OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Lamar Jackson didn't mince words when he assessed his first performance of this year's Ravens OTA workouts: "My first day, I sucked." But during the next three days, Jackson said he saw improvements, with much of his offseason emphasis on mechanics bearing fruit and showing up on film as well.
Jackson's progression as a passer will be storyline No. 1 with the Ravens this summer, and during the Ravens' OTA workout open to the media May 23, he looked strong in the early stages of practice before tailing off toward the end.
He was on target with deep balls in individual drills and in some of the full-team workouts, hitting Seth Roberts in stride down the left sideline with one throw. Later, deep passes intended for Roberts and Michael Floyd were underthrown and might have been intercepted if defensive backs were aggressively playing with contact, which doesn't happen during OTAs.
Jackson said he spent much of this offseason focused on his mechanics and noted, "I gotta get my spiral tighter."
Coach John Harbaugh said for the first week back on the field against defenders after the three-month layoff, Jackson "looked good. What you saw today is what he's looked like."
Harbaugh noted that with the Ravens installing a new offense under new coordinator Greg Roman, "there's been a lot of work on all the things that go into it, from cadence, from huddle, from terminology. ... That's part of it. It's a process. We're not exactly clicking on all cylinders yet, but I'm really happy with the progress and where we're going."
Here are three other takeaways from the first OTA workout open to the media:
Young receivers will get a long look this spring.
Rookie draft picks Marquise Brown (foot) and Miles Boykin (hamstring) remained sidelined, giving other young receivers such as Jordan Lasley, Jaleel Scott and Quincy Adeboyejo a chance to state their case for a roster spot. Scott, who missed all of last season on injured reserve, is a fourth-round pick whose size (6-foot-5, 210) stands out.
It was an uneven day for undrafted rookie receivers. Antoine Wesley caught a 35-yard touchdown from Robert Griffin III for a touchdown during one drill, while Joe Horn Jr. dropped a couple of passes, and Jaylen Smith, Jackson's former teammate at Louisville, had his thigh wrapped and was limited.
Pernell McPhee is back.
What does he have left?
It was interesting to see former Ravens linebacker Pernell McPhee back in camp, and the Ravens are hoping the 30-year-old can still be an impact pass rusher for them. He didn't have any sacks last year with the Redskins in 203 defensive snaps, but at the very least McPhee and Shane Ray, both signed last week, will put pressure on young edge rushers Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams to step up. It's somewhat hard to evaluate edge rushers in noncontact OTAs, but Bowser made a nice play when he tipped a pass and then nearly made a diving interception.
Kenneth Dixon, Cyrus Jones, several veterans were absent.
Since OTAs are voluntary, veterans frequently opt against the workouts, and several Ravens veterans were not present. That group included guard Marshal Yanda, cornerback Jimmy Smith, safety Early Thomas, linebacker Matthew Judon and defensive linemen Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams. Safety Tony Jefferson, who had offseason ankle surgery, was on the field in street clothes but did not participate.
Two players who were not present and are still competing for roster spots were running back Kenneth Dixon and cornerback-punt returner Cyrus Jones. Harbaugh said Dixon had been at the OTA sessions earlier in the week.
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