A Bigger Year for Mark Andrews In Store?
The offense's improvement this offseason, including on outside throws by Lamar Jackson, has Ravens tight end Mark Andrews salivating at the possibilities.
Andrews and wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown have been the focal points of the Ravens' receiving attack the past two years and it was clear that opponents were keying in on them. Opposing defenses put more defenders in the middle of the field to clog up Andrews' lanes and make throwing between the hash marks tougher for Jackson.
With more weapons – Sammy Watkins, Rashod Bateman (once healthy), James Proche II, and an increased role in the passing game for the running backs – it could take some targets away from Andrews. On the other hand, it could also open Andrews up for even more.
Either way, Andrews looks primed for another big – or even bigger – year. After posting 64 catches for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns in a Pro Bowl sophomore season, Andrews dipped to 58 grabs for 701 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
"Just the way that Lamar is throwing outside the numbers, throwing those go-balls, 'Pro' [Proche] is making those plays down the middle …" Andrews said. "To be able to have those weapons, obviously, it takes a ton of pressure off of me, there can't be as many eyes on me. So, I'm excited about it. The more guys we have stepping up making plays, it makes my job easier."
First Practice Scuffle Ends Quickly
The Ravens haven't had any inter-squad fights at practices at the Under Armour Performance Center, but the chances always go up when going against another team.
A minor scuffle broke out in Wednesday's practice when wide receiver Binjimen Victor was hit low and upended by Panthers cornerback Keith Taylor. Victor took exception and some shoving broke out before both sides came together.
Baltimore hasn't had a problem with fighting in its many joint practices over the years, and nobody saw this one as a big deal.
"It's just tempers are going to flare at some point in time," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "It was a good practice. I thought both teams took care of one another. [We] tried to do a good job with that. That's it, we're moving on."
Andrews said smalls scuffles like that are "part of it" with joint practices.
"Emotions are flying, [we're] being competitive, and things like that are going to happen. But there was nothing too serious that happened," Andrews said.
"Those guys are a great team. They're super competitive. Everyone came out here and fought, and that's what this is all about. So, we try to keep this kind of joint practice as [if] we're all one team, and I think, for the most part, we did a good job of that. People were respectful on both sides."
Ravens Get Out of Practice Injury-Free
Besides sharpening their skills against another team, teams get a giant check mark if they get out of joint practices without any injuries. Defensive end Derek Wolfe went down Wednesday and did not return to action, but he remained on the field and was walking fine.
"Nothing serious at all," Harbaugh said of Wolfe. "We got out of here injury-free today, which is the No. 1 goal. So, I feel good about that."
Harbaugh also confirmed Tuesday's update that cornerback Marlon Humphrey has just a mild muscle strain. Though he did not practice, Humphrey made the trip and was on the field.
"It was not a real serious thing," Harbaugh said. "Muscle strains happen in training camp, especially this year. This year and last year, it seems like. So, he'll deal with it, but it's not going to be too long."
Running Back Ty'Son Williams Is Impressing
After spending last year mostly on the practice squad, running back Ty'Son Williams has been standing out in practice this year in his competition to make the 53-man roster.
Williams ran a team-high 10 times for 41 yards in Saturday's preseason opener against New Orleans. He also had a strong practice Wednesday in Carolina as a heavily involved part of the offense who runs hard.
"Ty'Son showed that last year in training camp, and he's just continued it this year in training camp," Harbaugh said. "So, he's done really well. … Hopefully, he can continue. I think he will be able to. He's looking good."