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5 Things We Learned in Second Week of OTAs

OLB Malik Hamm
OLB Malik Hamm

While one of the biggest storylines around the NFL this week is how the offseason schedule could change in future years, the Ravens made the most of the current arrangement with their second session of Organized Team Activities.

Here are five things we learned this week:

Concerns about the Ravens' linebackers may be premature.

The Ravens' two chief free agent departures this offseason were inside linebacker Patrick Queen (Pittsburgh) and outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (Carolina). Early indications about the Ravens' ability to make up for those losses are encouraging.

Second-year inside linebacker Trenton Simpson is flying around the field. He's always had the physical speed, but now he's playing with more decisiveness and instincts. Plus, it looks like he bulked up some since the end of last season, when he offered a preview of what's to come with seven tackles and a sack in the regular-season finale against the Steelers.

Entering his fourth season, Odafe Oweh looks primed for a Justin Madubuike-like breakout. Oweh was the best practice player on the field Tuesday, putting regular pressure on the Ravens' quarterbacks and blowing up outside runs in the backfield.

Second-year outside linebacker Tavius Robinson looks ready to build off a solid rookie campaign and has also been very active in practice. Fellow sophomore Malik Hamm has added more muscle and explosion after basically getting a redshirt rookie season. Head Coach John Harbaugh said David Ojabo will be full-go sometime in training camp. Things are looking up for the Ravens' linebacker corps.

Lamar Jackson isn't sweating OTAs.

Jackson has participated in one of the four OTA practices open to media. This time of the NFL calendar is voluntary, so that's his choice. But coaches of course want to be working with players as much as possible and that certainly applies to the most critical piece of the offense.

Jackson is a two-time and reigning MVP. While there are improvements to be made in Year 2 of Todd Monken's offense, it's not like Jackson is learning a new offense from scratch like last offseason.

Jackson has been around the Under Armour Performance Center at times this offseason. He participated in the first day of the strength and conditioning program and had a good practice on Wednesday of last week in front of reporters.

Jackson has thrown a lot of passes to Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor and the Ravens' tight ends over the past year, but if this offense is going to take the next step, there needs to be better chemistry and more consistency on deep shots in 2024.

OLB Odafe Oweh

620: Takeaways From Ravens OTAs Week 2

Our insiders, Ryan Mink and Garrett Downing, talks about Lamar Jackson, Nate Wiggins' early impression, the safety battle heating up, a strong start for the linebackers, and more.

Bateman's contract extension is looking good.

There was a flurry of wide receiver extensions this week for the Dolphins' Jaylen Waddle (three years, $85 million), Texans' Nico Collins (three years, $73 million), and 49ers' Jauan Jennings (two years, $15 million).

Those deals are making Bateman's contract extension, which reportedly put his payout over the next three seasons at $15.25 million, look good. Now fully healthy, with the uncertainty of his contract behind him and with a path to more targets this season ahead, Bateman is in position to flourish.

He's practicing well too, including making a tightly contested leaping touchdown catch during Thursday's practice. First-round rookie cornerback Nate Wiggins said Bateman has been the hardest wide receiver for him to cover so far.

Check out who shined on the practice field during the Ravens' second week of OTAs.

The No. 3 safety competition will be hot this summer.

OTAs aren't the time when jobs are won. However, coaches are always evaluating practice and it can be a time to put yourself in the conversation.

Besides the offensive line competitions, the battle for the No. 3 safety job replacing Geno Stone may be the most hotly contested.

Ar'Darius Washington, who came up with a tipped-ball interception Thursday, is probably the leader. He has a nose for the football similar to Stone, who led the AFC in interceptions last season.

But seventh-round rookie Sanoussi Kane also had an interception and Tre Swilling broke up three passes Thursday. Undrafted rookie Beau Brade is also back on the field following a minor injury.

Last week, we wrote that the Ravens are in the veteran safety free-agent market, evidenced by the visit from Jamal Adams. That may still be true, but the better the young in-house options play in practice, the less the front office will feel like it must make a move.

The Ravens took the field Tuesday for Organized Team Activities at the Under Armour Performance Center.

Ronnie Stanley is practicing like a player with something to prove.

Several of Oweh's wins in Tuesday's practice came against Stanley. The good news is Stanley is battling. He came back on Thursday and had a better showing. The best news may be that Stanley has practiced every day of OTAs open to media.

"He's been here for every OTA and the workouts, and he's looked good. I was pleased, very pleased," Harbaugh said. "Ronnie's talented. He's working super hard. He's getting tested. These guys like Odafe and these guys are bringing it. It's good to work together like that."

The Ravens' veteran left tackle is looking to have a rebound season. Knee injuries were certainly part of the problem last year for Stanley, but he's a prideful player who admitted at the end of the season that he didn't play up to his high standards.

Baltimore reportedly reworked Stanley’s contract that makes the 2024 season a prove-it year. So far, Stanley is proving his desire to return to his All-Pro form on the practice field.

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