By Chris Schisler
The Baltimore Ravens are at training camp preparing for the 2021 season. The negative headlines have made the biggest ripple in our Twitter timelines and our Ravens discussions. Let’s get the concerns and the bad news out of the way so we can finish this thing on an optimistic note.
Lamar Jackson’s start to training camp didn’t go as planned. The former MVP quarterback has been sitting out on a Covid-19 quarantine after a positive test. On a less noticeable level, Gus Edwards has been in the same boat.
The Ravens have injury concerns on top of that. Marquise Brown has missed multiple practices with a hamstring issue. John Harbaugh originally told the media that it wasn’t a big concern.
The longer this goes on the more problematic it seems. Brown’s timetable is unknown at this point. Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin have also reportedly dealt with issues. For the rookie wide receiver, it was muscle tightness. Boykin is another receiver with a hamstring holding him back.
#Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Marquise Brown is dealing with a hamstring issue that’s a little more serious than he was initially told.
Bateman was sidelined with muscle tightness, Harbaugh said.
— Daniel Oyefusi (@DanielOyefusi) August 2, 2021
The Dereus addition is a result of Ravens feeling they need another body at WR with Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin sidelined with hamstring injuries and Rashod Bateman dealing with some camp tightness/soreness.
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) August 4, 2021
Things to be excited about: Young receivers showing up
With all the drama going around at the wide receiver position, there have actually been many positives. In the practice at M&T Bank Stadium, Rashod Bateman beat Marlon Humphrey for a touchdown. The rookie wide receiver looks the part of a first-round pick. While it wasn’t quite like a game-like situation and he wasn’t jammed coming out of his release, Bateman had a wowing highlight.
James Proche has gotten a chance to show off and has made some impressive grabs. The second-year wide receiver came into camp on the roster bubble. He’s been impressive from all accounts and might be a player on the rise. Proche has shown a lot of what got fans excited in the first place. He’s doing what he did at SMU, making tough catches at impressive angles.
Good news for the defensive front:
Speaking of young Ravens, nobody on Ravens Twitter can stop talking about Justin Madubuike. He was a player that many thought would take a year-two jump. He’s looked impressive and there is a ton of buzz for him. This is what Bradley Bozeman said about practicing against Madubuike.
“Guy is a stout dude. He’s one of the harder people I’ve ever had to move on defense, honestly.”
The Ravens have plenty to be excited about with Madubuike. This is another example of a third-round pick that could end up playing like a first-round selection. We saw it with Orlando Brown Jr. and Mark Andrews. When the Ravens like a prospect in the third round they often get a steal. On the outside looking in, it certainly sounds like Madubuike is coming into his own.
Odafe Oweh has been impressive too. On Twitter, Sarah Ellison shared this quote of Don Martindale talking about Oweh:
“This kid … I think he’s going to be a great football player for us, and I don’t just throw around the word ‘great.’ I think he’s going to be a problem.”
I’ve seen a couple of videos of Oweh from practice and I have to agree with Martindale. He moves like a bullet coming out of his stance and he’s showing off a bit. It’s early, but we are seeing the right thing from the Ravens’ first-round edge rusher. I could see him having five or six sacks this year. Whatever the numbers end up being, he’s going to put pressure on quarterbacks.
The Ravens’ first-round picks look like first-round picks. They are giving themselves very high expectations as the two most exciting Baltimore Ravens’ rookies. This is exactly what you want to see when you have two picks inside the top 32 picks. It looks like it could pay off in a big way for the Ravens.
The Bottom Line:
Justin Houston signed with the Ravens. He hasn’t started practice yet, that will come soon. Houston is a veteran outside linebacker that brings proven talent to the position. Marrying the proven with the exciting potential of the Ravens’ young talent sounds like a winning plan.
We’re seeing positives from veterans. From all accounts, Calais Campbell is looking like he has plenty left in the tank for what is expected to be his final season. The fact that so much of the buzz is coming from the young talent is exciting. James Proche, Justin Madubuike, and Odafe Oweh are the buzz-worthy players at the moment. That’s good news for the Baltimore Ravens.
NEXT POST: Forgotten Baltimore Ravens of the month vol. 3
The Baltimore Ravens have some good things going on. Let’s focus on the positives here. When you stop and look at what is going on, the positives really lift you up.