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Ravens observations: Receiving corps has potential, but only if Joe Flacco is playing QB

Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace attempts to catch a ball during Ravens' OTA at the Under Armour Performance Center.
Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace attempts to catch a ball during Ravens' OTA at the Under Armour Performance Center. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said quarterback Joe Flacco is running and is ahead of schedule as far as rehabilitating his knee.

He expects Flacco to be ready for training camp.

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I hope so.

After watching the Ravens practice Tuesday, there is a lot of potential in the passing game. Receiver Mike Wallace still has excellent speed and tight end Ben Watson still has a lot of juice in his legs despite 13 years in the league.

If receiver Steve Smith plays as well as last season, which he should, and the Ravens can get Breshad Perriman to step up his game, this could be a lethal group. You can see that in the OTA practices, but the Ravens need Flacco back soon to get the timing down.

Backup Ryan Mallett has performed poorly and on Tuesday he threw more interceptions in practice than the Ravens defense had as a team (six) in 2015. He is overthrowing or underthrowing receivers, and he has had no touch on the short passes.

Before the Ravens started the full team session of practice Tuesday, Harbaugh was heard to shout: "Can we please have a quarterback complete a pass to a receiver?"

Hurry back Joe.

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I don't want to be a jinx, but Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs has been working hard to recover from his torn Achilles injury, and has been at The Castle every day for weeks, not missing a day of rehabilitation.

It would be huge for Suggs to come to training camp in shape and ready to play. I don't expect Harbaugh to work him hard, but it would be one less concern for a team that has a lot of issues.

Suggs could also be an on-field mentor for younger players like rookie outside linebackers Kamalei Correa and Victor Ochi.

By the way, most improved body during the off season has to go to Za'Darius Smith, the second-year linebacker out of Kentucky. The man's body is chiseled.  Now, he has to sharpen the brain and play with more consistency.

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Remember that 2-yard pass in the flat that the Ravens used to throw to fullback Kyle Juszcyk all the time last season?

It might be good for a few more yards this season because Juszcyk looks leaner and a lot faster. Apparently, he has put in a lot of work during the offseason and he could also be used more in the down field passing game.

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Another running back who looks good and might have matured is Terrance West, the third year player out of Towson.

Justin Forsett and Buck Allen are expected to be the starter and backup respectively, but no one has an edge, according to Harbaugh.

"I don't really think about that right now so much," said Harbaugh, when asked if Allen's versatility gave him an edge. "It's just more about getting good at what we're doing and coaching every guy in whatever area they need to improve on and building on the good stuff.

"The competition is for later. Who wins the job will be based on what they do. So edges, no edges, it's going to be based on how they play. That will be the guys that earn those spots."

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Keenan Reynolds makes progress every week as a receiver, but the rookie who played quarterback at Navy is considered a project.

He had a couple of really nice catches Tuesday which was an improvement over what I saw last week, but now he has to work on those feet and getting yards after the catch.

It appears he is headed to the developmental squad, but it will be interesting to see if New England head coach Bill Belichick attempts to sign him if Reynolds isn't injured.

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I like the fight in center/guard Ryan Jensen who ripped the helmet off of defensive end Brent Urban during an altercation in practice Tuesday.

The Ravens need more tough guys like Jensen, but they need more tough guys who can play like guard Marshal Yanda.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

twitter.com/MikePrestonSun

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