Observations from the Ravens camp: “A different Odafe”; Rashod Bateman and the WRs have the best practices

When Ravens outside linebacker Odafe Oweh reviewed the tape from his rookie season, he saw a lot of things he liked. He enjoyed how active he was and how he was able to get out of blocks and win on his second or third shot. He also realized he wasn’t 100% for much of the season as he persevered despite a shoulder injury that required off-season surgery.

But as he watched, he also highlighted many areas where he knew he needed to improve.

“I want to be more complete in passing rush, be more accurate, get a lot more on the first move,” Oweh said Friday after the Ravens’ third day of training camp. “It’s a bunch of stuff like that.”

The Ravens haven’t added immediate edge rushing help this offseason, although they have tried. They twice reached a verbal agreement with veteran Za’Darius Smith, but he backed down and eventually signed with the Minnesota Vikings. The Ravens used a second-round pick on outside linebacker David Ojabo, knowing the Michigan standout likely wouldn’t be ready until the second half of the season after tearing his Achilles at Wolverines Pro Day.

Baltimore re-signed Justin Houston and added veterans Vince Biegel and Steven Means on cheap one-year deals. However, none of those moves have changed the fact that if the Ravens are going to have a much more dangerous pass this season, it’s likely to be because Oweh is making a significant leap in sophomore year.

“When I first came here, I was a little nervous,” said Oweh, caught with the team’s second 2021 first-round pick, who was acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs in trade. by Orlando Brown Jr. “I was just trying to make every play, but now I’m just trying to make the right play. I’m not necessarily trying to come out of the gaps and try to force plays. Be patient and of course, by the way rushing around, being calmer, reading everything, taking what I see, bending the edge and all the stuff like that. You’ll see a different Odafe this year, that’s for sure.

Oweh certainly shone as a rookie, finishing with five sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 quarterback hits in 15 games. There was a lot of talk about Oweh having no sacks in his final college season for Penn State, which reinforced the perception that the outside linebacker was raw as a player and had a lot of development to do.

The Ravens were extremely pleased with his contributions as a rookie. They know, however, that he has the potential and talent to be a much bigger difference maker.

“When he throws his fastball, it’s up there. It’s over 100. It’s weird. I expect him to do great things for us,” Ravens first-year defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald said. “I expect Odafe to be a dominant player. He should be a guy who, when we need him, can get to quarterback. I think he would tell you the same.

Oweh spent the offseason nursing his shoulder. He was on the field for organized team activities and the mandatory minicamp, but he only did individual drills and did not participate in team segments. He was fully cleared for training camp, and although the Ravens only engaged in non-contact practices and quarterbacks were banned, Oweh looked quick and posed some problems at offensive tackles from the team.

“Just by bending the edge, I feel like my legs are stronger, so I can get out after I take that third step and I dive,” he said. “I made a nice move (Thursday) and felt it in my legs – using all that work and everything. I’m happy with the work I did during the off-season and it’s paying off.

Friday’s practice was the most competitive and eventful to date. Let’s get to the observations:

None of the Ravens on the physical disability or non-football injury lists returned to practice, and guard Ben Cleveland missed a third straight practice due to an inability to pass the fitness test. The Ravens had three new absences from practice: tight end Nick Boyle, defensive lineman Calais Campbell and safety Marcus Williams. Boyle and Campbell may have just taken routine days off. Macdonald was asked about how Williams not being on the pitch on Friday and missing some of the off-season work will affect his ability to learn defense, and Macdonald said he wasn’t at all worried about the big acquisition team free agents.

As for Cleveland, each missed practice further reduces their chance of winning the starting left guard job. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said after practice Friday that Ben Powers is currently the leader for that job, though he acknowledged it’s time for that to change.

Lamar Jackson started the practice hot, going 3-for-3 in the first full team session with completions to Mark Andrews, Patrick Ricard and Josh Oliver. He then completed all four pass attempts in the second period as a full team, connecting with Rashod Bateman and Andrews on the front two and James Proche on the back two. Jackson calmed down a little later in practice and was 0-for-4 in one of the last full-team periods, victim of a deflection from Brandon Stephens, a fall from Justice Hill and a back-to-back incompletions to tight end Isaiah Likely.

After a relatively subdued start to camp, the Ravens ramped things up a bit on Friday with more one-on-ones, full teamwork and 7-on-7 periods. The highlight of Friday’s action was the one-on-one matchups between wide receivers/tight ends and defensive backs. Defensive backs are always at a huge disadvantage in one-on-ones as they have to cover the whole court with no help behind or beside them, so it’s no surprise that wide receivers/tight ends have won most matchups. .

Cornerback Brandon Stephens won his two reps against Binjimen Victor by getting physical with the receiver and not allowing him to move away from the line of scrimmage. Fourth-round rookie corner Jalyn Armour-Davis forced two misses, though he was flagged for holding the first. Armour-Davis had a great practice, playing tight on receivers and making plays on the ball.

In the most notable head-to-head clashes, Bateman beat Marlon Humphrey in a duel of the best. Bateman rocked Humphrey on a cordoned off road and got the hold. Andrews also had a sliding touchdown on a pass from Jackson in a matchup against first-round rookie Kyle Hamilton. The former Notre Dame standout stayed with Andrews until the All-Pro tight end created a split just outside the end zone. Andrews returned the ball as he celebrated the score.

Other rep winners: Near beat Kyle Fuller after pulling away from Damarion Williams on his first rep. Devin Duvernay beat Robert Jackson cleanly off the line of scrimmage and grabbed a deep touchdown. Likely behind Tony Jefferson for a touchdown after Jefferson slipped at the line of scrimmage. When wide receiver Shemar Bridges got the better of cornerback Denzel Williams in the final game in an undrafted free agent matchup, several of the Ravens’ veteran defensive backs did push-ups as the passing game specialist Keith Williams encouraged them.

The Ravens have a fifth wide receiver spot up for grabs behind Bateman, Proche, Duvernay and Tylan Wallace, but most of the candidates for that spot were quiet early in camp. That changed on Friday as Shemar Bridges, an undrafted free agent from Fort Valley State, and Jaylon Moore, who has been on the Ravens’ practice squad for the past two years, had their best camp practices .

Bridges, who has an intriguing combination of size (6-foot-4, 207 pounds) and speed, stood out in both individual and full-team drills, making multiple plays. Moore was also very active, beating Fuller one-on-one and rising to make a fine catch of a pass from Tyler Huntley in midfield.

One of the catches of the day belonged to recently signed running back Corey Clement. He made a leaping catch of a pass from Anthony Brown in the corner of the end zone, tapping both feet before falling out of bounds.

Undrafted rookie Slade Bolden is known for having good hands, and it was noticeable early in camp, but he had two drops on Friday.

One of Huntley’s 11v11 reps was doomed with a low slam from Patrick Mekari.

Bateman went free for a long time after Humphrey and Jefferson appeared to have a miscommunication and allowed the team’s top receiver to get behind them. Bateman also caught a touchdown in a red zone drill, beating Kevon Seymour on a fade route. Jackson threw both balls.

Third-year safety Geno Stone had the first interception of training camp, quickly breaking up a pass from Brown and returning it for a touchdown, sparking a defensive celebration from the Ravens. Humphrey swung his arms wildly, Jefferson dropped to his knees to mimic the shot, and several other Ravens including Oweh and Jackson posed in the end zone. Jefferson got his own interception later in practice in 7-on-7.

The rains forecast for the Baltimore area mostly held off until the Ravens ended practice around 4 p.m. It was a wet afternoon, and veteran right tackle Morgan Moses appeared to be cramping, which forced him to forgo a few reps late in practice.

(Photo by Odafe Oweh: Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

About Mildred B.

Check Also

Suns’ shorthanded effort in Wednesday’s win showed why they’re title contenders, and the Timberwolves aren’t – Twin Cities

After a performance in which she was disappointed in her effort and energy, a team …