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Ravens News 8/8: RB Rotations and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens Minicamp Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens camp stock report: Travis Jones and Odafe Oweh are on the rise - Jeff Zrebiec

Stock up

Daniel Faalele, OT: There was a lot said and written about Faalele’s weight and conditioning when he struggled with the heat in the mid-June mandatory minicamp. Faalele, though, clearly worked hard to get himself in better shape ahead of training camp, and he handled a scorching hot week of practices well. He also did it while taking a good number of reps at the left tackle position, which is not where he’s most comfortable. Harbaugh acknowledged that Faalele had some technique breakdowns later in practice when he got tired, but he was otherwise pleased with how the rookie competed. It was known that Faalele was a developmental prospect who’d need time. He has a long way to go, but he’s already shown improved conditioning and technique.

Stock down

Tylan Wallace, WR: The second-year wide receiver has been more involved than he was last summer, but more was expected from a guy who figures to have a role on offense. Wallace has had a few drops, and he hasn’t been part of many notable plays. There are too many practices where he doesn’t have a lot to show for the reps he’s getting, as most of his receptions have been relatively close to the line of scrimmage. In a one-on-one period last week, Wallace struggled against rookies Jalyn Armour-Davis and Vereen, the latter an undrafted rookie free agent out of Newberry. Wallace is a good special teams player, and he’s viewed as the team’s likely No. 4 receiver. Early in camp, though, he’s been outplayed by Moore and Victor.

10 Takeaways From Week 2 of Training Camp - Ryan Mink

Chuck Clark is still the guy at safety.

Kyle Hamilton had pundits drooling during OTAs and minicamp, but it’s been Chuck Clark still leading the Ravens secondary at training camp. Clark has been around the ball a lot, clearly displaying his understanding of the game and Baltimore’s scheme as Hamilton and free-agent addition Marcus Williams continue to adjust.

Odafe Oweh is a handful for whoever he lines up against.

Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh has been giving the Ravens’ veteran tackles Morgan Moses and Ja’Wuan James fits. Oweh is still explosive off the edge, but he’s added more moves and better bend to his repertoire, making him a frequent menace for the first-team offense.

Tyler Linderbaum is going to have some catchup to do.

The rookie first-round pick will miss 1-2 weeks after injuring his foot in Thursday’s practice. Linderbaum will still be in the offensive meeting rooms, but the lost practice time hurts a rookie that’s projected to start Week 1. The Ravens have much better depth this year than in seasons past, as veteran Patrick Mekari has stepped in. Still, Baltimore wants Linderbaum back out there as soon as possible.

Warren Sharp: Ravens Have Not Given Lamar Jackson Chance To Excel As Passer - Brandon Schwartzberg

Sharp argues that Ravens management has not helped Jackson enough with respect to the weapons the quarterback has around him. Following the trade of Joe Flacco to the Denver Broncos in March 2019, which signaled the starting quarterback job going to Jackson for good, Baltimore has signed the following veteran wide receivers: Seth Roberts, Dez Bryant and Sammy Watkins.

“Bottom-10 wide receiving corps dollars in terms of what they’ve been providing to him, and this year they rank dead last in that metric in terms of wide receiving dollars,” Sharp said. “… To do that consistently for every single season that the guy’s been the quarterback shows that you’re not prioritizing that position whatsoever.”

Four receivers drafted since Jackson became the full-time starter remain in purple and black today: Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, James Proche and Tylan Wallace. Former draft picks Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin both moved on this offseason.

In 2020, Duvernay was drafted 92nd overall and Proche 201st overall. The two have combined for 689 yards as Ravens. In 2021, Bateman was drafted 27th overall and Wallace was drafted 131st overall. Bateman totaled 515 yards in an injury-riddled rookie season, while Wallace caught just two passes.

“Giving quarterback support with wide receivers is pivotal in terms of their development and seeing what type of upside they can reach,” Sharp said. “My biggest fear with the Ravens and Lamar Jackson … is that they blew their chance at giving him good wide receivers when he was on his rookie deal and he was really cheap, and now we’re not going to see that.”

Top 10 NFL running back rotations: Browns, Colts headline best backfields entering 2022 - Cody Benjamin

5. Ravens

RBs: J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Mike Davis, Justice Hill

Three of the top four backs here are coming off season-ending injuries, so their early-season explosion could be slightly reduced. But there’s a reason Baltimore has long been a model for run-first offense. Dobbins is built like a workhorse, Edwards is highly efficient as a change of pace, and Davis has lots of experience as a physical, pass-catching substitute.

Bold predictions for every NFL team in 2022 — AFC North - Sam Monson

Lamar Jackson will have under 200 yards on breakaway runs

Remember when the NFL was going to “figure out” Lamar Jackson? That’s never likely to happen — he’s too unique an athlete, talent and quarterback — but the league does seem to be getting better at containing him. Since his unanimous MVP season, Jackson has seen his PFF rushing grade decline in consecutive seasons, has broken fewer tackles each year and last season had just three breakaway runs of 15-plus yards in an injury-shortened year compared to 15 in that MVP season. Jackson will always be an incredible rushing threat, but NFL defenses are inching toward being able to limit how many times he can gash them for huge gains on the ground. Jackson has topped 300 yards on breakaway runs twice, but he will slip under 200 this season.

Baltimore will win the AFC North

The playoff race in the AFC last year was a wild ride, and Baltimore was the No. 1 seed in the AFC until injuries finally started to take their toll and drag the team down. The Ravens’ backfield was decimated before the season even began, and the secondary took a real beating late in the year — not to mention losing Lamar Jackson for some time. The Ravens were overtaken in the pecking order when those injuries began to mount, but a healthy roster again puts them right back among the favorites in the AFC, let alone the division. Baltimore is the obvious choice for this year’s worst-to-first candidate in terms of standings.