Fans often tweet and email questions to Ravensreporter Jeff Zrebiec. Here are some of the topics coming up most frequently in those questions, and Jeff's takes on the subjects.
Will the Ravens be disciplined for violating the collective bargaining agreement and having players practice in full pads at the rookie minicamp?
Yes, it's almost certain they will. The rules are pretty clear on the matter, and the precedence has been set in years past on similar indiscretions. The Ravens aren't denying they violated the CBA by having rookies in full pads. They fully expect some form of discipline from the league. Their contention, however, is they did it because they didn't think there was a definitive rule that covered wearing pads in rookie minicamp. That defense, however, isn't expected to carry much weight with the NFL.
What's to be gained by having rookies in full pads in mid-May anyway?
I don't have a good answer for that. The risk of such an exercise, including the potential discipline, certainly seems to exceed the reward. Perhaps, the Ravens wanted to simulate game situations as closely as possible, and they felt a fully padded practice would help them do that better. The Ravens will come to training camp with 23 rookies on their roster, and they obviously want to evaluate them in as many situations as possible. Of course, that's no excuse for breaking a rule that others around the league apparently know. What should be clear by now, though, is coach John Harbaugh isn't messing around when it comes to pushing his team after last year's 5-11 campaign. The offseason workout program has been ramped up significantly and several players have noted the increase in running. Whether Harbaugh broke a rule knowingly or not, putting the rookies in pads was an extremely aggressive call that raised a lot of eyebrows from former and current players alike.
What's the most likely punishment and how will that affect the Ravens?
There's always the possibility the league wants to make an example of the Ravens and they view the infraction as so egregious that they go after one or two of the team's 2017 draft picks. However, that seems unlikely with what we know about the situation and given past league sanctions for similar violations. You can probably expect the Ravens to have to forfeit a couple of their upcoming organized team activities, and Harbaugh will be a little lighter in the wallet. The organization, too, figures to get a pretty hefty fine. The loss of summer practice time cannot be discounted with the number of new players the Ravens have. However, the biggest issue for the Ravens, and for Harbaugh in particular, will be the perception that they intentionally were trying to break the rules. Harbaugh has been extremely vocal about the issues he has with the CBA and certain rule changes, so a seemingly blatant violation of protocol – and the second one under his watch - creates a very bad look.
If the Ravens are planning on cutting left tackle Eugene Monroe, why haven't they done it already?
The primary reason could be that Monroe still isn't healthy after he had shoulder surgery in December. Teams aren't permitted to release injured players. So theoretically, the Ravens would have to wait for Monroe to take a physical before making that move. They also could be trying to gauge any potential trade interest in the veteran who is a solid performer when healthy. The Ravens could make him a post-June 1 release to better absorb some of the dead money from his contract, but that's a move they don't have to wait until after June 1 to make. It can be declared any time. Thus, Monroe remains on the roster. I've said since Day One I'd be extremely surprised if he's on the Ravens to start the season, and I'm sticking with that.
In case you missed it, the Jaguars announced yesterday that Ramsey, who they selected with the fifth overall pick, one slot before the Ravens took Ronnie Stanley, tore the meniscus in his right knee during a workout. He's getting a second opinion and the severity of the tear will ultimately determine how much, if any, time he'll miss during the regular season. Ramsey already had microfracture surgery in his knee when he was in high school so this could be his second significant injury in that knee. With what the Ravens went through last season involving first-round pick Breshad Perriman, even minor knee injuries have to give the team pause. However, it's far too early to suggest the Ravens lucked out here when the Cowboys declined their trade offer to move up to pick four and select Ramsey. Ramsey is absurdly talented and this might be a very minor setback.
First of all, next week's first of three OTA sessions – if the Ravens are permitted to have all three – are voluntary. Some of the veterans will choose to stay away from the team facility. I can't remember the last time I saw Marshal Yanda at an OTA, and Elvis Dumervil hasn't been a regular the past couple of years either. You'll also have a pretty prominent group of veterans, like quarterback Joe Flacco, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., rush linebacker Terrell Suggs and cornerback Jimmy Smith, who won't participate because they're still recovering from surgeries. But the expectation is that wide receiver Breshad Perriman and tight end Dennis Pitta will be participating, along with some of the veterans acquired this offseason, like Mike Wallace and Eric Weddle.