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Twelve Ravens Thoughts leftovers from mandatory minicamp

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With the Ravens now enjoying a break after last week’s mandatory minicamp that concluded the offseason workout program, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Reflecting on a 2023 that included a career-high nine sacks, Kyle Van Noy cited being “able to focus on pass rush that entire time” after handling multiple responsibilities at previous career stops. It’ll be interesting to see how the 33-year-old fares after a full training camp with the team. 

2. Van Noy said he tries to keep Odafe Oweh next to him to “make sure he’s always pressing and doing the right thing” and expects him “to bounce off the charts this year.” Coming off a solid 2023, Oweh had a good spring and looked thicker in the shoulders. 

3. Asked about Patrick Mekari, offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris said, “It’s not that he can’t start; it’s just that we see the versatility and the benefit of that opportunity” to back up multiple spots. Of course, how younger starting options look this summer will determine Mekari’s Week 1 role.

4. While much focus will be on Ben Cleveland, former fourth-round pick Daniel Faalele is now entering his third season with no shortage of opportunities to earn playing time. As D’Alessandris confirmed, Faalele worked at right tackle and right guard, but can he move well enough to earn a starting job? 

5. Deonte Harty was excused from mandatory minicamp due to his newborn daughter being in the hospital. You pray for the best for the Baltimore native and return specialist, who will need to hit the ground running in training camp after missing the offseason program. 

6. If anything matters less than voluntary spring workouts, it’s quarterbacks throwing to receivers at a random location before training camp. If we’re going to dismiss attendance at OTAs as inconsequential, throwing sessions elsewhere shouldn’t be touted as relevant or comparable to structured full-team work with coaches in Owings Mills. 

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— Lamar Jackson on getting together with receivers for pre-camp throwing sessions

7. Quarterbacks coach Tee Martin said Josh Johnson is seemingly “aging backwards” from a physical standpoint, citing his arm strength and mobility. It’s amazing to think the 38-year-old has appeared in only 39 career games with nine starts, but the Ravens appear committed to him as the No. 2 quarterback. 

8. Six weeks ago, Malik Cunningham seemed more likely to be released before camp than to have a shot at making the roster, but John Harbaugh called him “kind of a natural at” receiver. He’ll likely need to excel on special teams to have a chance, but he had a solid spring. 

9. The cornerback competition is stiff, but Ka’dar Hollman has appeared in 35 NFL games and could factor as a special-teams contributor in the same vein as Kevon Seymour in recent years. The 29-year-old Hollman also made his share of good plays on the ball during minicamp.

10. With the Ravens using various uniform combinations, it was inevitable that they’d adopt an alternate helmet. The purple helmet and gold face mask should go well with the “color rush” alternate uniforms, and I liked incorporating the front-facing secondary logo that’s been part of the franchise’s identity since the 90s. 

11. An in-season version tracking the AFC North has potential, but I’ve found most seasons of “Hard Knocks” to be dull since the entertaining 2001 Ravens debuted the series. I’m sure John Harbaugh is thrilled at the thought of having “all-access” cameras following his team for a playoff push. 

12. Dozens of former Ravens were in Owings Mills watching mandatory minicamp with one alum quipping that he might still be playing if his generation’s minicamps were as easy as the present. It was great seeing so many ex-players, and their kids were quite excited to meet Lamar Jackson. 

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