The Baltimore Ravens took another step toward getting to full strength ahead of the 2023 season when they activated four-time Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard from the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday.
He made his training camp debut on the practice field after successfully passing his physical after he had to undergo offseason hip surgery for the second time in his career.
The seventh-year veteran went from an undrafted converted defensive lineman to establishing himself as one of the best players at his position in the entire league. He is an absolute road grader who helps set a physical tone with his punishing blocks in the run game and has seen his role as an underrated pass-catching option out of the backfield steadily grow each year he’s been in the league.
patrick ricard screen on 2nd and 14 pic.twitter.com/u66HuGBo8Q— Steven Ruiz (@theStevenRuiz) November 28, 2022
His role in the Ravens’ new offense under first-year Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken remains to be seen as they are expected to deploy less heavy personnel moving forward. Ricard had a heavily featured role in former play-caller Greg Roman’s system and it seems like the coaching staff still values his skillset and appreciate what he brings to the table.
“I think Patrick’s an established player,” tight ends Coach George Godsey said Saturday. “He’s able to block people, move people, [and] he’s a good protector. His role is physicality, so with every offense, there has to be that component. He’s demonstrated that for the past few years. I think most of our opponents will say that, too.”
Ricard has slimmed down over the years and now more closely resembles a traditional Y-tight end more than he does the heftier two-way player he was early on in his career. With the departure of Josh Oliver in free agency this offseason, the blocking tight end role is one that he could help fill as Monken ran a lot of 12 personnel while calling plays for the two-time defending national champion University of Georgia Bulldogs.
After Monday’s practice Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked specifically about what Ricard’s role in Monken’s offense will be moving forward. He told reporters that it could actually expand instead of diminishing.
“We’re looking at that,” Harbaugh said. “It’s just a multiple role kind of thing. Pat is quite an athlete. He can do a lot of different things and maybe we expand his role just a little bit for a little bit of time here and see how he does.”
Now that Ricard has returned to practice, the only players remaining on the PUP list are fourth-year running back J.K. Dobbins and third-year wide receiver Rashod Bateman.
According to veteran running back Melvin Gordon per Baltimore Banner’s Kyle Goon, Dobbins is sitting out as he seeks a new contract. Harbaugh recently told reporters that Bateman could make his practice debut in training camp in the coming weeks. The team is cautiously and patiently letting him work his back from having a screw removed from his foot this offseason after he had Lisfranc surgery stemming from an injury that cut his 2022 season short after a promising start.