After practice on Wednesday, head coach John Harbaugh had a chance to speak to the media. One of the questions asked was if Harbaugh had a chance to speak to Eagles head coach Chip Kelly to work out the schedule and arrangements for the Baltimore Ravens' trip up to Philly for the joint training camp practices.
"Chip and I got together," Harbaugh said. "We’ve got the practices pretty much finished. We’ll be practicing against them. It will be fun and I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t thought much about it."
The Ravens face Philadelphia in the preseason on August 22, giving the teams a chance to intermingle a bit on the practice field the week leading up to the game. While the practice days and times haven't been announced quite yet, it marks yet another year where the Ravens have been able to practice with another team.
Teams get a lot out of joint practices, which is why you are beginning to see them more often. Having your players hit completely different players for the first time, coaches get to assess where guys are really at in the overall scheme of things. By matching up with a completely different team, coaches and players also get to see how they fare against different schemes.
For younger players, they get a chance to show who they are in front of another audience. Typically these practices are ratcheted up a great deal by the younger players as they can make a bigger name for themselves by dominating another team's player. A great showing could find a bubble player on one roster as a depth pickup or even a starter for another roster and these kids know that going into it. That added tension and a little more fire under the younger players ultimately turns up the action for everyone on the practice field and makes the entire team better for it.
Not only do teams get a little something extra out of these practices, sometimes it changes how teams practice. For instance, the Ravens have adopted different jerseys for their quarterbacks following a joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers. When I asked why the quarterbacks were wearing hard to read jerseys, Ravens officials told me that it was likely a hold-over from what the 49ers QBs had done previously and the Ravens players liked a lot.
For the Ravens and Eagles, there is likely a lot that each team can learn by playing against each other for a week. It'll be exciting to see what, if anything, changes for both teams following the game.