Like Ravens coach John Harbaugh, offensive coordinator Greg Roman is trying to find the silver lining with the absence of quarterback Lamar Jackson, who missed the team’s third straight training camp practice Friday after testing positive for COVID-19.
In this case, Roman has relished the opportunity to get a closer look at Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley, who are competing to back up Jackson this upcoming season.
Roman, however, was blunt when asked if Jackson’s absence, expected to last until late next week, was detrimental to the development of an offense with several additions this offseason.
“Well, it’s certainly not a positive,” Roman said. “But, we’ve got to create a positive out of this thing. We’ve got to get a great plan for when he does come back on how we can try to make up for the time as best we can. That’s really the game that we have to play.”
Roman added that Jackson is “engaged with us right now mentally” and that the team has a communication process for him while he completes his self-isolation period.
It’s unclear how much time Jackson will get on the field in preseason, which has been trimmed to three games.
“It’s definitely a discussion we’ll have,” Roman said. “Right now, though, we’re not there yet.”
The Ravens are scheduled to have approximately 20 more practices, including a pair of joint sessions with the Carolina Panthers, until the deadline to trim the roster to 53 players on Aug. 31. The team’s first preseason game is against the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 14.
Roman complimentary of Watkins
Even with Jackson sidelined, veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins stood out again in practice.
The free-agent acquisition, who joined Baltimore on a one-year deal in March, was able to tap both feet in bounds in the corner of the end zone to complete a touchdown catch from McSorley early on in 7-on-7 drills. Later, in 11-on-11 drills, Huntley connected with Watkins, who caught a pass between two defenders right along the sideline and again kept both feet in bounds.
Roman, who was Watkins’ coordinator with the Buffalo Bills when he recorded career-best numbers during the 2015 season, had high praise for the receiver with whom he’s now reunited.
“Sammy, to me, is one of the best receivers in the NFL. Period,” Roman said. “I think he’s done a great job, really, in everything. Meetings, just his presence, his communication with the other receivers, the advice he’s giving them. He’s a much more seasoned player than I knew him in his second year. So, every day with him is a great day.”
Peters returns to practice; Hollywood, two defensive linemen sidelined
One day after missing practice for what Harbaugh called a toenail issue, cornerback Marcus Peters was practicing Friday. Peters was a late arrival to practice Thursday and spent the entirety of the time on the sideline, often standing beside defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.
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Wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, who left practice early Thursday after having his leg attended to, did not practice Friday. Harbaugh said after Thursday’s practice that Brown wasn’t dealing with anything serious and was held out as a precautionary measure.
Defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Derek Wolfe were also absent from practice Friday. So were cornerback Iman Marshall (knee), linebacker Otaro Alaka (knee), offensive linemen Ben Bredeson, Ja’Wuan James (Achilles) Ronnie Stanley (ankle), and tight ends Nick Boyle (knee) and Jake Breeland (knee).
Cornerback Anthony Averett was on the field for his first practice, meaning he passed the team’s conditioning test. Averett was absent for the first two days of practice and Harbaugh said Wednesday that Averett had yet to pass the test.
>> Roman said it’s too early to give any thoughts on the competition for left guard and true evaluations will come when players put on pads next week.
>> Martindale highlighted a play rookie outside linebacker Odafe Oweh made in practice when facing the option as a testament to his speed. “Speed kills,” Martindale said, “and with his size, it’s unbelievable. … On the speed option, he took the quarterback and the pitch (running back). So, that’s a rare trait to have as an edge rusher and we’re real excited on where he’s at.”
>> Nigel Warrior, a 2020 undrafted rookie at safety, has spent time at cornerback in team drills and has made his share of plays in coverage, intercepting a deep pass from quarterback Kenji Bahar on Friday.
“That’s his strength, that he has position flexibility,” Martindale said. “We know he can play safety. Now we’re going to see where he’s at cornerwise. And he’s done a nice job. He’s done a nice job and he’s had some had some good battles with some good receivers.”