Ravens offensive observations: Lamar Jackson cools off as passing attack struggles

Published 8/16/2023 4:50 p.m. EDT, Updated 8/16/2023 4:54 p.m. EDT

The Ravens had their second of two joint training camp practices with the Washington Commanders on Wednesday in Owings Mills. Here’s what you need to know about the offense’s performance.


Did not participate: Quarterback Tyler Huntley (hamstring), wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Laquon Treadwell, tight end Isaiah Likely (contusion) and left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle).

Limited: Running back J.K. Dobbins.

Left early: Running back Melvin Gordon III.

Notes: Huntley again warmed up with the quarterbacks but watched from the sideline during individual and team drills. Likely and Stanley were also spectators. Coach John Harbaugh said Bateman is “on schedule” despite not practicing. Gordon left practice early after running by himself, as if he were trying to get loose, under an athletic trainer’s supervision. He had limited repetitions in team drills.

11-on-11 highlights

  • Quarterback Lamar Jackson struggled with his accuracy, and receivers had difficulty separating against the Commanders’ first-string secondary. Jackson finished 8-for-19 in full-team drills.
  • Commanders defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, set the tone for the morning on the first 11-on-11 play. He appeared to beat left guard John Simpson and got into the backfield for a would-be tackle for loss on running back Justice Hill.
  • Jackson didn’t have a good tone-setter, either. On his first drop-back, he missed wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. by several yards on a quick out-breaking route. On his next pass, he appeared to have a miscommunication with wide receiver Devin Duvernay, who cut off his route just as Jackson launched a downfield shot.
  • Beckham beat cornerback Emmanuel Forbes easily on a stutter-and-go down the right sideline, but Jackson underthrew him, allowing the first-round pick to make up the comfortable gap and force an incompletion despite never locating the ball. Forbes, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds at the NFL scouting combine, has “definitely got some speed,” Beckham said, grinning, when asked about his own burst. “But I told you: I’ve still got a little bit left in here.”
  • Quarterback Josh Johnson opened his 11-on-11 period with the second-string offense by finding undrafted rookie wide receiver Tarik Black on three straight passes. Black had an impressive catch of about 25 yards down the left sideline against cornerback Danny Johnson, had a shorter catch on a curl route on the right side, then beat Johnson again as he worked back to the ball for a catch of about 15 yards. In his second 11-on-11 period, Johnson went 5-for-6.
  • After a short meeting with coach Ron Rivera, the Commanders’ pass rush slowed to half speed as the Ravens transitioned to a hurry-up drill. Washington’s secondary remained locked in, though. Safety Kamren Curl helped force an incompletion on a throw up the seam to tight end Mark Andrews. On Jackson’s next throw, he couldn’t connect with Duvernay, well defended by starting cornerback Benjamin St-Juste, on an in-breaking route from the slot.
  • Jackson started to heat up in the hurry-up with two straight completions to Andrews and a third to wide receiver Nelson Agholor. He should’ve had four straight completions, but undrafted rookie running back Keaton Mitchell, after running by safety Darrick Forrest on a wheel route down the left sideline, dropped a would-be touchdown pass. Mitchell also had a drop in Johnson’s first 11-on-11 period on a check-down.
  • Agholor beat Forbes on a vertical route down the right sideline, but Jackson underthrew him, continuing a trend that started Tuesday. The rookie’s breakup helped deny a score of about 40 yards.
  • The red zone was a slog for the Ravens’ starting and reserve units. Jackson went 2-for-4 in his first period, missing Beckham a couple of times on short throws before finding him in the far corner of the end zone for a touchdown over starting cornerback Kendall Fuller. Jackson went 1-for-3 in his second period, with Forbes batting away a jump ball to Andrews in the corner of the end zone and wide receiver Zay Flowers catching a touchdown on a crossing route. The Commanders also bottled up the Ravens’ running game.
  • Andrews, apparently frustrated with the day’s proceedings, left the field minutes before practice officially ended and players embraced for handshakes and hugs. He slammed his helmet after Flowers’ late touchdown and walked off the field without it.

7-on-7 highlights

  • Jackson’s early 11-on-11 struggles carried over into the units’ lone seven-on-seven period. A day after starting 6-for-6 and finishing 7-for-10 in the passer-friendly drill, he started 0-for-3 and finished 3-for-7.
  • Jackson opened the period by overthrowing Andrews, failing to connect with Flowers and watching St-Juste break up a 50-50 ball to Agholor. Jackson ended the skid with a short throw to Beckham but missed Duvernay on the next drop-back.
  • Jackson bounced back by hitting his two final throws, a short attempt to Agholor over the middle and a sidearm attempt to Mitchell for a touchdown.
  • Johnson didn’t fare any better than Jackson in his short stint. He rolled out and had a pass to Black broken up on his first rep, then couldn’t connect with Black on the second rep, either.

1-on-1 highlights

  • Flowers showed late hands and impressive acceleration to separate and catch a back-shoulder pass against undrafted rookie cornerback D.J. Stirgus. Later, he left St-Juste in the dust after faking an inside release before sinking his hips and accelerating to the outside for an easy catch. St-Juste won a rematch after Flowers lost his traction while trying to make a cut.
  • Wide receiver James Proche II had a leaping catch over cornerback Jartavius Martin, a second-round pick, on a fade route. Proche later managed to free himself just enough for a catch on a corner route despite outside leverage from St-Juste. He ended the session with a back-shoulder catch against cornerback Jace Whittaker.
  • Shemar Bridges and Black, both undrafted wide receivers, beat Forbes for catches. Bridges, a second-year wideout, brought down a back-shoulder grab over the No. 16 overall pick, while Black left him flat-footed on an in-breaking route near the goal line.
  • Undrafted rookie wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. made a contested catch over Johnson on a fade route and added another grab against cornerback Rachad Wildgoose. But the former Maryland standout struggled to adjust when Forbes, lined up with inside leverage, denied his in-breaking route.
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