The Ravens officially returned to work Monday to begin preparations for the 2014 season.
Harbaugh and his staff, which includes new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and several other newcomers, began the first phase of the workout program on April 21. This portion is limited to two weeks of conditioning and strength training as well as physical rehabilitation. Many notable players and young players alike have been present on the first day in past offseasons.
“Good morning y’all!” wide receiver Torrey Smith wrote on his official Twitter account. “Thankful for another day of life and the opportunity to be back with the team.”
The second phase of the offseason schedule covers the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts that include individual player instruction and drills as well as a practice conducted on a “separate” basis are permitted, but no live contact or team offense against defense drills are permitted.
The final phase of the offseason program consists of the next four weeks. During this period, teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or OTAs. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.
Besides the obvious physical preparations for the 2014 season as the Ravens try to make it back to the playoffs after a disappointing 8-8 season, this spring will be critical from a learning standpoint as players try to adopt Kubiak’s West Coast offensive scheme. Of course, the offseason training program will allow new free-agent additions such as wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Owen Daniels to get to know their new surroundings and teammates.
Nearly all workouts are considered “voluntary” by definition, but it’s privately expected that players attend regularly. In recent years, Harbaugh has praised his players for their attendance for offseason workouts.
The league’s collective bargaining agreement permits one mandatory minicamp for veteran players, which may occur during the third phase of the offseason. New head coaches are allowed to hold an additional voluntary minicamp for veterans.
Each club may also conduct a rookie football development program for a period of seven weeks, which may begin on May 12. During this period, no activities may be held on weekends except one post-draft rookie minicamp, which may be conducted on either the first or second weekend following the draft.
The date of the post-draft rookie minicamp will be released at a later date.
Here is the Ravens’ 2014 offseason training program schedule that was released earlier this month by the NFL:
First Day: April 21
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 28-30, June 3-5, June 9-10, June 12-13
Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19