OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens quarterback Ryan Mallett has quietly gone about his business despite outside distractions throughout training camp.
The seven-year veteran has been under close scrutiny running the first-team offense with starter Joe Flacco sidelined with a back injury.
The Ravens have talked about going through a process that end up with them signing Colin Kaepernick, who gained widespread attention last year for his decision to not stand during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
Mallett, however, has remained undaunted. He will get to showcase his skills as the starter in Baltimore’s first preseason game Thursday against the Washington Redskins.
“I have tunnel vision,” Mallett said. “I’m not really worried about what’s going on outside this building.”
Mallett has experienced mixed results atop the depth chart. Some days, he throws multiple interceptions, and on others, he shows a big-time arm that justifies the Ravens’ confidence in him.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh even jokingly chastised the media for its coverage of him.
“I think Ryan has played well,” Harbaugh said. “He has a really not good day, and I saw a lot of stories about that. I see he’s having some pretty good days, and I haven’t seen any stories about that. What’s up with that?
“But no, I think he’s doing a good job, and he’s had some good days.”
Mallett signed with Baltimore in December 2015 after Flacco went down with a season-ending knee injury. Mallett started the final two games and led the team to a 20-17 victory over Pittsburgh.
Overall, he has appeared in six games for the Ravens and has completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 592 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Despite the limited reps, Mallett resigned with Baltimore in March for a one-year, $2 million deal.
He prides himself on being ready when his number is called.
“I always prepare as if I was starting,” Mallett said. “That’s the only way you can do it and try to be successful, anyway. So, every week I prepare like the starter just in case.”
Meanwhile, there doesn’t appear to be a set timeline for Flacco to return to practice. Originally, he was only expected to miss the first week of camp. Harbaugh does not appear overly concerned about the lack of practice time for the 10-year quarterback.
“As a coach, you want to get him in as soon as you can,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the bottom line. I want him here yesterday. I want him here a week ago. I wanted him here the first day. As soon as he is ready to go, we’ll go to work and get him ready. Joe knows the offense, but still there’s a rhythm and timing and execution. Really, practice is valuable for him. The sooner the better, but not before he’s ready.”
Now, it is up to Mallett to show he is fully capable of being a starter.
“It’s an opportunity for Ryan to get ready,” Harbaugh said; “Those reps are really huge for a quarterback. He wants to make the most of all those reps with the” first-team offense.