Report: McCoy Likes Ravens’ Defense a Lot
Free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is scheduled to visit the Cleveland Browns today, but the Ravens are on the short list of teams he’s interested in signing with, according to a report by Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.
Even though the Browns are McCoy’s first visit, they are not the frontrunners to sign him, a source told Cabot. The source said McCoy’s list is composed of “three or four teams.”
“The Browns are not the frontrunners right now, the source said, but that could all change on Friday when the Browns get him in the building and sell him on the merits of the team and the city,” Cabot wrote. “McCoy is intrigued by the Browns in part because they’re a young up-and-coming team and have a good chance of making the playoffs this year. But he also likes the Ravens’ top-ranked defense a lot and has some relationships on that team.”
One of those relationships is with Ravens Defensive Line Coach Joe Cullen, who was McCoy’s position coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In reacting to Cabot’s report, The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reiterated his point from earlier this week that McCoy, a six-time Pro Bowl selection with 54.5 career sacks, might be a luxury in Baltimore rather than a necessity.
“As good as he is, the Ravens are pretty well stocked in defensive linemen,” Zrebiec wrote. “They’re also not really in a position to give out a huge one-year deal if that’s indeed what McCoy wants.”
The Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud wrote that “McCoy has drawn interest from 10 teams with offers coming in up to $11 million per season.”
Other teams reportedly interested in McCoy are the Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts. The New England Patriots were reportedly interested at one point but are not currently in the mix, Cabot wrote.
McCoy reportedly wants to sign with a playoff contender. He has never been to the playoffs in his nine seasons in the league, all with the Buccaneers.
“For the six-time Pro Bowler, it will come down to who gives him the best chance to make the playoffs for the first time in his 10 seasons, and which team he has a comfort level with, including coaches and players,” Cabot wrote.
Gus Edwards Shines at OTAs
The Ravens’ signing of free agent running back Mark Ingram and drafting of running back Justice Hill got the headlines this offseason, and deservedly so. But don’t sleep on Gus Edwards, who led the team in rushing as a rookie last season.
Edwards, who rushed for 718 yards (5.2 per carry) and became the starter, had a good day at OTAs yesterday. He caught several passes, including one for a touchdown in a game-winning scenario. Catching passes out of the backfield was not part of Edwards’ repertoire last season.
“Gus Edwards led the Ravens in rushing in 2018 but caught only two passes all season. He exceeded that amount in Thursday’s practice alone,” Zrebiec wrote. “That included a touchdown pass from [Lamar] Jackson on the final play of the day. Edwards looks like he slimmed down a bit this offseason.”
At the NFL Combine in February, Head Coach John Harbaugh said he expected big things from Edwards this season.
“You gotta love him,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a 240-pound guy that brings it every single snap. … I expect him to be really good.”
Edwards received praise from the veteran Ingram yesterday, as did second-year running back De’Lance Turner, an undrafted free agent out of Alcorn State last year who was signed to the practice squad and spent most of the season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
“How about my two running backs in my room? Gus and De’Lance got two red zone [touchdowns] today,” Ingram told reporters after practice. “[Running backs] coach [Matt] Weiss is getting us right, getting us ready to go. We’ve got a good room, good team, good competition going on offense and defense, so we’ve been getting better.”
Ingram had good things to say about Hill, too.
“Definitely, coming out of the backfield you can see that he’s fast and elusive, can catch the ball well, and you can tell he has good eyes and vision running the ball,” Ingram said.
As for Ingram, Penn Live’s Aaron Kasinitz wrote that Ingram and Hill “both bolted through holes at different points of practice, displaying impressive quickness.”
Kenneth Dixon was among the veterans who did not participate in yesterday’s voluntary workout.
Lamar Jackson Is Ravens’ Key Homegrown Player
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal named one key homegrown player for each team. Not surprisingly, he chose Lamar Jackson for the Ravens.
“Of all the players on this list, Jackson is the most significant to his team's success,” Rosenthal wrote. “The Ravens promoted Greg Roman to offensive coordinator with the idea of rebuilding their offensive playbook from scratch around Jackson's skills. While Roman will take advantage of spread concepts and Jackson's running ability, the Louisville product has more accuracy, touch and ability to throw deep than he was asked to show as a rookie.
“Don't forget that Jackson's first start last season came in Week 11. A full offseason as the starter with a largely new group of weapons around him (like first-round pick Marquise Brown) offers Jackson the tools to take a big second-year leap as a passer.”
Reporters got their first look at Jackson’s passing improvements yesterday, and they came away with a favorable impression overall.
Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Adam Schein ranked the NFL’s eight divisions by their quarterbacks. The AFC North came in at No. 4.
Of the Ravens quarterback, Schein wrote: “I am a believer in Jackson as a winner and runner, and I expect him to improve as a passer. First-round pick Hollywood Brown will help him, especially if Jackson does indeed show some growth as a thrower.”