In that short time, Baltimore has essentially began running a marathon: they have trained for months, started the race and accomplished a good deal, but the finish is nowhere in sight.
John Harbaugh knows well the challenges of keeping his players, coaches and himself focused during this part of the football year. When asked how he does that, Harbaugh replied, "I mean, how can they not? There’s a lot at stake."
The Ravens saved the most entertaining practice of camp until the end, as today a huge fight broke out that involved two separate groups of players. One rumble consisted of offensive lineman Jah Reid and Pollard, Cary Williams and a couple of other defensive backs. Arthur Jones and Gino Gradkowski were also throwing hands.
After tempers subsided, there were still more highlights to come. Billy Cundiff missed a 59-yard field goal, which Ed Reed caught and tried to run back for a touchdown, until the whistle was blown around the 30-yard line.
A couple of young players who impressed were quarterback Tyrod Taylor and wide receiver Tommy Streeter. Taylor threw a fade to Streeter for a touchdown, even though pass interference was called against cornerback Chykie Brown.
What was also noteworthy about the fight was that Harbaugh always stayed calm. He didn't yell or make them do sprints. Instead, he resumed practice at the same pace and on the same schedule as they had been on.
As a matter of fact, he ended practice early. But, on one condition.
Harbaugh cleared the field and had Sam Koch punt to an offensive lineman (Michael Oher) and then to a defensive lineman (Terrence Cody). If the players successfully fielded the punt, practice would be over and their side of the ball wouldn't have meetings tonight.
Koch's first punt caused Oher to take a few steps to his left before he cleanly caught the punt. Not to be outdone, Cody moved to his left and fielded Koch's punt with his left arm only.
The team was very excited and practice ended on a high note.
Especially after watching practice today, I really get a sense of how much Harbaugh trusts his players and how they respect him for it.
- Jimmy Smith left practice early. He seemed to be injured on a play where he jumped up to deflect a pass and landed on his tailbone.
- Billy Bajema had another solid day, as he hasn't seemed to miss a beat after signing with Baltimore on August 1.
- For parts of practice, the first defensive line consisted of Ma'ake Kemoeatu (nose tackle), Pernell McPhee (defensive tackle) and Haloti Ngata (defensive end).
- Torrey Smith missed his second straight day of practice.