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Ravens News 8/8: Nearly Untouchable and more

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Baltimore Ravens Training Camp Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Practice Report: Ravens Offense Is Sharp After Day Off

Ryan Mink,

The play of the day came from Odell Beckham Jr., who made a tough sliding grab on the sideline despite tight coverage to convert on a third-and-12. Beckham also moved the chains on a fourth down earlier in the “drive.” His flair for making clutch plays should be a great weapon for Jackson.

Tight end Isaiah Likely was the go-to guy after Andrews went to the sideline, catching three straight outs with safety Kyle Hamilton in pursuit. Likely continues to show his knack for being a tough cover. He also used a nifty dip-and-reverse move in a red zone drill to catch a touchdown against cornerback Daryl Worley.

Running back Justice Hill got a lot of action, particularly in the passing game. He got behind linebacker Patrick Queen on a wheel route for a touchdown from Jackson. Undrafted rookie running back Keaton Mitchell also got in the end zone.

As Harbaugh previously said would happen, John Simpson stepped in for Sala Aumavae-Laulu at left guard with the first-team offense. The Ravens want to give the veteran his chance to prove himself as the competition remains open.

Ravens stock report: Who stood out and who didn’t during second week of training camp?

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

Zay Flowers, WR: The hype train for the rookie first-round pick has gotten a bit out of control. Still, it’s hard to watch Flowers torch cornerbacks in one-on-ones with his quickness and suddenness and get targeted regularly in full-team sessions and not conclude that he’ll have a significant offensive role. Flowers has drawn rave reviews for his work ethic, intelligence and desire, and members of the coaching staff have done little to disguise how excited they are that he’s on the roster. Yes, the Ravens’ history of drafting and developing receivers isn’t good. Yet, all we can currently judge is what we’re seeing, and Flowers has been impressive.

Kyle Hamilton, S: Whether it’s been the one-on-one segments, where he’s stepped in against star tight end Mark Andrews and won his share of reps, or the full-team sessions, Hamilton has been one of the best players on the field for the Ravens for much of camp. The 2022 first-round pick is playing with speed and confidence. He’s embraced more of a leadership role and the coaching staff’s challenge to get his hands on more footballs. If he and Marcus Williams stay healthy, they could be one of the top safety duos in football.

Keaton Mitchell, RB: Mitchell came into camp getting the most hype among the undrafted rookie free agents, a result of his prolific college career at East Carolina and the fact that his father, Anthony, was on the Ravens’ first Super Bowl team. Regardless, he’s been as advertised. He’s looked very quick and shifty with the ball and has shown good hands when given the opportunity. His chances to make the team still depend on Baltimore being willing to keep four backs, and the decision-makers opting for him over Melvin Gordon. The diminutive rookie has done his part, but the preseason games will tell the story.

New Ravens defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson aiming to maintain ‘standard that’s set here’

Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun

“We decided, ‘Let’s all step up.’” Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. “I think coach Dennard was the perfect piece to that pie to make it full. [I’m] really excited to get coached up underneath him, and hopefully we’ll be the best secondary in the league.”

The Eagles led the league in pass defense with Wilson coaching their defensive backs last year, so he was seen as a plum addition to a staff that already had a veteran secondary coach in Chris Hewitt.

“Things that I like to do and things that Chris likes to do, we kind of blended it,” he said. “For me, it’s not about an ego. I’m not going to be selfish. Chris wasn’t selfish. We attack the day every day to try to get these guys better.”

Wilson said the goals are simple: fewer big plays, tighter defense in the fourth quarter and more turnovers for a defense that ranked ninth in takeaways last season.

Of second-year cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis, who’s taking first-team reps as Ya-Sin deals with a short-term injury, he said: “Jalyn has all the tools. He has good footwork. He has top-end speed. The biggest thing with him is just consistency. Any great or good player in the National Football League, they’re consistent on a daily basis. So some of the days that he comes out, we need to ramp it up a little bit more. But he’s gaining confidence on every play. You notice he’s always in position. Now, it’s about finishing when the ball’s in the air.”

Justin Houston to Carolina; Will Baltimore Ravens Sign Veteran Pass Rusher?

Ben King, Sports Illustrated

This is a young group that is full of promise but is also unproven, as Bowser is the only player who has registered more than five sacks in a season. Oweh, a former first-round pick, has recorded just eight sacks since being drafted in 2021, while Ojabo missed all but one game in 2022 recovering from an Achilles injury.

Adding depth to this group would be smart in case injuries occur or a player does not live up to expectations, but who should the Ravens target?

The Ravens recently met with free-agent pass rusher Kyle Van Noy and had a visit scheduled with Dawuane Smoot until he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Van Noy is still available and would provide great depth in Baltimore as he has experience as both an off-ball linebacker and an edge rusher.

The Ravens could also look to free agents Jadeveon Clowney and Robert Quinn.

Clowney is likely looking for a starting role and may be out of Baltimore’s price range, but would provide a solid veteran presence if the two sides managed to come to an agreement.

Quinn is two years removed from recording 18.5 sacks with the Chicago Bears and while he only recorded one takedown last season, could flourish in a limited role with Baltimore.

Top 10 quarterbacks entering the 2023 NFL season

Maurice Jones-Drew,

5. Lamar Jackson

Fresh off signing a new contract, Lamar Jackson looks poised for a major bounce-back season; a lot of offseason moves have played in his favor. With Todd Monken (who was the wide receivers coach in Jacksonville from 2007 to 2010, when I was on the team) as Baltimore’s new offensive coordinator and the pass-catching talent having been boosted around Jackson, the sky’s the limit for the 2019 NFL MVP — if he can stay healthy. Jackson missed 10 regular-season games over the past two seasons, plus last season’s wild-card loss to the Bengals. When he’s on, he’s nearly untouchable, but Jackson’s recent injury track record and underwhelming postseason resume (1-3 so far) put him at No. 5 here.