During the early part of each practice, the Ravens focus on the passing attack.
The receivers line up outside and run various routes downfield in what appears to be a simple drill.
However, that routine was hampered last year because Joe Flacco was limited throughout training camp with an ailing back. The team simply didn’t have enough depth behind him to effectively execute that routine. As a result, the Ravens struggled to get the ball downfield throughout the early part of the regular season.
The landscape is completely different this year.
Flacco is fully healthy and has been mostly sharp throughout the opening days of camp. Rookie Lamar Jackson is still a project but shows improvement each day. Robert Griffin III is a veteran and can throw a tight pass. Finally, Josh Woodrum is showcasing some effective skills and could eventually latch on with another team.
In short, the Ravens should be able to improve a passing offense that ranked 29th in the league last season. There are 12 receivers in this year’s camp, excluding Quincy Adeboyejo who is on the PUP list. This is perhaps the deepest unit on the team and the coaches will have some tough decisions to make for the final roster.
Rookie Jaleel Scott, a fourth-round pick from New Mexico State, appears ready to make an impact and caught another touchdown pass Monday. His size, 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, will make him a force in the red zone.
I also haven’t seen Tim White drop a pass the entire camp and he could also be a difference-maker this season. Breshad Perriman has looked sharper each day and appears determined to earn a spot on the team even though the numbers might say otherwise.
The Ravens practiced outdoors Monday despite a light rain. The fans were able to stay under cover and were treated to a show when Jackson juked about six defenders for a long run downfield. The Ravens have not had that type of dynamic player in several years, which has coincided with the recent playoff drought. The NFL must be thrilled Jackson will make his debut in a nationally televised Hall-of-Game on Aug. 2.
Once again, veterans Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown set a solid example for the younger players. While veterans are allowed to get to the practice field later than the scheduled time, Crabtree, Snead and Brown were on the field early working with coaches.
The situation at tight end is becoming difficult to gauge.
First-round pick Hayden Hurst has practiced just once because of a soft-tissue problem. Fellow rookie Mark Andrews was also not on the practice field Monday. He too has missed time with that soft-tissue injury.
Nick Keizer, an undrafted rookie from Grand Valley State, has taken advantage and made several nice catches Monday. Nick Boyle and Vince Mayle have also been solid, while Maxx Williams is having an uneven camp so far.
In addition to Hurst and Andrews, cornerbacks Jimmy Smith, Bennett Jackson and Maurice Canady, along with offensive tackle Greg Senat, were not at practice. However, left tackle Ronnie Stanley, defensive end Brent Urban, and linebacker Kenny Young returned to the field.
The Ravens practice again tomorrow before enjoying an off-day Wednesday.