Ravens risers and fallers: Who’s trending after the primary week of coaching camp?


Just about each season in Owings Mills, Ravens coach John Harbaugh will model a brand new group slogan on T-shirts for coaches and gamers. His message in 2022: “Come to work ready to work.”

So far, so good. Over their first 4 days of full-team practices in coaching camp, the Ravens approached their preparations with good intentions. Every session appeared to supply extra solutions than questions. Starting Monday, although, the work will get slightly extra intense.

“The pads are coming on Monday, so it’s going to be exciting to see,” Harbaugh stated after Saturday’s open follow at M&T Bank Stadium. “That will be the first time. The biggest thing to look for with practice is how the guys handle the mental part of it. All of a sudden, they’ve got something more to think about — the physical part of it — and not let it be too big for you.”

With the preseason opener quick approaching, this subsequent week presents some Ravens a chance to construct on a powerful begin, and different Ravens an opportunity to show their inventory round. Here’s a take a look at who rose and who fell throughout the group’s first week of camp.

Risers

QB Lamar Jackson

Jackson has been essentially the most spectacular Raven in camp, which might’t damage his leverage the following time he meets with basic supervisor Eric DeCosta to hammer out a contract extension. Playing below an ever-intensifying highlight, Jackson seems unburdened by expectations or stress. He confirmed as much as his news convention Thursday upbeat and talkative, even keen to clarify his Twitter spat with former Raven Bernard Pollard.

Most encouraging, although, is Jackson’s improvement as a passer. Over his profession, he’s struggled with his accuracy on deep shots. He’s additionally been reluctant to try back-shoulder throws, preferring as an alternative to search for receivers crossing over the center. Early in camp, his finest completions have come from these two classes. If Jackson can proceed to keep away from throwing interceptions, the Ravens’ passing assault will likely be in good condition come Week 1.

WR Rashod Bateman

The 2021 first-round decide has lived as much as expectations in his first camp as the Ravens’ top wide receiver, quieting issues about his readiness as a substitute for Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Those inconsistent fingers he confirmed in offseason exercises? Not an issue in camp. Field-stretching pace? Bateman caught as much as an almost 50-yard bomb Saturday down the fitting sideline. Consistency? “He does the same thing every practice,” Harbaugh stated Saturday.

As the flag-bearer for a much-scrutinized wide receiver group, Bateman must keep wholesome and productive within the weeks forward. But he’s seemingly already in sync with Jackson, and he’s fared effectively in his one-on-one matchups with Marlon Humphrey, the form of elite cornerback he’ll see extra usually this season.

TE Isaiah Likely

Likely’s 55-yard landing catch in 11-on-11 motion Thursday is now all the more impressive contemplating the separation he created towards Brandon Stephens, one of many Ravens’ higher defensive backs in camp. The fourth-round decide ended June’s necessary minicamp on a excessive, incomes targets and reward from Jackson, and his manufacturing has continued in camp.

Even if Likely struggles early as a blocker, he ought to have a job within the Ravens’ passing recreation. After Mark Andrews stated Likely has “got a little bit of me in him,” Jackson likened him to a “baby Mark right now.” Both tight ends have been extremely productive faculty gamers whose draft inventory fell over athleticism issues. Both have sufficient savvy and measurement to beat these limitations.

G Ben Powers

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman stated Friday that Powers has “probably taken the lead” within the left guard battle, a superb signal for a lineman whom Ravens coaches have been reluctant to embrace at instances. Powers, who’s coming into the fourth and closing 12 months of his rookie contract, began 12 of the 13 video games he performed in final season. He appeared in 29 straight video games from 2020 to 2021 till struggling a foot harm in December.

It’s unclear simply how massive of a lead Powers has on Tyre Phillips, who lined up with the first-team offense within the first 11-on-11 interval of Saturday’s open follow. But Powers has put himself in good place coming into the primary week of padded practices.

ILB Patrick Queen

Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald stated Friday that Queen is “on a great trajectory right now.” After bouts of inconsistency over his first two seasons in Baltimore, the 2020 first-round decide appears to be like like a possible every-down presence for the protection. Queen has buzzed across the pocket as a blitzer, and the Ravens’ imposing defensive position ought to free him to make performs as a sideline-to-sideline run stopper.

If Queen can proceed to enhance his consciousness in protection, he’ll be one of many Ravens’ most vital defenders — and a high candidate to put on the inexperienced dot because the protection’s signal-caller. With veteran inside linebacker Josh Bynes, inside linebackers coach Zach Orr and Macdonald, his former positional coach, all again in Baltimore, Queen’s consolation with the protection is apparent.

Fallers

G Ben Cleveland

As Harbaugh defined Saturday, he doesn’t make exceptions for his conditioning take a look at: “We’re not going to put a player out there until he can do it.” And by way of Saturday, the fourth day of camp, Cleveland hadn’t handed the take a look at. If the 2021 third-round decide returns to follow this week, his first exercise would doubtless be in pads — a troublesome take a look at for any participant, however particularly one combating for a beginning job.

Cleveland can reassert himself within the left guard battle with a powerful preseason, however he’ll return to follow having squandered worthwhile studying alternatives. In an up-and-down rookie 12 months, Cleveland struggled to transform his uncooked energy into gap-clearing energy.

TE Charlie Kolar

If latest historical past is any comfort to Kolar, who’ll miss a number of weeks while he recovers from sports hernia surgery, coaching camp accidents are nothing new for rookie tight ends in Baltimore. A soft-tissue harm sidelined Andrews for about two weeks in 2018. Hayden Hurst later suffered a stress fracture in his foot and missed greater than a month.

Kolar, the primary tight finish the Ravens drafted since that class, may nonetheless make an affect this season. Bateman appeared in 12 video games final season after coming back from the same harm. But if Kolar’s rehabilitation additionally mirrors Bateman’s, the fourth-round decide would possibly want till subsequent offseason to completely recuperate.

Running backs

The first week of camp shouldn’t be a really perfect setting for operating again breakouts — no pads, no hitting, not numerous 11-on-11 run performs. But the Ravens have had extra encouraging begins on the place. Start with the group’s harm news: J.Ok. Dobbins, who appeared poised for a breakout 2021 earlier than tearing his ACL within the group’s preseason finale final summer time, has not been cleared to practice. Neither has Gus Edwards, whose restoration from his personal ACL harm may take even longer.

The Ravens’ wholesome operating backs, in the meantime, have been strong however unspectacular. After flashing as a receiver in offseason exercises, rookie Tyler Badie has fallen off considerably. Mike Davis and Justice Hill have held up effectively in go safety, but it surely’s unclear how a lot they’ll supply as ball-carriers. New signing Corey Clement remains to be getting his bearings. Can somebody separate from the pack earlier than the preseason opener?

OLB David Ojabo

Nothing’s modified for Ojabo because the Ravens drafted him: He’s still unsigned, and he’s nonetheless months away, if no more, from being cleared to return from a torn Achilles tendon. The second-round decide was across the group for offseason exercises, however a disagreement over assured cash in Ojabo’s rookie contract has saved him away from the Ravens’ facility.

Ojabo can proceed his rehab with out the assistance of group docs, however transitioning to the NFL could be as a lot a psychological problem as it’s a bodily take a look at for rookies. The sooner Ojabo’s again for group conferences, the happier Ravens coaches will likely be.

Undrafted rookies

For the second time in three years, the Ravens’ preliminary 53-man roster may don’t have any undrafted rookies. The group’s 16-year streak of maintaining at the least one undrafted free agent led to 2020, then acquired again on monitor final 12 months with the assistance of security Ar’Darius Washington. But a roster crunch this preseason received’t make a repeat simple.

The Ravens added six extensive receivers after the draft, together with notable names like Slade Bolden, a nationwide champion at Alabama, and Makai Polk, who had 1,046 yards final season at Mississippi State. But not even the group’s early standout, Fort Valley State’s Shemar Bridges, has confirmed extra deserving of a roster spot than veteran Jaylon Moore. Other fringe gamers, like former Navy inside linebacker Diego Fagot, will want sturdy preseasons and maybe some roster luck to safe a spot.

Preseason, Week 1

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Thursday, Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m.

TV: Chs. 11, 4

Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM

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