On looks alone, Jaleel Scott should seemingly dominate. He’s huge, standing in at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds – the same height but lighter than former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
But Scott doesn’t walk around like the big man on campus. And when a major hamstring injury ended his rookie season a year ago before it hardly got started, it was a shot to his psyche.
Now Scott is one of the Ravens’ most improved players. In a crowded wide receiver competition, he appears to have a good shot at making the Ravens’ 53-man roster and making an impact this season.
So what clicked?
“Confidence,” Scott said Tuesday. “Everything that you do, you need to have confidence and know that you’re going to get the job done. So, I feel like my confidence went up, and my preparation in the offseason, my training and the things that I knew I needed to work on, I attacked it this offseason.”
Scott has been one of the Ravens’ most frequent playmakers this offseason. He is using his tremendous height and wingspan to pluck passes from over defenders. He’s hardly dropped a ball and made tough contested catches.
Scott went on injured reserve last year on Aug. 27. He caught just one pass for nine yards in three preseason games last year.
The New Mexico State product already topped that in last Thursday’s preseason opener, hauling in a 25-yard pass in the fourth quarter. It was a back-shoulder throw when Scott had one-on-one coverage and he twisted his body and made the snag along the sideline.
“He’s playing really fast. If you look at the tracking and all of that, the guy is running really fast,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
“He’s running good routes, and he’s making plays – catch-and-run plays, go-up-and-get-the-ball plays. The next step that I’ve talked to him about is, ‘Let’s take that offensive play-making to special teams this week, too.’”
Scott didn’t play any special teams in college. If he’s going to make the Ravens’ roster, he’s going to have to do it well in the NFL. Scott could be an effective gunner because of his size and speed combination, but he has learning to do on special teams.
“The biggest challenge is just the experience,” he said. “When you don’t have much experience, you go out there and you want to excel. You want to excel so much, but it comes with experience. So, the more games that you play in, the better you get.”
Ravens Have a Unique Way of Giving Preseason QB Snaps
Harbaugh again did not disclose how many snaps starting quarterback Lamar Jackson will get in the team’s second preseason game Thursday night, but Harbaugh did shed some light on the process.
“We kind of balance it out,” Harbaugh said. “We have a way of doing it that goes back … My brother did it in San Francisco. It’s unique. It’s different than, really, what anybody else does, but that’s how we do it. He’ll play about the same.”
Jackson got 16 snaps in the preseason opener and led two scoring drives on his three opportunities. Typically, it’s ramped up in the second game, followed by the most action in the third preseason game before shutting it down in the fourth.
However, it remains to be seen whether Harbaugh will follow that pattern.
Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur said quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the starters are expected to play a “quarter or so” Thursday night.
Harbaugh Puts a Bow on Training Camp With Fans
Tuesday’s training camp practice was the last for fans to attend this year, and their presence will certainly be missed.
“The last day with the fans, I would just sum it up as just being fun,” Harbaugh said.
“We had a full house every single day and so many kids. It had to be at least, more than half kids, easily, every single day. We had groups of football teams. We had groups of military [personnel]. We had groups of first-responders. We had about every group we could have that loves football. It was fun. We had a stampede for Lamar here a minute ago. Nobody got trampled, thank goodness.”