If you follow joint practices in the NFL, here’s something that won’t surprise you.
Tempers flared during the second day of practices between the Ravens and Colts, leading to a skirmish in the middle of the field. A punt drill led to a confrontation between Ravens linebacker Albert McClellan and Colts linebacker Antonio Morrison, which resulted in fireworks. At one point, at least 30 players were in a pile, as coaches worked quickly to separate them.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh downplayed the importance of the skirmish afterward, choosing to focus on the quality of work that his team received during two days of practice in Westfield, Ind.
“Two very good days,” Harbaugh said. “Excellent practice. I loved the way we played. I thought our offense, I was on the offensive field, had a very good day, and I’m just proud of the guys. I appreciate the Colts. We got a lot of work done.”
Asked about the fight, Harbaugh said, “It cracks me up! Is this a healthy obsession that we all have with fights in training camp practices? It’s really, it’s nothing. It’s much ado about nothing. It got broken up pretty quickly, and we’re moving on.”
Give the Ravens credit for avoiding fights in their previous joint practices with the 49ers (2014) and Eagles (2015), and this year during their joint practice with the Rams. However, fights during NFL joint practices have become commonplace. You could feel the tension building between the Ravens and Colts late in Friday’s practice, until it finally spilled over Saturday.
Despite the skirmish, Harbaugh is pleased with the bigger picture – how the Ravens are handling training camp and the preseason so far. In fact, Harbaugh described the Ravens’ focus so far as superb.
“I think about as good as [I’ve] ever seen,” Harbaugh said. “I’d have to say our best camp in terms of guys focused on improving every day and becoming one percent better at what they do from one day to the next and keep building on that. That’s what I’m proud of.”
Football is a physical sport, and some confrontations that last beyond the whistle are almost inevitable. However, Colts Head Coach Frank Reich was not happy with how his team reacted against the Ravens after tempers flared.
“I’m very disappointed in that,” Reich said. “We’re professional football players. We’re not fighters. We’re not in the MMA. We’re not in the cage. We know it’s unacceptable.
“We want to find ways to execute football plays and win games. So I was very disappointed. That led to a sloppy practice, at least on offense, what I saw. We have to learn from that and learn how to translate that aggression into good competitive play.”
With the joint practices behind them, the Ravens will regroup for Monday night’s preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Here are other takeaways from Saturday’s practice:
- Backup quarterback Robert Griffin III had several pinpoint throws for touchdowns during red-zone work. Griffin looked confident with his throwing motion and footwork.
- Wide receiver Jordan Lasley had a drop early in practice that he would like to have back. The fifth-round pick is battling to make the roster.
- The Ravens took advantage of perhaps the only poor pass thrown by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. Throwing off his back foot, Luck was intercepted by Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr. However, Luck threw the ball extremely well all day and gave the Ravens secondary all it wanted. It will be interesting to see how much the Ravens see of Luck in Monday’s preseason game. However, Luck looks to be in great form after missing last season with an injury to his throwing shoulder.