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Practice Report: What Stood Out on Day 1

DT Justin Madubuike
DT Justin Madubuike

The Ravens kicked off Organized Team Activities this week and there's what stood out on the first day open to reporters:

  • Overall, the Ravens have excellent attendance at the voluntary OTAs. Harbaugh said he's "very excited" that most of the team is practicing and that there are some players in attendance at OTAs but who weren't on the field practicing.
  • Much of the talk was about Lamar Jackson's slimmer figure. He does look smaller, but there wasn't anything noticeably different about how Jackson played. He said he wanted to lose weight to be more agile, and he did escape the pocket for one long run that left him one-on-one with safety Kyle Hamilton. It's hard to tell whether Jackson is more agile or a little faster though because he's always been fast and agile.
  • A welcomed sight on the practice field is defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, fresh off inking his four-year contract extension this offseason. Madubuike said at the time that the mega deal wouldn't change his work ethic and he's putting those words to action. It's not full contact, but Madubuike picked up where he left off, blowing plays up and coming up with what would've been a sack on Jackson.
  • Inside linebacker Malik Harrison made the play of the day with a leaping interception on a pass over the middle by Josh Johnson. Harrison, who was re-signed to a one-year deal this offseason, hasn't recorded an interception yet in his NFL career, but maybe that's about to change.
  • For those wondering whether Derrick Henry is going to be a part of the Ravens' passing game, the answer is yes. Henry caught a couple passes out of the backfield from Jackson. Henry did more of that the past couple years in Tennessee too, catching 33 passes for 398 yards in 2022 and 28 for 214 yards in 2023. He had never reached 20 catches in a season before that.
  • It's still OTAs and contact is very limited, so it's not the best time to gauge Henry's value as a downhill sledgehammer. Still, his sheer size, especially standing next to Jackson (who even though slimmed down is still not small) stands out. Zay Flowers said he screamed and jumped out of the way when he saw Henry coming on a stretch zone run in practice Monday.
  • Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh is off to a good start after the Ravens picked up his fifth-year option a few weeks ago. Oweh had a sack when he didn't bite on a play-action fake by Jackson.
  • Cornerback Damarion "Pepe" Williams made a nice play closing on a deep pass by Johnson intended for Sean Ryan to break it up.
  • OTAs are often about seeing who got bigger (or smaller) over the offseason. Tight end Charlie Kolar definitely added some bulk. Head Coach John Harbaugh said this offseason that he'd like to see Kolar continue to become a more developed blocker,[comma] and he looks ready for the role.
  • Second-year linebacker Trenton Simpson also appears to have added some muscle this offseason as he prepares to take on the workload and physicality of a starter.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. is in Miami now, but Flowers made a Beckham-like one-handed deep snag during routes on air. Flowers and Rashod Bateman both donned flashy gold cleats and are both looking explosive.
  • Rookie wide receiver Devontez Walker had one drop, but he looks to be a pretty natural catcher. He has good form, plucking the ball away from his body confidently with his hands.
  • It's only the first practice open to reporters, so we'll see if it changes, but Malik Cunningham was working exclusively with the wide receivers instead of the quarterbacks.

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