Ravens minicamp: Unlikely star emerges in second practice as Todd Monken’s offensive installation continues
Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner
The 5-foot-9 Isabella had maybe the best play from the first two days of mandatory minicamp, beating 5-8 defensive back Ar’Darius Washington on a 50-50 jump ball for a touchdown in 11-on-11 action. Later, he caught a quick hitter on a designed rollout in a congested area of the field for another score.
The former second-round pick almost had one of the longest plays of the day, too. But after speeding past defensive back Brandon Stephens on a vertical route over the middle of the field, Isabella watched a well-thrown pass from quarterback Josh Johnson slip through his hands.
Jackson, who threw with impressive anticipation for much of the practice, especially against pressure looks, rifled a throw over to Agholor before he even got out of his break on a short out route in one 11-on-11 period. Agholor turned around in time to locate the ball, but it bounced off his hands and into the waiting grasp of cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
The Ravens’ other pick was less excusable. Near the end of practice, Huntley targeted wide receiver Dontay Demus, an undrafted rookie from Maryland, on an apparent back-shoulder throw down the right sideline. The trouble was, cornerback Kevon Seymour was already at Demus’ back shoulder. He secured the interception easily and headed back the other way as the defense celebrated.
Clifton Brown & Hayley Salvatore, BaltimoreRavens.com
Smith quickly became a defensive leader and will assume even more responsibility in 2023. Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald confirmed that Smith will wear the green dot communication helmet with the internal speaker and will relay defensive signals to his teammates.
“Yes, that will be Ro,” Macdonald said.
Smith said during OTAs that knowing the defense even better this season will allow him to play faster and make quicker decisions. He reported to voluntary OTAs to get a head start on his preparation, and has carried that into minicamp.
“I think it’s critical being out here, getting spring [work] again and then just more time with the coaches,” Smith said. “So, like understanding the terminology and whatnot, because mid-season is just, you’re just trying to understand the concepts, not much of the terminology. I just think it’s a great time to be out here, bonding with teammates and enjoying the game that we all love. I’m excited, and there’s always room for improvement, so I’m just trying find little things to get better at.”
Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic
With Dobbins not on the field and Edwards doing only individual drills, undrafted rookie running backs Keaton Mitchell (East Carolina) and Owen Wright (Monmouth) got a ton of work. Mitchell showed his elusiveness on a few of his touches, and Wright got free on a wheel route down the far sideline, beating rookie outside linebacker Tavius Robinson for a long gain.
Ya-Sin, one of the team’s notable free-agent signings this offseason, was extremely active and engaged. He was beaten by Agholor for arguably the offensive highlight of the day. Jackson found Agholor, who had a step on Ya-Sin, for a long touchdown. Still, Ya-Sin maintained tight coverage throughout. When he wasn’t getting his hands on the football, he was trash-talking a wide receiver or going after one of the practice referees. Ya-Sin is the likely replacement for Marcus Peters as the starter opposite Humphrey. In Tuesday’s practice, Ya-Sin did a pretty solid Peters impression.
Harbaugh talks all the time about how rookies have to learn how to practice. Fifth-round corner Kyu Blu Kelly looks like a quick study. He broke on a deep out to Mark Andrews and probably could have intercepted the ball if he finished the play. Instead, Kelly wisely pulled off rather than risking a significant collision with the Ravens’ Pro Bowl tight end. The last thing Baltimore needs is for Andrews to be taking hits from an overzealous young teammate in mid-June.
Ravens LT Ronnie Stanley finally enjoying healthy offseason: ‘This is as good as I’ve felt since 2019′
Brian Wacker, The Baltimore Sun
“The majority of my time the past couple of years has been spent on rehab — 80% of that offseason time, probably, and 20% on training,” Stanley said Wednesday during the second day of the Ravens’ three-day mandatory minicamp. “So, I’ve been able to really put most of my time on training and building and getting stronger, getting more endurance. And just becoming an overall better athlete has been a big difference for me.
“[It’s] a big difference to be able to go through a full offseason healthy,” he said. “I’ve been able to build off what I did last season and just get better. I really feel a big difference from the past couple years.”
“It’s hard for me to tell but I don’t think I will be [back to my 2019 level] until … I feel confident in just the way I move and it kind of feels the same to me,” he said. “But for the standard I have for myself, I want to be better.
“I think [I can get back there]. After this offseason, my confidence level that I will get back [is] further [along] and that level has gone up because, just the things I’ve been able to work on and build through the offseason.”
Josh Liskiewitz, PFF
Remaining team needs: Interior defender
The Ravens don’t have a lot of holes on paper but could use improved play on the defensive interior. Justin Madubuike has never quite lived up to his 2020 pre-draft hype, as he has yet to post a pass-rush win rate over 8.0% and his highest run-defense grade to date is just 65.1.
Broderick Washington is also slated to start, and his career-best run-defense grade is just 64.7, while his best pass-rush win rate comes in at just 5.8%.
Barring attrition due to injury, this roster has the look of a competitor. The receiving corps is easily the deepest and most talented it has been during Jackson’s Ravens career, and the starting offensive line should also be a strong unit.
On the other side of the ball, the secondary has several new pieces that will need to fit in quickly, but the pass rush should get an added boost from edge defender David Ojabo, who was a supreme talent from the 2022 draft but played just 23 snaps last year due to his recovery from a torn Achilles suffered during his pro day workout.
If Kansas City, Buffalo and Cincinnati are to be considered the “big three” in the AFC, then Baltimore is certainly one of the top contenders to break through that trio.