It was a relatively calm first week of training camp for the Ravens. Beyond the announcement that fourth-round rookie tight end Charlie Kolar would need hernia surgery to fix a problem that has persisted for several weeks, there have been no notable long-term injuries. . There has also been no return to training for any of the team’s prominent players who started on the physically unable to perform list.
Other than guard Ben Cleveland’s inability to pass the fitness test, there were no surprising absences. Quarterback Lamar Jackson couldn’t resist. In expressing his optimism that the Ravens will extend the contract in the coming weeks, Jackson has toned down the heat a bit on the most pressing matter of training camp.
Even the practices didn’t contain a ton of highlights or low points, as Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s decision to bring the team to training camp resulted in more individual work and setup sessions. than full team periods.
Still, as the players enjoy their first day off from training camp on Sunday, it’s a good time for the Ravens’ first “stock up, stock down” of the summer. Since there has been such a small body of work, it wouldn’t be fair to draw conclusions about whether the bubble guys helped or hurt their status. So we’re just going to focus on the guys who had a good week and the guys who didn’t.
Jalyn Armour-Davis, BC: Armour-Davis hasn’t backed down one bit in his quest to make a great first impression and earn immediate snaps defensively. Alabama’s fourth-round pick was tight on the receivers and played with confidence and swagger. He’s gotten a little manual at times, but Ravens coaches would much rather he work on that than encourage him to play more physically. The NFL can be mean with freshman corners, but Armour-Davis looks like a rookie who could contribute early.
Rashod Bateman, WR: During Friday’s one-on-one practice, Bateman rocked the Ravens’ top cornerback, Marlon Humphrey, with a loop so smooth it produced gasps from fans watching. proximity. There’s a ton of pressure on Bateman this year to lead a young, unproven receiving corps, but that doesn’t seem to bother him. He always made plays in all areas of the field and cut the drops that happened too often in minicamps. The 2021 first-round pick has a no-nonsense, professional demeanor and the way he competes in training is similar to the tireless approach of Mark Andrews.
Shemar Bridges, WR: The Ravens have been waiting for one of their six undrafted free agent receivers to jump into the mix for that fifth-place catcher and Bridges may have done just that last week. The former Fort Valley State player was heavily involved in Friday’s practice, winning his one-on-one matchups and making a few more catches in full team drills. He also kept the momentum going throughout Saturday’s practice. At 6-foot-4 and 207 pounds, he presents a big target and runs well for a big man. He has the attention of the technical staff.
Lamar Jackson, QB: Uncertainty over his contract still looms over the team, but Jackson has done his part to minimize talk and drama. He showed up to training camp early and ready to work and he showed how well he threw the ball that he put in a ton of work this offseason on both his mechanics and his body. It remains to be seen whether the two teams will reach a contract extension before the regular season. Jackson, however, seems determined to have a bounce-back season anyway.
Isaiah Probably, TE: The minicamp darling carried the offseason momentum to camp, making several big plays and drawing comparisons to Andrews in the process. There were questions about Likely’s athleticism before the draft, but the fourth-round pick from Coastal Carolina showed an ability to separate from defensive backs and find space, and he caught most balls thrown in his direction. When you factor in his game and Kolar’s injury, he seems almost certain to have a notable role in Week 1 with the Ravens as long as he stays healthy and continues to improve this summer.
Ben Powers, G: About a week ago, Powers was considered, at least by people outside the team, to be an underdog in the left guard starting competition. However, offensive coordinator Greg Roman late last week named Powers the favorite ahead of Tire Phillips, Cleveland and possibly Patrick Mekari. It’s still very early days, as Roman noted, but Powers certainly has the first opportunity to claim the job. Powers has made 19 starts at guard over the past two years, so he’s the more experienced option. He still has four or five weeks to show that he is also the most consistent.
James Proche, WR: The first player on the practice field just about every day, Proche has been a model of consistency as he seeks to carve out a bigger role for himself on offense. He makes a handful of plays every practice. When he drops a ball, it seems remarkable, simply because it happens so rarely. One-on-one, he consistently beat his defender, often doing it cleanly. Obviously, he has already stood out in training – this season, however, the stage is set for him to have a legitimate opportunity.
Brandon Stephens, DB: Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald called Stephens a “Swiss army knife” on defense. Stephens played both running back and cornerback in college. As a rookie last year, he started 11 games safe after DeShon Elliott was injured late in the season. While the Ravens could move him this year, Stephens is gearing up to play cornerback and he looked very comfortable early in camp. Stephens’ physical style is evident. Even when Marcus Peters returns, Stephens pleads to stay on the pitch to some extent.
Honorable Mention: Devin Duvernay, WR; Tony Jefferson, S; Travis Jones, DL; Jaylon Moore, WR; Odafe Oweh, OLB; Jordan Stout, P.
Out of stock
Ben Cleveland, G: Let’s be clear: Cleveland isn’t the first Raven to fail the conditioning test and he won’t be the last. However, missing four days of practice when you’re supposed to compete for a starting job is a setback and there’s no other way to frame it. At 6-foot-6, 357 pounds, Cleveland is a huge human being, but his size hasn’t stopped offensive tackle Daniel Faalele (6-foot-8, 380) and nose tackle Michael Pierce (6-0, 345). ) to take the conditioning test last week. For Cleveland, a 2021 third-round pick, this summer was all about showing the Ravens he can stay on the court and train more consistently. He’s not starting off on the right foot.
Harbaugh said Ben Cleveland is healthy but just didn’t pass the fitness test. He takes it once a day.
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) July 31, 2022
Trystan Colon, C: It’s not because of anything that Colon, a third-year crow, did or didn’t do the first week. It is more simply a question of taking note of one’s situation through the first practices. With first-round rookie Tyler Linderbaum as the starting center and Mekari looking more like the team’s preferred choice to be Linderbaum’s backup, that doesn’t leave an obvious role for Colon. He certainly hasn’t been in the custody mix. Colon, who started three games at center for the Ravens, is a solid young lineman who has a spot on an NFL roster. It’s just not clear if that spot is with the Ravens having Linderbaum, Mekari, Kevin Zeitler, Powers, Cleveland and Phillips as inside players.
Charlie Kolar, TE: Injuries are going to happen and Kolar’s hernia problem apparently preceded the official start of training camp. He tried to play before the player and the team realized that dealing with him now was the right approach. Kolar is now expected to miss most, if not all, of training camp and is unlikely to be ready to start the regular season. Bateman had a similar injury last year and he was out for almost two months. Kolar, a fourth-round rookie pick who was expected to contribute immediately, will now be in catch-up mode throughout his rookie season.
David Ojabo, OLB: I’m not taking sides in the rookie contract standoff between the Ravens and Ojabo, a second-round pick, over the guaranteed amount of money in the third year of his contract. Nor am I overstating the importance of Ojabo, who is still rehabilitating a torn Achilles and is far from returning to the field, not being in the building. Still, neither team looks great here and the Ravens would obviously prefer for the rookie to rehab around their team doctors and coaching staff, attend defensive and positional meetings, and bond with his new teammates. The sooner this is settled, the better for both parties.
Kevon Seymour, DB: Seymour actually had some good times in practice and was generally very competitive on the roads, but he was in the unfortunate position of falling victim to many of the biggest offensive highlights in camp. On Day 1, Seymour had great coverage on Duvernay, who made an acrobatic hold off the back of a pass from Jackson. In practice at the stadium on Saturday, Seymour had pretty solid coverage on Bateman, who made an exceptional catch on one of the best pitches in Jackson’s camp. Seymour was badly beaten earlier in this practice for a touchdown by Close. The Ravens really like Seymour’s competitiveness and versatility. However, there are plenty of defensive backs playing well in camp and the guys perceived to be in the bubble don’t have much room for error.
Binjimen Victor, WR: On Friday’s first one-on-one repeat between pass catchers and defensive backs, Victor couldn’t fight Stephens’ contact to make a play. On the second rep, Victor couldn’t even was able to leave the line of scrimmage as Stephens shoved him aside before the receiver could begin his drive. There was also a failed status test and an occasional fall. Victor, who spent last season on the Ravens’ practice squad, clearly has ability and at 6-foot-4 he offers a good size that Baltimore receivers lack. There’s a No. 5 wide receiver spot up for grabs and he’s in the game, but he’ll need to be more consistent than he was last week. He made a few plays in Saturday’s open practice.
(Top photo by James Proche: Jessica Rapfogel/USA Today)