Mike Preston’s Ravens observations on JK Dobbins’ return, O-line issues, Lamar Jackson’s perfect pass and more

Star JK Dobbins returned to practice on Monday after missing all of last season with a knee injury, but the player the Ravens miss the most is Pro Bowl left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who is still nursing a injured ankle that was surgically repaired twice.

Dobbins’ return has created some excitement in training camp, especially for a team that needed a better running back, but this offense will suffer without their $98.8 million tackle. The Ravens have tried different combinations to replace Stanley, who is expected to return in time for the regular season opener against the New York Jets on September 11, but there is only one All-Pro at the position. , and he is still missing. .

Ja’Wuan James, who has only played three games since the start of 2019, replacing Stanley, is causing concern. He may be more athletic than last year’s starting tackle, Alejandro Villanueva, but he’s lethargic at times, perhaps because he alternates between the two tackle positions.

He will certainly fight against quarterback Lamar Jackson’s blindside speed rushers. Right now, the Ravens are strong on the right side with tackle Morgan Moses and guard Kevin Zeitler, but the left side — with James and guard Ben Powers — isn’t as adept.

If rookie center Tyler Linderbaum doesn’t recover from a foot injury that Harbaugh says is “not a serious injury,” the Ravens will likely start Patrick Mekari in his place. Mekari is a better keeper than the center though and might be the best left tackle available right now.

Boyle is still working

Veteran tight end Nick Boyle is trying to recover from a serious leg injury he suffered in November 2020, and although he has worked extremely hard, there are times when he plants his leg to cut and limps slightly.

You wonder how long he can play this way or is it just part of his rehabilitation returning to practice. He was once one of the best tight tackles in the NFL, a towering figure when the Ravens had him, compatriot Mark Andrews and fullback Patrick Ricard lined up on the right side.

Boyle returned for a few games last season after two surgeries. The initial procedure, which he called “the worst surgery of my life”, repaired the meniscus, PCL, MCL and fractures. A cleaning procedure, which he underwent last summer, delayed his return to the field. He always seems to be working his way back.

Jackson impresses

One of the best passes I’ve ever seen Jackson throw was about 14 yards to receiver James Proche II on a third-and-8 at the Ravens 4-yard line on Monday. The pass was perfectly timed, as Jackson threw before Near even got his break.

Jackson very rarely throws these types of timing schemes off the court. As for the rest of Jackson’s day, he was better on short-to-medium throws than long-ball, but overall he continues to perform well in training camp.

wake up call

It’s been one of those ‘brother-in-law’ type camps because the Ravens don’t want to risk getting hurt, and that’s around when some players start laying down on each other. on others and to go through the motions.

So it was great when rookie receiver Makai Polk made a short run through and turned to come up the field only to get knocked down the next week by undrafted rookie cornerback Denzel Williams. I guess some of the Ravens coaches weren’t too happy with the move, but it was nice to see some good success in those scorching summer days.

It made you look forward to the regular season opener.

Practice playmaker

Two rookies who played at the opposite end of the spectrum on Monday were wide receiver Shemar Bridges and cornerback Damarion Williams.

Bridges, who had been solid for most of training camp, dropped several passes and appeared to lose focus. Williams has knocked down a few passes, and it’s interesting how serious the Ravens are about getting him to return punts.

The kid is a playmaker, at least in practice, so far.

Helmets removed

For several periods on Monday, Harbaugh allowed players to remove their helmets and walk or run through passes. It’s quite the opposite of previous years, which is a good thing after so many injuries a year ago.

Designated pass blocker?

I really enjoy watching the pass protection period where offensive and defensive linemen face off. Zeitler performed well for most of training camp, but the most impressive offensive lineman continues to be guard Tire Phillips.

It’s gotten to the point that if NFL teams can put different players in passing situations, why not make Phillips your designated pass blocker?

Just kidding, friends.

Good kind of.


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