Originally written on Ravens Football Machine  |  Last updated 5/21/13
Ryan Mink of Ravens.com summed it up as well as anybody could right now--- This is Joe Flacco's Baltimore Ravens...           Organized Team Activities (OTAs) start Tuesday for the Ravens, the next step in preparation for the 2013 season. Thus far, the players have participated in very limited “football school” sessions. Now OTAs will turn things up a notch. While OTAs are still voluntary, they often draw more veteran players. They are still not full padded practices, but players do wear helmets. Contact is allowed, but not full tackling. Players still cannot compete against each other in 1-on-1 battles, such as a cornerback versus a wide receiver. Practices can run for two hours. Here are five storylines to watch during OTAs: Joe Flacco's time The Ravens’ franchise quarterback was at the Under Armour Performance Center last week and said in April that he plans to be on hand for offseason workouts. He came to OTAs last year. It would be his first time with his teammates without the Ravens’ old guard, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, on the roster. So it’s Flacco’s first real chance to take a tight grip on this team. Knowing Flacco, not much will change in his demeanor. But it will be interesting to see how other players act around the reigning Super Bowl MVP. It’s also a key time for Flacco to gel with some of his young receivers (Tandon Doss, LaQuan Williams, David Reed, Deonte Thompson, Aaron Mellette, Tommy Streeter) in the hopes of finding someone to step up in place of departed Anquan Boldin. Rookies practice with vets The rookies already got a taste of what practicing with the veterans is like last week during football school. But those practices aren’t quite as intense as OTAs, and don’t often include as many veterans. One of the intriguing pairings will be rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk and veteran Vonta Leach, who could be battling for the same position. Which wide receiver emerges? All of the competitors in the wide receiver competition should be present considering they were on hand for voluntary football school. Doss, Williams, Reed, Thompson, Mellette, and Streeter are looking to show something and start to pull away for the third receiver spot behind Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. Every practice will be important for them to make an impression, especially while they’re all healthy and able. Center battles takes center stage One of the more interesting battles this offseason will be the one for starting center. Second-year player Gino Gradkowski was written in earlier this season, but the trade for A.Q. Shipley adds competition. Shipley said coaches will give him a chance to earn the starting gig. Both players are gritty, hard workers who will put it all on the line. Back to work, shaking off any hangover The storyline for every Super Bowl winner is whether they will have a hangover into next season. Ravens players have consistently said they don’t expect that with this team under workmanlike Head Coach John Harbaugh. Reporters will get a look at this team’s demeanor. I like the challenge and the tension in this year's Ravens camp. It's fun to observe the pressure on winning teams. I don't know why---  but I appreciate the angst about the absolute improbability of repeating as league champions. It makes for dramatic entertainment value... and it affects every single player on the roster.  
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation

Report: DeAndre Jordan 'torn' between Clippers, Mavericks

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Lakers apologize for first, get second meeting with Aldridge

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mike Scioscia: Josh Hamilton should apologize to Arte Moreno

Sacramento Kings continue to be an utter disaster

Report: Cowboys believe Bryant is bluffing about missing games

Steel workers on Kings arena wrote ‘Go Warriors’ on materials

Report: Cavs could put Love on trading block within next year

Red Sox GM: 'Time to think about' team being sellers

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

Blue Jays need rookies to keep producing for success in 2015

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

University of Florida developing high-tech smart mouth guard

Pat McAfee is the best punter in NFL history

Mets coach on slump: The only thing left is human sacrifice

MLB teams who will continue to surprise in second half

2015 Women’s World Cup Final: The Rematch

Answering the five biggest questions in NBA free agency

Report: Mavericks sign Wes Matthews to four-year contract

Dwyane Wade celebrates deal with tea, painted toenails

Coach K at fan town hall: 'I have no thoughts on retiring'

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.