Ryan Mink, BaltimoreRavens.com
We’ve seen a lot of shorter completions with yards after catch thus far in Todd Monken’s new offense. On Tuesday, it was bombs away, and Lamar Jackson and Odell Beckham Jr. were the ones dropping them.
The two connected on an estimated 40-yard shot during 7-on-7 work, as Beckham took top cornerback Marlon Humphrey deep. Humphrey had tight coverage, but Beckham adjusted well to the throw, shielding Humphrey from the ball and hauling it in as he went to the turf.
Beckham had a ridiculous deep catch during a 1-on-1 rep versus cornerback Kevon Seymour, leaping high and tapping the ball back to himself with one hand as he toe-tapped the sideline. It was one of Beckham’s busiest days, as he also made a couple other tough shorter grabs during 11-on-11 work.
Jackson made one of his best throws of camp when he rolled to his left and found tight end Mark Andrews running deep across the field. Jackson’s ability to open his hips, launch a deep dart and put it in the perfect spot for Andrews to make the catch, with Kyle Hamilton close in pursuit, was impressive. Harbaugh said last week that the metrics on Jackson’s throwing (such as velocity) look quite good, and that throw showed it.
In absence of J.K. Dobbins, other Ravens running backs take advantage of chance to ‘put our best foot forward’
Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun
“We’ve just got to go out here and do what we’ve got to do,” said Melvin Gordon III, who signed a one-year deal with the Ravens last month. “There’s no bitter feelings toward anything. The guys love him in the locker room. He has a presence there. We know what he can do, but we know what we can do as well as a running back room. We’re going to put our best foot forward. We want to shine too.”
“I see him every day; he’s still in there working hard,” said Gus Edwards, Dobbins’ backfield partner since 2020. “I know he’s going to be ready, because that’s the type of guy he is.”
“The ball’s in J.K.’s court,” Harbaugh said Tuesday. “We talked again yesterday, had a great conversation. I do expect him back very soon, but I don’t really have anything to say about it. … Generally speaking, to be a great player, you need to put in the time and the effort and get with the team and just get right. He wants to do that, in his case. And that’s why I kind of expect him back here pretty soon.”
Diante Lee, The Athletic
What team defenses are you most excited to see play this year and why? — Jerod B.
Schematically, I’d say the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL and Illinois in the college ranks.
Baltimore ranked in the top 10 in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric last year, and if you watch how it evolved after the Roquan Smith trade, it was clear that this defense was unlocked by placing a star in the middle. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has taken a 3-4 scheme and emphasized some of the modern bells and whistles to better control today’s spread passing game. Baltimore’s ranked in the top 12 in blitz rate on third- and fourth-down passes per TruMedia, and many of them were “simulated pressures” (blitzing a non-traditional rusher and dropping a traditional one into coverage) to manipulate the pass protection without having to rush five or more defenders. If this defense continues to win along the schematic margins and finds anything in its edge-rusher rotation, it can be dangerous again in 2023.
Shaffer, Rhim & Yohannes, The Baltimore Banner
OLB Tavius Robinson
Robinson has been one of the pleasant surprises of camp. Among the Ravens’ rookies, only Flowers and perhaps guard Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu have been more consistent.
“‘T-Rob,’ our fourth-round pick, has been balling,” outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith said Friday.
Despite average pass-rush production at Mississippi, where he had 10 1/2 sacks over two seasons, Robinson’s won his share of battles against the Ravens’ reserve linemen. With his violent hands and strong base, he’s been able to uproot the Ravens’ biggest tackle, Daniel Faalele, and unbalance one of their most composed linemen, Patrick Mekari. Robinson’s also gotten good push as a looper on pass-rush games.
“He’s not afraid of anybody. He’s not,” Smith said. “He is physical. He’s getting at these guys. He is a hard worker. He’s going to definitely be an asset. And I believe in the future, the Ravens fans are going to love that draft pick in the future. I think he’s going to help us some this year.”
Robinson’s camp hasn’t been blunder-free — he was the likely culprit of a long off-tackle carry by running back Melvin Gordon last week — but his build and quick-twitch athleticism give him a solid floor for a rookie. At an imposing 6-6, 258 pounds, he still moves well enough in the open field to hang with backup quarterbacks Tyler Huntley and Josh Johnson on scramble attempts.
Brad Spielberger, PFF
With the departure of veteran stalwarts on the interior, Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams, over the past few years, Madubuike’s role and importance have continued to grow on this young Ravens defensive line. Madubuike’s snap count took a jump in 2022 and his pass-rush productivity skyrocketed.
The 2020 third-rounder finished with a career-best 32 quarterback pressures in 2022, more than double his previous high mark, and his 24 defensive stops were also a personal best. Madubuike has shown flashes here and there of being a force on the interior, but another year with a larger workload and improved consistency could push his market much higher.