The Ravens have sorely missed All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, but his health continues to move in a positive direction.
Head Coach John Harbaugh gave an encouraging progress report on Stanley, who only played one game last season before he underwent more surgery on the ankle he originally injured in November of 2020. It has been an arduous recovery, but Stanley is moving closer to returning.
"Ronnie's ankle is looking great," Harbaugh said at the conclusion of the team's three-day mandatory minicamp. "Ronnie's mission right now will be to get in the best shape of his life and get ready to play football, and that's what he's working on."
The primary goal is for Stanley to be ready Week 1 when the Ravens open the regular season against the Jets. His importance to the Ravens' offense is hard to overstate – an elite pass blocker protecting Lamar Jackson's blindside, as well as an athletic run blocker who is a key cog in the team's potent rushing attack. Stanley was Pro Football Focus' highest-rated left tackle prior to his injury.
Stanley was not 100 percent last season when he played Week 1 against the Raiders, and he ultimately decided that more surgery was necessary. But Harbaugh is optimistic that Stanley will return to being the player he once was, if not better.
"I expect him to play like Ronnie Stanley," Harbaugh said. "He's really motivated to do it. Just talked to him again today. He's chomping at the bit to get back. If he plays like Ronnie Stanley, and even better, than the significance is almost immeasurable. And that's what we're hoping for."
Harbaugh Gives Update on J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards
Neither of Baltimore's top two running backs played last season, as J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards suffered season-ending injuries before Week 1. It remains to be seen if either will be ready for Week 1, but Harbaugh says Dobbins is getting antsy.
*"You talk to J.K., he's the starting running back today, he should've been practicing today," Harbaugh said. *"But he's got work to do still, so does Gus. But they're both I think doing great. We'll see how they look when they come back."
Harbaugh did not give a definite timetable when asked if they had a chance to return for training camp.
"They all have a chance," Harbaugh said. "We'll see."
Veteran running back Mike Davis, who was signed in free agency, and sixth-round pick Tyler Badie took advantage of the regular reps they received at mandatory minicamp with Dobbins and Edwards absent.
"[I'm] very positive about Mike Davis," Harbaugh said. "He shows up as a veteran running back. [He's] quick, has really good vision, and he's always been a good receiving running back, but when you see it in person, it kind of opens your eyes. I'll say, Tyler Badie, too, is a receiving running back. These guys kind of jumped out that way in these camps."
Shoulder Tendinitis Keeps Tyler Huntley Sidelined
Ravens No. 2 quarterback Tyler Huntley sat out the final two days of minicamp with tendinitis in his throwing shoulder.
Huntley got plenty of reps during voluntary minicamps when Jackson was away, and the decision was made to give Huntley's arm a break. Jackson, veteran Brett Hundley and undrafted rookie Anthony Brown handled the reps Wednesday and Thursday in Huntley's absence.
"Snoop has a little tendinitis in his shoulder from all the throws," Harbaugh said. "We just gave him a rest the last few days on that. He'll be fine."
Michael Pierce Is Expected to Be Back For Training Camp
Michael Pierce was not present during mandatory minicamp, but Harbaugh said he expects the veteran defensive tackle, who returned to Baltimore as a free agent this offseason, to be ready for the start of training camp in July.
"He's healthy, he's good, it's just a personal matter with his family," Harbaugh said.
Outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson sat out Thursday's practice after spraining his ankle Wednesday and tight end Nick Boyle was given Thursday off.