Today’s OTA felt crisp and efficient with the offense holding the upper hand courtesy of a collectively good quarterback outing from Messrs. Jackson, McSorley and Huntley.
Those among the MIA include: Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Derek Wolfe, Broderick Washington, Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman, Deon Cain, Patrick Ricard, Andre Smith, Pernell McPhee, Otaro Alaka, Marcus Peters, Jordan Richards, Anthony Levine and Chris Westry. Ronnie Stanley, Nick Boyle, Jake Breeland, Iman Marshall and Tavon Young were also MIA, each recovering from injury.
I spent some time observing newcomers WR Devin Gray and OL Michael Schofield. Neither did much during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. Gray moves well, seems more quick than fast but he really just looks like a pair of fresh practice legs given the absences of Brown and Bateman. Schofield is not physically impressive, relative to his teammates. Listed at 6’6” and 300 pounds he’s not exactly a sculpted athlete but word is he’s a smart player and a solid tactician. His signing suggests to me that the Ravens aren’t enamored with the development of Ben Powers or Ben Bredeson. Powers doesn’t appear to have spent a lot of time in the weight room. He was beaten badly on one play by Chauncey Rivers, after which positional coach Joe D’Alessandris had a little heart-to-heart with the third-year guard.
There’s been some discussion about the lack of targets for the Ravens running backs who ranked last in 2020 in that department amongst all RB units. If today’s practice was any indication that will change in 2021. Early on Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins were off in the back end of the end zone working with coaches who from short distances fired darts at the tandem, some of which were intentionally errant in order to polish that part of their respective skill sets. During practice the pair along with Justice Hill were featured in the red zone and on some intermediate wheel routes.
Towards the end of practice during the two-minute offense, McSorley hit Dobbins on a wheel route down the right sideline. Dobbins soared up over Malik Harrison to win the contested catch for a touchdown. Dobbins and Hill both had scores as receivers today.
Lamar looked much sharper today than he did last week. And while his ball still had consistent wobble, he was accurate, particularly inside the numbers where he showed a quick snap-release. It’s interesting the when under pressure or forced to throw prematurely, the spin on the ball is better than when he has plenty of time to set and throw.
As for backups McSorley and Huntley, the Nittany Lion seems to have the upper hand for now as the No. 2 QB. Both looked solid although McSorley was intercepted following a tipped pass. Rookie LB Daelin Hayes made an athletic move to take the deflected throw to pay dirt.
Fellow rookie OLB Odafe Oweh was impressive. He beat his man off the edge to blow up a misdirection play that would have resulted in a sack of Lamar in game conditions. Earlier Oweh was caught in a one-on-one assignment with RB Ty’Son Williams but stayed stride for stride with Williams down the left sideline, eventually breaking up the pass from Huntley who placed the ball perfectly, but the coverage was that good.
Marlon Humphrey was very vocal on the field, seemingly enjoying the competition. He squared off with Sammy Watkins a few times and looked smooth while mirroring Sammy. Watkins had a good outing, showing strong hands in tight quarters…DeShon Elliott looks primed for a solid contract season. He showed great burst from his safety position on a blitz up the middle. The result would have been a sack…Besides his pick, Hayes had a nice outing overall with a couple of pressures during 11-on-11.
Tylan Wallace was often moved by the quarterbacks pre-snap. Such is the learning curve of a rookie receiver in the NFL…Mark Andrews went down with what was initially believed to be a leg injury but as it turns out, he suffered from cramping in his back and leg. He walked off the field on his own after taking in some fluids…Josh Oliver sure does look like he can be a productive player in the passing game. He moves well throughout his routes, possesses plus athleticism and shows dependable hands. He’ll be a player to watch particularly if he can contribute as a blocker in the run game.
Really like the way James Proche creates separation just beyond the line of scrimmage up to about 20 yards. He’s a smooth route runner with sudden change of direction skills. He might not be the burner that Devin Duvernay is but he sure does look like a guy who can fill the role vacated by Willie Snead…I’ve yet to see an errant snap from Bradley Bozeman.