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Ravens QBs coach doesn’t think contract talks will distract Lamar Jackson; players separated in scuffle | NOTES

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson doesn’t have a contract extension yet, and that doesn’t seem to bother him.

Just ask his quarterbacks coach.

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“I don’t think it’ll be a distraction,” James Urban said in a virtual news conference Wednesday, after the Ravens’ second open practice of organized team activities. “We have an unbelievable front office. I know that they have plans. They’re in great hands, and they’ll handle all that business side. We’re just trying to get better and continue growing and improving every aspect of our game and his game. So that’s all we’re doing. I don’t worry about that. I don’t think he worries about it. He seems to be the same old guy that he is all the time. So I don’t really have many concerns there.”

Jackson is signed through the 2022 season, but he’s eligible for a long-term extension this offseason. In Jackson’s first comments since the 2020 season ended, the 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player said last week that he “would love to be here forever,” and general manager Eric DeCosta said in May that the Ravens would “work tirelessly to get a deal done.”

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Jackson, whose contract will take up $3 million in salary cap space in 2021 and $23 million in 2022, is in line for the biggest contract in team history. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s new deal is worth $40 million annually, behind only Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ megadeal ($45 million), and Jackson could eclipse that total.

For now, though, Jackson and the Ravens offense are “chasing everything,” Urban said. Jackson had several standout throws at Wednesday’s voluntary practice, though he also had the session’s only interception.

“Especially this time of year, I want growth everywhere,” Urban said. “I want growth in terms of footwork. I want growth in terms of throwing mechanics. I want growth in terms of operating some of the at-the-line adjustments, those kinds of things. I think that’s the natural progression. A guy who plays at a very high level and then you just continue to grow his game.”

"When you have a guy [Lamar Jackson] to win the MVP of the league, you definitely have some special attributes," Watkins said. "He's special."

Backup battle

With quarterback Robert Griffin III’s release after last season, Jackson entered OTAs without a veteran backup for the first time in his career.

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Between Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley, Urban’s confident the Ravens can find a good QB2. Both played in high-pressure situations last year, and both were solid at practice Wednesday. Huntley, in particular, showed his open-field mobility when forced to scramble and his downfield accuracy in more settled situations.

“I’m very comfortable with both Trace and Tyler,” Urban said. “They both approach it the way you have to as a backup in this league; they approach it like they’re starters. That’s how they’re working, that’s how they prepare every day. I’m very comfortable with that. The one thing they just haven’t had is great opportunity. [With] no preseason last year, we didn’t get to see much.”

The Ravens have kept three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster in recent years but typically only activate two on game days.

Attendance

The Ravens had about 70 players working out Wednesday, including tight end Mark Andrews, guard Kevin Zeitler and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, all of whom missed the first open practice last week.

On offense, the Ravens were still without left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle), tight end Nick Boyle (knee) and fullback Patrick Ricard (hip), who have not been fully cleared. On defense, the Ravens were thin at cornerback, as Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith, Tavon Young (knee) and Iman Marshall (knee) did not practice.

Extra points

>> Offensive lineman Patrick Mekari and defensive tackle Justin Madubuike had to be separated early in practice. After an incomplete pass in an 11-on-11 drill, Mekari had his helmet ripped off following some after-the-play physicality. Both players had to be held back by teammates, and coach John Harbaugh stepped in as peacemaker afterward, spending a few minutes defusing tensions on the sideline between the two.

>> Watkins said rookie Rashod Bateman, who had his best day of his three open practices yet, “runs just about every route at a professional level. He’s doing just about everything I’ve seen myself doing as a young receiver, or any top guys. I think he’s a very special wide receiver; he just has to put it together, take coaching and be able to maximize opportunities and go out there and play when all 11 are out there on the field.”

>> The Ravens appeared to avoid any serious injuries, but wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown’s participation was limited after seemingly tweaking his ankle midway through the session. The injury was minor enough that Brown remained on the field for the rest of practice, often talking with Jackson, his close friend.

>> Defensive tackle Braxton Hoyett, who spent part of last season on the team’s practice squad, has been waived with an injury settlement. Defensive tackle Xavier Kelly and wide receiver Donte Sylencieux, both injured undrafted rookies, were added to the injured reserve after being waived and will not count against the 90-man-roster limit.

>> Defensive tackle Jovan Swann, an undrafted rookie from Indiana who participated in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie minicamp, practiced Wednesday after signing Tuesday with the Ravens.

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