Wide receiver Willie Snead IV revealed Wednesday that several players and Flacco crossed Deer Park Road from the team’s headquarters in Owings Mills to Northwest Regional Park on two occasions to further develop their budding chemistry.
For a group that includes three new wideouts in Snead, Michael Crabtree and John Brown and a pair of rookie tight ends in Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews, Snead said the players “got a lot of good work in.”
“I think it was just taking the stuff that we did during OTAs and minicamp and [putting] it together out there on the field just one-on-one with the quarterbacks,” Snead said on the eve of the start of training camp. “That type of time together is beneficial down the stretch, later in the season. Just being on the same page with different routes and knowing the receivers and the quarterback and what he’s thinking and what I’m thinking. It’s hard to do versus when there’s nobody out there, but just that timing and just building that relationship, we’ve only known each other for a few months. So that extra time was very beneficial, especially when you’re trying to do something special this season.”
Flacco, 33, endured one of his worst seasons in 2017, leading a passing offense that ranked 29th in the NFL at 189.4 yards per game, finishing with a career-worst 5.7 yards per attempt and tossing 18 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. The Ravens, who have missed the playoffs in three straight seasons , selected 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson with the final pick of the first round in April’s NFL draft.
Criticized often in the past for not organizing workouts in the offseason with his receivers, Flacco’s decision to get together last week would seem to signal a shift in his philosophy. Snead, who pointed out that only a few boys playing football noticed the group of Ravens working on the same field with them, said he has been impressed by the quarterback’s willingness to adapt.
“I think Joe’s a person who’s very open to change, very open to new ideas, and I think that’s one of the things I’ve realized working with him the past couple months,” said Snead, who has caught passes from the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees. “I can tell him something or speak what I’m feeling, and he takes it with a positive energy. That’s one thing that’s great for receivers, when your quarterback can relate to you and give his ideas at the same time so that way, you’re on the same page. That’s been the biggest thing.”
Former Ravens to join camp
A pair of former Ravens in linebacker Edgar Jones (2007-2011) and defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (2008-2011) will join the team’s coaching staff for a significant portion of training camp as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, which provides opportunities for coaches to work their way into a full-time NFL coaching position.
The team announced Wednesday the promotion of Ron Medlin to head certified athletic trainer after Mark Smith’s retirement. Bobby Vega is the new East area scout, while Joey Cleary was promoted to college and pro scout … The team’s open practice on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium will feature a fireworks and laser display, a post-practice autograph session for children ages 6 to 14, and a variety of other family friendly activities such as video games and a bounce house. Gates will open one hour before the practice is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Parking is available for $10 in Lots A, B, C, G and H and will open at 4 p.m. Only cold tailgating will be allowed. For more information, go to BaltimoreRavens.com/TrainingCamp.