Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins returned to the practice field as promised Monday and moved with a touch more explosiveness than he did last week, when he first came off the physically-unable-to-perform list. Dobbins did not practice Saturday or Sunday as trainers assessed his recovery from those first days of work.
Dobbins, who missed the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL, still did not take 11-on-11 reps, but he ran through warm-ups and one-on-one drills with the other running backs, cutting and accelerating as he continued to test his surgically repaired knee.
“He looked good,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s back on track. I thought he looked a little better than he did before, last week.”
Dobbins’ availability for the start of the season is one of the most significant questions hanging over the Ravens as they prepare to wrap up training camp this week. They hope he can be a dynamic No. 1 option out of the backfield after injuring his knee in last year’s preseason finale.
With Gus Edwards also working back from a torn ACL, the Ravens would likely have to rely on a combination of Mike Davis, Justice Hill and rookie Tyler Badie if Dobbins’ recovery takes longer than hoped.
Harbaugh said it “remains to be seen” how quickly Dobbins can take on more work. “I think it depends on the injury,” he explained. “The kind of progress he makes from one day to the next.”
Chuck Clark: The Mark Andrews stopper?
Whenever the Ravens’ offense stumbles in practice, it’s a good bet that quarterback Lamar Jackson will look for Andrews on the next play. No one on the roster screams guaranteed money more than the All-Pro tight end.
That was the case again Monday as Jackson repeatedly found Andrews open in seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills. The only defender who stifled the team’s top pass catcher was Clark, who won two matchups against Andrews in one-on-one drills and broke up a Jackson attempt to him in the corner of the end zone. Andrews asked for a penalty on the end zone incompletion, to no avail.
Clark’s reps against Andrews offered a reminder of his unfailing motor. The incumbent starting safety has not spoken to reporters since the Ravens signed Marcus Williams and used a first-round pick on Kyle Hamilton, throwing Clark’s future with the team into question. But he has worked as diligently as usual through the grind of camp, and he never backs down from a difficult matchup. If the Ravens do trade Clark at some point, his professionalism would be missed.
Powers takes snaps at center
With Tyler Linderbaum (foot) out for the time being, Ben Powers was the second man up at center in the preseason opener, ahead of Trystan Colon.
Though he’s still favored to start at left guard, Powers has built on his work at center over the team’s last three practices, looking more at ease at his secondary position. The 2019 fourth-round pick struggled to fire off clean snaps when he auditioned at center last summer, but not so much this time around. If the Ravens are comfortable with Powers as an emergency option behind Linderbaum and Patrick Mekari, Colon’s chances of making the team would take a hit.
“He’s doing a good job,” Harbaugh said. “You’ve got to have versatility. … If Ben can do that, it’s always an addition to your career. It helps you and it helps us. If he could be your starting guard and be your emergency center, it’s important.”
Not unlike Likely
Rookie tight end Isaiah Likely continues to make spectacular plays as a receiver. He went fully horizontal to make a touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone in one-on-one drills Monday and leaped over linebacker Malik Harrison and safety Marcus Williams to catch a downfield throw from Tyler Huntley in 11-on-11 drills.
Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike returned Monday after missing the previous two practices and the preseason opener as he dealt with migraines. The Ravens remained undermanned at wide receiver, with James Proche (soft tissue) and Tylan Wallace (knee) still out. Defensive tackle Calais Campbell and linebackers Justin Houston and Josh Bynes received veteran rest days.
Second-year outside linebacker Odafe Oweh left the field holding his back after a collision with tight end Nick Boyle late in practice, but Harbaugh said he was uninjured.