Ravens training camp observations on backup quarterbacks, new-look offensive line, Marquise Brown, J.K. Dobbins and more

As the sun rose over the Ravens’ training facility Wednesday in Owings Mills, fans trickled down from the parking lot and into the stands around the practice field for the team’s first open training camp practice in two years. Music blared through the speakers, fans filled the metal bleachers and the smell of hot dogs filled the air.

The energetic atmosphere was normal for the Ravens, but after a chaotic 2020 in which offseason preparation was limited and preseason games were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, everything felt brand new again.


Wednesday’s first practice gave players, coaches and fans a sense of normalcy, but they were reminded once again that the pandemic isn’t over, as quarterback Lamar Jackson sat out after testing positive for COVID for the second time since last year.

Jackson’s absence allowed quarterbacks Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley, who some fans mistook for the former Most Valuable Player, to showcase their abilities in an attempt to earn the backup job.


McSorley and Huntley had a few moments in which they overthrew receivers, but still showcased positive signs. Both quarterbacks delivered solid passes down the field, up the middle and on short routes. Huntley, a 2020 undrafted free agent out of Utah, showed his ability to run out of the pocket to avoid pressure, much like he did in his brief spells filling in for an injured Jackson last season.

Receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown beat cornerbacks Khalil Dorsey and Davontae Harris on a pair of deep routes. Second-year receiver James Proche II made some quality receptions during scrimmages. Third-year receiver Miles Boykin managed to beat Dorsey during a route, but the pass from McSorley went off his fingertips.

Cornerback Marcus Peters had a nice breakup on a pass to tight end Mark Andrews. Fellow cornerback Marlon Humphrey applied pressure on receiver Deon Cain, who couldn’t catch a pass from McSorley, a 2019 sixth-round pick from Penn State. Rookie cornerback Brandon Stephens, a converted running back at SMU and surprising third-round draft pick who the Ravens see as a possible safety, received praise from coaches.

Bradley Bozeman makes a pair of bad snaps

During the early portion of 11-on-11 drills, center Bradley Bozeman made a bad snap to McSorley. Later in practice, Bozeman snapped another ball over the quarterback’s head. Frustrations mounted for the center, as he took his gloves off.

In May, coach John Harbaugh said Bozeman would be the team’s starting center, a position he played in college at Alabama. Bozeman spent the past two seasons starting at left guard for the Ravens.

The Ravens had snap issues during much of last season, and Wednesday’s camp showed there’s still more work to be done. Former Ravens and current Miami Dolphins center Matt Skura was benched in November after two straight games of bad snaps. Patrick Mekari replaced Skura, but he too had his fair share of struggles, which included snapping the ball over Jackson’s head during the divisional-round playoff lost to the Buffalo Bills. Jackson suffered a concussion while trying to retrieve the ball near the end zone.

“The timing of the snaps is very important,” Harbaugh said. “The way we run our offense, it helps a lot when the snap is where it’s supposed to be.”

Fans returned to the stands to watch players on the first day of practice during Ravens training camp at the Under Armour Performance Center on Wednesday.

Nine players miss practice

Besides Jackson and running back Gus Edwards being out with COVID, inside linebacker Otaro Alaka (knee), offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and Ja’Wuan James (Achilles), tight ends Jake Breeland (knee) and Nick Boyle (knee), and cornerbacks Iman Marshall (knee) and Anthony Averett did not attend practice.


Harbaugh said after practice that Averett’s absence was because he failed the team’s conditioning test.

Ben Cleveland steps in at guard

Rookie guard Ben Cleveland was on the field for his first NFL training camp. Last week, Cleveland was placed on the league’s nonfootball injury list after failing his conditioning test. Cleveland, the 94th overall pick in the draft, manned the left guard position. He allowed a defensive tackle to get past him during one passing play, but Huntley managed to escape the pressure.

Cleveland is competing with Ben Powers, Ben Bredeson and Tyre Phillips, a third-round pick in 2020 who played in 12 games and made eight starts last season, to be the starter at left guard.

Hollywood leaves defenders in the dust

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Brown welcomed fans back to training camp in style by showing off the speed the Ravens drafted him in the first round for in 2019. During 7-on-7 drills, he made a nice move on Dorsey before racing down the field for a deep catch. As Brown ran toward the end zone, he started waving back at Dorsey.

Later in practice, Brown again was caught waving at Dorsey after speeding past him to snatch the ball on a deep pass from McSorley.

J.K. Dobbins looks the part as Ravens’ top running back

Even though it’s the first day of camp, Dobbins looked ready to take over as the lead running back for the Ravens. The second-year player from Ohio State used his speed and agility to get past defenders for positive yardage. Dobbins showcased his receiving skills, too, by catching balls out of the backfield. On one play, McSorley was able to connect with Dobbins on a downfield pass that split two defenders.


Dobbins mentioned during offseason training activities that he was trying to improve every aspect of his game, which included receiving. Last season, Dobbins only recorded 120 receiving yards on 18 receptions and 24 targets.

Catch of the day

Tight end Josh Oliver had one of the best catches of the morning, when he leaped to make an acrobatic grab over a defender in the middle of the field.

Oliver, a 2019 third-round pick acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason, is competing for snaps as a backup tight end behind Andrews and Nick Boyle.

Smoothie station

As players headed inside, they were greeted by a table of colorful smoothies. The Ravens’ post-practice feature is a recovery smoothie station, consisting of a variety of flavors such as “Cookies and Cream,” “Berry Recovery,” “Green Machine” and “Orange Raz.”