Jalyn Armour-Davis and Brandon Stephens are taking advantage of their training camp reps, as the competition for playing time opposite Marlon Humphrey at cornerback heats up.
Bouncing back from a rookie season in which he was limited to just four games (hip), Armour-Davis has been getting consistent reps at outside corner since Rock Ya-Sin suffered a lower body injury last week. The athletic cornerback from Alabama feels his skills are being sharpened with the one-on-one battles against Zay Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr. and others.
"We all want to play, there's always competition across the board," Armour-Davis said. "My biggest thing is consistency. Just trying to consistently go up."
New Defensive Backs Coach Dennard Wilson has been impressed with Armour-Davis' progress.
"He has all the tools. He has good footwork. He has top-end speed," Wilson said. "The biggest thing with him is consistency. … [If] you notice, he's always in position. Now, it's about finishing when the ball is in the air."
Stephens has taken reps at safety, outside corner and slot corner, showing the versatility that make him so valuable."
"He can play every position and be very good," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We were just talking to him in the walk-through this morning and today before practice. What a blessing that is and a plus for our team."
Stephens said he doesn't have a preference as to which position he plays and does plenty of film work to keep himself ready to play all over the secondary.
"That's kind of been the story of my career here," Stephens said. "This week is a big week for all of us. I take pride in being able to do all the positions in the secondary. It's a blessing that I can do that, because not many people can do that and do it effectively."
Dennard Wilson Talks About Focus on Finishing Fourth Quarters Strong
The Ravens made the playoffs with a 10-7 record in 2022, but would have finished even better if not for some crushing fourth quarters. They lost a 21-point lead against the Dolphins, giving up 28 points in the fourth quarter. In a 24-20 loss to the Giants, the Ravens surrendered 14 unanswered. In a 28-27 loss at Jacksonville, the Ravens gave up 18 points in the fourth quarter and squandered a late lead.
Wilson says the Ravens defense has placed emphasis on finishing games stronger.
"In this game, the fourth quarter and the way you finish defines you as a football team – period," Wilson said. "It's about finishing. in two-minute situations [in the] red zone – they have to slow their heartbeat down. They have to focus on the little things and keep the main thing the main thing. When they do that and play with their eyes faster than their feet, they start to make plays, and that's what we've been hitting with the guys. Each day, Coach Harbaugh does a great job of situational football, and they're getting better at it."
When a Door Closed for Wilson in Philadelphia, One Opened in Baltimore
Joining the Ravens staff is a homecoming for Wilson, a native of Upper Marlboro who played at Maryland. He was a Defensive Backs Coach/Passing Game Coordinator with the Eagles last year and was a candidate to become their defensive coordinator after Jonathan Gannon left to become Arizona's head coach. However, Wilson is happy to have landed in Baltimore.
"Coach Harbaugh gave me a call, said would I be interested in joining the team?" Wilson said. "I jumped at it. Being a DB coach for the Baltimore Ravens' organization? You can't beat that.
"I'm coming back home. It's a dream for me to be a Raven. Coaching professionally in the state that you grew up in, you can't beat that. It wasn't a hard decision to make."
Wilson said it has been an easy transition meshing with the other coaches on Baltimore's staff.
"One thing about this defensive staff, everybody's tightknit," Wilson said. "There's no egos. We're here for one purpose. We attack the day every day to try and get these guys better."
Maryland Governor Wes Moore Says Ozzie Newsome Has Been a Role Model
Governor Wes Moore, the first Black governor in Maryland's history, thoroughly enjoyed himself visiting training camp on Monday. Moore was a wide receiver at Johns Hopkins and is a huge Ravens fan.
"I'm a fan of this team, I'm a fan of this organization. It's built right," Moore said. "This is a team that's very easy to root for, not just because this is a winning franchise, but because of how they actually go about their work.
"I was a wide receiver at Johns Hopkins. But after got a chance to hang out with the wide receivers here, I realize why I stopped at college. But I was able to catch some passes from Lamar (Jackson)."
Moore said one of his idols is Ravens Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome, a fellow trailblazer who was the NFL's first Black General Manager.
"Not often do you get a chance to meet people who were some of your heroes when you were coming up," Moore said. "This is a man who didn't just lead in such a beautiful way, he played the game and he led it with class and with grace and with integrity. We've been able to create not just draft class after draft class after draft class...we've been able to build this team the right way. So much of that is attributed to him."
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore visited Ravens training camp, chatted with Owner Steve Bisciotti, caught a touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson, met other players and fans, and more.