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Ravens News 6/9: OTA Observations and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens observations: Patrick Queen more comfortable, confident and defense dominates - Jeff Zrebiec

In just the first segment of 11-on-11 work, Huntley overthrew Mike Davis out of the backfield and then had a pass knocked down by Queen. A few plays later, he underthrew tight end Nick Boyle and had a pass stuffed by rookie safety Kyle Hamilton. Inside linebackers Bynes and Diego Fagot also got their hands on footballs during the first segment.

Wide receiver Rashod Bateman has had at least one drop in all three OTAs open to reporters. He got the drop out of the way early in Wednesday’s practice and it led to a lecture from pass game specialist Keith Williams. Bateman rebounded and made a few nice catches later in practice, including one on a deep ball in which he beat rookie Jalyn Armour-Davis who otherwise had a nice practice.

The Ravens’ deep class of rookie undrafted receivers has been mostly quiet in the OTAs although Devon Williams, who played at Oregon, had himself a solid day. He out-dueled cornerback David Vereen to catch a back-shoulder touchdown early in practice and then later beat Denzel Williams on a deep ball. Denzel Williams also gave up a long touchdown to James Proche who hauled in Hundley’s best throw of the afternoon.

Second-year outside linebacker Daelin Hayes continued to make his presence known, easily beating left tackle Patrick Mekari off the edge on one play of 11-on-11s.

Practice Report: 10 Observations From Third Ravens OTA - Ryan Mink

The theme of the day was defensive players getting their hands on the ball as the pressure was dialed up with a lot of “Cover Zero” blitzes. Nobody touched it more than defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, who batted away three passes at the line, including one that was intercepted by Marlon Humphrey.

Rookie cornerback Damarion “Pepe” Williams had a strong day with frequent tight coverage and a taste of his swagger. After one play, Bateman told him he could have taken him deep for a big play if he wanted to. Williams fired back, “Then go!” After practice, Head Coach John Harbaugh said Williams and Armour-Davis have been impressive and will play on defense this year.

Rookie tight end Charlie Kolar had a couple nice grabs in traffic, including a high one against Brandon Stephens that showed how tough Kolar’s length is to defend (though Stephens has to pull off in OTAs). Kolar seems to possess the same Mark Andrews quality of finding open spaces in zone coverage.

Baltimore Ravens expect Lamar Jackson back next week in ‘great shape’ - Jamison Hensley

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday that he expects quarterback Lamar Jackson to report to mandatory minicamp next week.

“I know he’s working hard ... I fully expect him to come back in great shape,” Harbaugh said. “I’m sure he’s throwing. I’m sure he’s doing a good job. When he gets back here, we’ll be rolling with Lamar.”

Ranking all 16 AFC QBs: Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, Bills’ Josh Allen headline list for 2022 season - Cody Benjamin

6. Lamar Jackson (Ravens)

The spectrum of opinions on Jackson is quite wide. Some see the former MVP who once led the NFL in TD passes, a one-of-a-kind specimen with the speed and arm talent to change every game. Others see a system-dependent runner (and inherent injury risk) who’s yet to master big-game passing. Perhaps both perspectives are true. Even if Jackson’s skills work best in a run-heavy attack (and the Ravens’ remade lineup seemingly confirms as much), he’s still a home run waiting to happen. And that kind of QB can never be counted out. The key will be staying healthy and staying efficient to finally make a deep run.

Next Gen Stats’ 10 most explosive runners of 2021: Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson on the board - Nick Shook

7. Lamar Jackson

10+ yard runs: 24

10+ pct: 18%

15+ mph runs: 49

15+ mph pct: 36.8%

This is what we’ve come to expect from Jackson, the 2019 MVP and most important player in Baltimore. The main reason he landed seventh here, though, is because Baltimore tried to establish better offensive balance in 2021, limiting his rushing production a bit.

Jackson still finished with +269 rushing yards over expected, tying for the third-most league-wide and ranking second among quarterbacks behind only Josh Allen. The difference in his production compared with past years speaks to that offensive adjustment (and the injury that sidelined him for the final month of the season). Jackson went from a best-ever +631 RYOE in 2019 and +431 in 2020 to +269 last season. Meanwhile, Baltimore went from having the 32nd-ranked passing offense in 2020 to ranking 13th in the NFL in 2021.

Jackson still finished with 49 15-plus mph runs and 24 10-plus-yard runs, and tied for the most first downs gained over expected with 17. He just wasn’t quite as jaw-droppingly effective as he was in past years.

2022 NFL RB unit rankings: Cleveland Browns lead the way while Dallas Cowboys land in top 10 - Ben Linsey

TIER 2: GOOD BACKFIELD (VERY GOOD STARTER OR VERY GOOD DEPTH)

10. BALTIMORE RAVENS

The Ravens’ entire roster was hit hard by injuries in 2021, and their backfield was one of the units hit hardest. They don’t have an elite back at the top of the depth chart, but J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards‘ return from injury along with the Mike Davis and Tyler Badie additions give the Ravens one of the deeper groups in the NFL that will take advantage of the attention that Lamar Jackson draws in the run game. Baltimore is the only team in the NFL that’s averaged over 2.0 rushing yards before contact per attempt (2.2) over the last three seasons.