Mike Preston

Mike Preston’s Ravens training camp observations on the offensive line rotation, Marquise Brown’s physicality, depth at corner and more | COMMENTARY

The is no official time frame for when Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley will start participating in training camp, but the All-Pro was missed in Thursday’s practice.

Andre Smith, in his 13th season, started in place of Stanley and struggled most of the morning. The former Cincinnati Bengals starter was slow off the snap of the ball, which is unacceptable for an offensive lineman. He even had a couple of missed assignments, which didn’t make offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris happy.


Stanley, who had three surgeries on his left ankle after suffering a season-ending injury in Week 8, is starting camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list. The Ravens expect him to be ready for the regular-season opener Sept. 13 against the Raiders in Las Vegas. If not, they better find someone quicker than Smith, who opted out of last season because of COVID concerns. One solution could be inserting Tyre Phillips at tackle, but he started at left guard Thursday.

Phillips is stronger and quicker than a year ago, but he’ll struggle with speed rushers on the outside as well.


Insurance policy at center

The Ravens have a great insurance policy on the roster in backup center Trystan Colon. He played well in several games as a starter in 2020, but never got the full blessing of coach John Harbaugh. But if current starting center Bradley Bozeman struggles or gets injured, Colon is the perfect replacement.

At 6-foot-3 and 313 pounds, Colon isn’t overpowering, but he works the leverage game well and gets movement at the point of attack. Unfortunately, he didn’t come to Baltimore with a high draft grade and was signed as a rookie free agent out of Missouri.

Flexing his muscle

Wide receiver Marquise Brown came to training camp last season talking about his new muscular body, but few people saw the difference it made in his play.

But you can see it now. Brown, in his third season, is more physical at the line of scrimmage and able to get off press coverage easier. On several plays in the slot, he has knocked away cornerbacks with his hands, threw them to the inside on a quick spin then bolted to the outside for 10-yard receptions.

Brown couldn’t do that in his first two seasons. Not only has he gotten stronger, but also received better coaching with two new assistants in Tee Martin and Keith Williams. Brown, however, did leave practice Thursday after about an hour because of a muscle problem in his leg, which wasn’t believed to be serious.

Home run hitter?

Second-year running back J.K. Dobbins can lull you to sleep with his running style. He has that steady stride then the quick burst with sudden power, but he also has the ability to cut back.

He has a knack for getting defenders to drift with him, then finding a cutback seam that leads to 10 or 15 more yards. If Dobbins has breakaway speed, he could deliver home runs from anywhere on the field. He said he wants to produce longer touchdown runs this season.

“Yes, last year, I think I had one 70-plus-yard touchdown, and I want to be that home run hitter for the team — that spark plug,” Dobbins said. “Because whenever you have a long run like that, a long touchdown run, it gets the team going. This year, I’ve been honing in on ways to make that home run more than one time this year, you know?


“I want to do it like four or five times this year, get everybody excited, get the team going and just make plays for the team and help us win a game. You do that [and] that can break the will of a defense, I feel like. They’re like, ‘Dang. We just let them 80 yards down the pipe. No passing plays like that.’ So, that’s what I’ve been working on. I can always get better at that. I’ve been working on it all.”

Chucking it deep

The play of the day was the long touchdown throw by backup quarterback Tyler Huntley to receiver Jaylon Moore down the right sideline as Moore was double-covered by safeties Davontae Harris and Geno Stone.

Not only did Moore make a great catch, but Huntley threw the pass about 40 yards from the original line of scrimmage after dropping about 20 before the throw. He actually hit Moore in stride. Huntley, the second-year player out of Utah, has the strongest arm of starter Lamar Jackson and fellow backup Trace McSorley, who he is battling for the No. 2 position.

The Ravens didn’t have as many long completions as they did in Wednesday’s practice, but rookie receiver Tylan Wallace beat safety Nigel Ward for about a 30-yard reception in the hurry-up offense, which set up a roughly 20-yard touchdown pass to James Proche II on a back-shoulder catch in the end zone.

Depth at corner

Cornerback Marcus Peters was out of practice with a toe injury but is expected to be back on the field Friday. Veteran corner Jimmy Smith played well for Peters, including knocking a long pass away from receiver Sammy Watkins late in the practice.

The Ravens have four good cornerbacks in Peters, Smith, Marlon Humphrey and Tavon Young, if Young can stay healthy. He has been bothered by an assortment of injuries since he came into the league six years ago as a fourth-round draft pick out of Temple.


“Man, it feels great to have ‘Tay’ back,” Humphrey said. “I filled in his spot at the nickel for the past kind of two years, but I’m happy to have him back. I can move back outside, and me, ‘M.P.’ [Marcus Peters], Jimmy and Tavon — that’s a pretty strong four. So, I’m really excited to have him back. I know what he can do on the field.”

Strong day for Oweh

Rookie outside linebacker Odafe Oweh had a good day pressuring the quarterback. The first round pick out of Penn State was faster than Andre Smith, and the noticeable difference in his play from a few weeks ago is his “get off” on the snap of the ball. He doesn’t appear to be thinking so much about his moves, but just reacting to the play.