Good Sign From Terrell Suggs
One of the "best developments" from the first week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) didn't even come from the field.
It came from inside the training room.
Usually at this time of year, Terrell Suggs is away from the Under Armour Performance Center. He typically opts to skip the voluntary portion of the offseason program to train on his own and awaits the start mandatory minicamp.
This year is different.
Head Coach John Harbaugh told the media last week that Suggs has been in the building rehabbing his surgically-repaired Achilles, and The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec saw his return as one of the best pieces of news for the team, even during a week when Breshad Perriman and Dennis Pitta returned to the field and excited a lot of people with how they looked.
"Obviously, the big test will come when he's able to get back on the field. However, there has to be a curiosity from many in the building about where Suggs is at mentally and physically," Zrebiec wrote.
"After all, he's been away from the team since the injury occurred in Week 1 last season. It's a good sign he was back around his coaches and teammates."
Suggs hasn't spoken publicly about his Achilles since injuring it way back in September, but Zrebiec says all reports indicate the 33-year-old is making steady progress. This marks the second time in four years that Suggs is rehabbing an Achilles tear.
Even if Suggs isn't on the field this summer, the presence alone of a 14-year veteran in the building will have an impact on the boatload of pass rushers the Ravens drafted in April, including Kamalei Correa, Bronson Kaufusi and Matt Judon.
(By the way, all the attention on the new rookie pass rushers has pushed last year's fourth-round pick, Za'Darius Smith, under the radar a bit, but Zrebiec was impressed with Smith's progress from last year, saying he appeared much more comfortable. "No disrespect to Courtney Upshaw, a quality player, but I think Smith could give the Ravens a nice boost at the strong-side linebacker spot," he wrote.)
The target date for Suggs' return to the field still looks to be training camp.
"The expectation is the Ravens will take it extremely slow with him," Zrebiec said. "Suggs traditionally speaks to reporters at the mandatory minicamp (June 14-16), so we should know more about his readiness for training camp at that point."
Trent Richardson's Injury Hurts More Than Michael Campanaro's
Fans are accustomed to seeing running back Trent Richardson (hamstring) and wide receiver Michael Campanaro (calf) on the sidelines, but their latest trip there may have hurt one player a lot more than the other.
Both players desperately need to get healthy because of the tight battles at their respective positions, but Richardson's injury "is more damaging to his roster chances" than Campanaro's, says Zrebiec.
"Competing with [Terrance] West and Lorenzo Taliaferro maybe for one spot, Richardson badly needs to get on the field, knock off the rust and prove he can be a quality back," he wrote. "The Ravens know what Campanaro can do if he is healthy. While the Ravens have a bunch of receivers competing for probably two spots, Campanaro would have the edge on most of those guys because of his return ability and familiarity with Joe Flacco and the offense."
If Harbaugh's reaction to both players' injuries is any indication, he may agree with Zrebiec. Harbaugh said Richardson still needs to learn and understand what it takes to be a world-class conditioned athlete, and then praised Campanaro for his work ethic.
"Richardson’s] effort to get things moving in the right direction can’t hit too many snags if it is going to continue into the regular season,” wrote ProFootballTalk.com’s Josh Alper. “[It’s already hit a snag, however."
Added CSNMidAtlantic.com's Clifton Brown: "The Ravens don’t have to wait on Richardson. Their running back competition is already intense with Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon, Lorenzo Taliaferro and Terrance West all fighting for carries and roles. Whether Richardson even threatens to make the team remains to be seen. His bigger priority is improving his conditioning, and getting back on the field."
Breshad Perriman Still Has Plenty To Prove For Snaps
While things are looking up for Perriman as his knee appears to be 100 percent healthy, ESPN's Jamison Hensley says in the video below that the 2015 first-round pick still has a lot to prove in order to get significant playing time.
That's because the landscape of the wide receiver position has changed.
Last year, Perriman was essentially Baltimore's only deep threat after Torrey Smith left via free agency for San Francisco. They were relying on him to stretch the field before he went down on the first day of training camp.
This year, the Ravens have more options. They signed veteran speedster Mike Wallace and used a* *fourth-round pick on Chris Moore, who held the NCAA's eighth-best mark with 21.1 yards per catch last season.
An Explanation For Bronson Kaufusi Not Signing Contract
Finally, it's starting to make sense about why Kaufusi, a third-round pick, has not signed his contract. He's the only remaining Raven who needs to do so.
Turns out, there's a hold up for many of the NFL's third-rounders.
As of Friday afternoon, only 17 of the 35 third-round picks (48.6 percent) have been signed, which is "by far" the lowest percentage of any round, according to The Boston Globe's Ben Volin.
That's because the third round is the only round where players can negotiate for a higher contract, according to Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com. While the signing bonuses for drafted players are slotted, base salaries can be negotiated. Picks from the top two rounds get the maximum base salaries, and picks from Rounds 4-7 get the minimum. Third-rounders don't have a set number.
As a result of this rule, in 2012, quarterback Russell Wilson negotiated for more money than the seven players drafted directly ahead of him.
Since Kaufusi is the only drafted Raven who has even a little bit of leverage, that certainly explains the holdup.
American Flag-Themed Ravens Jerseys Are Amazing
I'm in love with whoever designed these American flag-themed Ravens jerseys, which looks to be from several different designers on Instagram.
Several Ravens players posted the artwork with words of appreciation for the sacrifice men and women in the military have made for our freedom. I've added a few other Memorial Day posts from players yesterday, including a video tribute from Kennan Reynolds.
Joe Flacco's 'Game Of Thrones' Character
Well this is fun (even though I admit I don't watch the show).
CSNMidAtlantic.com put together a photo gallery of local sports celebrities and their "Game of Thrones" characters.
Quarterback Joe Flacco's character is Samwell Tarly.
"Samwell Tarly was underestimated as soon as he got to the Wall. Not only did he prove he belonged, he also killed a White Walker. How many men of the Night's Watch can say that? Because Joe Flacco came from FCS Delaware, many dismissed him the moment he was drafted. Now he has a Super Bowl ring. How many NFL quarterbacks can say that? Not many."