Marlon Humphrey Says the Worst Part of Playing Football Right Now Is Guarding Zay Flowers
Ravens rookie first-round receiver Zay Flowers put on a show on Day 1 of joint practices with the Washington Commanders yesterday. He went 3-for-3 in 1-on-1 drills, including dusting Commanders first-round rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes for a long touchdown on the first play.
"He showed me he can do it against anybody else, not just our team," Lamar Jackson said of Flowers. "He was making some crazy moves, great route running, great in and out of his cuts, and he was catching the ball, so he was looking pretty good out there."
The Ravens' cornerbacks were thankful to get a break from covering the fleet-footed Flowers. In the Ravens locker room, safety Geno Stone asked cornerback Marlon Humphrey what the worst part of playing football is right now.
"Trying to guard him," Humphrey said, pointing at Flowers. "That's the worst part right now! That's the worst part right now, tell you that much!"
Players and pundits are raving about Flowers. NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein looked at one pivotal rookie for each team. It's no surprise that Flowers was his choice for the Ravens.
"Flowers is an easy selection on a team looking to boost production in the passing game," Zierlein wrote. "The Ravens have struggled to find a consistent playmaker at wide receiver since Lamar Jackson took the quarterbacking reins midway through the 2018 season, but Flowers has the confidence and ball skills to flourish as a go-to target in the slot."
Meanwhile, The Athletic asked its beat writers to summarize how each team's first-round pick has fared this summer.
"There's understandable skepticism when it comes to the Ravens and rookie receivers because there haven't been many success stories. Flowers, though, is making a really good first impression," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote. "He's given Ravens cornerbacks fits in one-on-one practice periods with his quickness and elusiveness. He's gotten a steady diet of footballs from Lamar Jackson in full-team periods, too. He should have a significant role on offense from the jump."
'Good Morning Football' Hosts Discuss How Concerned Bengals Should Be About 'Loaded-Up' Ravens
In the past two seasons, the Cincinnati Bengals have been to a Super Bowl, played in two AFC Championship Games, and won two AFC North Division titles. They are the favorites to win the division again this season.
The prevailing opinion is that the Ravens are the biggest threat to Cincinnati winning an unprecedented third consecutive AFC North crown, thanks in large part to a revamped offense featuring the additions of veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and first-round wide receiver Zay Flowers, and Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken.
With that in mind, the “Good Morning Football” hosts debated the following topic: How concerned should the Bengals be about the "loaded-up" Ravens?
Jason McCourty said there is cause for concern for Cincinnati.
"It's like that rival town that's right next door. They just got a few kids that just moved in and you heard about them from the other neighborhoods they've come from and they're really good at football. They're going to be joining the local team and you know you've got to watch out for them, and that to me are the Baltimore Ravens," McCourty said.
McCourty noted that the Bengals had a decided advantage in wide receiver production in the teams' three meetings last season, but he believes the Ravens have closed the gap.
"You add a guy like Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr., you add a new offensive coordinator, you have a happy and a well-paid Lamar Jackson. You open the offense up a little bit. I think for the Cincinnati Bengals, you do start to look at this Ravens team a little bit differently," McCourty said.
Peter Schrager pointed to the Ravens nearly upsetting the Bengals in the playoffs last season without Jackson as to why Cincinnati should be concerned.
"Yeah, they should always be concerned because the Ravens play the Bengals tough," Schrager said. "[The playoff game] was in Cincinnati, and it was without Lamar, without Odell, without Zay, without all these guys. You better believe when these guys come in with their fully loaded team, they're going to be taking notice."
Kyle Brandt said the Bengals are fully aware of how dangerous the Ravens are.
"It's no surprise to the Bengals that the Ravens are going to be good," Brandt said. "The Ravens are always one of those teams that matters. They have the coach and they have the quarterback.
"These are going to be great games. When it's Thursday and you're looking forward to the weekend games, you're like, 'Oh, Bengals-Ravens, yes.' It's not a run-over. You predict them to split. The Bengals have had a nice run the last couple years. Baltimore's going to be really good this year. It's a surprise to no one."
Odafe Oweh Has Strong Performance at Joint Practice
Regardless of whether the Ravens add a veteran pass rusher, young edge rushers Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo are being counted on to make an impact this season.
Oweh's performance in yesterday's joint practice with the Washington Commanders was encouraging.
"When full-team drills started, no one was more disruptive than Oweh," The Baltimore Sun’s Timothy Dashiell wrote. "Against the first-team Commanders offense, he registered four sacks and at least two more pressures that forced second-year quarterback Sam Howell out of the pocket."
Humphrey was complimentary of both Oweh and Ojabo after yesterday's practice.
"They have really taken some strides," Humphrey said. "I'm ready to see them do it on Sundays and kind of be able to become household names for themselves."