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Twelve Ravens Thoughts following mandatory minicamp

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With the Ravens concluding their three-day mandatory minicamp to complete the offseason training program in Owings Mills this week, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. An otherwise uneventful week included multiple offensive line combinations, revealing clues about the pecking order at three open spots. John Harbaugh would prefer to have “a good idea” of the starters by the second week of training camp, but past offensive line competitions have rarely been sorted out that quickly. 

2. After a choppy first day including some interceptions, Lamar Jackson made some pretty throws down the seam to tight ends and connected with Zay Flowers on some highlight plays. We’re obviously talking about a two-time MVP who’s “not a high-rep guy” in Tee Martin’s words, so Jackson’s right on schedule. 

3. There were quite a few false starts over the first couple days, but Harbaugh and Martin noted that varying the pre-snap cadence has been a point of emphasis to better combat the high-end pass rushers — including quite a few in the division — they’ll face. That remains a work in progress. 

4. Regarded as the heavy favorite to replace Patrick Queen all offseason, Trenton Simpson looked the part this spring, which included making his share of plays in coverage. The pads coming on for camp will be the next checkpoint, but it’s Simpson’s job to lose with no signs of real competition. 

5. Ronnie Stanley admitted “it was really killing me” to not play to his potential last season as he felt the effects of a Week 1 knee injury. His spring participation on the heels of accepting a pay cut reflects his understanding of just how critical this season is for him. 

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6. This is nothing new after what we watched in 2023, but Isaiah Likely made multiple highlight grabs with Jackson joking that he needs to catch the ball with two hands. The ability to deploy Mark Andrews and Likely simultaneously feels key to this passing game hitting another level.

7. Speaking of ways to expand the offense, Rashod Bateman had a productive final day, albeit in a lighter practice that didn’t include wearing helmets. That was a positive after his underwhelming start to the week, but the on-field chemistry between Bateman and Jackson will remain a spotlight focus this summer.

8. Arthur Maulet is sometimes overlooked when discussing this secondary, but he had an impressive minicamp with an interception of Jackson, a strip against Flowers, and a few other plays on the football. We saw last year that he’s also an effective blitzer, making him a very useful chess piece.

9. For the third straight year, Ben Cleveland entered offseason workouts regarded by many as a favorite to win a starting job. But once again, I come out of the spring less confident in that predicition. In contrast, Andrew Vorhees appears on track in his quest to start at left guard.  

— Offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris on fourth-year guard Ben Cleveland

10. Count Willie Taggart among those who wondered how Derrick Henry would fit in an offense using so much shotgun compared to Tennessee. “I’m not going to lie, I questioned that until he got here, and [I saw] the big man move his feet. … I don’t think we’ll have any problem.” 

11. Though Marlon Humphrey and Michael Pierce were very limited during minicamp and a handful of young players missed valuable practice reps this spring, the only long-term recovery entering training camp appears to be Keaton Mitchell, which was expected. Completing the spring program without any major injuries is a victory itself. 

12. Kyle Hamilton should be ready for the open of camp after undergoing a minor elbow procedure, but his absence increased opportunities for Ar’Darius Washington and Tre Swilling. The No. 3 safety spot could still be someone who isn’t yet on the roster, but Swilling seemingly elevated his standing this spring.

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