Michael Campanaro is learning about the challenges of life in the NFL.
He's adjusting to the speed of the professional game and the grueling training camp schedule, and his top priority at this point is to master the Ravens new offensive playbook.
"It's been going well, and I think the faster I can get this playbook down the faster I'll play out on the field," Campanaro said.
Learning the offense is a change for the entire team with new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak, and the Ravens are going through their third installation of the system. Campanaro has been learning the scheme since organized team activities and minicamp, and he's pleased with his progress.
"I feel like I'm just about there," Campanaro said. "It's just minor things, details. We're all learning a new playbook together. You just have to stay on top of it. It's a lot of new stuff, and you have to stay in that playbook and keep studying. The quicker I can get that down, I think the faster I'll play out on the field and I also think I'll get more opportunities."
The seventh-round pick is working at a crowded position, but he has flashed at times during the early part of training camp. He's made some tough catches in traffic over the middle of the field, and he's also displayed elusiveness to get open in the secondary.
During Monday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium, he hauled in a few receptions down the sidelines in team and individual drills.
"Michael has great feet, first of all," Wide Receivers Coach Bobby Engram said. "He has a lot of quickness. He understands how to separate. He's a smaller guy, but he's strong. He knows how to leverage himself to create separation, and that's what you really look for from a slot receiver."
At 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, Campanaro has to rely on his route running and quickness to get open. He's not a burner like Torrey Smith or Jacoby Jones, but he can work the middle of the field as a valuable chain mover.
He's naturally built to play in the slot, and preseason games will be critical for him to show he can make an impact this season.
"I played a ton of inside in college and I'm a little different than the other receivers in the room in that I've played a lot of slot and do some good things in the middle," Campanaro said.
The Ravens typically keep between five and seven receivers on the 53-man roster, and Campanaro will have to prove himself over the next few weeks to earn one of those coveted spots. Competition is tight with Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Jones and Marlon Brown all ahead of him, and undrafted rookies Jeremy Butler and Jace Davis are also making cases for themselves.
The Ravens like Campanaro's potential – they gave up a sixth-round pick in next-year's draft to get him – and he will get his chances to earn a spot throughout training camp.
"I definitely feel like I'm just progressing and getting better each day, and learning so much," he said. "For me it's just taking it one day at a time, getting better and then when the opportunity presents itself just make the most of it."