One goal for Lamar Jackson during Organized Team Activities (OTAs) is to build relationships and on-field chemistry, as he tries to master a new system being installed by Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman.
It’s a work in progress that will continue throughout the summer. Not only is Jackson learning new plays, he is working with many new players.
Both wide receivers the Ravens drafted were sidelined by injury during Thursday’s practice – Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (foot) and Miles Boykin (hamstring). That left Jackson working with some players he recognized easily, and some he didn’t.
Jackson was honest enough to admit he wasn’t ready for a quiz on everyone’s name.
“Not all the rookies,” Jackson said, when asked about knowing names. “Hopefully I’ll get it sooner or later. Every time we’re here, we’re working, so we don’t have time to chit-chat. But it would be best for me to know all the rookies’ names.”
Quincy Adeboyejo, Chris Moore, and undrafted rookie Antoine Wesley were among the wide receivers who made nice grabs during Thursday’s practice. Asked which receivers stood out to him in practice, Jackson mentioned a few, before he smiled struggling to remember names.
“Jordan Lasley, Jaleel Scott, he’s been stepping up,” Jackson said. “We’ve got a lot of rookies, I wish I knew their names. I don’t just want to say jersey numbers.”
Jackson is excited about the offensive possibilities and pleased the Ravens selected Brown and Boykin, two young receivers he can grow with.
“I wish I was on stage with him, with Marquise,” Jackson said. “I was just happy we had new guys coming in. Speed.”
Onwuasor Embracing Added Responsibility at Linebacker
Inside linebacker Patrick “Peanut” Onwuasor is being counted on heavily after Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley’s departure to the New York Jets. Coming off his best season, Onwuasor could be designated as the defensive player wearing the microphoned helmet, relaying defensive signals to teammates. Onwuasor was very vocal during Thursday’s practice, and Head Coach John Harbaugh loved hearing it.
“He’s taking charge,” Harbaugh said. “We always say a good defense is a loud defense. We want to communicate on the highest possible level, even to a much-exaggerated level, because we want to make sure we’re on the same page. Our whole defense has done that, I think as an A, A-plus type of grade.”
There has been speculation that the Ravens, who had the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense last season, will not be as good in 2019 due to the losses of Mosley, safety Eric Weddle, linebackers Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith and defensive end Brent Urban. The Ravens disagree, and Harbaugh says many players are embracing the challenge.
“I think it’s really fun to see what the next generation is going to do and who they’re going to be and who’s going to make a name for themselves,” Harbaugh said. “Really, one of the things you do as a coaching staff and a scouting staff is build competition in there. Our defense is running to the ball, so all those guys are doing a good job.”
Mark Ingram Looks Forward to Silencing Naysayers
One of the Ravens’ key offseason acquisitions was running back Mark Ingram, who spent eight seasons as part of a prolific offense with the New Orleans Saints. Ingram knows Baltimore’s offense will be dramatically different than the Saints’ offense led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. However, Ingram believes Baltimore’s offense will also be difficult to stop, just in a different way.
Ingram, who moved well during Thursday’s practice, making quick cuts and finding creases during Thursday’s workout, isn’t worried about those who might be skeptical.
“People say a lot of stuff,” Ingram said. “People are always talking, and people who don’t really know much, I would say. Always saying something, always throwing their opinion out there, but I’m excited to be a part of this offense, I’m excited to be running next to Lamar, running behind this offensive line and watching this defense play when we’re on the sideline, and being a part of a championship organization. I’m excited about it, and I believe in us. I think we’re going to do great things, so people can say what they want, but we’re coming.”
Most Veterans Participated in Voluntary Workouts, But Some Did Not
Safety Tony Jefferson, who had offseason ankle surgery, and safety Earl Thomas, who broke his leg last season, were among those who did not practice Thursday.
Others who did not participate in Thursday’s voluntary workout included running back Kenneth Dixon, offensive linemen Alex Lewis and Marshal Yanda, defensive tackles Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams, linebacker Matthew Judon, and cornerback Jimmy Smith. Undrafted rookie defensive tackle Gerald Willis was also not present.