In what has seemingly become a tradition for the Baltimore Ravens, they will be teaming up with another team for joint practices during training camp. Last season was the San Francisco 49ers, but this year it will be a much closer team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh announced during Saturday's rookie minicamp, that the Ravens will travel to Philadelphia for a series of joint training camp practices in the lead up to their week 2 preseason game. The Ravens and Eagles face off on Saturday August 22nd and Harbaugh said that the plan is to travel to Philly 3 days before that game.
“[Eagles Head] Coach [Chip] Kelly and I are working on the practice schedules right now, so we’re excited about that,” Harbaugh said.
As fans might know, Harbaugh used to be an assistant coach in Philadelphia even though he doesnt have any experience with head coach Chip Kelly. Harbaugh's brother Jim has some memories of Kelly from their battles in the Pac 12.
“Jim has always spoken really highly of him and I obviously have great respect for him,” Harbaugh said. “We were just talking at the owner’s meetings and were kind of wondering why we don’t play each other more in the preseason, and wanted to see if we could work something out, and it looks like we’re going to be able to do that.”
Becoming somewhat of a norm for NFL teams, holding joint practices allows coaches to not only see how their players and team matches up against another opponent, they get to see some of the lesser known players on other teams. That first hand experience can come in handy as injuries happen and on the off chance that teams can sign a better player for a position.
Minimizing the travel for the Ravens should make this year's joint practice significantly easier for both teams as last year, a trip to the West Coast not only had logistic issues but is ultimately more draining on the entire organization to pack up and leave home for an extended period of time. In addition, the Ravens will be spending plenty of time on the West Coast this season as they have several games on the other side of the country this season.