Generating an interior pass rush has been a challenge in recent years for the Ravens, but they’re confident their offseason moves, the return of Campbell and the development of Madubuike will change that.
“It’s definitely an area of focus for us,” said Ravens assistant head coach/defensive line coach Anthony Weaver. “We know we want to get sacks and all of those things, but we want to lead the league in quarterback harassment — whether that’s pressures, hits, hurries. We want to make sure we’re doing whatever we can to harass that guy in order to help those guys behind us.”
When the pads came on in Monday’s practice, it was the defensive front that dominated the day. Jones and Urban both registered sacks. Pierce outmuscled rookie first-round center Tyler Linderbaum after walking him back toward the quarterback in an earlier individual drill. Madubuike, who Weaver described as a “man on a mission,” was extremely active in causing havoc.
“Honestly, this is probably the most (interior) talented D-line I’ve been a part of, from top to bottom. There’s really no dropoff,” said Urban, who is entering his eighth season, the first four of them spent with the Ravens. “You have young guys like Travis, even (Isaiah) Mack. There’s so many good young players. It also has a good balance of leadership as well. It’s like the perfect kind of balance. It’s a really talented group and one that kind of has all different shapes and sizes. We can kind of attack you however you want to play offense.”
Ravens training camp observations on Tony Jefferson’s big play, a slow-developing RB battle and more - Jonas Shaffer
With J.K. Dobbins (knee) and Gus Edwards (knee) stuck on the physically-unable-to-perform list, the Ravens’ running back depth chart might not take shape until after next week’s preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans. Mike Davis and rookie Tyler Badie earned most of the repetitions with the Ravens’ first-string offense in offseason workouts, but their competition has only intensified in the weeks since.
Justice Hill, who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon, has shown good cut-back ability and soft hands in practice. Corey Clement, who joined the team before camp, seems well suited to the team’s downhill running game. Nate McCrary impressed enough in last year’s preseason to land a spot on the Denver Broncos’ roster.
“When the real football comes on,” Harbaugh said, “I think that’s when you find out about the running backs.”
The Ravens’ bridge from their run period to their first passing period Tuesday was, naturally, a run-pass-option period.
Other than a fumble on a mesh-point exchange, backup quarterback Tyler Huntley handled the proceedings with precision. Unofficially, he went 5-for-5, spreading the ball around on quick hitters, including one that tight end Tony Poljan brought in with one hand.
Veteran safety Tony Jefferson had the play of the day with an acrobatic interception of a long pass thrown by Lamar Jackson. Ranging far to his right, Jefferson cut in front of intended receiver Rashod Bateman and batted the ball into the air. Never taking his eyes off the football, Jefferson made a diving catch for the interception, then hopped to his feet and ran down the sideline.
Outside linebacker Vince Biegel showed up in the backfield on several outside rushes, and veteran Justin Houston also had several quarterback pressures. The hustling Biegel also punched the ball loose from the hands of a rookie wide receiver near the sideline, prompting Harbaugh to stress ball security after practice.
Undrafted inside linebacker Zakoby McClain had his first interception of practice, picking off rookie Anthony Brown.
Best team fits for notable remaining NFL free agents: Odell Beckham Jr. to the Baltimore Ravens? - Marc Ross
WR · Age 29
With Marquise Brown relocating to Arizona via draft-day trade, the Ravens’ receiver group lacks proven options, to say the least. The top three wideouts alongside elite tight end Mark Andrews? Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay and James Proche II, who have a combined total of 1,204 career receiving yards. I can’t believe Baltimore is heading into the season with this group of WRs. Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said last week that Lamar Jackson is throwing as well as he’s ever seen him throw, but the former MVP needs more weapons.
I know the Rams want OBJ back, but he could be the missing piece in Baltimore, someone who could help Jackson take the next step as a passer. Beckham is recovering from an ACL tear suffered in the Super Bowl. But with the Ravens boasting an exceptional run game and tight end, Beckham could play a role like he had with the Rams last season — one in which he doesn’t have to be The Guy, but can contribute as a big-play threat who consistently moves the chains.
Best value free agent contract for every NFL team since 2013 - Brad Spielberger
S ERIC WEDDLE, 2016
Weddle signed a four-year, $26 million contract with the Ravens in 2016. He generated 1.227 wins above replacement over three seasons, which carried a value of $40,002,396. Weddle’s best PFF grade during the stint was 90.0 in 2016.
NFL’s best players ever at every offensive position: Is Tom Brady the GOAT quarterback? Jerry Rice or Randy Moss at WR?
Offensive tackle: Anthony Munoz
Voting results: Munoz earned 27 of 50 votes (54%)
Jonathan Ogden (10 votes): ”Imagine you step to the line of scrimmage and the man across from you is 6-foot-9, 345 pounds and smiling. That’s what Ogden’s opponents bore witness to for 12 seasons,” says Dolphins reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques. Rams reporter Sarah Barshop also picked Ogden here, saying, “Ogden was one of the linemen who showed just how important it is to protect a quarterback’s blind side. And he was consistent, making the Pro Bowl every year of his career except for his rookie season.”