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Baltimore Ravens 2023 training camp Day 12 observations: OBJ’s Playmaking, Running back receiving drills and more

As Odell Beckham Jr.’s practices ramp up, so too has his playmaking.

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

The Ravens have hit the dog days of training camp. The practices are a lengthy 2.5 hours, they’re more than two weeks into camp but they’ve yet to face a new opponent and reach the preseason. Nonetheless, the work must be done and players continue to battle for their roles.

Below are my latest training camp observations.


A new member of the secondary was absent today as Damarion “Pepe” Williams was not at practice. It could be a ramp-up ordeal with him as he comes back from injury but it was not asked or disclosed during the post-practice podium with Head Coach John Harbaugh. But Harbaugh did share updates on cornerbacks Arthur Maulet and Trayvon Mullen.

“It looks like [Mullen may be out for the season],” Harbaugh said. “It’s a toe, it’s a toe surgery. I really can’t say exactly if it’s a whole season or not but it’s a pretty definitive toe surgery.”

As Harbaugh exited the podium he was asked about Maulet, which he replied it’s a hamstring injury for the veteran. It sounded more as if the team isn’t wanting to push the player more than it being a long-term issue.

  1. CB Damarion “Pepe” Williams
  2. LB Trenton Simpson (soft tissue)
  3. CB Rock Ya-Sin (knee)
  4. CB Arthur Maulet (hamstring)
  5. S Geno Stone (ankle)

The remaining absences are on the PUP/NFI lists.

  1. RB J.K. Dobbins (PUP)
  2. WR Rashod Bateman (PUP)
  3. OL Andrew Vorhees (NFI)
  4. OLB Tyus Bowser (NFI)
  5. LS Nick Moore (NFI)

Odell Beckham Jr. Ramping Up and Making More Plays

On the first day of training camp, Odell Beckham Jr. sparked the hype train with a nifty grab along the sideline. But the next two days he was not as involved, making maybe a catch or two. It wasn’t cause for concern but it was noticeable the biggest name on the field wasn’t getting as involved. Now, it’s clear he’s been ramping up on reps and participation. It’s noticeable by his production, which hit a new peak in today’s practice.

During a seven-on-seven drill, Lamar Jackson aired out a deep shot to Beckham who was one-on-one with cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Both battled for the ball but Beckham came down with the pigskin and an eruption from the crowd echoed throughout Under Armour Performance Center.

“He’s right on schedule,” Harbaugh said. “I feel like he’s pushing himself as he feels fit and it’s pretty much been almost full-steam ahead. Last couple days has been his most work and he’s probably had his best days.”

Beckham was featured throughout 11-on-11 drills, including the first play of the drill for a six-yard catch and five plays later as he beat defensive back Ar’Darius Washington with a great catch breaking toward the sideline.

Something many commented on was how recognizable Beckham’s catching is with his hands. It’s rare to see him body-catch. Consistently, Beckham extends the arms and snatches the ball, not waiting for it to arrive but plucking it from the air.

Melvin Gordon’s Good Day

An entertaining drill that sometimes gets hidden on the far field are running back receiving drills against the inside linebackers. Today, it was more viewable for media and drew impressive results for the offense.

As known, one-on-one drills favor the offensive player. It may be even greater when it’s linebackers attempting to cover the running backs. But it was a consistent clean up for running back Melvin Gordon (and honestly, all others) in the one-on-one drills. Gordon gashed linebacker Josh Ross on a slant route as he shook outside before breaking inward. The next play he gained separation against linebacker Patrick Queen as he swerved outside.

During 11-on-11, Gordon was featured as both in rushing plays and as a receiver in the backfield. One particular play he beat Del’Shawn Phillips for a first-down catch thrown by Tyler Huntley.

I counted Gordon receiving the most rushing plays during 11-on-11 today, meaning they want to see what he can offer. Harbaugh made sure to highlight Gordon during his press conference where he saw the veteran working out after practice individually.

“I see Melvin Gordon out there. He’s working out on his own extra,” Harbaugh said. “Here he’s been around at every practice, he’s taken every single rep, having a heck of a camp.”

I might have to change my Risers/Fallers...

Mark Andrews Strikes Back

Much has been made about safety Kyle Hamilton’s coverage and winning a fair bit of reps against Andrews. However, Andrews’ production today is worth remembering what he is capable of.

He caught back-to-back passes from Jackson in 11-on-11, with one against safety Marcus Williams. He sped through a route later on that had Hamilton trailing further than he’d like and I’d give it Andrews breaking the tackle and gaining the two yards remaining for a first on 3rd & 9. In the one-on-one drills he and Hamilton were giving each other the business but Andrews came down with the ball. During the red zone portion of one-on-ones he shook Hamilton for the touchdown, too.

It’s hard to see anybody else in this offense earning more targets than Andrews, even with the explosiveness of rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers or the outside threats of Beckham and Rashod Bateman. He’s Jackson’s favorite target and has earned the right with his ability to move the chains and make plays.

Quick Hits

  • A combination of Queen and Ar’Darius Washington blew up a second down for the offense, forcing Jackson to throw the ball into the dirt moments after the snap from oncoming pressure.
  • Huntley threw a deep ball to wide receiver Tylan Wallace against undrafted cornerback Jordan Swann. The corner nearly came down with the ball but Wallace stripped it from him in mid-air. Unfortunately for Wallace, he landed out of bounds but it was a great effort.
  • Defensive back Brandon Stephens, who struggled in the one-on-one session came up big with a pass breakup on wide receiver Tarik Black in 11s.
  • Running back Gus Edwards ran an out route that Huntley tossed high and ahead of Edwards who snatched it from going incomplete and kept momentum to keep the play alive and gain a chunk of yardage.
  • Hamilton delivered a sack on Jackson from a blitz off the edge near the 30-yard line as the offense inched into the red zone. Jackson threw the ball and it comedically hit rookie linebacker Tavius Robinson in the back as he covered Gordon in the end zone.
  • Josh Johnson found a running lane on 3rd & 11 that appeared to gain the first down as coverage held up and blockers opened the field for him to break free.