A heat advisory circulated across Baltimore and much of Maryland on Thursday. Temperatures were expected to reach 99 degrees, with a heat index of around 107 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
In Owings Mills, fans entering the Under Armour Performance Center for Day 2 of training camp were handed paper fans with pictures of the Ravens’ stars plastered on them.
The players themselves seemed unfazed, though, many still wearing long-sleeve compression shirts under their jerseys. A few raindrops were more pressing for some players, who expressed concern that the session would be interrupted by thunderstorms.
5:08: Precautions for linemen
Training camp is a bit different for offensive linemen because of the amount of hitting they can’t do this time of year. Although contact will ramp up in the coming days and weeks when the pads come on, for now, the unit is working extensively on fundamentals.
”First of all, assignment and alignment,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said when asked what he looks for during this time. “You want guys to be in the right spot. We’re looking for communication, and we’re looking for technique. We want to see the footwork, the timing of the technique. Inside with the big guys, [it’s] hand placement, moving their feet, leverage, base. Those kinds of things.”
Because of the heat, the Ravens adjusted parts of Thursday’s practice. Offensive linemen started it in the indoor practice facility working on the drills Harbaugh mentioned, giving them more time in cooler conditions.
Harbaugh said coaches and trainers conducted extended water breaks on the field and had periods for players to take their helmets during practice.
”We thought about it in the last couple days because of the heat, so they’re doing their pre-practice [routine] and individual indoors in the indoor [facility],” Harbaugh said. “They do that in there and it keeps them out of the heat for another half-hour to 45 minutes, which is a positive. That’s been good and they appreciate it.”
Temperatures are expected to stay high at practice through Saturday, reaching 94 degrees Friday and 95 Saturday.
”It’s not often that you play in this kind of heat in the NFL,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh said Baltimore’s staff has also been monitoring each player’s hydration. Precautions will likely continue the next two days.
– Aron Yohannes and Anish Vasudevan
5:11: OBJl tries the Baltimore accent
Odell Beckham Jr. marched onto the field Tuesday with “Odell” chants ringing through the crowd. After practice ended, the cheers continued right until the moment he stepped up to the podium.
Rookie Zay Flowers joined in too.
”It never gets old,” Beckham said about the crowd’s reaction. Beckham said it was “strange” just checking into the hotel and looking at the schedule for his first training camp since 2021. But he’s quickly acclimated to being in Baltimore, even if he can’t fully understand the accent.
“Someone came up to me the other day, and I had to have him repeat it,” Beckham said after giving his own go at it.
– Anish Vasudevan
5:15: Zay Flowers embraces ‘Joystick’ mantle
If you’re the rookie wide receiver, it’s probably best to agree as much as possible with the franchise quarterback who decides if you get the ball. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Zay Flowers gladly accepts the nickname Lamar Jackson (with whom he trained in Florida during the offseason) shared with the media Wednesday: Joystick.
“Because how he is moving out there is so swift and making stuff happen.”
With a low center of gravity on his 5-foot-9 frame, Flowers made his mark at Boston College with his speed and quick changes of direction. It helps that his brother was once nicknamed Joystick, too.
”I think it describes me perfect: in and out of cuts fast, do everything explosive, try to make people miss,” Flowers said. “It’s a perfect nickname.”
Any nickname with the word “joy” is also apt for Flowers, who has worn a Cheshire cat grin on his face through two days of training camp beset by triple-degree heat indexes. Comparing the Ravens’ practices to those in college, he said they were a little shorter and maybe even a little easier.
His father gave him advice that he’s heeded closely: “Smile, stay happy and play football.”
As for what he’d nickname himself? “I was thinking about Professor X,” Flowers said.
Maybe it’s best to leave nicknames to the veterans.
– Kyle Goon