point, Macdonald offered a funny quip when asked about Justin Houston noting how he was a first-year graduate assistant at Georgia for the edge rusher’s final season in Athens. “I was surprised he remembered me.”
12. Drills working on ball security are common, but it was unusual to see offensive players trying to take the football away from defensive players late in Friday’s practice. You hope not to be in that position too often during the season, but you never know when it might pay off.