Taking their preparation for the 2021 season on the road, the Ravens held the first of two joint practices with the Carolina Panthers at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.
Here are 10 observations from a competitive two-hour session:
- James Proche II had the day's best catch, elevating high to make an acrobatic grab near the sideline. Later, he got behind Carolina's secondary and caught a long pass from Tyler Huntley for a touchdown. Working against Carolina's defensive backs didn't stop Proche from getting open with the same frequency that he's been showing throughout Ravens training camp.
- Even with Marlon Humphrey sidelined, Baltimore's secondary made it difficult for Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold to find open receivers, particularly in the red zone. Tavon Young had an impressive breakup, elevating to knock the ball away from D.J. Moore. Darnold didn't throw much in Marcus Peters' direction, because there wasn't much daylight. Undrafted safety Ar'Darius Washington brought cheers from the Ravens' sidelines when he dove to deflect a pass in the end zone. Rookie receiver Shi Smith caught one deep pass working against Geno Stone, but for the most part, Baltimore's secondary had its way.
- The most concerning moment of practice occurred when Derek Wolfe went down and took awhile to get up. But after rising to his feet, Wolfe walked to the sideline under his own power and never went back to the locker room. Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wolfe's injury was "nothing serious."
- A scuffle near the end of practice started after Ravens wide receiver Victor Benjamin was upended after catching a pass and taking a low hit from Panthers rookie cornerback Keith Taylor. Benjamin was flipped to the ground, the Ravens didn't like the hit, and a scrum between both teams ensued. However, practice resumed after things calmed down without further incident.
- The physicality of Ravens running back Ty'Son Williams showed up when he pancaked a Panthers blitzing linebacker. Picking up a blitz that well is something you don't always see from young running backs. Williams got a heavy dose of reps in this practice and ran well.
- Sammy Watkins returned to practice and though his action was limited, he ran a nice comeback route on the sidelines against Donte Jackson for a completion early in practice. Watkins did not look rusty during his reps, a positive for the wide receiver corps with Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, Rashod Bateman, Miles Boykin and Deon Cain still sidelined.
- Mark Andrews consistently won one-on-one matchups regardless of which Panthers linebacker or safety he was dealing with. On one seam route, Andrews broke so wide open that no Carolina player was in the vicinity. The Lamar Jackson – Andrews combination traveled well to Carolina, and Jackson had an impressive day throwing.
- It was good to see Marlon Humphrey on the sidelines in street clothes after going down during Monday's practice before the team left for Carolina. Harbaugh said Humphrey had a muscle strain and would not be out long.
- Rookie guard Ben Cleveland (concussion) return to practice but didn't participate in many reps. Cleveland's activity may increase on Thursday, but being able to travel and dress was a good sign.
- There may have been more people in Ravens jerseys watching practice than people wearing Panthers jerseys. Jackson No. 8 jerseys were the most popular choice. Meanwhile, many of the Ravens chose to take golf carts instead of walking down the steep hill before practice, and they enjoyed the ride.