With the Ravens holding the last of three open organized team activity workouts ahead of next week’s three-day mandatory minicamp, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. While no official statistics were kept, it felt like there were more pass breakups, batted balls, and passes hitting the ground than completions as the defense dominated. At one point, I noticed a helicopter flying nearby and wondered if someone had called Lamar Jackson to save the day.
2. Rookie cornerback Denzel Williams returned an interception of a Brett Hundley pass for a touchdown while Marlon Humphrey later picked a deflected Tyler Huntley pass. As one member of the offensive line noted on the sideline, the defense was jumping routes left and right on Wednesday.
3. There were some offensive highlights with Rashod Bateman and James Proche each catching a touchdown on fade routes. There’s very little to glean from these workouts — especially with Jackson absent — but I’d be lying if I said I’ve been impressed with the wide receiver group so far.
4. Coming off an underwhelming second season, Justin Madubuike batted down multiple passes on Wednesday and has taken extensive reps with some veteran defensive linemen skipping voluntary OTAs. John Harbaugh said, “We really expect him to take off, and he and I have talked about it.”
5. With Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo rehabbing Achilles injuries, Odafe Oweh limited after offseason shoulder surgery, and Jaylon Ferguson also dealing with an undisclosed ailment, outside linebacker has been a skeleton crew featuring Daelin Hayes, veteran newcomer Vince Biegel, and rookie free agents. Like last spring, Hayes has flashed some.
6. It’s forgotten as long as he reports in good shape, but Michael Pierce not taking part in OTAs has been mildly surprising after playing in just eight games the last two seasons. The veteran can’t have a repeat of 2019 when he was pulled from minicamp due to poor conditioning.
7. The absence of the threat of contact makes catching passes easier in the spring, but rookie tight ends Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely have been as active as you’d like to see. Nick Boyle said, “When you see them out here running plays and catching balls, they’re really, really good.”
8. New tight ends coach George Godsey couldn’t have walked into a better situation working with a pair of talented fourth-round rookies, a much healthier Boyle, and one of the very best tight ends in football in Mark Andrews. “When the opportunity arose, I jumped at it.”
9. I’m looking forward to seeing if Zach Orr — a former undrafted free agent — can help Patrick Queen live up to his first-round billing. The inside linebackers coach said, “The sky is the limit for him. That’s the thing — God touched P.Q. [with] natural ability, and he works hard at it.”
10. Ronnie Stanley was never going to take part in spring workouts as he continues rehabbing his ankle, but I’m still uneasy about the understudy situation despite the efforts to improve the rest of the offensive line. That said, even a first-round offensive tackle wouldn’t have eliminated short-term concern.
11. Cary Williams going from being an unknown cornerback out of Washburn to a two-year starter and Super Bowl XLVII champion was one of the franchise’s good underdog stories. The 37-year-old is currently working with the secondary as a coaching intern.
12. With the longest preseason road trip in franchise history looming, Harbaugh said the Ravens won’t practice with the Arizona Cardinals, but plans are in the works for “some team bonding and things like that” to maximize the trip and break up the monotony of training camp. The Grand Canyon, anyone?