The curtain of the San Francisco 49ers-Baltimore Ravens joint practice is now closed. After three days of constructive, glorious dueling, both squadrons can only hope that the second time they'll face off will be on the grandest stage in February.
This pair — who in my book are in contention for a Super Bowl run this season — gained five-star experience from competing against each other. As many expected skirmishes and shove-matches to break out, the sage veteran wide receiver Steve Smith took the cash with this wise bet.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh felt that his team got well over three days worth of work in.
"I feel like we got a week-plus worth of work in. It's not just because of the tempo, or the attention to detail, which is part of it [but] it's the fact that we just see schemes that we're not going to see. We can practice for months out here [but] we're not going to see what we're going to see because our team doesn't do those things [on] both sides of the ball, so very valuable work."
Smith commented further, adding that these last three days were "very productive" and touched on how great of an opportunity it was for the younger players to get evaluated. (You're still young, Steve.)
Jim Harbaugh praised Baltimore's hospitality and issued a grade that would leave a valedictorian wondering if he or she didn't study hard enough:
"A big thank you to the Ravens organization. 'A++', in terms of treating us right, everything from media room, to food, the entire layout was top-notch. You've got to understand a little bit we're a professional organization here, of people that, have very high standards for how we're treated. Not one complaint. Not one complaint, that's rare. Ravens first-class, all the way."