With the conclusion of minicamps behind us, we can now analyze the results, and look ahead to training camp next month. Thankfully, the news from Owings Mills has been nothing but positive, and things are looking up for the Ravens.
Minicamp TL;DR (Too Lazy, Didn't Read)
The Secondary is Looking Good
"I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but [I am] pretty excited about our secondary right now." - Coach Harbaugh
The no-contact rules of offseason exercises means we can't quite get a great evalution of how the secondary is doing, yet the praise of a seasoned coach who has seen a lot is very encouraging.
The front office spent the offseason rebuilding the secondary, adding Safety Kendrick Lewis and CB Kyle Arrington. Both signings already look like great deals for the Ravens, as both Lewis and Arrington are poised to be big contributors, and have impressed both players and coaches around the practice facility
Safety Matt Elam, a figure of scrutiny last year, has shown immense improvement in limited practice time, impressing both Defensive Coordinator Pees and Coach Harbaugh. This year is truly make it or break it for Elam, as the front office's patience for him is wearing thin.
Top-tier Cornerbacks Ladarius Webb and Jimmy Smith, who were injury casualties last season, have both hit the practice field this week, and feel great. "It feels good just to be able to run around and [not] have any pain," said Webb. As practices continue next month, we hope to see them progress.
The Ravens seem to have all of the pieces in place for a top-tier secondary, after all, it's quite remarkable how far they got last year on an injury-ridden secondary. The sky seems to be the limit for this group, as DC Pees said he has "no doubt" the secondary will be better in 2015. Let's hope what looks good on paper, will be even better on the field.
Flacco Is a Quick Learner
Joe Flacco has had no difficulty adjusting to any changes made by new Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman. Reports from camp have been full of praise for Flacco, as he has been throwing touchdown after touchdown.
New backup Matt Schaub however, has been the polar opposite of Flacco. Reports of pick-sixes and inaccurate throws have many wondering if Tyrod Taylor, or even Keith Wenning backing up Flacco wasn't so bad.
Hopefully, and I say this optimistically, Schaub will find his bearings, and adjust. Although on a positive note, Schaub has been giving Flacco pointers on the West Coast scheme, which Schaub has been a part of for seven seasons, this is Flacco's second in the scheme. Said Schaub, "I'm not trying to overload him too much — he gets that from the coaches — so in talking one on one, I just try and do subtle things," It's nice to see the veteran giving Flacco some helpful tips. Schaub he is proving himself valuable, just not on the field.
'Wide Receiver Wild Ride' Continues
We all knew Wide Receiver would be the toughest positional battle waged this offseason, and so far, the battle hasn't disappointed. They've given it their all so far, but no one is guaranteed a spot. Here's how I see the position shaping out:
- Steve Smith - the Veteran is of course, a lock. No discussion needed,
- Breshad Perriman - the Rookie has impressed in limited practice. He's had limited mistakes, and rebounds when he does make them. He's looked like 'a man amongst boys' compared to the other young receivers.
- Kamar Aiken - my favorite. We've heard nothing but positive things about Kamar from camp. Expect the guy who received most of the WR3 snaps last year to fully grasp the spot this year.
- Marlon Brown - the guy who scored 8 TDs his rookie year, then seemed to vanish. We really haven't heard much from camp about him, good news or bad news, but I expect his previous performances to propel him to the roster.
- Jeremy Butler - has come out of nowhere and caught fire. He was the minicamp darling. If he keeps it up, which I think he can, it'd be very hard to cut him.
- Darren Waller - We've heard good things and bad things out of camp about him, much like all of the young receivers. However, his sheer size (6' 6") makes him valuable to the team.
- DeAndre Carter - I had to think hard about this one, it's truly a toss-up on who makes the team, him or Campanaro. Ozzie might even decide that six receivers is plenty enough, who knows. Anyways, Carter is the trendier pick, a small-school undrafted RFA playing with a chip on his shoulder. I've penned several pieces in support of Carter, and Steve Smith agrees too, calling Carter "a young Randall Cobb". Carter also brings special teams potential to the table too. Ultimately, I think Campanaro's injury history holds him back.