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Ravens Minicamp Notebook: Mark Andrews Sharp, Michael Pierce Pulled

June 11, 2019
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- On the first play of a 7-on-7 red-zone drill, quarterback Lamar Jackson floated a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Andrews just beyond the reach of safety Anthony Levine. Later in the practice period, Jackson zipped a 6-yard touchdown pass to Andrews.

Jackson's play in 7-on-7 sessions and in the red zone was among the highlights June 11 as the Ravens convened for the first day of their three-day mandatory minicamp. They will practice the next two days as well before players and coaches scatter for a five-week hiatus before training camp. 

Compared with the OTA workouts the past few weeks, there was a notable increase in energy and intensity with nearly the entire squad on the field for the first minicamp workout.

"I thought we had a good practice," head coach John Harbaugh said. "The guys were up for it. They were looking forward to it. I thought they were tuned in, locked in. Plays were made on both sides of the ball."

Jackson opened the first 7-on-7 drill of the day with a pass to receiver Michael Floyd, who made a nice high-point catch. On the next play, Jackson floated a perfect pass to running back Gus Edwards on a wheel route just past linebacker Kenny Young for a big gain. 

Jackson was more erratic in other drills, going 0-for-5 at one point in an 11-on-11 session, but he later connected with Andrews once again. Last season, Andrews quickly developed rapport with Jackson and led all rookie tight ends with 552 receiving yards. It's early, but he appears to be primed for another big year in an offense that values tight end production. 

Here are some other observations from the June 11 minicamp workout:

PIERCE QUICKLY PULLED FROM PRACTICE: Defensive lineman Michael Pierce, who opted to skip voluntary OTA workouts, returned to the practice field for mandatory minicamp but appeared to be heavier than last year and was pulled from practice after the initial stretching period.

"He's not ready to practice yet, from a safety standpoint and for his own health," Harbaugh said. "We recognized that and we pulled him off."

Pierce, who was listed at 6-foot, 340 pounds last year, played 14 games in 2018 with two starts. He finished with 32 tackles, averaging about 28 snaps a game. Pierce was originally undrafted and signed a second-round tender as a restricted free agent this spring, so he is entering a contract year. He is expected to help anchor the interior of the defense with Brandon Williams, but he'll need to get into playing shape before that can happen. 

"He's not ready for this practice yet," Harbaugh said. "I think you can probably tell."

INGRAM FITTING IN WITH RAVENS: Playing with a team other than the New Orleans Saints for the first time in his career, ninth-year running back Mark Ingram appears to be quickly finding a home with the Ravens. During a red-zone drill, he caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson and then punctuated the score with a spike, and later gave a jumping chest-bump to tight end Mark Andrews. 

Ingram is vocal and having fun on the field, and both he and rookie Justice Hill have shown good burst. Those two join Gus Edwards to give the Ravens an interesting trio of running backs, with Kenneth Dixon and De'Lance Turner trying to work into the rotation as well. 

YANDA, JUDON BACK ON THE FIELD, FOUR PLAYERS SIDELINED: In addition to Pierce, All-Pro offensive guard Marshal Yanda and linebacker Matthew Judon hit the practice field at mandatory minicamp after opting out of OTA workouts.

Judon, who is set to be a free agent next spring, returns as the team's top edge rusher and one of the defensive veterans after the departures of outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith.

"From what I saw he looked good," Harbaugh said. "He looked like he was in shape. He played fast, worked hard, knew what he was doing. So he looked good."

Just four players did not participate in the June 11 workout: rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown (foot), offensive lineman Alex Lewis (shoulder), offensive lineman Patrick Mekari and cornerback-punt returner Cyrus Jones.

Harbaugh said Jones, the Baltimore native who has not practiced this spring, is dealing with a health issue but did not elaborate other than to say it is related to an "episode" from earlier this offseason. Harbaugh said the Ravens expect Jones to be back for training camp in July. 

As he's done each session this spring, Brown, the Ravens first-round draft pick who is recovering from an offseason Lisfranc foot injury, watched part of the workout from the sideline. Safety Tony Jefferson, who watched OTAs from the side as he recovers from offseason ankle surgery, took part in some drills before ending his work early and then again watched from the sideline. 

Follow Bo on Twitter @bsmolka

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox