Mike Preston’s Ravens training camp observations on left guard fight, early standouts, new creases and more
The Ravens appear to be settling on an incipient offensive line, but coordinator Greg Roman will be shuffling starters in and out for a few more weeks.
The fight for the left guard starting spot was expected to be one of the most intense in training camp, but according to Roman, fourth-year player Ben Powers is currently the starter ahead of third-year player Tire Phillips and the top performer from the second year, Ben Cleveland.
Phillips is more athletic than Powers, but Powers has more experience and knowledge of the team’s running-oriented offense. Cleveland has yet to make it to the practice field after failing his fitness test.
No matter who intervenes, left defense and center, where rookie Tyler Linderbaum is expected to start, will be the weakest positions on the offensive line.
“There’s still a long way to go,” said Roman. “We will continue to rotate the guys and give the guys the opportunities. There are ups and downs to training camp.
“Some guys have great days and then there could be a fair to mediocre day. That’s part of it, so we won’t be too hasty in judging. We will keep a close eye on it.”
Roman also said veteran Ja’Wuan James did well in the left tackle, filling in for All-Pro Ronnie Stanley, who is still recovering from ankle surgery but is expected to start the Sept. 11 season opener against the New York Jets becomes. James missed all of last season while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.
Part corner, part octopus
Rookie cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis is part soccer player, part octopus.
Armor-Davis, a fourth-round draft pick from Alabama, played well during minicamp and the first three days of training camp, but he can’t make it through practice without being called to hold.
If he stays healthy, he should get some playing time this season because of his excellent speed and recovery, but he can’t keep his hands off the receivers.
He had that problem in college, which is surprising given he was one of the fastest players in the country. But if he can avoid penalties he could become a formidable player.
Full-back Jeremiah Moon, an undrafted rookie from Florida, has a long way to go to make the team, but he was impressive as he charged the passer.
The 6-foot-5, 247-pound Moon has good speed and leverage coming off the edge. It will be interesting to see how he plays when the Ravens hit full pads on Monday.
No problem for Houston
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Moon is veteran outside linebacker Justin Houston, now entering his 12th season.
Veterans sometimes take it easy through training camp, but Houston, who had 4 1/2 sacks a year ago, seems to enjoy being with his teammates.
The 33-year-old never shys away from repetition and is always available to offer advice and support to the younger players. He’s not the dynamic pass rusher the Ravens need, but he’s one of those veterans who bring some character to the roster.
Rookie moment for Hamilton
There will be a few “Welcome to the NFL” moments for rookie safety Kyle Hamilton, the Notre Dame team’s top draft pick.
One of those came on Friday, when he faced a one-on-one with tight end Mark Andrews, who simply ran away from him on the right touchline for a 40-yard touchdown pass.
If Hamilton has one weakness in his game, it’s that he lacks the speed of recovery. He didn’t come close to tracking down Andrews, who made a dive catch in the end zone and then glared at the rookie as he finished the game.
Oweh on the rise?
Sophomore full-back Odafe Oweh appears to have added some bulk and muscle to his upper body.
The 2021 first-round pick spent the offseason studying tape and expanding his moves, which basically just included a speed rush last season. So far it looks like some of the training has paid off.
The Ravens have been without a pass-rushing specialist for at least four seasons. By the middle of the year it will be interesting to see how Oweh has developed.
shake things up
The Ravens tried some new things at training camp.
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey has played both indoors and outdoors, and with the large number of corners on the roster, he might be better off near the scrimmage line because he’s one of the team’s best tacklers.
It will be interesting to see what the Ravens do with fullback Patrick Ricard, especially with six tight ends on the roster. The Ravens have used Ricard at times in the slot and as an extra tight end.
Ricard isn’t known for catching the ball, but he does occasionally fool teams.
You can tell when a coach gets through to his players by the fact that they come to work before training.
Before Thursday’s practice, rookie defensemen Rayshad Nichols and Travis Jones and third-year Broderick Washington were on the field doing sled work.
This is impressive.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson continues to have a strong camp, although he wasn’t as impressive on Friday as he was on the first two days.
In the first hour, Jackson threw a couple of passes that hung like punts in the air, but he calmed down to produce a strong second half.
Overall, Jackson is bigger and stronger than a year ago. The Ravens needed him to get to training camp in time to set a pace and so far he’s delivered.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/07/29/mike-prestons-ravens-training-camp-observations-on-the-left-guard-battle-early-standouts-new-wrinkles-and-more-commentary/ Mike Preston’s Ravens training camp observations on left guard fight, early standouts, new creases and more