News & Notes: Rookie Trace McSorley Gets a Big Opportunity to Grow Faster

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Rookie quarterback Trace McSorley better make sure he gets some extra treatment after practice.

McSorley was already splitting his time between playing special teams and being the Ravens’ third-string quarterback. After Robert Griffin III injured his throwing hand during Saturday night’s practice, which will sideline him for several weeks, McSorley has been elevated to No. 2 quarterback.

The Ravens are expected to sign another quarterback soon, but it hasn’t happened yet, and the dual-threat Penn State product could continue as Lamar Jackson’s primary backup for the remainder of training camp and the preseason.

Oh, and McSorley’s special teams reps, which are going to go a long way in determining whether he makes the 53-man roster, aren’t going to diminish either.

“That doesn’t change,” McSorley said with a chuckle.

McSorley said nothing is different in his practice preparation because he’s been studying each play every night – even the plays he wasn’t getting. Now he’ll just get more chances to practice those plays against a live NFL defense, which should only help accelerate the sixth-round pick’s growth.

“I think it’s real important just being able to get in and get the reps,” McSorley said. “You can go through everything on paper, but it’s different when you’re in there experiencing it. You never hope this or wish it on anybody, but it’s an opportunity.”

McSorley said the biggest challenge so far has been operating the offense – the play calls, checks, etc. – and gaining chemistry with his receivers. He’ll have more opportunities for both now. Sunday’s practice was particularly fun because McSorley’s family was also in attendance.

“Trace is doing a really good job,” Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said. “Trace is very thorough, diligent. He has a very mathematical mind. He can take a lot of information in and process it.”

Roman Wants to Get ‘Medieval’ With Rushing Attack

It’s no secret that the Ravens plan on running the ball a lot this year. Thus, a reporter essentially asked whether the team plans to employ a traditional fullback this season.

When Vonta Leach retired as a Raven on Friday, the team talked about loving what Leach brought as a hammer up front. They could use a blocker like him now.

After Kyle Juszczyk left for San Francisco two years ago, Baltimore used converted defensive lineman Patrick Ricard. Last year, Ricard’s offensive reps dropped significantly as Roman leaned largely on his tight ends, including Nick Boyle.

Ricard has been getting some reps with the first-team offense so far this summer, and Roman was asked whether he plans to employ him more often.

“Whether we have a fullback or don’t, our guys have to know how to adjust when those situations come up. If you bring a fullback into the formation, it changes the defensive front. The offensive line needs reps at that,” Roman said.

“There’s an element of our offense where we want to be able to get medieval and get downhill on people. There are a variety of ways to do it.”

Miles Boykin Reminds Willie Snead of Michael Thomas

The hype train around rookie wide receiver Miles Boykin is starting to gain steam. Boykin had another strong practice Sunday after breaking out Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Jackson said Saturday that Boykin is “amazing right now” and Snead shared Sunday that he’s telling Boykin that he reminds him of Pro Bowl New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas.

Thomas has become one of the league’s best wide receivers. Standing in at 6-foot-3, 212 pounds, Thomas posted 3,787 yards and 23 touchdowns in his first three seasons. Snead played with him in 2016 and 2017.

Boykin is actually a little bigger at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. Both Boykin and Thomas have a unique blend of size and speed, and they both blew up the NFL Scouting Combine.

“All Miles wants to do is just grow and learn,” Snead said. “I keep telling him every day, I’m like, ‘Dude, you look like Michael Thomas.’ I remember when Michael Thomas came in in New Orleans. He was built the same, had the same mentality and was just trying to get better every day.

“That’s [Boykin’s] goal right now is to learn as a rookie, grow as a rookie, and make plays when they come. He’s getting better every day. You can see last night was a huge step for him. At the end of the day, he’s going to be a huge part of our offense if he continues to have that same mindset.”

John Harbaugh Is Helping More on Special Teams

Since 2008, the Ravens had one of the best special teams coordinators in the league in Jerry Rosburg. Now that he’s retired, Head Coach John Harbaugh has gotten back to his roots and been more involved with the special teams unit.

Harbaugh has always had a love for special teams. It’s where he first blossomed as an NFL coach in Philadelphia, before Owner Steve Bisciotti and the Ravens hired him to be a head coach in 2008.

Harbaugh has always done some individual instruction on special teams, and stepped into a drill here and there. Now he’s taking the reins a little more as the Ravens transition from Rosburg to first-year Special Teams Coach Chris Horton.

“I think in my first press conference, I said I got my first job and I’m surrounded by arguably the two best special teams coaches that ever coached this game,” Horton said. “I’m in a great place. If I ever have questions, I can always call Jerry or I can just walk down the hallway and go see Coach Harbs and figure things out.”

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