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Ravens News 8/2: CB Competition and more

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Baltimore Ravens v New Orleans Saints Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Practice Report: Zay Flowers Cooks in 1-on-1 Drills

Ryan Mink,

Rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers had a quiet day Monday after returning from an illness that sidelined him for two practices. But Tuesday was a different story. The Ravens had one-on-ones between wide receivers and defensive backs, and Flowers showed it’s going to be near impossible to cover him in that situation. Granted, it’s a tough assignment – on an island, with no help from anywhere. Still, Flowers made a diving grab against Rock Ya-Sin. The rookie later went deep on Daryl Worley for a long completion. Then he sent undrafted rookie Corey Mayfield Jr. to the turf with his quick moves.

Flowers also scored a touchdown in 7-on-7 red-zone drills, getting away from safety Kyle Hamilton and behind Marcus Williams in the back of the end zone.

The wide receiver-cornerback 1-on-1s are going to be a highlight of camp. Nelson Agholor caught one on Marlon Humphrey despite the receiver stumbling. Humphrey had a nice pass breakup on a different rep. Rookie Kyu Kelly grabbed an interception. All the wide receivers did push-ups at the end, so the defensive backs must have “won” the drill.

Odell Beckham Jr. showed his red-zone aerial prowess, elevating over Ya-Sin for a touchdown during a 7-on-7 red zone drill. Beckham scored a second touchdown in that same period. Beckham, who had seven touchdowns in 12 games with the Rams in 2021, will take some of the heat off tight end Mark Andrews around the goal line. Agholor also continues to show a strong red-zone connection with Lamar Jackson.

Ravens training camp observations as Lamar Jackson, offense excel in red zone and CB 2 competition heats up

Preston & Dashiell, The Baltimore Sun

Cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis continued a strong camp.

“He’s climbing. Every day is a new day, and we want to make sure that every day that he comes out, he’s on point, and he’s doing all the things that we’re asking him to do and grade out in the positive and not the negative,” pass game coordinator/ secondary coach Chris Hewitt said. “We fine these guys every time they have a negative play.”

Hewitt broke news during his post-practice media session, saying Armour-Davis might be in the mix for the second starting cornerback spot opposite standout Marlon Humphrey.

“Right now, we got Marlon,” he said. “He’s solidified himself as one of the corners. And then we’ve got Rock [Ya-Sin], who right now, he’s got the nod, but Jalyn Armour-Davis, he’s pushing him right now as well. I look for big things from him coming up. It’s gonna be a competition throughout training camp.”

One of the best pass-rush moves of the day (no surprise) belonged to second-year outside linebacker David Ojabo. In 11-on-11 drills, he put a spin move on starting right offensive tackle Morgan Moses that left Moses reaching for air.

Ravens risers and fallers: A look at who’s trending after the first week of training camp

Kris Rhim, The Baltimore Banner

Guard Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu

One of the Ravens’ most important position battles throughout training camp will be at left guard. Ben Powers started in that role last season, where he evolved into one of the better guards in the NFL. Powers was rewarded with a four-year, $52 million contract from the Broncos in free agency, leaving a hole in their offensive line as the Ravens implement a new offense.

The Ravens drafted Aumavae-Laulu in the sixth round in this year’s draft after his final season at the University of Oregon; he seemed to be a long shot to be the starter with Ben Cleveland and John Simpson on the roster. And yet, Aumavae-Laulu has taken reps with the first team throughout camp. Aumavae-Laulu hasn’t been perfect in the first week, but on the second day with pads, he made adjustments that led to significant gains and a longer time to throw for Lamar Jackson.

Running Backs

The Ravens have ranked in the top three in total rushing in the NFL each year since 2018, largely because of Lamar Jackson’s mobility and a rushing attack that easily got to the second level of defenses. Todd Monken’s offense is supposed to feature a significant increase in passing, but the running backs have struggled to do much so far. (Hi, J.K. Dobbins.)

On Tuesday, Keaton Mitchell broke off a few runs for the first sizable gains of camp, which could be a sign that things are headed in the right direction, but the running game has struggled for now.

Ravens HC John Harbaugh: After Early-Camp Glitches, Offense Making Progress

Bo Smolka, PressBox

With the team in full pads for the first time this summer, the intensity ramped up a notch in weather that was much more agreeable after the heat wave of last week.

The Ravens’ offense continues to learn under new coordinator Todd Monken, and after some early-camp glitches last week, the group is making significant progress, head coach John Harbaugh said.

“The first couple of days you look at it and you’re like, ‘Boy, they have a long way to go,’ but you can travel far, as long as you travel together, and they’re doing a good job of that,” Harbaugh said. “I feel like we’ve made some big strides on offense the last few days.”

Rookie inside linebacker Trenton Simpson also looked fast and fluid in pads, chasing down James Proche after one catch and giving a healthy shot to running back Melvin Gordon that seemed to take the veteran by surprise. Patrick Queen also got a solid hit on running back Justice Hill after Hill caught a swing pass.

NFL quarterback kryptonite: The biggest weaknesses for all AFC starting QBs in 2023

Sam Monson, PFF


Kryptonite: Staying healthy

One of the holdups in giving Lamar Jackson a new contract was the concern about how much time he has missed injured over the past two seasons. A quarterback who relies on his athleticism and rushing ability was unavailable for significant portions of 2021 and 2022.

The combination of passing ability and elite rushing production makes somebody like Jackson impossible to stop when they are on their game, but it also inevitably exposes him to some hits that prototypical pocket passers will never endure and potentially limits how long he can play at that level because of it. The Ravens eventually gave him the bag, but that worry must weigh on them as they enter the 2023 season.