C.J. Mosley getting a range of lessons in the NFL

May 30, 2014|Mike Preston

Inside linebacker C.J. Mosley had some tough classes at the University of Alabama, but nothing as hard as learning about playing in the National Football League.

Mosley has been on a crash course since the Ravens drafted him in the first-round (17th overall) of the NFL draft a few weeks ago. It is eat and sleep football all day, every day. Mosley, though, is finally getting settled.

"The biggest adjustment is adjusting to football all day," Mosley said. "You're here at 6 in the morning. Back in college, I was just getting ready for class at 8 or doing a workout or something. But now, it's all football from 6 to 6."

Mosley is expected to start at weak-side linebacker this season, but the Ravens haven't put out a depth chart just yet. If he doesn't, then he will eventually get the opportunity, which is standard practice for almost any first-round pick.

At Alabama last season, Mosley led the team in tackles with 108. He sees a lot of similarities in the schemes played by the Ravens and the Crimson Tide.

"We played a complex defense under coach [Nick] Saban," Mosley said. "A lot of things we did at Alabama they do here with the Baltimore Ravens. I haven't been through the whole defense yet. But when I get through it, get through the preseason, earn my stripes as far as a rookie player and do what I need to do on special teams, I'll be ready to play."

Mosley is no longer in awe of playing in the NFL. He feels comfortable playing with some of his former teammates and has been tutored by cornerback Lardarius Webb and linebackers Albert McClellan, Daryl Smith and Arthur Brown.

"You see guys like Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata on TV," Mosley said. "They are not here, but they will be in a few weeks. I'll be playing right next to them and they will be depending on me to make plays and help them get back to the Ravens' standard of playing great defense."

'Jersey' Joe

Instead of making excuses for not having held informal workouts with his receivers, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco should just say he has two young children and wants to spend time at home with his family in New Jersey.

Ravens coaches certainly would prefer for Flacco to have such workouts, but they aren't going to make or break the team this season and certainly not turn him into an "elite" quarterback.

Critics like to compare quarterbacks to Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, and that's unfair. Flacco is not in that class and is not that type of leader. He is, however, a pretty good quarterback who tends to be more on the introverted side. He is secure in his abilities and who he is as a person.

The Ravens knew what they were getting before they signed Flacco to a $120.6 million contract before the start of last season. When it's time to play football, Flacco is going to play hard. When it's the offseason, Cool Joe becomes Jersey Joe.

And it's probably not going to change. So, if you want Manning or Brady, move to Denver or New England.

Quicker feet

One area Flacco will have to improve in is footwork. Despite his size, Flacco moves reasonably well in the pocket. In the West Coast offense, Flacco will have to throw quicker. There are also more roll and sprint-out passes.

"Even though those routes a lot of times are the same, the progressions aren't quite the same," coach John Harbaugh said. "Or how the quarterback coach or offensive coordinator asks you to use your feet to get you from one progression to the next, it's not a lot different from what he's been doing in the past, but it's a little bit different.

"The West Coast offense is very — more than any offense I'm that familiar with — tight end [-oriented], ties the footwork into the reads more than any other one, and it's very straightforward," Harbaugh said. "It's very black and white for the quarterback, and that's what Joe is learning right now. It is that, but it's also the boots. It's also the keepers and the play-action passes, too."

Osemele looks healthy

I got a glimpse of left guard Kelechi Osemele at practice and wasn't looking to see if he overpowered anyone, but at his stride and how he bent his knees.

Everything seemed positive for Osemele, who had back surgery to repair a herniated disk in November. The Ravens will know more once they see how he responds after several days of consistent contact.

As for two other injured players, it will be news the day Harbaugh announces that guard-tackle Jah Reid (sprained calf) and nose guard Terrence Cody (hip surgery) can practice instead of missing time.

Jensen playing new position

The Ravens have made second-year guard Ryan Jensen a backup tackle. He is taking repetitions on both the left and right sides.

Jensen looked comfortable at both, especially on the right side where he will battle starter Rick Wagner, also a second-year player, for playing time.

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