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Mike Preston’s Ravens training camp observations on WR Rashod Bateman, QB Lamar Jackson and more | COMMENTARY

Just when it appeared as if the Ravens had found a possible No. 1 wide receiver, he can’t stay on the field.

Rookie Rashod Bateman, a first-round pick out of Minnesota, had to leave practice Tuesday after falling the ground while running a route against cornerback Marcus Peters. At one point, Bateman grabbed his thigh and his midsection while on the ground before hobbling into the locker room.

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It’s hard to keep track of the number of practices Bateman has missed this year for various injuries.

I know what you’re thinking: Another Breshad Perriman, the injury-prone Ravens receiver and first-round pick out of Central Florida in 2015 who never played consistently. Receiver Marquise Brown, the team’s top pick out of Oklahoma in 2019, also has been in and out of the lineup because of injuries and hasn’t practiced fully since suffering a hamstring injury early in camp.

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Another receiver, Miles Boykin, hasn’t practiced since Aug. 2 after suffering a hamstring injury.

Bateman has shown explosiveness and playmaking ability, but you have to wonder how the Ravens keep drafting injury-prone receivers. Just when it appeared as if the team made a breakthrough with Bateman, he spends more time in the training room than on the field.

You wonder whether these players can make it through a 17-game schedule, which includes several short weeks because of Monday and Thursday night games.

Cornerbacks stand out

With several starters out, the Ravens cornerbacks have handled the remaining group of receivers extremely well, unlike last year when Brown was running by Peters repeatedly on deep routes. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey had a strong day Tuesday, knocking down several passes.

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But the Ravens cornerbacks hold a lot, as if it’s part of their technique. They can get away with it in practice, but that doesn’t work against quick, quality receivers, such as those on the Kansas City Chiefs. Humphrey has his holding down to a science and hides it well. Peters is blatant and just doesn’t give a darn.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson throws during practice on Monday.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson throws during practice on Monday. (Kevin Richardson)

Working his way back

Quarterback Lamar Jackson is trying to get his groove back after missing the first 10 days of training camp because he tested positive for COVID-19.

On Monday, Jackson consistently threw behind receivers and they bailed him out often. Jackson threw better Tuesday morning, but he isn’t sharp yet. It’s going to take some time to get him back up to speed, but that was expected.

Dropping the ball

Tight end Mark Andrews has the most reliable hands on the team, but he dropped several passes Tuesday. He made several circus catches Monday, but also dropped a few passes in that practice as well.

That’s not strange for most receivers, especially early in training camp. But it is for Andrews because he catches everything thrown in his zip code.

Powers on the move

Left guard Ben Powers pulled around right end and cleanly worked into the secondary to make a block on a running play Tuesday. Now, that doesn’t sound like much, but this offensive line hasn’t shown a lot of quickness and speed thus far in training camp.

It was a good moment. Also, the Ravens were without injured center Bradley Bozeman on Tuesday, but Trystan Colon filled in and did a nice job. He got into a little pushing match with defensive tackle Broderick Washington in a pass protection drill, but that was the result of two players being aggressive and trying to make a name for themselves.

As for right tackle Alejandro Villanueva, he has been solid the past two practices but always looks stiff and injured even though the Ravens haven’t reported anything wrong with him.

Play of the day

The best move of the day came from receiver Jaylon Moore.

He ran a slant-and-go route against rookie cornerback Shaun Wade, who slipped biting on Moore’s move inside. The result was nearly a 70-yard touchdown. If the move had been in a game, Wade wouldn’t have been on the TV screen after the catch because he was so far behind Moore.

Outside pressure

Defensive tackle Calais Campbell has played well in training camp, and so has outside linebacker Tyus Bowser.

Entering his fifth season, Bowser has been strong pressuring the quarterback. He’s also been a leader. The Ravens are hoping he has a breakout season on the field, which will match his leadership in the locker room.

Even more impressive is that recently signed outside linebacker Justin Houston seems to fit in better with his new teammates during his first week than former Raven Yannick Ngakoue did after his midseason trade from the Minnesota Vikings. Maybe it’s because Houston had a relationship with Peters, a former teammate in Kansas City, before coming to Baltimore.

Ngakoue, who signed with the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason, was standoffish at first when he arrived last season.

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