There was no rookie camp and there will be no preseason. However, Patrick Queen plans to make sure that he'll adjust to the NFL quickly.
Queen is expected to start at inside linebacker assuming he grasps the Ravens' defensive scheme quickly enough to play fast and play well. He's diving into the job head-first at training camp, studying hard and gaining insight from coaches and players on what it takes to have a successful rookie season.
"It's been going very smooth, just being with some of the older guys and some of the new guys," Queen said. "We're all just communicating very, very well. That's the biggest part that's helping me. The more you talk on the field the better you are."
When evaluating Queen before the draft, the Ravens were impressed that he rarely repeated mistakes and that he seemed to improve each week. That's a reflection of his work ethic. His preparation doesn't stop when he leaves the practice facility.
He's having frequent conversations with former LSU teammate Devin White, who was one of the league's top rookie linebackers last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Queen wants to make the jump from college to the NFL look as seamless as White did. He was disappointed that this year's preseason was cancelled, but Queen won't let the unique circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic be an excuse.
"They take their preseason games here very seriously and that's a learning process for us," Queen said. "For me not to be able to get that, it's unfortunate, but at the same time you've got to adapt.
"When the time comes, Game 1, let's rock and roll. We've only got so much time to learn everything. I'm going to grab it as quickly as I can."
Queen said it feels like he's playing "catch-up" because of the lost practice, but his main focus is to get acclimated and "try to become that person that everybody wants me to be."
"It's not challenging. It's exciting. It's a great feeling to be able to embrace what you're been working for your entire life," Queen said. "You can only imagine the dream of being in this position, and it's a position that I want to take full advantage of. I want to be the best player that I can become."
Queen Thinks Chuck Clark Will Continue as Signal-Caller
The inside linebacker often wears the microphoned helmet on defense and relays signals given to him from the sidelines to his defensive teammates. However, Ravens safety Chuck Clark had that role last season, and Queen expects that to continue in 2020.
Asking a rookie like Queen to relay the signals would only add more to his plate, and Clark is one of the team's brightest defensive players. Queen says he's been wearing an earpiece during team walk-throughs so far, preparing for the day he could assume the role of play-caller.
"I'm pretty sure that Chuck will have that right to keep it being the play caller right now," Queen said. "I'm just going to go under his wing, learn how he does things how he carries himself. And eventually fill into that role that he has."
J.K. Dobbins Excited to Play in "Complex" Offense
J.K. Dobbins isn't resting on his college laurels, which included becoming the first Ohio State running back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. He spent the offseason increasing his leg strength and endurance to prepare for his new role in the Ravens' talented backfield.
Baltimore set the NFL single-season rushing record for a team last year, and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman is known for designing innovative running schemes. Dobbins is getting his first taste of Roman's system, but the rookie running back does not seem overwhelmed by the scope of the playbook.
"It's complex, but that's what makes it so good," Dobbins said. "Ohio State was pretty complex, too. It's a smooth transition for me. I just have to keep learning it inside and out so I can be successful. It's very complex, No. 1 in the league last year. I'm just trying to make it stay at No. 1."
Dobbins says he's confident not only in his running ability, but in his readiness to pass-block blitzing defenders. Keeping Lamar Jackson out of harm's way is a priority no matter who is on the field, and rookie running backs sometimes struggle with pass protection. However, Dobbins said pass-blocking was stressed to Ohio State's running backs.
"At O-State, that's all we talked about, pass-protection," Dobbins said. "That came first before running the ball. Other than protecting the ball and not fumbling, pass-protection was No. 1. We were taught to learn how to read what's happening on the back end, read the safety before the snap is even happening. They'll tell you where to go. I've never played in the NFL, I know that they disguise things very well. But I feel that I'll be straight."
Workouts With Dalvin Cook Benefitted Dobbins
Dobbins and Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook have the same agent, which led to them hooking up for offseason workouts. Cook rushed for 1,135 yards for the Vikings last season, and Dobbins loved seeing how a proven NFL back approaches his offseason.
"It was very valuable to me," Dobbins said. "He taught me a lot of things in a short period of time. He works hard, great to be around. It gave me some outlook. I want to be like this guy, a Pro Bowl running back."