Skip to main content

5 Things We Learned in Third Week of OTAs

T Roger Rosengarten
T Roger Rosengarten

The Ravens completed voluntary OTAs on Friday and are preparing for next week's mandatory minicamp. Here are five things we learned this week:

There is close competition among the offensive linemen.

The Ravens are looking for new starters at left guard, right guard and right tackle, which will make the competition among the offensive linemen a hot topic all summer. Baltimore has used multiple offensive line combinations throughout OTAs and are not rushing to make decisions.

Sala Aumavae, Ben Cleveland, Daniel Faalele, Josh Jones, Roger Rosengarten and Andrew Vorhees all took advantage of their reps and made few mistakes. Head Coach John Harbaugh said that nobody in the group was falling behind.

"So far, every single guy looks like he could be the starter," Harbaugh said. "Now, we get into pads. We get into preseason games, let the guys compete against one another and see who wins the jobs. But all of them are still in contention at this point, which is very good."

Vorhees is totally past his knee injury.

After tearing his ACL at the 2023 Combine, Vorhees spent his rookie season rehabbing and getting stronger. Now he feels 100% healthy and said it was "just another day" when the one-year anniversary of his injury came and went in March. He's confident he can capitalize on his opportunity to win a starting job.

"Go out to practice every day and just try to be the best football player that I can become," Vorhees said. "We'll let everything else take care of itself. I know these gentlemen upstairs have quite the job to decide who's going to play at the end of the day. But as an individual, it's up to us to become the best football players we can become and just make their jobs easier."

Justin Tucker has taken a deep dive into the new kickoff rules.

As the most accurate kicker in NFL history, Justin Tucker remains one of the Ravens' most important weapons. However, the league's new kickoff rules in 2024 add a different dimension to Tucker's job as the Ravens work on strategies for covering kickoffs.

Tucker has an analytical mind and is experimenting with different kickoffs that might give the Ravens an edge.

"Whether that means putting the ball in different spots, making it challenging for a returner to scoop up the ball easily – all of those things we're looking at right now," Tucker said. "Granted, we are kind of in the fledgling stages of what we're trying to accomplish here, what we're trying to figure out."

Tucker thinks he could be involved in more tackling on kickoff and has spent time in the weight room to prepare. He's gained some strength, although he's not ready to arm wrestle Derrick Henry.

"This might be really surprising to a lot of you guys and a lot of my teammates, because I don't [tend] to hang out in the weight room too frequently," Tucker said. "But, after watching a lot of the XFL plays over the last couple of years, the kicker seems to be involved in like 25% of the tackles. I've mixed it up a couple of times – I've gotten in there. But now I have to get some more shrugs, get the [shoulder] traps going a little bit just to make sure I'm prepared for a little bit more contact."

Rookies T.J. Tampa and Devontez Walker are making strides.

First-round cornerback Nate Wiggins has impressed since the start of rookie minicamp. But other rookies are starting to gain confidence including wide receiver Devontez Walker and cornerback T.J. Tampa. The fourth-round picks had a strong week of OTAs heading into mandatory minicamp.

"I think both T.J. and 'Tez' are both doing a great job of taking one step at a time and getting better every single day," Harbaugh said. "It's not competitive in the sense that if there's a deep ball thrown down the field, the DB's not trying to take the ball away. So, you have to understand that. We expect those catches to be made. But, we want them made, and we want the DB right there in position with his eyes on the football. I think both those guys have gotten better every day with technique and assignment. Probably all the rookies are ahead of where we would have expected in those two areas."

Roquan Smith's personality is rubbing off on Trenton Simpson.

Trenton Simpson had another strong week of OTAs and is more demonstrative and vocal than last season.

As the presumed replacement for Patrick Queen at inside linebacker, Simpson is taking full advantage of lining up next to Roquan Smith. Simpson is studying film with Smith, seeking Smith's advice, and hanging with him off the field more often.

Why not? Picking Smith's brain is a great way for Simpson to accelerate his learning curve in his second season.

"That dude is a 'dawg,' man," Simpson said. "[Roquan Smith's] mentality is the same every single day. It's a blessing to be beside someone like that, learn from him. Also, [I'm] sitting right beside him in film. Whenever I have a question, he's there to answer it. Off the field, the relationship has grown a lot, also. I'm learning something from him and matching his energy. That's something I picked up: communication and matching his energy every day as a linebacker and leading the defense."

Related Content