With the Ravens holding their third full-team practice of training camp on Friday afternoon, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. With temperatures soaring well into the 90s, credit players for holding up well in the brutal heat as only a few appeared to really labor at any point. Friday wasn’t the hottest practice I’ve covered over my 15 training camps, but it was up there.
2. Zay Flowers was an unexpected absence, and John Harbaugh wasn’t scheduled to talk after practice to address his status. The rookie — whom Todd Monken called “a fun little toy” — looked fine after Thursday’s workout and probably wouldn’t have met with media if he had suffered even a minor-to-moderate injury.
3. Ronnie Stanley was the other new absence, but that wasn’t surprising after the left tackle practiced fully on back-to-back days. Stanley is fully healthy at this point in the summer for the first time since 2020, and the Ravens want to keep it that way by managing his practice reps.
4. In a surprising move, Baltimore released Trayvon Mullen for “failure to disclose physical condition” after the 25-year-old corner landed on the non-football injury list to start camp. Lamar Jackson’s cousin, Mullen had a good spring and a solid shot to make the roster, so we’ll see what happens with him.
5. Asked about the offense getting to the line of scrimmage more quickly than previous seasons, Monken said he wants to “empower” Jackson to “assess the defense, make changes, and be in control” of the offense. It’s evident the Ravens are putting more on Jackson’s pre-snap plate.
6. At one point during an 11-on-11 period, Michael Pierce broke through the interior line for a “sack” of Jackson that didn’t include any hint of contact, of course. Even in the pocket, I’m not so sure Pierce would get his hands on the elusive franchise quarterback quite so easily.
7. Jackson and James Proche had a tough time connecting as the quarterback overthrew a couple balls — one resulting in a terrific one-handed catch that landed out of the end zone — and the fourth-year receiver dropped a pass later. This is obviously a critical preseason for the 2020 sixth-round pick.
8. With Odell Beckham Jr. quiet and Flowers and Rashod Bateman not practicing, Devin Duvernay had a strong day with a catch on a deep out as well as a long touchdown tossed by Jackson. Special-teams value aside, Duvernay is hoping not to fall too far down the receiver pecking order.
9. My early sense on the left guard battle is that the Ravens want to give rookie Sala Aumavae-Laulu a long look with the starters early, but they still view veteran John Simpson as the “high-floor” or “safe” option. Meanwhile, Ben Cleveland seems more likely to compete for a reserve spot.
10. The play of the day was a one-handed catch made by Isaiah Likely on a pass down the seam from Jackson. However, Marcus Williams would have had something to say about that completion had contact been permitted. Business will pick up in that department next week.
11. In an 11-on-11 red-zone period, Josh Johnson threw a touchdown to former Maryland product Dontay Demus on a pass that went through the hands of both Arthur Maulet and Corey Mayfield. Just how the veteran quarterback drew it up, of course.
12. With news that Joe Burrow will miss time with a calf injury and Jalen Ramsey will be out until at least December after undergoing meniscus surgery, this is your reminder that most major stories this time of year aren’t good. You hope to stay healthy, but some injuries are inevitable.