ESPN’s John Clayton got to peek behind the curtain at the Ravens super secret facility in Owings Mills and had a few very encouraging observations after visiting training camp.
The world-wide leader’s football correspondant saw leadership improvements from quarterback Joe Flacco, a speedy new wide receiving corps, depth at the cornerback position and a new and improved/ageless Ray Lewis.
“Flacco wants the Ravens not to be as cautious,” Clayton wrote in his training camp column on ESPN.com. ”Because the Ravens’ defense is so good, Flacco thinks the Ravens should go for the jugular.” And Clayton is all for it. He reports that John Harbaugh believes Flacco “will have a breakout year.”
In addition to the Flacco-love-fest, Clayton reported that the speedy new receiving corps should help with the increased Baltimore passing attack. ”Once Jacoby Jones was cut by the Texans this past spring, Newsome jumped on him,” he wrote. ”Jones has a great chance to start and will pull coverage away from slot receiver Anquan Boldin and tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, opening up the middle for the field for Flacco.”
Clayton says that Newsome believes this group is his fastest receiving corps ever constructed.
His only concern for the Ravens is their offensive line. Clayton complimented the Ravens for drafting tackle Kelechi Osemele and center/guard Gino Gradkowski, but is concerned with their age and inexperience. He isn’t worried about veteran Matt Birk missing practices, but thinks Bryant McKinnie’s weight is a bit of a concern.
I haven’t been able to make it to camp myself — like all of you — but these reports from a national media member certainly do seem encouraging.