More to watch as second round of OTAs begin

The Ravens' second week of organized team activities will begin Tuesday, with Wednesday's workout open to the media. Last week's open session was sufficiently discussed and dissected. Here are a few things that we'll be watching for this week:

Progress of injured players


Aside from the quadriceps injury suffered by wide receiver Michael Campanaro, last week brought some positive news on the Ravens' injury front. Most players coming off season-ending injuries or offseason surgeries participated in some fashion.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith, who had foot surgery in November, felt good enough to tie the red noncontact jersey around his waste and battle with wide receivers. Defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (Achilles) rushed the passer and cornerback Asa Jackson (knee) got extensive reps on the outside.


Tight end Dennis Pitta (dislocated and fractured hip) and safety Terrence Brooks, who tore up his knee in mid-December, were in uniform and ran around on their own. They remain a ways away, but just having them out on the field this early has to be viewed as a positive.

Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot), inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (wrist surgery) and long snapper Morgan Cox (knee) were also working.

Training camp is still about a month and a half away, but the Ravens have to feel pretty good about the progress of several of their rehabilitating players. They'll feel even better if they can get through the next couple of weeks without any setbacks.


Seventy-two of the Ravens' 90 players participated in last week's OTA. While some teams around the NFL reported near-perfect attendance, the Ravens' 18 absences were hardly surprising.

Rookies Breshad Perriman, Maxx Williams and Buck Allen were at the NFLPA's Rookie Premiere event. Undrafted free-agent center Nick Easton (Harvard) and the team's fifth-round NFL draft pick, tight end Nick Boyle (Delaware), had college graduation festivities this past week. Defensive end Brent Urban was at funeral services for his grandfather. Campanaro is injured, while right tackle Rick Wagner (foot) is still rehabbing.

Several veterans, including Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Marshal Yanda and Chris Canty, have traditionally stayed away from OTAs to work out on their own and get ready for mandatory minicamp, which is June 16-18.

The Ravens don't spend too much time worrying about who isn't practicing, but it will be interesting to see if OTA attendance increases or decreases over the next two weeks. In the past, some veterans have come for the first OTA and then disappeared for a couple of weeks before the mandatory minicamp.


Improvement of young offensive linemen

Ravens offensive line coach Juan Castillo loves teaching and developing players. He has his offensive linemen out on the field for practice before the rest of the team and then keeps them out there later than everybody else.

If last week's OTA was any indication, he'll have plenty of work to do with several of the team's younger linemen. To be fair, there wasn't a single projected starting offensive lineman participating in last week's OTA, so inexperienced blockers or rookies found themselves matched up against Brandon Williams, Jernigan and Courtney Upshaw. Guard Robert Myers, a fifth-round pick last month, and guard-tackle Marcel Jones, who spent part of last season on the practice squad, were particularly — and perhaps predictably — overmatched.

The Ravens' top seven offensive linemen appear set, with John Urschel and James Hurst serving as the primary backups for Eugene Monroe, Kelechi Osemele, Jeremy Zuttah, Yanda and Wagner. However, injuries can hit at any time and you never know if Myers, Jones and Ryan Jensen will be needed to occupy prominent roles at some point. Remember, Urschel, a fifth-round pick, and Hurst, an undrafted free agent, started both playoff games for the Ravens this past season.

Schaub's comfort level

Matt Schaub, the veteran quarterback who was added after Flacco's longtime backup, Tyrod Taylor, signed with the Buffalo Bills, was impressive in the way he communicated with coaches and pass catchers. He remained engaged in the practice, even if he wasn't getting the repetitions at that particular time. His experience, professionalism and personality should serve Flacco well.


But ultimately, Schaub will have to be ready if Flacco, who hasn't missed a game in his career, cannot play. Schaub short-hopped several throws and lacked zip on some other passes. He's obviously working in a new offense and with new coaches and wide receivers, so it would be unfair to expect him to be razor sharp at this point of the offseason.

However, Schaub's recent arm issues — along with his problems turning the ball over — are impossible to ignore. Like most undisputed starters, Flacco won't play a ton in the preseason, so Schaub will get plenty of opportunities to prove that he can be counted on if pressed into action.

Several rookies will return

Much of the post-workout discussion last week centered on Flacco working with offensive coordinator Trestman and a host of new weapons, even though several of the Ravens' offseason additions weren't practicing.

Perriman, Williams and Allen all should be back on the field this week. Boyle could be, as well. They'll join a young group that already includes sixth-round pick Darren Waller and undrafted rookie DeAndre Carter, who was the talk of rookie minicamp.

With so many newcomers, the progress of the Ravens' offense will be the team's biggest storyline later this summer. It was tough to glean much from last week's session, with Perriman, Williams and Allen elsewhere, Campanaro sidelined and not a single starting offensive lineman present. Perhaps, this week will show a little more.


If nothing else, the team's wide receiver competition, which is in its infancy, will be even more interesting to monitor.