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Friday, July 1, 2022

Mike Preston’s Ravens overview on a versatile offensive line, rookies getting in shape, a Kyle Hamilton comparison and more. Vaccination

The Ravens have a lot of flexibility on the offensive line, but it’s hard to judge how good this group can be.

The Ravens have three weeks of voluntary practice and a few days of mandatory minicamps so far, so this is a great time to experiment.

He has moved a lot of players around, which allows him to be creative when it comes to injuries. On Tuesday, Ja’Wuan James opened the tackle on the right with Morgan Moses on the left. A day later, he switched positions and played reasonably well.

The new tandem is more athletic than last year’s starter Alejandro Villanueva, who struggled with the speed rushers.

The Ravens will also have to settle on a starting guard combination. Kevin Zeitler could be penciled on the right guard, but Tyre Phillips and Ben Powers have both started on the left with Ben Cleveland as the third option.

Rookie Tyler Linderbaum, the second of two first-round draft picks in April, is starting in center, but the team has enough replacements in Patrick McCreary and Tristan Colon.

Regardless, it appears to be a hardworking group. Run blocking is expected to be his strength once again, but he is already a better pass blocker than he was a year ago. The Ravens allowed a team-record 57 sacks last season.

Now, if the Pro Bowl drops the tackle so Ronnie Stanley can return from an ankle injury nearly a year and a half ago, the line has potential. Quarterback Lamar Jackson just might turn out to be one of the happiest people in Baltimore.

The cheaters aren’t ready yet

It’s puzzling why the crooks show these minicamps out of shape.

In some cases, they still have one semester of school left, so they can’t function like pro players. But many of these rookies leave school early so they can train for the NFL Scouting Combine, their school’s pro day, and off-season activities.

Two of the Ravens’ top rookies need to report in better shape when training camp opens in late July.

Daniel Falley, a 6-foot-8, 380-pound offensive tackle from Minnesota drafted in the fourth round, struggled through practice again on Wednesday.

Not only was he slow and methodical, but he indicated when the crows were about to pass or run. When he held a “light stick” or leaned back in his stance, it was a pass.

Falele can be labeled a project like outside linebacker Odafe Owe had last year, but Owe had a lot of skill and a strong motor as a rookie.

Rookie Travis Jones, Connecticut’s third-round pick in the 6-4, 327-pound defensive tackle, has also struggled with conditioning.

With Michael Pearce for a “personal matter” and the Ravens reaching a contractual deal with injured veteran Derek Wolff, Jones started Wednesday, but he was clearly exhausted early in the 2 1/2-hour practice. went.

Fortunately, both Jones and Falley would have about six weeks to improve their conditioning for training camp, which should be more than enough time.

twice as nice

The Ravens are doing some neat little things with this two-tight end offense, especially with a combination of 6-6, 250-pound rookie Charlie Kolar and veteran Mark Andrews.

Not only does the opposing formation force the defense to honor both runs and passes, but there can be some mismatch with linebackers forced to cover one of the tight ends one by one.

The wheeled route from Jackson to Andrews on Wednesday turned into an 18-yard touchdown, leading to celebration with Kolar in the final field. More should come now.

crime up and down

Jackson’s touchdown pass to Andrews came early in practice, but the offense intensified in the second half.

Jackson grew tired and threw his intended receiver back and down. Linderbaum also struggled with some of the snaps out of shotgun formation.

It was hot and humid and the Ravens started practicing at 1:30 PM, the heat took its toll.

Bateman is looking better

Since Jackson began training with the team on Tuesday, his return seems to have inspired second-year receiver Rashod Bateman.

In the last three practices open to the media, Bateman would occasionally drop passes, including a few short ones in between.

But it has been different with Jackson on the field. On Wednesday, they connected on a beautiful 65-yard touchdown down the left.

running back fight

One of the top battles in training camp will be the running back between fourth-year player Justice Hill and rookie Tyler Baddie.

The Ravens are looking for a pass-catching threat from the backfield behind JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, and so far the baddie has no equal. But Hill has been a standout in special teams, which could earn him a spot on the roster.

It would be no surprise if the Ravens held four run backs, perhaps hiding Badi in the practice squad. But if he plays well in the pre-season, it may be difficult to do so.

Hamilton in good company

Two things you quickly notice about rookie safety, Kyle Hamilton, the team’s top pick out from Notre Dame, are his size and his easy moves.

The 6-4, 220-pound defensive back never looked tense, remaining loose and confined. His style is similar to that of Hall of Fame security Ed Reed.

Now, don’t get carried away with any other comparison here. Reid always had that easygoing demeanor and that long, one-sided move.

Hamilton always looks like he’s tired, but he covers so much ground so quickly. He may make mistakes, but there is no indecision.

On the subject of Safari, veteran Tony Jefferson has done well in these practices, although the Ravens are loaded into position. I thought his career was largely over in February 2020 when the Ravens released him.

odds and ends

>> Rookie outside linebacker David Ozabo spent a good portion of practice with team owner Steve Biscotti. Ojabo fits the description of a top pass rusher. His body is plump but well defined, and the baby has a wide variety of gait.

>> Bateman, quarterback Tyler Huntley and outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson battled injuries on Wednesday, but none were serious. Everyone looked healthy at the end of the exercise.

>>Maybe the most influential outside linebacker in these open drills has been second-year player Dellyn Hayes, who intercepted a pass mid-Wednesday when Jackson panicked while blitzing. He has been more impressive as a pass rush.


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