Fans who came out to Monday's practice at M&T Bank Stadium saw the most intense practice to date this training camp.
Several players got into scuffles during the nearly three-hour practice, including veterans who often stay out of the fray. The aggressiveness started early during a series of physical run plays in full-team drills, as defensive end Lawrence Guy first got into a scrum with rookie lineman Stephane Nembot before several teammates broke it up.
The physicality picked up a notch when veteran tight end Dennis Pitta got into a shoving match with rookie linebacker Kamalei Correa behind the line of scrimmage. Pitta isn't typically one to get into the middle of training camp scuffles, but he went after the second-round pick.
Pitta actually sprained his finger during the mix-up, and Head Coach John Harbaugh said he is going to be sidelined "a little while."
Correa clearly agitated members of the offense, and a few minutes after the Pitta skirmish, he crushed wide receiver Mike Wallace on a completion over the middle of the field. Quarterback Joe Flacco didn't take kindly to the hit and ran up the field after the play to get in Correa's face. Several teammates were nearby as Flacco delivered his message to Correa, and that situation didn't escalate.
Monday was the third-straight day the team has been in full pads, which can often lead to a little more chippiness between teammates.
"This is football," Harbaugh said. "We have to build a football team and we have a bunch of young guys that like to play and want to get after it, and have a lot of pride. It's a tough game, and I did like the spirit and physicality."
Later in practice, another fight broke out when outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith and offensive lineman Ryan Jensen started swinging at each other. Harbaugh gave both of them an earful for that skirmish, which led to a personal foul penalty on Smith.
"The ability to be a tough, physical football player and a smart player go hand-in-hand," Harbaugh said. "You have to know where to draw the line. It's between the lines, between the whistles."
Here were some of the other notes from practice:
- Right guard Marshal Yanda and wide receiver Michael Campanaro both returned to practice after having an off day on Sunday. Along with the six players on the physically unable to return list, running back Kenneth Dixon (knee), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (rib), tight end Crockett Gillmore (hamstring), cornerback Maurice Canady (undisclosed) and wide receiver Chris Moore (undisclosed) all remain sidelined.
- A new absence for practice was cornerback Will Davis, who is coming back from last year's torn ACL. Davis has been a full participant in every practice up to this point, so he could have just been given an off day.
- Pitta ran by safety Eric Weddle during one-on-one drills and hauled in a leaping catch on a pass from Flacco. Weddle tackled Pitta after the catch, but both players hopped up and slapped hands after the play. Pitta continues to impress in camp.
- The Ravens started practice with a heavy dose of punt return drills. The starting return job is up for grabs, and the coaches want to see exactly what they have in players like Campanaro and rookie Keenan Reynolds. Catching punts in the stadium in front of thousands of fans under the lights is tougher than being on the normal practice fields, and the Ravens tested the young returners. Nobody really stood out in the group, and this is a competition that will be decided in the preseason.
- Owner Steve Bisciotti took in practice from field level. He rolled around the field on his golf cart and chatted with players throughout the night. The first player he greeted when he drove onto the field was kicker Justin Tucker, who the team just signed to a long-term contract extension. They shook hands and shared a few laughs before Bisciotti went out to midfield to chat with Head Coach John Harbaugh.
- Cornerback Shareece Wright is in line for a starting job and he's off to a strong start in camp. He showed nice coverage skills in a one-on-one drill where Flacco tried to hit Kamar Aiken on a deep route down the seam. Wright ran step-for-step with Aiken to break up the pass.
- Tight end Benjamin Watson caught a couple nice passes during a hurry-up drill late in practice. Flacco went his direction to complete a pair of first downs.
- Kicker Justin Tucker continues to be rock-solid. He hit field goals from 63 and 58 yards to go along with the 69-yarder he hit Sunday.