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Ravens News 7/28: Elite Defenders and more

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NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Practice Report: A Strong Day 2 for Ravens Secondary

Ryan Mink,

Safety Marcus Williams had one of the most impressive plays of the day, screaming downhill to punch the ball out of tight end Mark Andrews’ hands after he had caught a sidearm throw from Lamar Jackson. Williams is practicing with a lot of intensity, and he capped that play with an exaggerated fist pump.

The Ravens had an early red-zone period from the 5-yard line that the defense ruled. The first-team offense scored a touchdown on the first play when Jackson hit Nelson Agholor on a quick curl in front of Marlon Humphrey. But after that, the offense scored just once on the next eight tries (on a jet sweep by Tylan Wallace). Two fades intended for Laquon Treadwell fell incomplete with Ar’Darius Washington and Corey Mayfield Jr. in coverage.

Huntley did have one of the day’s best throws when he dropped a dime to tight end Charlie Kolar for what I believe would have been long touchdown on a wheel route. They spotted the ball short of the goal-line, however, and after a false start on Kolar, Huntley threw an end zone interception to undrafted rookie safety Jaquan Amos.

Second-year cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis is back on the field and flashed some of his abilities Thursday. He undercut a pass from Tyler Huntley and nearly had a diving interception. Later in the day, Armour-Davis matched up against big-bodied wide receiver Tarik Black and got physical with him in the line, then ran in his hip pocket to break up a deep sideline pass. Armour-Davis has all the tools.

Twelve Ravens Thoughts following Day 1 of open training camp

Luke Jones, Baltimore Positive

The electric crowd reaction to Odell Beckham Jr. only reinforces the perception that signing the star receiver to a $15 million contract went beyond on-field projections and enticing Lamar Jackson to sign a long-term contract. His star power is undeniable despite fair questions about the player he’ll be in 2023.

Even if Bowser is ready soon, video of him walking so gingerly ramped up urgency for Eric DeCosta to add an outside linebacker. All appears quiet with Justin Houston, so you wonder if Baltimore prefers a more versatile option — Kyle Van Noy? — to play the run and drop into coverage.

Rookie Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu lining up as the starting left guard for the first practice reflects his candidacy being more than due diligence this spring. As Harbaugh said, “That’s something he’s earned because of what he’s done since he’s been here so far.” There’s a long way to go, of course.

After signing former Pittsburgh slot cornerback Arthur Maulet, the Ravens have no shortage of options to play the nickel spot. However, outside cornerback depth remains a concern, and Trayvon Mullen — who had a solid spring — was placed on the non-football injury list on Wednesday.

J.K. Dobbins’ absence overshadows start of Ravens training camp, spurs contract questions

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

“That’s a J.K. question,” Harbaugh said with a smile. “I wish there was a simple answer. There’s always a lot of things that go into football, but there’s some complexity to it. We’re working through all that, and we’re looking forward to when he’s out there.”

It certainly doesn’t feel like Dobbins has a whole lot of leverage here if this is all about a contract protest. The only way he’s going to get the type of contract he’s presumably seeking is for him to get on the field and stay there and have the most productive year of his career. Sitting out all of camp isn’t exactly the best way to get ready for a crucial season, particularly with a new offense.

But that’s apparently a secondary concern for Dobbins, whose absence has become a primary concern for the Ravens as they started training camp with hopes of a healthy and distraction-free summer.

Ranking NFL divisions by running backs: AFC South reigns supreme thanks to top-end talent, young risers

Garrett Podell, CBS Sports

4. AFC North

Nick Chubb (Browns), Joe Mixon (Bengals), Najee Harris (Steelers), JK Dobbins (Ravens)

Nick Chubb is arguably the most tenacious runner in the entire NFL: his 3.94 yards after contact per carry are the most in the league among the 129 players with 100 or more carries since he entered the league in 2018. In 2022, Chubb maintained his standard of excellent play, ranking top five in numerous rushing categories including second in the entire league in tackles avoided rate (27.5%), not bad for the five-year vet. Only Houston Texans rookie Dameon Pierce avoided tackles at a higher percentage than Chubb last season at a 28.2% clip.

Joe Mixon’s 25 scrimmage touchdowns across the last two seasons rank as tied for the third-most in the league with Davante Adams, trailing only Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (38) and Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (26).

Najee Harris turned it in the back half of last season, totaling 790 scrimmage yards (the sixth-most in the NFL) from Week 10-18 as quarterback Kenny Pickett picked up steam. He could break out for a second Pro Bowl season behind the best offensive line of his three-year career after the Steelers drafted Georgia Bulldogs offensive tackle Broderick Jones 14th overall in the 2023 draft and signed former Eagles guard Isaac Seumalo. JK Dobbins’ career yards-per-carry figure of 5.9 leads all running backs with at least 225 carries since he entered the NFL in 2020. If he can break the injury bug — he tore his ACL in 2021, missing the entire season, and needed a scope on the same knee in the middle of the 2022 season — Dobbins could be one of the NFL’s most dangerous rushers in 2023.

Highest-graded Baltimore Ravens defensive players since 2006

Gordon McGuinness, PFF


PFF Grade: 93.0

Snaps: 7,363

PFF graded seven of Reed’s seasons in Baltimore, and he earned an 82.0-plus PFF coverage grade in all but one. He notched at least four interceptions in each of those seasons, including 11 in 2008. A magnet for the football, Reed registered 16 interceptions, nine pass breakups and five forced fumbles between the 2008 and 2009 seasons.


PFF Grade: 91.8

Snaps: 6,843

The first decade of Lewis’ career came before the PFF era, but the data we do have is still incredibly impressive. Before his final season in 2012, Lewis earned PFF grades of 80.0 or better in each of the previous six seasons. He goes down as of the greatest coverage linebackers to ever play in the NFL, with his 92.8 PFF coverage grade between 2006 and 2010 trailing only Brian Urlacher and London Fletcher.


PFF Grade: 89.7

Snaps: 11,030

Suggs made up for his overall lack of pass-rushing dominance by being a solid all-round player, and with career longevity. He won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2011 and also earned a career-high PFF grade. He posted an 87.6 mark that year, registering 64 pressures from 599 pass-rushing snaps and setting a career high with 52 tackles resulting in a defensive stop.