The Baltimore Ravens training camp is in full swing. It takes another step as they participate in joint practices with the Washington Commanders. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said they’ve gotten a lot of work done in the two practices with the Commanders.

It’s tougher when two teams are on the field because there’s a lot of pride on the line. Both teams want to make it clear what their standard is by exerting their dominance on the field.

That being said, there were a couple of altercations. But those were quickly de-escalated. A lot of teams have turned to the joint practices as a chance to get game like work for the starters rather than playing them in preseason matchup. 

“Well, it’s more controlled. That’s the thing about joint practice; you still get a lot of great work without the ‘finish’ part of it,” Harbaugh said. “You don’t get the tackling, the sacks – those kinds of things. I will also say, that’s a double-edged sword, because then it becomes a gray area about how much is too much, and that’s where the pushing and the shoving starts sometimes.”

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey almost likes joint practices more than preseason games. He liked the challenge of tackling or wrapping up ball carriers without taking them to the ground. Humphrey said it’s harder. 

Then there’s the situational part of it. They can create actual game scenarios to practice what to do in the particular situation. 

The coaches can spend a whole period on something like red zone situations or even third downs. The focus can change from period to period but the work is valuable. 

“We’re kind of taking these days as they are our two preseason games. [We don’t] know how much preseason action we’ll see, but I think joint practices, it’s some of the best you can really get.” 

Joint practices also give the offense and defense a chance to go against a new scheme and set of players that present a change of pace from the teammates they’ve been facing every day for a few weeks now. 

It adds a different flavor and level of energy.

“It’s amazing to have the Washington [Commanders] out here and being competitive and be able to practice against these guys,” tight end Mark Andrews said.

“They have a lot of good players. Just going against someone different than our own defense – it’s nice – feeling just a different body that you haven’t seen all camp. It’s a great challenge for us this time of year to make sure that we can get better and better and take each day and just continue that growth mindset.” 

Quarterback Lamar Jackson is happy to go against a different defense. But he said the work he got against his defensive teammates before joint practices has been good too. 

” Iron sharpens iron,” Jackson said. 

One of the areas that is coming along well for the Ravens is the Jackson to Odell Beckham Jr. connection. The free agent addition changed the dynamic of the receiver room. Jackson said the chemistry is developing quickly. 

Rookie receiver Zay Flowers has also made strides this week. 

“He showed me he can do it against anybody else, not just our team,” Jackson said of Flowers “He was making some crazy moves, great route running, great in and out of his cuts, and he was catching the ball, so he was looking pretty good out there.”  

The two teams will face off in the second preseason game on Saturday. The work has already been put in for most of the key players. But Saturday will be an opportunity for some of the fringe roster players to further make a case for a spot. 

Tyler Hamilton
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