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50 Words Or Less: Thoughts on the Start to Ravens Training Camp

WR Zay Flowers
WR Zay Flowers

We're three days into Ravens training camp – just long enough to make some meaningful observations.

Here are my thoughts, all in 50 words or less:

One thing clear about Todd Monken's offense so far: everything is faster. He wants his players to get to the line of scrimmage faster. He wants the ball out of Lamar Jackson's hands faster. He wants to get the ball to players who are fast. Call it and haul it.

Any first-round wide receiver is going to generate plenty of excitement, but the hype around Zay Flowers is legit. It looks like he plays at a different speed. Monken lit up when talking about the rookie Friday, saying, "That's a fun little toy right there, isn't it?"

Two defensive backs we should be talking about more are Brandon Stephens and Jalyn Armour-Davis. I've been impressed with both so far. Stephens, a former college running back, started at safety and cornerback in his first two NFL seasons. He's a chameleon that could now be a nickel solution.

Armour-Davis enters his second season after playing just four games as a rookie. He missed OTAs and minicamp too, so a strong training camp is imperative. He's on track. The Alabama product is well built, physical, and can run. I like his chances to be a top backup.

Marcus Williams looks like a man possessed at camp. Just something about his intensity seems different than a year ago when he was getting acclimated to his new team. He and Kyle Hamilton could be a special safety duo the likes we haven't seen in Baltimore in a while.

In 1999, fourth-round guard Edwin Mulitalo became a starter midway through his rookie year and never looked back en route to eight strong seasons in Baltimore, including a Super Bowl. Sixth-round rookie Sala Aumavae-Laulu has a legit chance to follow Mulitalo's example, except win the job out the gates.

The Ravens seem to have a real competition for the backup quarterback job for the first time in a couple years. Tyler Huntley and veteran Josh Johnson have been rotating reps with the second-team offense, and I wouldn't count out second-year hurler Anthony Brown either.

Perhaps the coolest part of training camp so far has been watching Odell Beckham Jr. embrace Baltimore and Ravens fans embrace their newest star. As Beckham said, "there is a lot of serious work that needs to be done," but the off-the-field pieces are in place for a happy pairing.

The addition of veteran Melvin Gordon III makes the road to a roster spot more daunting for undrafted rookie running back Keaton Mitchell, but not impossible. As Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton said Friday, "this dude can flat out run." Horton praised the work Mitchell has done on his unit.

I don't know when J.K. Dobbins is going to start practicing. I do know he's been watching the latter portions of practice and engaging with teammates. That at least seems to be a good sign. He's also been in all the meetings getting up to speed on the mental side.

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