With the Ravens conducting another voluntary organized team activity workout open to reporters on Thursday afternoon, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. After being eased into the mix last week, Lamar Jackson took all first-team reps for an offense that predictably remains a work in progress under new coordinator Todd Monken. With Odell Beckham Jr. absent and Rashod Bateman still not doing full-team work, moving the ball through the air proved challenging.
2. The play of the day came on the defensive side of the ball when Marcus Williams intercepted a Jackson pass intended for Andy Isabella down the seam. Jackson connected on a nice sideline throw to Devin Duvernay later in practice, but most passes went underneath.
3. Thursday’s podium was highlighted by Tee Martin, who is excited to be coaching his natural position and offered good insight about the pre-snap freedom and responsibility Jackson will have in Monken’s offense. Martin pointed to last year’s Miami game as an example when Jackson thrived having more on his plate.
4. With so much discussion about the wide receivers, it’ll be fascinating to see how Monken deploys Mark Andrews, who has frequently lined up in the slot and even out wide. Acknowledging he’s received “a lot of attention” from defenses over the years, Andrews is embracing the pass-catching upgrades.
5. Patrick Queen said Baltimore not exercising his fifth-year option was “a blessing in disguise,” recognizing he’s still in line to be paid handsomely somewhere with a strong 2023. While expressing his preference to stay with the Ravens, he remains “focused on right now.” That’s the right mindset to have.
6. The most interesting absence from OTAs has been J.K. Dobbins, an opinion he seemingly reinforced with some tweets Thursday. Dobbins has been wildly productive when healthy, but I’d understand wanting to see a fully healthy season before committing too much for a contract extension, especially with a running back.
7. New wide receivers coach Greg Lewis said he’s “not a big potential guy” when asked to ponder his group’s upside, but he certainly has an improved situation with Baltimore having signed Beckham and former first-round pick Nelson Agholor and drafted Zay Flowers in the first round since his March hiring.
8. After missing the spring program and mandatory minicamp with “a personal matter” last year, Michael Pierce has been present throughout the spring and will need to provide veteran leadership, especially after Calais Campbell’s departure. Staying healthy will be his first objective.
9. Kyle Hamilton was back on the practice field after being held out with muscle tightness last week. Even after some notable departures, this secondary has much upside if Hamilton shows he’s ready to be deployed in expanded ways for his second season.
10. Given the wide receiver attention, Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar seem like forgotten men, but Monken isn’t going to abandon formations using multiple tight ends, especially given Andrews’ versatility. There’s definitely a place for more of an in-line tight end to be used, which will include Patrick Ricard.
11. Former St. Frances product Jordan Swann only signed to the 90-man roster on Wednesday, but he was quickly thrown into the 11-on-11 mix and came away with an interception of a Tyler Huntley deep ball intended for Dontay Demus. It’s always fun to track such players with local ties.
12. Undrafted rookie and City College product Malik Hamm garnered enthusiastic cheers from defensive veterans after showing off an impressive pass-rushing spin move during an 11-on-11 period. I still anticipate a veteran edge rusher to be signed between now and September, but opportunities are there for young options in the meantime.