Twelve Ravens Thoughts on Harbaugh press conference at NFL owners meetings

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(Updated: 9:30 a.m. Tuesday)

With head coach John Harbaugh meeting with reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando on Monday morning, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. It was at last year’s owners meetings when Lamar Jackson made his trade request public as John Harbaugh was sitting down with media in Arizona. This time around, the head coach had some fun sending his quarterback a text before he began answering questions. What a difference 365 days make. 

2. Unsurprisingly, the offensive line was a hot topic with Harbaugh saying they “expect it to be better than last year.” He cited the healthy return of Ronnie Stanley and the coaching chops of Joe D’Alessandris as big factors, but much needs to go well for that goal to be realized.  

3. The Ravens liked the versatility of Josh Jones after he played multiple offensive line spots in Houston and Arizona, and Harbaugh compared his addition to John Simpson last year. Jones has also played extensively at right guard, but left guard seems like the more realistic spot based on Harbaugh’s comments.

4. Asked about inside linebacker with Patrick Queen landing in Pittsburgh, Harbaugh said they’ll “have to have it covered” with expectations that 2023 third-round pick Trenton Simpson will step up. He’s also happy to have Chris Board back in the picture on special teams and as a veteran insurance policy. 

5. Harbaugh has stayed in contact with Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy and says Baltimore remains optimistic about re-signing either veteran, but there’s no clear timetable for a decision from either player. Clowney has been drawing plenty of interest from other potential suitors. 

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6. Though David Ojabo has much to prove in just staying on the field after appearing in six career games, Harbaugh wants him and Odafe Oweh “to be partners in crime” in 2024. This is a huge offseason for Ojabo to make developmental strides working with outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith. 

7. Asked about the visits of veterans Michael Gallup and Josh Reynolds, Harbaugh immediately pointed to seeing Zay Flowers and Rashod Bateman “step to the front together” at receiver. Couple that with confirmation of Odell Beckham Jr. not returning, and it seems like the focus will be on youth upside. 

8. Harbaugh said Josh Johnson will be the backup quarterback with Malik Cunningham having “an opportunity” to develop. Perhaps that morphs into a competition by training camp, but that depth chart assessment from the Baltimore coach was more definitive than usual at this point in the offseason. 

9. Though you’d expect Baltimore to add another legitimate depth piece at outside cornerback behind Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Stephens, Harbaugh sounded pleased with the slot corner depth after the re-signings of Arthur Maulet and Ar’Darius Washington. Of course, Humphrey and Kyle Hamilton have also played there extensively in the past. 

10. Patrick Ricard is staying at fullback this season after a brief look at him trying guard last summer, and Harbaugh praised Ricard’s value despite outside speculation about his future this offseason. The Ravens would also like to see Charlie Kolar become more of a factor as an in-line tight end. 

11. To no surprise, Harbaugh was asked about the new kickoff rule proposal multiple times. While the former special teams coordinator repeatedly praised efforts to make the kickoff a more relevant part of the game, he didn’t sound overly enthusiastic about the details in this proposal, which passed Tuesday. 

12. While the initial NFL Network report of Jerry Rosburg returning to the coaching staff in a game management position was “way overblown,” Harbaugh left open the possibility of his “best friend” serving in a consultant or adviser capacity. However, that still wouldn’t be a full-time role for the 68-year-old. 

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