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News & Notes: Charlie Kolar Bulked Up, Looks to Earn Blocking Role

TE Charlie Kolar
TE Charlie Kolar

Charlie Kolar's rookie season was short-circuited before it got started last year, resulting in just 40 snaps played in his rookie season. Now he's bulking up to get more action.

The rookie fourth-round pick underwent sports hernia surgery at the start of training camp last year, sidelining him for nearly the entire season. He really only played in the regular-season finale in Cincinnati, catching four passes (on six targets) for 49 yards.

The Ravens have plenty of pass catchers in this year's offense, including in the tight ends room with Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely. Add in the new wide receivers and it probably doesn't equate to many targets for Kolar.

While Kolar was primarily a receiving tight end in college, he has a new path to the field in the pros. Now without Nick Boyle and Josh Oliver, who signed in Minnesota after holding a large role in Baltimore last season, the Ravens need an in-line blocking tight end.

"I'm just trying to do what I can to get on the field," Kolar said. "Obviously, there's more reps in the blocking world, so if I can keep getting better and [more] effective with that, I think there's a lot of opportunity there."

Kolar added 10 pounds this offseason and says he's up to 265 pounds. It's not too far from the weight he played at last year, he said, but it's a better body composition. He's trying to control his love of cheeseburgers, he said. With a bulkier frame and long arms, Kolar has the tools to be an effective blocker. It's a matter of improving his technique and being consistent.

Oliver wasn't at all a blocker before last season and turned into quite a good one, in addition to being a complementary receiving threat. Though he didn't see much game action as a rookie, Kolar said he picked up a lot watching Boyle, Oliver and fullback Patrick Ricard. 

"There's so many fine intricacies of your technique and your aiming points, your pad level, how to notice fronts and blitzes so you can react fast," Kolar said. "So just trying to learn day by day. I was mostly a receiving [tight end] in college so just keep trying to learn."

Patrick Ricard Role Is 'Physicality'

Todd Monken's new offense is lighter with personnel groupings (more receivers, fewer blockers) than Greg Roman's frequently used heavy packages.

The Ravens have the best in the game in Patrick Ricard, who has gone to four straight Pro Bowls. Ricard has made a living on destroying linebackers to open holes in the running game. So what will his role be in Monken's offense?

"I think Patrick's an established player. He's able to block people, move people, [and] he's a good protector," Tight Ends Coach George Godsey said. "His role is physicality. So with every offense, there has to be that component. He's demonstrated that for the past few years. I think most of our opponents will say that, too."  

Ricard has yet to practice this offseason due to having hip surgery and is currently on the PUP list. Ben Mason has been getting the reps at fullback in his absence.

Isaiah Likely Isn't Worrying About His Targets

While Kolar's rookie season was mostly spent on the shelf, Likely played a large role in his rookie year. He had the team's fourth-most receiving yards (373) and receptions (36), and the third-most targets (60).

But with the arrival of Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers, and Nelson Agholor, as well as the indication that the Ravens will be throwing more to their running backs, Likely has more competition for targets.

"I feel like coach Monken's going to put the ball in everybody's hands, really in the playmakers' hands," Likely said. "At the end of the day, everybody on this team's really trying to win the Super Bowl. So, whether I get eight targets a game, or whether I get one target a game, as long as the main focal point on this team and on this offense is winning, I'll be happy with any outcome."

While also looking to improve his blocking, Likely wants to team up with Andrews more to make plays when both are on the field, not just when he has to step in for Andrews.

"Really just having them have no answer for our offense, I really feel like that's the best way to be explosive," Likely said.

Likely Does Have to Do Some Sharing – His Nickname

While he's not worried about target share, Likely does have to share his nickname now.

Jackson and others have consistently called Likely "Zay" as a shortened version of Isaiah. But with Flowers now on the team, there's two Zays.

"We just really go off of whose voice you hear," Likely said. "So, if we're on the field at the same time, you could hear Coach say 'Big Zay' [or] 'Little Zay' every now and then. I know that's a little funny, but it is what it is."

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