BaltimoreRavens.com Staff Writer
We’re three days into Ravens training camp and there’s no shortage of storylines.
Here are some of the early takeaways, all in 50 words or less:
Lamar Jackson is handling his business on and off the field. Judging from his comments Thursday, it sounds like a contract extension agreement is nearing. That’s not to say it will happen for sure before the “cutoff,” but it’s clear that progress has been made.
On the field, Jackson is showing more growth as a passer, this time on outside-the-numbers precision throws. If opponents are going to give the Ravens back-shoulder throws and comebacks, Baltimore needs to consistently take advantage. Jackson’s precision on such throws in camp so far is encouraging.
The added muscle that Jackson put on this offseason has been dissected from a throwing standpoint, and it has certainly seemed to add velocity to his passes. It’s also going to make him a better runner. Jackson looks even faster and he’s going to be tougher to bring down.
Off the back shoulder 🔥@Lj_era8 @Dev_Duv5 | @oakley pic.twitter.com/Fb41zwb3mZ
It’s early, and an addition still could be made, but the Ravens’ wide receivers have stepped up so far. They look better than they did in minicamp. Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, James Proche II and Tylan Wallace have hauled in everything that’s come their way and made tough grabs too.
An under-the-radar linebacker to watch is Vince Biegel, who the Ravens picked up in May. Baltimore needed more depth at outside linebacker and Biegel has looked good. John Harbaugh called him a “consummate pro” who is very physical and chases perfection with his technique. He’s made a strong impression.
Michael Pierce could still shed a few pounds, but the fact that the big man passed his conditioning test before camp opened means he’s still in football shape. Defensive tackles like him aren’t supposed to be svelte. As long as he’s tossing offensive linemen, the Ravens will be happy.
Speaking of the conditioning test, it’s not good that Ben Cleveland has still yet to pass his. The brawny blocker is in a tough competition at left guard and isn’t putting his best foot forward. That said, others have been down this road and turned out just fine.
Charlie Kolar’s sports hernia surgery opens the door for Isaiah Likely to earn more offensive involvement. Likely’s soft hands and receiver-like movement are impressive. It reminds me of when Hayden Hurst was bothered by injuries early in his rookie season and missed the first four games. Mark Andrews capitalized.
The Ravens are smart to bring back J.K. Dobbins and the other rehabbing Ravens back slowly, even though it’s clear Dobbins doesn’t agree. With Gus Edwards questionable to be ready to start the season, a full-strength return for Dobbins is that much more imperative for the offense to thrive.
Kevin Zeitler may go down as one of the Ravens’ best veteran free-agent signings in recent history. He was added last offseason to plug the hole left by Marshal Yanda and is basically a clone. Zeitler eats, sleeps and breathes football. His influence on rookie Tyler Linderbaum will be great.
When you complain about the heat at training camp so your husband comes over and gives the sweatiest hug ever to remind you who’s putting in the real work 😂 pic.twitter.com/0DEm2DWum6
Lamar Jackson is his own man and will operate accordingly. The Ravens are going to take their time with returning injured stars.
The Ravens’ loaded secondary could feast on weaker opposing passing games. The Ravens may not be done adding pass rushers. Things are changing in the AFC North.
Mark Andrews laughed it off, but he looks faster.
Lamar Jackson quieted concerns about his OTAs absence, and people shouldn’t misconstrue his latest contract comments.
Lamar Jackson’s expected presence at mandatory minicamp will tilt the balance of power. Why Kyle Hamilton will get his first career sack.
Look out for some second-year players to take a leap in 2022 for the Ravens.
Lamar Jackson’s absence isn’t good, but it’s also not the end of the world. Can a stacked secondary make up for the lack of pass rush?
All eyes will be on the young wide receivers at OTAs, but here are some other things reporters will be watching for at practices.
It’s time for the Ravens to give their young wide receivers more opportunities, but they still need a Plan B.
Don’t rule out a trade for a wide receiver. It feels like there’s still one more key move for the Ravens to make. Bolstering the cornerbacks group may make the most sense.
It’s an odd start to the season and the Ravens will need to gain steam in November before another tough stretch to close out the year.
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