The Baltimore Ravens hit the practice field on Monday for their first session of ‘organized team activities’ in 2017. Attendance is completely voluntary this week. Nevertheless, several prominent veterans were present at the team training complex in Owings Mills (per Garrett Downing’s Final Drive video).
Most notably, franchise quarterback Joe Flacco had an opportunity to work with both of his top two wideouts. After the Ravens picked up his contract option in March, Mike Wallace was in attendance. Breshad Perriman was a full-go as well, and hauled in a deep touchdown from Flacco. This time last year, Flacco was still recovering from knee surgery, so being able to develop chemistry with his young receiving corps bodes well.
With the ink dry on his new $52.5 million contract, big nose tackle Brandon Williams set the right example for his less wealthy teammates by showing up. Newly signed scatback Danny Woodhead also made his first appearance in a Ravens uniform and seems to be recovered from his knee injury.
The Ravens defense had plenty of veteran leadership practicing in the secondary as well. Eric Weddle, the savvy free safety, and top cornerback Jimmy Smith headlined the group. Smith’s season was cut short last year due to an ankle injury. The Ravens are hoping competition in the form of veteran acquisition Brandon Carr and first round rookie Marlon Humphrey can bring out his best.
Stalwart offensive guard Marshal Yanda is still rehabilitating his injury shoulder after surgery. And the unquestioned tone setter on the practice field, Terrell Suggs, customarily skips the voluntary minicamps to focus on training. Their absences may actually be beneficial for the Ravens because they have many promising young players competing for repetitions at offensive guard and outside linebacker.
The Ravens 2017 roster has an exciting mix of veteran leaders and young talent. By all accounts, morale and player participation so far this offseason has been encouraging. With the first full team workout, Baltimore’s 2017 journey began in earnest.