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Observations and opinions off of Ravens' first open organized team activity

Keep in mind that it was a non-contact practice and the defense was without many of its top players. Making any conclusions at this time of the year is foolish.

But below are a dozen thoughts off of the Ravens’ organized team activity workout Thursday, the first of three open to reporters.

1) It’s fair to debate whether Joe Flacco should have reached out to welcome rookie Lamar Jackson much sooner. However, Flacco handled his first news conference since the draft as well as he could have. He struck the right tone, talking up the team and saying he’s focused on winning. If he’s still angry or hurt, he did a good job of hiding those emotions. He came across as confident, motivated and engaged. Obviously, he needs to win football games, not news conferences. But he will be scrutinized throughout the season, perhaps more than ever before, and he passed the first test Thursday.

2) Jackson was a mixed bag Thursday. When he takes off and runs, he’s mesmerizing to watch and it spurs numerous oohs and aahs from teammates. His best moment with his arm was a back-shoulder touchdown to rookie fourth-round receiver Jaleel Scott. His worst came when he tried to dump a ball off in the flat and he didn’t see safety Kai Nacua standing right in front of the intended target. Nacua picked the ball off and returned it for a touchdown.

3) Scott, by the way, had a really nice practice. He made a handful of catches and looked much more comfortable than he did during the rookie minicamp. He moves very well for a 6-foot-5 and 215-pound receiver.

4) Obviously, veteran Michael Crabtree isn’t going to blow anybody away with his speed. But you only need to watch him for a few minutes in practice to see why Flacco is so excited by his addition. Crabtree is smooth and everything he does is done with such purpose and attention to detail. He’s obviously a different player than Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith Sr., but how Crabtree goes about things reminds you of those two.

5) The Ravens’ depth issues at inside linebacker were glaring Thursday as C.J. Mosley sat out practice with a tweaked ankle and Albert McClellan and Bam Bradley continue to be sidelined as they work their way back from torn ACLs last year. All three could be ready by training camp, but the Ravens still should sign a veteran at the position before then. Mosley has played through physical issues for a good part of his young career. If he was to go down with a significant injury, the Ravens would be really challenged.

6) And yes, even with the depth issues at inside linebacker, I still think the Ravens are making the right call by trying to get Kamalei Correa back outside. The Ravens do have a ton of outside linebacker depth, so whether Correa will play well enough to earn meaningful snaps is in question. But this could be a make-or-break year for the 2016 second-round draft pick and he should play where he has the best chance to succeed.

7) The Ravens had 13 players not participating in Thursday’s OTA and most of them were sidelined with injuries. However, Ravens’ officials seem pretty upbeat about the team’s health situation. Many of the players sidelined are making good progress in their rehab and a few others are dealing with minor things. Cornerback Maurice Canady experiencing knee soreness has to be a little concerning given he’s was sidelined with a knee injury for a good part of last year, but time is on the Ravens’ side right now.

8) Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens still consider Patrick Ricard both a fullback and a defensive lineman. Ricard, though, looked bigger than I recall him being last year. He looked more like a defensive lineman than a fullback.

9) Running back Kenneth Dixon has plenty of time to knock off some more rust and work his way back into game shape before the preseason. However, he looked pretty good Thursday. If he stays healthy and does the right things on and off the field, he’ll be a factor this year.

10) While Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson are rightly entrenched as the starters, the bet here is that the Ravens will look for ways to get young safeties Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott on the field in the right situations. Elliott, a sixth-round pick, doesn’t carry himself like a rookie on the field and certainly looks the part.

11) The good news is that wide receiver Breshad Perriman looked healthy, in good shape and engaged. He made a couple of catches Thursday, including one in which he made an adjustment to make a play on a ball that was a little behind him as he crossed the middle. The bad news was that Perriman seemed to lose track of where he was on the field in trying to make two catches on deep passes during the practice. It wasn’t all on him. Both throws sailed out of bounds, but Perriman got little separation and didn’t give the quarterback much of a window to throw to on either play.

12) Second-year cornerback Marlon Humphrey handled Perriman on one of the deep routes. Players and coaches are raving about the 2017 first-round pick and the confidence and speed he’s playing with thus far. Humphrey has to be able to stay healthy, but the Ravens are very excited about his upside.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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