It was a tiring and gureling three days for the Ravens, but today the coaches let the team take a little break, with today's practice being hailed as a "shadow practice". Today's session was short in duration, clocking in at only "about an hour."
While today's practice may have been rather uneventful and boring, that doesn't mean that the other days were. Let's go over some of the top storylines that came out of the joint practices.
Will Hill & Others Getting Aggressive
Will Hill just threw a punch on Josh Huff. Now being restrained by DBs coach Chris Hewitt— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) August 20, 2015
This was unfortunately inevitable. When you get a bunch of true competitors out on the field for hours on a hot day, this is bound to happen. It really isn't much more than that. Fights have and always will be a part of the NFL.
Ravens undrafted rookie De'Ondre Wesley just threw several haymakers at an Eagle. Knocked him down. Seems like only a matter of time.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) August 20, 2015
Some guy I've never heard of, De'Ondre Wesley, also threw several punches.
Thankfully, the teams were able to keep their tempers in check, and avoided a massive brawl like ones seen at other joint practices this offseason.
The Eagles Were Simply the Better Team, It Seems
Ravens first time offense has struggled to consistently move ball past two days. Eagles not having same problem.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) August 20, 2015
Reports from members of both the Baltimore and Philadelphia media have seemed to favor the Eagles. The Eagles have seemed to do anything the Ravens can, but better in this week's sessions. I however, would take the observations with a grain of salt. In these joint sessions, both teams came out as winners. A bonded and well-practiced squad is a winning one. When all is said and done, I think tonight's game will be a better measure of which team is better.
Eagles Coach Chip Kelly Calls Flacco 'Elite'
"I think he’s one of the elite quarterbacks in this league," - Chip Kelly
Ugh. I'm doing my job by reporting that this was indeed a top headline of the week, but I like to stay as far away as I can from the 'e word' and the argument that follows it. No one flipping cares if Flacco is elite or not. He's a winner, and that's what matters.
Darren Waller is Impressing
"Here’s a 240-pound guy out here in this heat – really all through camp – [who] pushes through and makes plays at the end of practice, which is pretty telling. I thought he took a big step out there today."
- Coach John Harbaugh
The six-foot-six rookie wide receiver/cornerback's worst nightmare has finally 'broken out'. Waller really hit his stride in the final practices in Philadelphia, grabbing "three tightly-contested catches." The massive rookie is showing that he could be more than just a project, and perhaps a playmaker this year. Waller still has a long ways to go, as he is still stuck in the ever-raging wide receiver battle. If he can have a nice game tonight, then Waller may just put himself on the map.
Steve Smith Sr. Picking On the Young Guy
"He told me to get my feet right. And then when I broke up the pass, he was like, ‘I saw in your eyes, it looked like you [soiled] yourself,’ " Rowe said. "And I was like, ‘No, man, I don’t panic out here.’ I expected that coming from him, but I just laughed." - Eagles CB Eric Rowe on Steve Smith, Sr.
Never change Steve, never change. The above account from Eagles rookie CB Eric Rowe was the final blow in a dialogue between the two that lasted all camp long. The two traded blows, both on the field, and via trash talk. Smith and Rowe reportedly battled it out fiercely, with both players making some nice plays. On Wednesday, Smith ended up getting the best of Rowe.
On one of the final plays of Wednesday’s practice, Smith got past Rowe on a fade pattern for a big gain along the sidelines.
Smith let Rowe know about it by spinning the ball in front of the Utah product and the two seemed to be jawing all the way back to their respective huddles.
"Oh, he talks a lot of trash," Rowe said. "I just kind of ignore it and laugh."
Rowe wasn't the only thing Smith was agitated at, as he was irritated with the whole practice.
"I’d rather be at home," Smith said. "Today’s my wife’s birthday, so I’m not at home. I’m over here doing this bull [crap] and missing my wife’s birthday. That’s my honest opinion. I’d rather be at home singing happy birthday to my wife, but I’m out here getting questioned to assess a rookie corner."
Smith also quipped that Coach Chip Kelly's practices were"like apple juice". This was simply Steve being Steve, and it was awesome.
At the end of the day, this year's joint practice was a successful venture. The two teams learned a lot from each other, and bonded as a team (though not exactly with the other team). Coach Harbaugh also agreed that the practices were productive and fruitful for the Ravens.
Harbaugh called practices a success and said he felt team got better.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) August 21, 2015
The two sides won't meet next offseason, as they play each other in the regular season, but there has been some chit-chat about reconvening in two seasons for more joint practices. We don't know if this talk has any substance, or is just polite talk, but we'll be waiting a while to find out.
The culmination of all of this will be the game, which is being nationally televised via NFL Network. Tune in at 7:30 ET, and have your devices locked in to us and Bleeding Green Nation for all of the game coverage you deserve.