As OTA begins, QB Lamar Jackson (and his contract status) is once again among the most interesting storylines of Ravens – Reading Eagle

After a five-month wait, the Ravens are finally starting to return to the speed of the game.

Newcomers and veterans will report Tuesday to the command facility at Owings Mills for the first of 10 days of volunteer organized teamwork. In live training, no live contact will be allowed, but the Ravens will move from a passing pace to seven-on-seven, nine-on-nine and 11-on-11 training. Wednesday’s practice will be the first of three open to local media over the next three weeks, which offers a better look at the team since its 2021 season ended without reaching the playoffs.

Of course, it is unclear how many of the most important players of the “Crows” will be on hand. Some recover from injuries. Others prefer to train closer to home as they prepare for the mandatory mini-camp in mid-June. And there’s defender Lamar Jackson, whose a unique contractual situation can cause any number of results. As the OTA progresses he is among the six most interesting people of the Ravens.

QB Lamar Jackson

The Ravens undoubtedly want Jackson in the OTA, where he can work on chemistry with the young host, help rookie central Tyler Linderbaum develop into a tougher attack, meet other new members of the team and possibly answer a few questions about him sometimes difficult to decipher the off-season.

But does Jackson want to be on volunteer training? And if so, how much? Jackson appeared on OTA last year, like almost all quarterbacks, but the Ravens have already opted for the fifth year of his contract. He is now up to the final year of this novice deal, and there has been no progress in negotiations for a record extension. Until Jackson says otherwise, all indications are that the Ravens have put the franchise label on “NFL’s Most Valuable Player of 2019” after next season.

General Manager Eric DeCost said after the call that the Ravens had received “excellent reports” of Jackson’s off-season training; he trained with private defender defender Adam Dedo, with whom he worked last year, and with a coach from South Florida. But if Jackson misses the OTA, as reportedly quarterback Arizona Cardinals Kyler Murray, the focus will remain on his contract situation and future in Baltimore, rather than how well he can be put on a year of return.

WR Rashod Bateman

The choice of choice in the first round of 2021 to the fact that the leading receiver of the Marquis “Hollywood” Brown changed last month? “All due respect to him… but it was like, ‘My time,'” Bateman told Marlon Humphrey on the corner defender. team show recently.

It’s off-season to confirm that. Last month, DeCost said Bateman “was our guy in the first round and I think he’ll show you why.” After a groin injury ended his preseason and postponed his NFL debut, he is healthy again. He is also one step ahead of those returning to wide receivers, along with James Proch II, working with Jackson in throws this offseason.

As a newcomer, Bateman made 46 catches for 515 yards and landed in 12 games. Given the team’s injury situation at the corner defender, excellent performance at the OTAs may not mean much for him or projected starter Devin Duverne. But that would be better than an alternative.

OLB Odafe Oweh

One of the best seasons for NFL freshmen last year ended in failure. After releasing five bears, three forced touches and 15 quarterback hits in 15 games, Owe missed weeks 17 and 18 due to a foot injury. The Ravens also prevented it, recording just two bags in defeats at the end of the season from the Los Angeles Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With Thais Bowser and rookie David Ojab recovering from an Achilles tendon rupture, and Justin Houston still unsigned, Owe could enter training camp this summer as the team’s best passer. Coach John Harbo said in March that Owe was “doing great” after off-season shoulder surgery and that his recovery “shouldn’t be a problem for training camp”. If he is healthy enough for the OTA, it would be good not only for his development, but perhaps also for the offensive line.

S Kyle Hamilton

The peak of the first round watched his role in the minimap of the newcomers: long, skinny, flying around the back field. Now Hamilton will have to rise to the level as he moves from reading quarterbacks without a draft and defending undefeated raids to taking on entry-level talent. Earlier this month, he acknowledged that the Crows’ defense was “very different” from that of Notre Dame, and much remains to be learned. The OTA will throw him even more lessons, from shelling coverage to field communication.

Hamilton could benefit from Chuck Clark, but a veteran starting with security the future in Baltimore is unclear. Due to the fact that Marcus Williams, another top level of security, added to the secondary in the field of free agency, the once undisputed role of Clark in defending the “Crows” will be reduced. If Clark is exchanged this offseason, Hamilton will have to pick up some of the slack.

P Jordan Stout

Adverse weather forced Stout to enter a minimum-practice practice for lonely beginners, open to journalists, where he worked mostly on his own holding company. But with little chance of rain forecast for Wednesday, Stout could return to what he couldn’t have done earlier this month: smashing antlers.

After Sam Koch retired last week, Stout turns out to be the center of attention, unusual for a player. At least, it seems to those who make a good first impression. Earlier this month, Ravens player director Joe Hortiz recalled that executive vice president Ozzy News told him before the Senior Bowl training session when they watched Stout “just hit the ball” that he was “possibly the best player on the field ». Several scouts told Senior Bowl CEO Jim Naju that Stout played before last season’s game left them delighted.

The fourth-round pick averaged 46.5 yards per pant in Penn State, 12 touchbacks and, according to Pro Football Focus, led the country by an average hangover time (4.36 seconds per antler) last year. Stout will enter his first season in Baltimore with the help – Koch has signed up as a special team consultant – and high expectations.

Coach John Harbo

What will Harbo-led OTA look like after one of the toughest seasons in NFL recent history? Definitely different. Harbo said in March that crows had “turned every stone” after last year in search of a safer approach. The Ravens players did not find that their first week of training program in the off-season differed dramatically from those of previous years, but practice may be.

“We’ve changed a lot in what we do,” Harbo said at an NFL owners meeting. “We’re going to approach OTA differently. We’re going to approach training camp, to some broad schedule differently in terms of how we grow, and in terms of how we train, how long we’re on the field and what we do on the field and how we perform the rhythm exercises – and even within practice, what we do early and how we follow the rhythm of our practices. We think we have very good ideas and I am delighted with that. “


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