The Baltimore Sun noted early in training camp that the 27-year-old "looked like the Rice of old" and "his cuts were excellent." Coach John Harbaugh confirmed as much after Monday's practice. "Ray has looked really good," Harbaugh said, via CSN Baltimore. "Comparisons to years in the past -- we'll find all that out during the season. But he's in tremendous shape. I've seen him make a good lateral cut. He's got really good burst, acceleration is there, vision is there. He's been very patient with the zone runs. Ray looks really good."
It's refreshing to hear Harbaugh praising the lateral jump cuts that were noticeably missing from Rice's repertoire last season. A healthier Bernard Pierce will open the season as the Ravens' early-down back as Rice serves his two-game suspension. All early-camp signs point to Rice resuming lead-back status as soon as he returns in late September.
Ian Rapoport confirmed that Rice "looks very different."
At just 26 years old, it was surprising to see Rice's production fall off the way it did, but he was dealing with hip and quad injuries throughout the season. He was also coming off of a Super Bowl run the previous year, which likely wore him down. He's a high-upside middle round pick and a bounce back candidate in Gary Kubiak's offense.