Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less

080721-Eisenberg
TE Mark Andrews

Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less: 

Even though he wasn't the one scrawling his name, Lamar Jackson surely wasn't sorry to see Josh Allen sign what I'd call a mega-mega-deal with the Buffalo Bills. Jackson is in line for a huge payday, regardless, but the high level of Allen's pay probably means Lamar can get more.

That sound you heard Friday was sighs of relief from the Ravens when they learned Jimmy Smith suffered "only" a low ankle sprain in practice, not something worse. With his size, Smith is being counted on to cover tight ends as much as possible. He'll be missed while he's out.

If the early days of training camp have demonstrated anything, it's that Mark Andrews' success in his three seasons isn't solely attributable to his chemistry with Jackson. Amid persistent offensive struggles, Andrews has continually gotten open and caught more passes than I can count from Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley.

Not that the Ravens need reminding, but Andrews' strong camp underscores the importance of not letting him get away. They'll have to pay him or franchise-tag him to retain him when his rookie deal expires after this season, and both options are costly. But Andrews is well worth it.

I just can't get worked up about the defense dominating camp practices when so many key offensive players are absent due to injuries or illness. It's August. The absent players are coming back, starting with Jackson any day now. I'll start to get worked up if they don't come back.

Wide receiver Deon Cain is taking advantage of the key absences at his position. He is tall and fast, a natural deep threat with a different skillset from those ahead of him on the depth chart. Right now, it doesn't appear there's a place for him. But things can change.

Keep your eyes on rookie safety Brandon Stephens. Several times this week, I heard coaches temper their excitement for him with the observation that he is just getting started and still has some learning and developing to do. OK. But he is smooth, physical and fast, which you can't teach.

Calais Campbell has intimated that this might be his last season, and if so, he is clearly motivated to go out with a bang. He is frisky, in great shape and truly a handful for anyone trying to block him. He is going to be fun to watch in 2021.

Perspective alert: The Ravens' schedule is tougher in 2021, but they're far from alone in that regard in the AFC North. Based on 2020 results, the Steelers have the toughest schedule in the league, the Ravens are No. 2, the Bengals are No. 5 and the Browns are No. 9.

Best wishes to Robert Griffin III as he begins his broadcasting career. But he doesn't really need my best wishes. Anyone who interviewed Griffin during his years with the Ravens knows he is a natural analyst and keen observer who only needed a launching point to blast off.

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