Sun, 26 Sep 2021

Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less

Baltimore Ravens
31 Jul 2021, 23:25 GMT+10

John Eisenberg

Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:

Yes, Lamar Jackson's absence from practice has consequences. The Ravens have invested heavily in bolstering their passing attack, but now its central figure will miss dozens (and dozens) of reps. There's plenty of time for him to catch up, but let's call it what it is - an obstacle to overcome.

If it wasn't already obvious, the plus size of Tyler Huntley's throwing arm became readily apparent when he dropped a perfect rainbow-bomb on Jaylon Moore during Thursday's practice. The ball traveled a long way. Huntley is competing for a backup job, but he can fling it.

With Greg Roman running the offense, the Ravens have relied heavily on sets with two tight ends. But I'm wondering if Nick Boyle's lingering absence and the arrival of more viable options at wide receiver means we'll see fewer tight ends. Roman hinted at the possibility in Friday's media session.

For now, I'm not sure there's a bigger question for the Ravens than who'll play left tackle in Week 1 if Ronnie Stanley can't go. It seems like a possibility with Stanley still not practicing. Several candidates are getting practice reps. Seems as if the competition is wide open.

I totally get the NFL's decision to play hardball about players getting vaccinated. A year after a chaotic season, the tools exist to severely limit the impact of the virus, despite the current surge. Blips are inevitable, but a league-wide vaccination rate of 87.5 percent should limit them.

Interesting to hear wide receiver Sammy Watkins say he came to Baltimore partly because he thought it would be an excellent environment for him to stay healthy and on the field. He is good-natured when talking about his injury history, but no doubt, he'd love the questions to stop.

If you're competing for a roster spot, you'd want to open training camp exactly as wide receiver James Proche II has, with several days of strong practices. Early indications are the former sixth-round pick has made a sharp jump in his second season, which could make things interesting at receiver.

Judging from social media, it appears fans would love to see mountainous rookie Ben Cleveland earn the starting left guard job, which is open. But be advised - only on rare occasions has a rookie O-lineman jumped right into the Week 1 starting five. Ben Powers has the edge for now.

The Ravens haven't lost interest in Justin Houston, the veteran pass rusher available as a free agent. My hunch is they're waiting to see whether other options arise as the season nears and the trade market percolates. The desired sweet spot: most impactful player at most affordable price.

Here's a weird one: Even though it isn't a game, tonight's open practice will produce the closest approximation to a "normal" atmosphere at M&T Bank Stadium since the Ravens' playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans in January 2021. (Sorry to bring it up.) The noise and energy are most welcomed.

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