Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

The Ravens offensive line still has a lot of work to do once minicamp opens

By meerna Jun12,2024

Tackle Ronnie Stanley answers questions from reporters after the Baltimore Ravens’ first mandatory minicamp of the year at the Under Armor Performance Center in Owings Mills, June 11, 2024. (Ulysses Muñoz/Baltimore Banner)

But head coach John Harbaugh wants answers about which players will ultimately take over the vacant roles: “The sooner the better.”

The whistle blew. Ravens defensive players were jumping in the air, waving their arms wildly and pointing. The offensive line was called for a false start.

So a group of the biggest men on the field walked around the training pitch as punishment.

The Ravens ran six laps on Tuesday in their first mini training camp.

“I think we’ll learn quickly,” left fielder Ronnie Stanley said. “This will definitely cross our minds.”

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Coach John Harbaugh gave the team some grace, saying they were practicing a new cadence that affected play at the line of scrimmage. He understands that there will be mistakes.

“You have a choice,” Harbaugh said. “You either always ride on one or you say we’ll get through it and we’ll live with the mistakes, but we’ll be good at it. So we want to be good at it because we think rhythm is a weapon, we want to be able to communicate on the line and we want to be able to protect our communication

But he has a tip for his players: “There is a really simple way to stop it. Don’t jump offside.”

The line-up is filled with new faces, both on the team and in the league. There are six rookies competing for spots on the squad, including second-round pick Roger Rosengarten and seventh-round pick Nick Samac (though Samac was limited by injury). There are also three players in the league with just one year of playing time in the league, including Andrew Vorhees, who was unable to train at all last season due to injury. Only three players have been with the team for five years or more, and one, Josh Jones, is new to the team.

The group will come under intense scrutiny in the coming months as they take on the task of protecting star quarterback Lamar Jackson and opening the lanes for prized offseason acquisition Derrick Henry.

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With that in mind, Stanley said it’s extremely important for him to be here for organized team activities, even though they’re optional and veterans sometimes continue their training offsite.

Tackle Roger Rosengarten, 70, helps center Tyler Lindenbaum, 64, during practice during the Baltimore Ravens’ first mandatory minicamp of the year at the Under Armor Performance Center in Owings Mills, June 11, 2024. (Ulysses Muñoz/Baltimore Banner)

“I just know we have a lot of new faces, a lot of new guys that are going to be part of this team, part of this offense,” Stanley said. “I just wanted to make sure we started our chemistry off right.”

Stanley is entering ninth grade, although he says his energy level is back to that of fifth grade. He was coming off a Pro Bowl season at the time, but an injury limited him to just six games in 2020. He played one game the following year and hasn’t played more than 13 in a season since. He struggled with a knee injury throughout last season.

But now he feels like he has the energy to continue working after training, he said. Harbaugh agreed that Stanley was in shape and ready to fight. Stanley is determined to prove he’s still a Pro Bowl-caliber player — he said knowing he’s not living up to his potential is killing him inside — and if he can do that, it will be huge for the team, Harbaugh said.

His performance becomes even more important considering Stanley is one of two returning players from last year. The other is Pro Bowl center Tyler Linderbaum, who Stanley says has become an even greater leader thanks to his communication skills.

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However, every other spot is up for grabs, which makes the offensive line battle the most intriguing in camp, whether they make a show of running laps or not.

There is no word yet on which players have the inside path to the starting location. During OTAs and the first day of mini camp, the Ravens rotated players frequently. While minicamp is more competitive than OTAs, it’s not necessarily a great indicator of who will win the job. The biggest question mark last season was the left-back position, with Sala Aumavae-Laulu starting in a mini camp, but John Simpson ultimately won the job.

But Harbaugh said Tuesday that the goal is to have a resolution early, “the sooner the better.” They are not making a decision this week, but they are considering going to training camp this week.

“It would be nice if we could — about the first to second week of training camp — the goal would be to have a good idea (of the starters),” Harbaugh said. “If it goes to the games, it might go to the pre-season games, maybe there’s only one spot up for grabs, that would be fine, but the sooner the better.”

Giana Han is a Howard County reporter for Ravens Beat.

By meerna

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