There has been high anticipation to see Ravens first-round pick Marquise Brown take the field, and it may happen when training camp opens in July.
Brown has not been cleared for practice as he’s still recovering from January Lisfranc foot surgery. According to Head Coach John Harbaugh, Brown has not started running, but he has not suffered any setbacks in his recovery.
“My expectation is that he’ll open training camp,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t think you can say that for certain. You just don’t know how things are going to progress.”
A dynamic playmaker in college, Brown has the speed to turn any play into a potential long-gainer. That’s an element that can make the Ravens’ offense more explosive if Brown feels comfortable by Week 1.
“He’s been attending every meeting,” said David Culley, Assistant Head Coach/Passing Coordinator/Wide Receivers. “He’s done everything here except practice. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t get to see himself to be able to correct things. [He’s] just watching other guys. But, I think he’s coming along very well. He’s picking up what we’re doing.
“When I think about what I saw when we drafted him from Oklahoma, I get really excited about it. One of the reasons why we got him where we got him was because of his big-play ability. We’re looking forward to him bringing that to us.”
The Ravens have dealt with the Lisfranc foot injury before with cornerback Jimmy Smith and defensive end Brent Urban. Each injury has its own severity and responds differently to treatment for each person. On Tuesday, Smith talked about what Brown can expect coming back from the injury.
“It’s a serious injury. I think he’s going to bounce back just fine, knock the rust off,” Smith said. “He’s a speed guy, not a reaction … His stuff is timed. He knows where he’s going, so I feel like he’s going to do well with it. I don’t think it’s going to be an issue with his speed or anything like that.”
Judon Enters Contract Year Thinking About His Play More Than His Pocketbook
Entering the final year of his contract, outside linebacker Matthew Judon knows the situation. If he has a huge year, it will mean even more dollars in his next deal.
Pass rushers command big bucks on the open market, and over the past two seasons, Judon has amassed 15 sacks.
After sitting out Organized Team Activities, Judon reported to mandatory minicamp in great shape, focused on having a terrific season for the Ravens. Judon saw former teammates Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs sign with other teams this offseason, but Judon said his preference would be to remain in Baltimore.
Judon didn't offer any update on a potential contract extension.
“Contract, no contract, there’s no guarantee I’ll play one game this season,” Judon said. “So I’m going at every single game like it’s my last, and I’m going to enjoy it while I’m here. Because I have no clue what the future holds. Hopefully I’ll be here forever and ever, but like this offseason, you never know.
“I don’t know how other organizations are because I was drafted here, but here I feel home. It’s comfortable. I can almost drive to work with my eyes closed. I love the people here, the culture here. Everybody we bring here is to improve our organization. They do it right around here, they do right by us. That’s why hopefully I stay around here for a long time.”
Left Guard Competition is Wide Open
One of the most wide-open competitions for a starting spot is at left guard, and the position remains up for grabs, Harbaugh said.
Jermaine Eluemunor took reps with the starters during OTAs and mandatory minicamp, but James Hurst, Alex Lewis, Ben Powers, and Patrick Mekari will also have opportunities to win the job once training camp begins in July. It figures to be the most intense position battle of training camp, with no clear-cut favorite.
“I don’t think we know yet,” Harbaugh said. “James Hurst has proven he can play in there and he’ll get reps. We did want to give Eluemunor a number of reps because he’s looked pretty good. ... And then Ben’s obviously a part of it. Mekari, who wasn’t out here the past two days, he had a little back thing. He’ll be back in training camp. That’s a competitive spot.”
Lewis, who started 10 games at left guard last year, has yet to suit up as he’s still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
“I think he’s progressing well,” Harbaugh said. “We hadn’t seen him until two days ago. I think that would be a good question for Alex. He’s been in charge of his own rehab.”
Once training camp begins, the process of determining the starter at left guard will be ramped up.
“Let’s say two weeks into training camp, after the first preseason game, we’ll probably have a real feel for who we think is going to be the leader in the clubhouse,” Harbaugh said. “But I would say right now we don’t have one. It would be James, if it’s anybody. But that’s an open position.”
Young and Board Could Share Snaps Next to Onwuasor
Losing four-time Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley during free agency left the Ravens with a huge void to fill. However, a number of players are rising to the occasion.
Patrick “Peanut” Onwuasor has slid into Mosley’s middle linebacker position and has been one of the team’s most vocal players during OTAs and minicamp. Onwausor looks locked in and comfortable. Meanwhile, Kenny Young and Chris Board have both looked solid playing the inside linebacker position next to Onwuasor.
The Ravens didn’t draft an inside linebacker after losing Mosley, and believe they have enough talent at the position. Nothing Harbaugh saw during minicamp changed that belief.
“I think Chris Board’s playing like a starter. I also think Kenny Young’s playing like a starter,” Harbaugh said. “I think those guys are playing really, really fast. Peanut has more experience and he’s playing the same way. He is a starter.
“I would probably be anticipating us to play with kind of a three-man rotation, with Peanut taking all the reps and those other two guys playing packages. With Anthony Levine. I should say a four-man rotation, because he’s a part of the sub-packages in there.”