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Hamilton’s Learning Curve

Kyle Hamilton
Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens
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Kyle Hamilton is experiencing some growing pains at Ravens training camp.

It’s beneficial to meet those challenges every day as he gears up for his first NFL season.

Last week, Hamilton lost all three one-on-one battles with rookie tight end Isaiah Likely, who is having one of the best camps of any player. Hamilton also got beat by wide receiver Rashod Bateman, who did a double-move inside.

Hamilton was shaken up after colliding with Likely and had to leave the field, but he was back at practice the following day.

Hamilton knew there was going to be a learning curve

“It’s definitely challenging,” he said. “Even the stuff we’re doing right now, where I’m just learning both safety spots is challenging. It’s the NFL – that’s what guys get paid to do. So, I’m up for the task, but I’m just going to rely on coaches and vets to help me out, whether that be playbook stuff or mentally how to navigate the game and the play. Yes, it’s going to be a challenge, but I’m ready for it.”

Hamilton also took some criticism over the weekend after getting beat by rookie free agent Bailey Gaither during a one-on-one coverage drill at M&T Bank Stadium. Hamilton shook off the negative comments, but John Harbaugh, who was not as forgiving, didn’t like the response on social media.

“Someone gave the opinion that he’s a limited guy who’s got to play in the box because they saw him try to cover a guy who ran like a 10.4-[second] 100 meters,” Harbaugh said. “We’re not going to match him up against a 10.4 100-meter guy, but he played man [coverage] today pretty good, as you saw.”

There are a couple of heated battles in training camp, most notably cornerback Marlon Humphrey against Bateman and Hamilton versus Likely and fellow tight end Mark Andrews.

That’s a precursor to the season, as the Ravens will rely on Hamilton to match up on those tight ends. Hamilton has the physicality and size — 6-foot-4, 220 pounds — to win those battles.

“He’s doing a great job. He puts a lot of work in, in the film room, he comes out here, he competes,” fellow safety Marcus Williams said. “He does all the things that you want out of a rookie. He’s not playing like a rookie right now; he’s playing like he’s been here and doing it, and that’s very impressive.”

The Ravens like Hamilton’s versatility and will utilize those skills.

New defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald is going to move Hamilton around, putting him in the box, matching him up with opposing tight ends, and playing center field.

“We don’t have to feed him to the fire, per se,” Macdonald said. “But the thing with Kyle is I don’t think he left off from where he was in the spring. Sometimes that happens with rookies; they take a little dip and need to get caught back up. I keep saying the word trajectory, but he just keeps learning, keeps communicating.

“He’s a very sharp, [a] very smart player, obviously plays fast. He can cover a ton of ground. So, like you said, we have great players back there, too. So, he has to earn his way onto the field.”

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