As the Ravens prepare for their joint practices with the Jaguars ahead of Thursday night’s preseason opener, let’s take a look back on what we can take away from the team’s second week of training camp.
1) All eyes on “Hollywood”
The biggest storyline this week was the emergence of first-round pick Marquise Brown, who finally began practicing after passing his physical. It’s hard to gauge exactly where he is in terms of health but Brown got through his first week of camp without any setbacks. Considering he hadn’t gone through any full-speed participation since suffering a Lisfranc injury in the winter, Brown looked pretty good. His athletic ability was evident the minute hs stepped on the field. Hollywood didn’t even appear to be running full speed in drills and still looked like the fastest player in practice.
He was still limited in terms of participating in 7-on-7’s and other team functions, as the Ravens are bringing him along slowly. Expect his workload to begin to ramp up this week and in the coming practices, however, and look for Brown to become more comfortable in the offense. Overall, though, his debut went about as well as anyone could have expected.
QB Lamar Jackson -> WR Hollywood Brown pic.twitter.com/Zt3SRiQRMu— Kyle P. Barber (@BB_KylePBarber) August 1, 2019
2) “Three-Headed Monster”
Mark Andrews has been the talk of the town thus far through training camp. However, this past week, Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst showcased why this depth chart is so potent and versatile. Boyle’s blocking ability has been well-documented but he appears to have made strides as a pass-catcher this offseason. Tight ends coach Bobby Engram touted as such when addressing the media a few days ago.
Hurst demonstrated capable blocking ability last year but didn’t make much of an impact as a receiver. Soft hands and route-running were his main calling cards coming out of South Carolina, though, and he reminded us this week of his pass-catching chops with several impressive receptions. All three tight ends can fill different roles and play in multiple spots in the offense, and Andrews, Hurst, and Boyle will each play a significant role in Greg Roman’s system this season. It’s going to be exciting to watch.
.@haydenrhurst on the Ravens' TE three-headed monster: pic.twitter.com/0tcHhw37Dx— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 1, 2019
3) Edge rusher rotation rounding into form
The talk of the defense this season has been replacing Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith at outside linebacker. We know that the Ravens are banking on pass-rushing production the likes of Shane Ray, Pernell McPhee, Tyus Bowser, Jaylon Ferguson and Tim Williams alongside Matt Judon, but gauging who exactly would step up to the plate was a wait-and-see. It appears we’re starting to get a bit more clarity as to how the rotation between these guys will play out, though.
McPhee, the veteran of the bunch, continues to take the majority of first-team reps and has looked very good. He’s also brought some added leadership and communication to the field, which was a concern with Suggs and C.J. Mosley gone. Shane Ray also emerged this past week and is beginning to catch eyes. Tim Williams, who many have pegged as a potential breakout candidate, saw some run with the 1’s as well.
4) RGIII is a trooper
Just days after suffering a hairline fracture in his throwing thumb, Robert Griffin III already looks to be ahead of schedule. Rather than take some time aside to recover and rehab, the veteran signal-caller was seen running through drills with the other quarterbacks, throwing the ball with his injured hand. Head coach John Harbaugh claims Griffin has also continued to go through reads and work through offensive sets, as you can see in the video below. Simply put, RGIII’s work ethic and love for the game of football is notable and matched by few. He’s a true professional in every sense of the word and if he’s healthy and available to suit up come Week 1 of the regular season, it only boosts the outlook of the team.
"He goes through every read. @RGIII is a pro. He's doing a great job." pic.twitter.com/nCIGkbuHYc— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 3, 2019
5) Initial depth chart is subject to change
On Friday, the Ravens released their first depth chart ahead of this week’s upcoming preseason opener against the Jaguars. There are several interesting tidbits to take note of but it’s important not to look too far into some positions, as the ordering is fluid. After slow starts to camp, Orlando Brown Jr. and Jermaine Eluemunor are listed as the starters as right tackle and left guard, respectively. Willie Snead IV and Seth Roberts are the starting receivers, followed by Chris Moore and Jaleel Scott. On defense, the depth chart actually is indicative of what we can expect come Week 1, at least for the most part.
What’s subject to change, however, is the role of the team’s rookie class. The likes of Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, Ben Powers, and Jaylon Ferguson are all listed either third or fourth at their respective positions, but that isn’t reflective of the roles they’ll actually play this season. “Hollywood” will surely emerge as one of the team’s starting wideouts and Boykin has a great chance to do so, too. Powers had been receiving the majority of first-team reps at LG prior to the past couple days and figures to continue to be in the mix for the starting role up until the regular season.
In summary, expect the depth chart to look somewhat different in a few weeks than it is right now, specifically on the offensive side of the ball.