OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard passed his physical Monday, was activated from the physically unable to perform list and participated in his first training camp practice this summer. What was even more significant is what he did when he was on the field.
Ricard, the offensive lineman?
The Ravens are at least considering it. Ricard officially made his return to the field after offseason hip surgery and spent Monday afternoon drilling with the team’s offensive linemen and working on his pass sets and getting off the ball.
“We’re looking at that,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh acknowledged following Monday’s practice at the Under Armour Performance Center. “It’s just a multitude role kind of thing. Pat’s quite an athlete. He can do a lot of different things, and maybe we expand his role just a little bit for a little bit of time here and see how he does.”
Monday’s development doesn’t necessarily mean the 6-foot-3, 305-pound defensive tackle-turned-fullback will be undergoing another position change for the Ravens. But the fact is Baltimore knows what he can do at fullback — he’s made four straight Pro Bowls at the position — and Ricard seems intent on showing team officials that he’s big, strong and versatile enough to play on the interior of the offensive line, too.
That’s notable at a time when Ricard’s role on offense is in question after the offseason offensive coordinator change from Greg Roman to Todd Monken. In Roman’s run-heavy offense, Ricard played 57 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 2021 and a career-high 64 percent last season. Monken is not expected to utilize a fullback nearly as much, leading to some uncertainty for Ricard, who has a $4 million cap hit this season.
There would seemingly be enough of a role for Ricard even without adding offensive line play to his resume to warrant his spot on the team. He could be an asset on the short-yardage and red zone plays where Monken does see the value of having a fullback on the field. The Ravens no longer have a prototypical blocking tight end on their roster, and Ricard could help in that spot when needed. Ricard also has plenty of special teams experience. In a pinch, he can play on the defensive line, although it’s been a few years since he’s done that.
Nicknamed “Project Pat” for his versatility, Ricard originally made the Ravens in 2017 as an undrafted defensive lineman out of the University of Maine. He was asked as a rookie to give fullback a try, and he proved a quick study. In the 2019 season, Ricard played 342 snaps on offense, 140 on defense and 102 on special teams.
He shifted full time to fullback in 2020. Now, he’s looking to add to his repertoire again. The Ravens do have an opening for a starting left guard. Time, however, is not on Ricard’s side.
“There’s a chance he’ll take some reps there,” Harbaugh said. “We just want to look at it right now and see what it looks like. If you feel good about it, then keep moving with it. It’s kind of late, so he’d have to really look good for us to do that. But with Pat, you never know. I wouldn’t count him out.”
It’s time for some observations from Monday’s practice:
• After Sunday’s off day, the Ravens were back on the field in pads. They also had NFL referee John Hussey and his crew on hand to officiate the practice. Defensive backs Rock Ya-Sin (knee), Geno Stone (ankle) and Arthur Maulet (undisclosed), and rookie linebacker Trenton Simpson (soft-tissue injury) remained sidelined. Outside linebacker David Ojabo, who missed a few practices last week with an undisclosed injury, was back on the field Monday.
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• Ricard’s activation left just two Ravens on the physically unable to perform list: running back J.K. Dobbins and wide receiver Rashod Bateman. There was no sign of Dobbins Monday, but for the first time during training camp, Bateman worked out on an adjacent field as practice was going on. As a member of the team’s athletic training staff looked on, Bateman went through a workout that included some downfield sprints. He was moving around pretty well.
• Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. seems to make at least one impressive catch per practice. It came early in Monday’s session, as the veteran made a diving snag of a Lamar Jackson throw. After a brief conference, the two officials on the sideline ruled that Beckham got one knee down inbounds and signaled the catch. Beckham didn’t do much else. He headed inside with an athletic trainer about halfway through practice. Harbaugh said later that Beckham was not injured and left practice early because the team was monitoring his number of reps.
• Tight end Mark Andrews also didn’t finish practice, watching the last 45 minutes or so with his cleats off on the sideline. Harbaugh suggested that the veteran was just getting a little break on what was a hot and humid afternoon in Owings Mills. Fellow tight end Isaiah Likely, rookie receiver Zay Flowers and running back Melvin Gordon all left practice at different points, but returned and finished the session.
• John Simpson got the first-team reps at the left guard spot after spending the first two weeks of camp working with the second team. Rookie sixth-rounder Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu shifted from first to second team. This was all part of the plan as the Ravens work to settle on a starting left guard. It appears to be a two-man race between John Simpson and Aumavae-Laulu.
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• Flowers again turned in the top highlight in the one-on-one matchups between pass catchers and defensive backs. He shook Jalyn Armour-Davis with a nice inside move that created plenty of separation. Asked about Flowers after practice, Armour-Davis said, “Very quick. Very explosive. Very.”
• Andrews and safety Kyle Hamilton, who have been matched up throughout camp, had two more highly competitive reps. Andrews made a short reception on the first one. The second resulted in an end zone incompletion, although Hamilton may have gotten away with a little tug around Andrews’ waist.
• Wide receiver Makai Polk and rookie cornerback Corey Mayfield Jr. renewed acquaintances after their one-on-one matchup last week resulted in words being exchanged and Polk getting removed from the drill by assistant wide receivers coach Keith Williams. Polk got the better of Mayfield twice Monday and predictably let the rookie know about it.
• It was another strong practice for veteran cornerback Kevon Seymour. He denied James Proche II twice with end zone deflections in one-on-ones. In the first red zone session, Seymour was primarily responsible for keeping the second-team offense out of the end zone. He held Devin Duvernay to a short completion and then deflected a pass away from Duvernay in the end zone, helping to get the defense off the field.
• Overall, though, it was a solid day for the offense, which bounced back from Saturday’s penalty and interception fest to get a decisive win over the defense, at least according to Harbaugh’s practice scoring system. Put in more favorable conditions rather than third-and-longs, the offense didn’t create a ton of chunk plays. But it was effective in the red zone, and that started early with Jackson making an on-target throw to Nelson Agholor in the back of the end zone. Agholor beat Ar’Darius Washington.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 7, 2023
• There was still some sloppiness, though. On one play, the snap landed in running back Gus Edwards’ chest after Edwards cut in front of Jackson to go in motion. Both the quarterback and running back seemed surprised by the timing of the snap.
• Jackson was 3-for-4 in the first full-team session, connecting with Beckham twice and Agholor once and throwing his lone incompletion in the period to Laquon Treadwell. Jackson, who threw four of the team’s nine interceptions in the previous practice as the offense was asked to operate in third-and-longs, was accurate in Monday’s workout and kept the ball out of harm’s way.
• Bidding to win a reserve receiver job, Tylan Wallace had one of his better practices. He caught a deep touchdown pass from Josh Johnson in the one-on-one period and then made an acrobatic catch in the full-team session. Both receptions came with Mayfield in coverage. Mayfield seemed to take out some of his frustration on Shemar Bridges, slinging the wide receiver to the ground with a high hit that resembled a clothesline.
• With Justin Tucker getting the day off from kicking, Baltimore took the opportunity to ready punter Jordan Stout to kick field goals in case of emergency. Stout, who did some place kicking at Penn State, went 2-of-3, sending a 45-yarder wide left. Going in the other direction, Stout made his one attempt. Tucker was the holder for all of his kicks.
• Undrafted rookie Sean Ryan caught two red zone touchdowns later in practice. The Ravens also had success offensively with the quarterbacks targeting running backs against inside linebackers. Justice Hill beat Patrick Queen for a touchdown. A few plays later, rookie running back Keaton Mitchell got behind inside linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips and Tyler Huntley found him for a touchdown.
• Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and his family took in the practice and spent time with players, coaches and executives. Wearing a Jackson No. 8 jersey, Moore, who was a wide receiver at Johns Hopkins University, caught a touchdown pass from the Ravens’ starting quarterback.
(Photo: Michael Owens / Associated Press)