What To Watch For At Minicamp


The Ravens open a three-day minicamp Tuesday, the first mandatory activity of the offseason.

With the exception of franchised running back Ray Rice, the entire team is expected to be in Baltimore for the workouts.

Here's a look at the questions to be answered during this stretch.

Will Rice's Absence Be A Distraction?

Up to this point, Rice's decision to sit out of offseason workouts hasn't been much of an issue because all of the activities have been voluntary. He has been one of a handful of players not in the building, and teammates and coaches have said repeatedly that they understand Rice's situation.

Now he will likely be the only player not in attendance, which could make his absence more noticeable. As Rice waits for a new contract before he reports, the sentiment from his teammates is not expected to change this week, but how could media coverage affect the situation?

How does the full defense look without Terrell Suggs?

Ravens Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees has been able to see a glimpse of what his defense will look like this fall, but minicamp will provide the first real opportunity to see how the entire unit operates without Suggs.

Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata will all likely be back on the field for the first time this offseason, which will give Pees a more realistic view of his defense.

What does Reed say about his future?

Safety Ed Reed has made comments this offseason that put his long-term future with Ravens in doubt. He's expressed his desire for a new long-term contract, but he's also said that he isn't 100 percent committed to playing this fall.

This will be the first time that Reed addresses the entire media corps since last season ended, and he will certainly be asked about his future plans and desire for a long-term deal.

How do the rookies look next to the proven veterans?

The 2012 rookie class has been given a taste of the NFL with rookie minicamps and Organized Team Activities (OTAs), but now they will step on the field next to the likes of Lewis, Reed, Ngata, Anquan Boldin and Matt Birk. Having the veterans back in town will take some reps away from the rookies, and it will also give the young players stiffer competition.

Will the injured players get back on the field?

Offensive linemen Jah Reid and Kelechi Osemele and defensive lineman Pernell McPhee have all missed practices open to the media the last two weeks. The nature of their injuries hasn't been disclosed by the team, and it's unclear whether they will be able to get on the field this week. All three players are fighting for starting jobs, so this time is critical for them, but the training staff also knows that it's still only June and rushing them back on the field isn't worth the risk of further injury.

Cornerback Cary Williams is working his way back from hip surgery, and he participated in individual drills last week. Depending on how he continues to progress, he may be able to get some work in during 11-on-11 drills.

How will the offensive line look with Williams in the rotation?

The Ravens added veteran offensive lineman Bobbie Williams last week, and he's expected to be immediately inserted into the competition for the starting left guard spot. Williams has primarily played right guard during his career, so the other option for Baltimore could be to move guard Marshal Yanda to left guard and have Williams stay on the right side.

If Osemele is back on the field this week, it will also be interesting to see who gets the first-team snaps. During the three weeks of OTAs, Osemele, Reid, Gino Gradkowski and Justin Boren were all splitting first-team reps at the guard spots.

What will the wide receiver depth chart look like?

Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith are considered the top two receivers on the depth chart, but behind them is a battle for playing time. Jacoby Jones, LaQuan Williams, Tandon Doss, Tommy Streeter and Deonte Thompson are all fighting for reps, and minicamp will be a chance to see where they fall in the pecking order.

Jones has looked like he has an edge in the No. 3 receiver competition, and minicamp will be an opportunity to see if that's still the case.

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