Friday, September 30, 2022

Twelve Ravens thoughts following Days 13 and 14 of open training camp practice

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

With the Ravens returning to the practice field for two workouts over the weekend, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Though he failed to corral an impressive deep throw from Lamar Jackson on Sunday, Rashod Bateman had arguably his best practice of the summer Saturday with multiple big plays and isn’t showing any lingering effects from a soft-tissue injury. The second-year receiver continues to fine-tune his chemistry with Jackson.

2. Greg Roman acknowledged some curiosity regarding how Jackson adding quite a bit of muscle might affect his generational speed, something on which we haven’t gotten a great gauge during practices. “His engine is bigger this year, so he might be a little bit faster. We’ll just see how it goes.”

3. John Harbaugh said J.K. Dobbins sitting out the weekend was planned as an “evaluation” after his first week back. Much of Dobbins’ work has been of an individual nature anyway, but the two-day absence felt a little unusual after he participated in only two open practices before the preseason opener.

4. With Brandon Stephens and Jalyn Armour-Davis returning to practice Saturday, the secondary is moving closer to full strength with Marcus Peters also nearing his training camp debut. Mike Macdonald has no shortage of options for the nickel, which should make for some really creative sub packages.

5. The secondary did plenty of tackling technique work during Sunday’s padded practice, which is a major point of emphasis with barely any live tackling during camp and diminished playing time for starters in preseason games. Save for Tennessee’s lone touchdown drive, Harbaugh was generally pleased with the tackling on Thursday.

6. The defense dominated Sunday’s two-minute drill as Jackson threw three incompletions and Odafe Oweh picked up a “sack” to end the first-team series, prompting Jackson to kick the ball in frustration. Daryl Worley then picked off Tyler Huntley and Zakoby McClain intercepted an Anthony Brown pass off Nate McCrary’s hands.

7. Neither inside linebacker nor outside linebacker has great depth, which makes Malik Harrison an interesting depth piece. Even if he hasn’t lived up to starter expectations, the 2020 third-round pick could add game-day value as a “Sam” option, especially as Tyus Bowser works his way back to full strength.

8. Daniel Faalele still has a long way to go, but his potential matches his 6-foot-8, 380-pound frame with Roman saying he’s “coming along by leaps and bounds.” Considering Faalele was struggling to make it through spring workouts in milder temperatures, he’s shown superior conditioning over the last couple weeks.

9. The latest Jackson contract update wasn’t really one at all with the quarterback confirming his negotiating cutoff being Week 1, which was implied last month. The absence of an agent complicates the process, of course, but let’s not forget Eric DeCosta has also completed multiple in-season extensions in recent years.

10. With the Ravens signing outside linebacker Trent Harris and waiving cornerback Denzel Williams and wide receiver Devon Williams on Saturday, it’s worth noting NFL teams must cut the roster from 90 players to 85 by Tuesday afternoon. The clock is already ticking for roster hopefuls.

11. I had to chuckle Saturday morning upon hearing a fan yell to Tony Jefferson, “T.J., you have your contacts in?” The veteran safety quickly confirmed by pointing to his eyes. That was quite an interesting revelation from someone who was a high-profile free-agent signing five years ago.

12. We’ll see what the next few weeks bring with injured New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, but the possibility of Joe Flacco starting against the Ravens in Week 1 couldn’t make a more interesting story to kick off a new season. If only that one were being played in Baltimore.

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