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No Ravens minicamp? No problem. Here are 42 things to consider during a weird offseason.

In a world without a pandemic, in an NFL offseason not turned upside down by social-distancing guidelines, this would have been mandatory-minicamp time, one final shot of football before players scatter for their summer vacation homes.

But this is not a normal NFL offseason, so this is not a normal mid-June. Because of the coronavirus, the last time the Ravens played together was in the January game they’d just as soon as forget: their AFC divisional-round loss to the Tennessee Titans. Their offseason instruction has been virtual. Workouts are completed wherever there’s space.

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As the Ravens’ offseason program winds down and training camp slowly approaches, it’s worth remembering what we’re missing. Here are 42 things to consider during the long wait for football’s return to Owings Mills.

Ravens receiver Marquise Brown rushes forward after making a catch in a divisional-round loss to the Titans last season.
Ravens receiver Marquise Brown rushes forward after making a catch in a divisional-round loss to the Titans last season. (Ulysses Mu–oz/Baltimore Sun)

Quarterback

1. It can be hard to appreciate all that Lamar Jackson did as a runner last season, but leave it to another NFL Most Valuable Player and nimble quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, to help put it in context. The Kansas City Chiefs star said in an interview on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast last year that he all but gave up on open-field runs as a junior at Texas Tech, when he suffered AC joint sprains in both shoulders on separate runs. Jackson is smaller than Mahomes and still finished with 176 carries for 1,206 yards (6.9 per carry) and seven touchdowns. It’s tough to hit a target that moves like Jackson.

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2. If wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Miles Boykin make strides this offseason, as expected, Jackson’s downfield-passing ability should soar with them. If you were to make a 2019 passing grid for the MVP, that’d be his only mediocre target area. According to Player Profiler, Jackson’s 33.3% accuracy last year on deep balls — passes that travel 20 or more yards in the air — ranked No. 23 in the NFL. Pro Football Focus rated his deep-passing performance No. 16 overall last season. Jackson now has the arm strength, accuracy and receivers to hammer defenses downfield. It’s just a matter of marrying the three.

3. Robert Griffin III is widely considered one of the NFL’s more capable backup quarterbacks. But he turned 30 in February, and not many general managers will be willing to give up draft assets for a quarterback of his age and with his medical history. Griffin has said he wants to be a starter again in the NFL, a goal he’s entitled to pursuing. This offseason and preseason could start to push him down one of three paths: Vie for more snaps elsewhere in 2021 after his Ravens contract expires; re-sign for a third season (and maybe more) in Baltimore; or, because of injuries or inconsistency, enter a job market where he’s not in demand.

4. Trace McSorley’s share of practice snaps could be quite revealing. If he’s getting almost as many repetitions as Griffin, there could be a legitimate battle for the backup job. If he’s sharing table scraps with undrafted rookie Tyler Huntley, he’s probably closer to the bottom of the depth chart than the top. McSorley’s involvement in special teams drills (or lack thereof) will be another signal of where the Ravens feel he can help the team in 2020.

#83 Willie Snead IV and #80 Miles Boykin celebrate the second touchdown of the Ravens-Jets game. Dec. 12, 2019
#83 Willie Snead IV and #80 Miles Boykin celebrate the second touchdown of the Ravens-Jets game. Dec. 12, 2019 (Amy Davis)

Wide receiver

5. There’s no Ravens player with more offseason hype than Brown. From his playoff performance to his viral workout videos to his Bleacher Report profile, it’s become harder and harder not to envision “Hollywood” as a bonafide No. 1 wide receiver with field-stretching speed, crisp route-running ability and reliable hands. Willie Snead IV called Brown the Jerry Rice to Lamar Jackson’s Joe Montana. At this point, a lot of Ravens fans would settle for the Oakland Raiders version of Rice, who posted back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons in 2001 and 2002. The team hasn’t had even a 1,000-yard receiver since 2016.

6. As slot receivers go, Devin Duvernay and Snead are different breeds. Snead’s game is predicated on quickness and understanding leverage. Duvernay is a downfield burner and after-the-catch threat without a lot of route-running wiggle. As coach John Harbaugh’s said, Ravens receivers aren’t tied to one particular position; they’ll move inside and outside, depending on the call and formation. But it will be interesting to see how their respective skill sets affect the Ravens’ tendencies when they’re lined up in the slot.

7. How often will Miles Boykin be targeted in preseason practices this time around? In hindsight, the third-round pick benefited from Brown’s injury-related absences throughout training camp last year, and made the most of the attention. His dominant showing in the Ravens’ open practice at M&T Bank Stadium in late July probably had some Ravens fans buying jerseys and inking tattoos. With Brown’s recovery and tight end Mark Andrews already a star, Boykin has to make the most of what might be fewer opportunities with Jackson.

8. Given the uncertainty surrounding the viability of a full preseason schedule, Jaleel Scott can’t wait until mid-August to make his mark. He led the Ravens in receiving yardage last preseason, and his 87-yard performance in the finale against the Washington Redskins helped secure a 53-man-roster spot in his second year. Scott can help his case on special teams — he saw time as a gunner in the preseason last year — but it will be an uphill battle. Chris Moore’s credentials there are well established, and James Proche will have a roster spot if he’s the starting punt returner.

9. If Duvernay and Proche drop a pass or two (or three … or four ...) in the run-up to this season, it probably won’t be because the Ravens misevaluated their “elite” hands. It’ll be because the routes they’re running as Ravens leave them more exposed than the quick hitters they often ran in college. According to PFF, 72 of Duvernay and Proche’s combined 216 receptions last season came on screen passes. Jackson attempted just 17 screens total in his 15 games last season. It’s easier to catch a pass when you’re all but standing still.

Cleveland Browns linebacker Joe Schobert (53) watches Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) hurdle free safety Damarious Randall, as safety Sheldrick Redwine (29) pursues to tackle him during the second quarter of Baltimore's 31-15 win Sun., Dec. 22, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)
Cleveland Browns linebacker Joe Schobert (53) watches Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) hurdle free safety Damarious Randall, as safety Sheldrick Redwine (29) pursues to tackle him during the second quarter of Baltimore's 31-15 win Sun., Dec. 22, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff) (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)

Tight end and fullback

10. If Andrews struggled with anything last season, it was ball security. He caught 64 passes for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns but dropped seven targets, according to Pro-Football-Reference, several of them costly. Andrews no doubt knows that, too. When he was unhappy with his blocking ability as a rookie, he spent the 2019 offseason honing his technique, even practicing against his brother. Somewhere, a Jugs machine is getting a workout right now.

11. Nick Boyle didn’t turn into one of the NFL’s best blocking tight ends overnight. But his growing role in the Ravens offense should be a lesson for undrafted rookies Jacob Breeland and Eli Wolf, as well as practice squad member Charles Scarff: If they can’t be respectable blockers, they’ll only be as valuable as a bigger, slower receiver can be in Greg Roman’s offense. With Breeland less than a year removed from a season-ending knee injury, Wolf is a dark horse for the third tight end spot. He more than held his own for Georgia as a blocker in the Sugar Bowl against a well-schooled Baylor defense.

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12. So long as Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard is healthy, Bronson Rechsteiner will be a long shot to make the roster. But the undrafted rookie would have been among the more fascinating new faces at minicamp; his skill set is different from that of any other Ravens skill position player. Just because he’s nowhere near as big as Ricard or as agile as, say, Gus Edwards doesn’t mean Roman can’t find a way to get him involved.

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While gaining a first down, Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II watches Cleveland Browns free safety Damarious Randall (23) converge during the first quarter of Baltimore's 31-15 win Sun., Dec. 22, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)
While gaining a first down, Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II watches Cleveland Browns free safety Damarious Randall (23) converge during the first quarter of Baltimore's 31-15 win Sun., Dec. 22, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff) (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)

Running back

13. NFL Network analyst Maurice Jones-Drew said in an interview last month that Mark Ingram II, whom he got to know during NFL draft coverage earlier this year, was back to full strength after suffering a calf injury late last season. Until sitting out the Ravens’ regular-season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ingram hadn’t even missed a game because of injury since his 2015 season with the New Orleans Saints. But in a career with season after season of shared backfields, Ingram is still among the NFL’s most tested running backs. He’s up to 1,523 career carries, fifth most among active players. That work starts to take a toll.

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14. Edwards’ next big step as a high-level running back could be his toughest yet. He’s already a great downhill runner. He’s an improving blocker. But he has just nine catches over his 1½ seasons as a Ravens contributor. Edwards’ burly frame might be the biggest obstacle. There aren’t a lot of great 6-foot-1, 238-pound route runners at the position. That’s where rookie J.K. Dobbins could and should separate himself.

15. Justice Hill seemed guilty at times last season of overeagerness. In his few opportunities in the Ravens backfield, he too often tried too hard to break a big play. With another mouth to feed at the position this year, Hill’s mental approach to the game will be as important as his on-field execution.

16. Even without Jackson’s rushes, Ravens running backs averaged 24.6 carries per game last year, seventh most in the NFL. If the offense keeps that pace in 2020, would that be enough to keep four backs happy?

Baltimore Ravens tackle Ronnie Stanley smiles during pregame warmups before playing the Cleveland Browns Sun., Dec. 22, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)
Baltimore Ravens tackle Ronnie Stanley smiles during pregame warmups before playing the Cleveland Browns Sun., Dec. 22, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff) (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)

Offensive line

17. Ronnie Stanley, who before long should be the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman, told reporters last month that money isn’t what’s most important to him. It’s “being the best, being the greatest.” After a nearly perfect year in pass protection at left tackle, Stanley might now turn his attention to run blocking. He was no slouch there, either, in his All-Pro 2019 season. But as defenses get more nuanced in how they attack the Ravens’ ground game, Stanley will shoulder more responsibility in understanding how linebackers and edge rushers fill their run fits.

18. According to PFF, the Ravens ran Duo — a run-blocking scheme with two double teams that’s often referred to as “power without a puller” — on zone-read plays “to almost unlimited success” last season. It’s on those running plays where guard Marshal Yanda will be missed most in 2020. Give him a one-on-one battle, and he’d win it. Give him a partner to help displace a 320-pound defensive tackle, and together they’d pave a path for the trailing ball-carrier. There aren’t a lot of guards who can do what he did, for as long as he did it, in Baltimore.

19. Early in training camp last year, Harbaugh quipped that Bradley Bozeman “thinks it’s a competition” at center with Matt Skura, “so maybe he’ll make it a battle.” Ultimately, Matt Skura won the job pretty convincingly, and Bozeman slid into the starting left guard spot. With Skura still recovering from a season-ending knee injury, it’ll be interesting to see how Bozeman, a former center at Alabama, splits his time on the first-team line. The Ravens already have him penciled in as a starter somewhere.

20. The same uncertainty surrounds rookie Tyre Phillips, a left tackle at Mississippi State whose future in Baltimore might be as a guard. The Ravens re-signed veteran tackle Andre Smith in February, but there’s not a lot of depth behind Orlando Brown Jr. and Stanley. Phillips could cross-train at first and narrow his focus as the Ravens’ depth chart sorts itself out.

21. Orlando Brown Jr. has remade his body since arriving in Baltimore in 2018, but Ravens director of sports nutrition Sarah Snyder and the team’s support staff can do only so much for the team while working remotely. Linemen need heaps of protein-heavy food and thousands of calories every day to pack on muscle and maintain their size. The coronavirus pandemic has kept players out of the team facility’s popular dining area and made eating out more difficult.

22. If Ben Powers can build on his strong performance in the Ravens’ regular-season finale and earn a starting job, he would be one of four Oklahoma products in their starting offense, along with Andrews and both Browns.

23. Last year, Bozeman beat out Jeremaine Eluemunor (traded to the New England Patriots), James Hurst, Patrick Mekari and Powers for the starting left guard spot. This year, it could be another five-way competition — Powers, Mekari, Phillips, D.J. Fluker and Ben Bredeson — for another starting job. If center’s up for grabs, don’t overloook undrafted rookie Trystan Colon-Castillo, either. In a shortened offseason, the advantage should go to the veterans.

Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams (98) during pregame warmups before playing the Cleveland Browns Sun., Dec. 22, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)
Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams (98) during pregame warmups before playing the Cleveland Browns Sun., Dec. 22, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff) (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)

Defensive line

24. Harbaugh praised Brandon Williams throughout last year, calling his 2019 “dominant” at the team’s end-of-season news conference. And with Michael Pierce off shopping for winter coats in Minnesota, Williams is back at nose tackle, his natural position. Could a Pro Bowl season be in store? He turned 31 in February, and gravity does not do any 330-plus-pound linemen of that age any favors. But the Ravens have managed his workload well for years now. He played more than 75% of the team’s defensive snaps just once last season.

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25. The Ravens rarely deviated from their Pierce-Williams rotation last season, not even on obvious passing downs. Offensive lines couldn’t forget to block them, of course, but they mostly just took up space. Pressures and sacks were rare. With the arrival of Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe and Justin Madubuike, and the inside-out flexibility of Jihad Ward and Pernell McPhee, what does a third-and-long pass-rush group look like up front? Do the Ravens still bother with a nose tackle?

26. Speaking of which, the Ravens need a dependable backup behind Williams to emerge. Daylon Mack didn’t break out at Texas A&M until his senior season, but the Ravens don’t have time for that kind of development curve. Justin Ellis didn’t play regularly after his midseason arrival, but the team wouldn’t have re-signed him if it didn’t have faith in his health and ability.

27. How often do you get a chance to see a 6-foot-8 defensive end take on a 6-8 offensive tackle? Campbell versus Brown will be a sight to behold — at least for the lucky few who can watch it in person.

28. If nothing else, Wolfe and Campbell — and perhaps Madubuike — should give the Ravens’ young interior linemen an early taste of what high-level pass-rush ability looks like. With Willie Henry Jr.'s stunted development and Chris Wormley’s solid but unspectacular form in offseason workouts last season, there wasn’t a lot of nightmare fuel there.

Ravens' L.J. Fort, right, is flagged for a roughing the passer penalty on the Bills' Josh Allen, left, in the second quarter. The Ravens defeated the Bills by score of 24 to 17 at New Era Field. Photo by: Kenneth K. Lam
Ravens' L.J. Fort, right, is flagged for a roughing the passer penalty on the Bills' Josh Allen, left, in the second quarter. The Ravens defeated the Bills by score of 24 to 17 at New Era Field. Photo by: Kenneth K. Lam (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun)

Linebacker

29. Will the Ravens make Patrick Queen earn his stripes before he’s starting next to L.J. Fort in practice? He won’t turn 21 until August, and if Queen indeed projects as a middle or strong-side inside linebacker, he has more to learn about the position’s nuances than fellow rookie Malik Harrison. Queen starred as a weak-side linebacker at LSU, though he was asked to do a bit of everything, just as the Ravens will ask him to do a bit of everything.

30. The day that Queen becomes a confident and competent first-team linebacker could have far-reaching effects on the defense. Would his presence as an every-down defender force safety Chuck Clark into a more traditional, deep-lying role? And if it does, would that strengthen Queen’s case for wearing the defensive headset in 2020?

31. There could be a war of attrition further down the depth chart. A nonfootball injury just cost Jake Ryan a roster spot. A mid-August concussion knocked Chris Board’s bid for a starting job, and ultimately his season, off course. Otaro Alaka went on injured reserve in late September with a hamstring injury. Even promising undrafted rookie Kristian Welch dealt with a stinger last season at Iowa.

32. Unless he signs a contract extension by July 15, Matthew Judon will earn $16.8 million under the franchise tag, more than any Ravens defender in single-season history. And with a more dynamic defensive line to play off of, the Pro Bowl outside linebacker should be even more dangerous than he was last year.

33. Jaylon Ferguson made strides as a rookie, but he’ll have to show improvement in two key areas: his run defense against powerful tight ends — Boyle is a good measuring stick — and his secondary pass-rush moves. This offseason is big for his physical development, but with players barred from the team facility, Ferguson has to be proactive.

34. Tyus Bowser played more snaps in 2019 than he did over his first two seasons combined, and he flashed his second-round pedigree, finishing with five sacks (second most on the team) and 14 quarterback pressures. It wasn’t empty-calorie production, either: Bowser beat two left tackles off the edge for sacks, looped around on a stunt and beat a guard on another and handled a tight end for one more. This is a contract year for Bowser. If he can package his natural power and grace more consistently, it might be too late for the Ravens to secure an extension.

Ravens' Earl Thomas III sacks Tennessee Titans' quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) in the second quarter.
Ravens' Earl Thomas III sacks Tennessee Titans' quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) in the second quarter. (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun)

Secondary

35. Earl Thomas III came into training camp last season not fully recovered from his 2018 leg surgery. Then he got into shape, stayed healthy, made some bold statements, was almost never targeted in coverage, earned Pro Bowl honors and got turned into a punchline (unfairly or not) in the Ravens’ playoff loss. Then the offseason arrived, and his life, amazingly and briefly, got even more unpredictable. No one can say with any kind of confidence what might happen next.

36. Before his sudden disappearance from training camp last year, Tavon Young was almost an afterthought at times. That was a good thing: Quarterbacks just didn’t look his way when he took the field. If Young’s fully recovered from the neck injury that cost him his 2019 season — the footage he’s shared on social media is certainly encouraging — there shouldn’t be much drop-off, if any at all, from Marlon Humphrey’s play in the slot last year. Young’s acclimation to the physicality of the game, though, bears watching.

37. Jimmy Smith’s return could be a blessing in the long run for Iman Marshall, who had an early-season toe injury and played in just three games as a rookie last year. Neither is blessed with great speed, but Marshall knows how to leverage his length and physicality in press coverage — something Smith has excelled at throughout his career. If 2020 turns out to be more of a wait-your-turn kind of year for Marshall, he could learn a lot from the veteran.

38. The Ravens have targeted fast wide receivers in the draft over the past two years: Brown, Boykin, Duvernay. Anthony Averett doesn’t have an inside track to a starting role in the secondary, but the former fourth-round pick does have blazing speed. If he can keep pace, he can start to climb the depth chart.

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39. This is Marcus Peters’ first offseason under Harbaugh, and it could mark another step forward in his public-image makeover. When the Rams traded him last season, Los Angeles coach Sean McVay expressed his “love” and respect for Peters, who’d reportedly worn out his welcome with the Kansas City Chiefs. Harbaugh had only praise last season for Peters, too. With a long-term contract secured, the All-Pro cornerback is on stable ground in Baltimore.

40. The battle for the backup jobs at safety will be among the preseason’s most compelling. DeShon Elliott hasn’t stayed healthy. Jordan Richards and Anthony Levine Sr. are primarily special teams fixtures. Geno Stone isn’t a standout athlete. Even undrafted rookie Nigel Warrior could play himself into consideration.

Wake Forest and Boys' Latin product Dom Maggio could learn from veteran Sam Koch.
Wake Forest and Boys' Latin product Dom Maggio could learn from veteran Sam Koch. (John Glaser/John Glaser)

Special teams

41. Proche has been all but anointed as the team’s next punt returner, but what about kick returner? Wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas will probably have to hold on to both jobs to earn a roster spot, but Hill and Moore also have experience on kickoffs. With Boyle and Ricard among those clearing space on returns, the Ravens have to be better than they were in 2019.

42. How many kickers and punters around Maryland can say they’ve worked out with Justin Tucker and Sam Koch? After signing with the Ravens, Boys’ Latin product and former Wake Forest punter Dom Maggio is living out that dream this offseason.

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