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Ravens News 7/31: Likely Rise and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens Training Camp Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens observations on the Odell Beckham Jr. show, disruptive D-line, Tyler Huntley, Isaiah Likely and more

Timothy Dashiell, The Baltimore Sun

“I’m happy to see him out there,” quarterback Lamar Jackson said. “I’m screaming on the inside. In my mind, I’m like, ‘That’s that guy, man.’ We’ve got one of the best receivers in the game and a future Hall of Famer, and I’m just glad he’s here.”

Beckham was a bright spot on a day when the Ravens’ defensive line stood out. For some, the real football begins when the pads come on Monday in what should be one of the summer’s most competitive and intense practices.

The defensive line was a force Saturday, not only in the 11-on-11 team period but in drills against the offensive line. The holding calls racked up thanks to a relentless rush led by second-year outside linebacker David Ojabo and third-year defensive lineman Justin Madubuike, who teamed up with veteran defensive tackle Michael Pierce to flush Jackson out of the pocket for a would-be sack.

Pierce stood out, as did second-year defensive tackle Travis Jones, who blew up center Sam Mustipher in drills. The defensive line showed how disruptive it can be if everyone is healthy.

Twelve Ravens Thoughts following Day 3 of open training camp

Luke Jones, Baltimore Positive

Jackson and James Proche had a tough time connecting as the quarterback overthrew a couple balls — one resulting in a terrific one-handed catch that landed out of the end zone — and the fourth-year receiver dropped a pass later. This is obviously a critical preseason for the 2020 sixth-round pick.

With Odell Beckham Jr. quiet and Flowers and Rashod Bateman not practicing, Devin Duvernay had a strong day with a catch on a deep out as well as a long touchdown tossed by Jackson. Special-teams value aside, Duvernay is hoping not to fall too far down the receiver pecking order.

My early sense on the left guard battle is that the Ravens want to give rookie Sala Aumavae-Laulu a long look with the starters early, but they still view veteran John Simpson as the “high-floor” or “safe” option. Meanwhile, Ben Cleveland seems more likely to compete for a reserve spot.

The play of the day was a one-handed catch made by Isaiah Likely on a pass down the seam from Jackson. However, Marcus Williams would have had something to say about that completion had contact been permitted. Business will pick up in that department next week.

Ravens camp notes: John Harbaugh has ‘high expectations’ for second-year TE Isaiah Likely

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

Of course, when discussing Lamar Jackson’s group of targets, nobody is forgetting about three-time Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews, either.

Yet, little has been said about second-year tight end Isaiah Likely, and he’s probably caught more footballs through the first week of training camp than anyone other than Andrews.

At Saturday’s stadium practice, Likely showed his big-play ability on a day when the offense was again struggling to create chunk plays. Likely got behind inside linebacker Kristian Welch for a big gain. Later, he slipped free of Roquan Smith, caught a Tyler Huntley pass and reached over the end zone.

“High expectations for Isaiah Likely. Nothing but the highest,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s a talented guy, works super hard. He had his best day today. He just works to get better every day. It should be a big year for him.”

“At Georgia, he used a two tight-end offense with (Darnell) Washington and (Brock) Bowers. Georgia had great receivers, too,” Likely said following Saturday’s practice. “Here, we have great receivers and you still have Mark and me and Charlie (Kolar) in the offense. Having that many people that can hurt a defense can really do wonders.”

50 Words Or Less: Thoughts on the Start to Ravens Training Camp

Ryan Mink,

One thing clear about Todd Monken’s offense so far: everything is faster. He wants his players to get to the line of scrimmage faster. He wants the ball out of Lamar Jackson’s hands faster. He wants to get the ball to players who are fast. Call it and haul it.

Any first-round wide receiver is going to generate plenty of excitement, but the hype around Zay Flowers is legit. It looks like he plays at a different speed. Monken lit up when talking about the rookie Friday, saying, “That’s a fun little toy right there, isn’t it?”

Two defensive backs we should be talking about more are Brandon Stephens and Jalyn Armour-Davis. I’ve been impressed with both so far. Stephens, a former college running back, started at safety and cornerback in his first two NFL seasons. He’s a chameleon that could now be a nickel solution.

Armour-Davis enters his second season after playing just four games as a rookie. He missed OTAs and minicamp too, so a strong training camp is imperative. He’s on track. The Alabama product is well built, physical, and can run. I like his chances to be a top backup.

Top Play: Marcus Williams Punches Ball Away From Mark Andrews

Marcus Williams looks like a man possessed at camp. Just something about his intensity seems different than a year ago when he was getting acclimated to his new team. He and Kyle Hamilton could be a special safety duo the likes we haven’t seen in Baltimore in a while.

Highest-graded Baltimore Ravens offensive players since 2006

Gordon McGuinness, PFF


PFF Grade: 93.0

Snaps: 12,257

Yanda spent his entire 13-year career in Baltimore and produced a PFF grade above 80.0 in every one of those seasons. While he was a guard for most of his career, he started at right tackle as a rookie and was one of the best in the league, so he very well could have been a Hall of Fame-caliber tackle, too.


PFF Grade: 91.2

Snaps: 3,426

The best pass catcher on the roster throughout the Lamar Jackson era in Baltimore, Andrews has established himself among the best tight ends in the league since arriving as a third-round draft pick out of Oklahoma. A safe pair of hands to target, he has dropped just 6.8% of the passes thrown his way in his five NFL seasons.


PFF Grade: 90.5

Snaps: 1,299

Edwards has been incredibly efficient for the Ravens over his four-year career, averaging 5.1 yards per carry on 542 rushing attempts including the playoffs. A physical runner who is tough to stop on first contact, he has averaged 3.4 yards after contact per carry in his NFL tenure, fifth among the 47 players with 400 carries in that span including the playoffs.