Ravens minicamp kicked off Tuesday at the Under Armour Performance and all eyes were on Lamar Jackson.
Jackson returned to the Under Armour Performance Center for the first time since last season ended with him injured and the Ravens outside the playoffs. After sitting out organized team activities, Jackson jumped into practice leading the offense as usual.
Teammates and coaches were happy to have him back, saying Jackson added a jolt to practice.
Here are 10 observations from Day 1 of minicamp:
- What stuck out about Jackson is that he seems to be throwing the ball with more zip. By the naked eye, it appears Jackson has added some muscle this offseason. That, combined with continued work on his mechanics, could explain why he seems to have added some velocity. Jackson drilled several passes into tight coverage and looks effortless throwing the ball to all areas of the field.
- Head Coach John Harbaugh said Jackson looked good and "he's physically in very good shape. I thought his arm looked really good. You can see he's been throwing a lot." Tight end Mark Andrews said he noticed a difference too. "When we were running routes on air, I was like, 'Oh, he's throwing the ball.' He's always had an arm though. But he's looking good. Tight spiral."
- The Jackson to Andrews connection picked up right where it left off. The two connected on several long passes. Jackson lost good friend Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, but his trusty tight end will still be there for him to lean on.
- Jackson's first pass of the preparation for 2022 was a touchdown to Rashod Bateman in red-zone drills. They had a strong rapport throughout practice as well, although Jackson sailed one pass too long when Bateman broke open on a deep route.
- The foil to Jackson's return was safety Tony Jefferson, who picked off his quarterback twice. It looked like Jackson's target pulled up short on one, and Jefferson wrestled another interception away from Bateman. The veteran safety had a good day.
- Second-year outside linebacker Daelin Hayes continued his strong start from organized team activities, bursting off the edge for a would-be sack on the first play of full-field 11-on-11 work.
- Rookie safety Kyle Hamilton continues to flash his vast potential as he broke quickly on an outside throw from Tyler Huntley for an interception on first-down. Huntley didn't see Hamilton coming and he stepped in front of running back Tyler Badie.
- Wide receiver James Proche II was active and had back-to-back nice grabs, one on a dart over the middle from Huntley and then a leaping grab on a high throw the next play.
- Second-year wideout Tylan Wallace caught second-year cornerback Brandon Stephens with a double move that left him wide open for a long touchdown pass.
- Free-agent addition Kyle Fuller joined the cornerbacks and nearly got an interception in the back of the end zone on Huntley, cutting underneath a Wallace route.
- The offense spent a little extra time near the end of practice going through slower-speed plays with Jackson at the helm and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman and Quarterbacks Coach James Urban in close contact. Roman said this year's offense is about 20% new, so there is some catching up to do.