OTAs are finished and the NFL moves over to mandatory minicamps. The first chance for coaches, and media to see how the players look, we'll get a lot of insight on where the Ravens are headed. With a mandatory tag on this week's practices, we should see every Raven back in the building. Even though players are still not allowed to hit or wear pads, we should be able to learn a lot about who coaches think are the early starters and if any players come back with rust on them.
Here is what I'm going to be looking for during this week's minicamps:
During OTAs, much of the vaunted Ravens' pass rush was missing from practices. With Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs opting to not show up for the first practices, the Ravens still had a ferocious pass rush on the field. It will be interesting to see how the veterans combine with the young players to create new schemes and new wrinkles to the second best pass rushing group in the NFL in 2014.
Equally important is the offensive line. Most of the starting offensive line was out during OTAs, so it gave us a chance to see the backups. Everyone did pretty well for what was expected of them, but we'll get to see two of the best lines in the entire league face off against each other for the first time. We know what the pass rush did last season, let's see if the offensive line can hold their own against this group.
Joe Flacco's connection to his wide receivers
Quarterback Joe Flacco was on point all during OTAs. Zipping balls around the field with accuracy and the right touch, he looks like he is already in mid-season form. Now that he gets his offensive line back and will be facing off against the expected starting defense, let's see how the connection is with the young group of wide receivers. Who shines and who falls back? This group is probably the tightest packed we've ever seen from a Ravens team, so it should be interesting to see if anyone can put themselves forward as the main weapon for Flacco.
We'll get our first chance to see the expected starting secondary on the field all at the same time. How will the new arrivals look in their uniforms and on the field? The Ravens have added a few new members at safety and cornerback in Kendrick Lewis, Casius Vaughn and Kyle Arrington, so it will be important for those new Ravens to show why they were brought in. Much like the wide receivers, the cornerbacks are all facing off to see who gets the nickle corner job and it should be an interesting fight. Even though there is no contact so the wide receivers usually win jump balls, can this group rebound from a disastrous 2014 and fend off a high octane passing attack?