The Ravens begin their first official organized team activities (OTA) session Wednesday, and it is almost certain that there will be some no-shows. And although the Ravens would love to have all 90 players on their roster in the building for every workout, that won't happen. And that's OK.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, this week's OTA is voluntary. The Ravens will have just one mandatory minicamp, scheduled for June 16-18.
No one will actually say this, but to be sure, this week's OTAs are more voluntary for some players than for others. Veterans such as Terrell Suggs, Chris Canty and Marshal Yanda have opted to skip OTAs in the past. They have built up enough equity within the organization, and coach John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome can (and must) trust that these veterans know what it takes to get ready for the grind of training camp.
But for players such as safety Matt Elam or linebacker Arthur Brown, skipping this voluntary OTA would be a huge red flag. Elam was publicly called out by general manager Ozzie Newsome this offseason, who declared bluntly that Elam, now entering his third year, simply must be better than he was last year. The extra reps of the OTAs can't hurt in that regard.
Likewise for Brown, who was a forgotten man last year. Brown, a second-round pick in 2013, did not play one defensive snap last season. So who benefits more from reps during OTAs -- Brown, or 12-year veteran Daryl Smith? Keep in mind that contact is prohibited during OTAs, but teams can take part in full 11-on-11 drills.
Quarterback Joe Flacco has been a presence at past OTAs, and this year that might be as important as ever, given that he needs to start building a rapport with top draft picks Breshad Perriman and Maxx Williams as well as with new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman.
Thursday's workout is open to the media, and that will give the first indication of who chose to sit out this week's session. Additional voluntary OTAs are June 1-3 and June 8-11.
Occasionally, there is some added drama when a player skips the mandatory minicamp (which results in a fine.) But no such issues are expected at this year's mandatory camp in June.