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Ravens News 6/17: Four-down mindset, summer workouts and more

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Minicamp Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Julio Jones among top five NFL players who SHOULD get paid - Bucky Brooks

Ravens doubling down on triple-option offense? At the beginning of May, I referred to the Baltimore Ravens’ offense as the Army of the NFL because of the team’s radical shift to a run-heavy, option-based offense with Lamar Jackson at quarterback. And if you need any more proof of the team’s fascination with the triple-option, look no further than their recent visit with coach Paul Johnson.

The former Georgia Tech, Navy and Georgia Southern head coach, who attended Ravens practice last week, is viewed as one of the godfathers of option football, and his input certainly could help offensive coordinator Greg Roman add another dimension to the Ravens’ offense.

Whether it involves adding a wrinkle or two to the Ravens’ formation menu and pre-snap motion packages or tweaking the blocking schemes to create different “read” players at the point of attack, Johnson’s experience and insight could help Roman expand his playbook to create more big-play opportunities from option looks and play-action passes. Moreover, Johnson could also help Roman switch his mentality to a four-down mindset, that is, committing to calling the game with the intention of using all four downs to move the chains.

In theory, the Ravens would view any fourth-and-2-or-less situation as an automatic go-for-it down. That approach alone would encourage Roman to stick with the run on second-and-long (7 yards or more) and third-and-medium (4 to 6 yards) situations.

Finally, I believe Johnson’s commitment to an “if-then” approach could prompt Roman to build an offensive call sheet with some ready-made answers to the various defensive schemes the team could encounter, particularly after the Los Angeles Chargers seemingly stymied the running game with their seven-defensive back look.

”You know it is a copycat league and teams are definitely going to look at that film and steal a few ideas,” a former NFL defensive coordinator recently told me. “You want to see if Roman has an answer for the scheme after the playoff debacle. If he has some answers, he probably won’t see the scheme again, but he must be able to show opponents that he can handle those fronts and coverages going forward.”

Ravens DT Pierce: Exit from minicamp my fault - Jamison Hensley

Defensive tackle Michael Pierce accepted responsibility for being pulled from practicing during last week’s Baltimore Ravens mandatory minicamp, blaming it on an error in his training regimen.

”Throughout the offseason, I tend to lift more than run,” Pierce told WNSP-FM radio in Alabama on Friday. “Being a nose guard, I want to be strong or whatnot. I, honestly, just mismanaged my running a little bit.”

Baltimore defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale expressed disappointment that Pierce wasn’t in shape to practice but cautioned anyone about piling on him.

”Let’s don’t forget what a great football player he is,” Martindale said last week. “He’ll get back there. I can’t tell you when, but he’ll get back there.”

Lamar Jackson plans summer workout with Baltimore Ravens teammates, Marquise Brown’s status and more - Aaron Kasinitz

Jackson said after the Ravens’ final minicamp practice he intends to bring together his receivers, tight ends and running backs for a session of workouts sometime this summer.

“I’m working with my guys, too,” Jackson said Thursday. “July, we’re going to get together here or in Florida. We’re just going to try to get better, keep it going.”

He’ll work out with his personal quarterbacks coach Joshua Harris in South Florida and said he might also spend time with Tom House.

“I got better with my fundamentals [this offseason], but I’m not perfect, so I’m going to keep working on it,” Jackson said. “You’re never too great, so I have to keep going.”