The Baltimore Ravens kicked off their week of joint practices with the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday, August 18, with a brief scrum spicing up an otherwise unremarkable day.
But in the preseason, no news is good news, especially for the Ravens, as the team has been decimated by injuries in recent weeks. Seemingly all of head coach John Harbaugh’s press conferences for the past two weeks featured a new injury announcement, but the Ravens hope they have turned a corner, with several players returning to practice this week.
The Ravens started their preseason with a 17-14 win over the New Orleans Saints in a game that mostly featured the team’s second- and third-string players. More of the starters are expected back for Saturday’s game in Charlotte, including star quarterback Lamar Jackson, who did not play against the Saints.
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Fight Headlines Passing Drills
Most of the highlights of the day came from passing drills, especially one-on-ones between the Ravens’ wide receivers and the Panthers’ defensive backs.
The brawl drew several veterans into the fray to calm things down, including offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, cornerback Marcus Peters and safety Anthony ‘Co-Cap’ Levine Sr. The fight quickly subsided and practice resumed as normal.
Mark Andrews quickly reestablished his connection with Lamar Jackson, catching several passes, including this sidearm throw from his fellow fourth-year Raven.
James Proche continued his standout preseason, who showed off his deep threat ability against the Panthers’ secondary, scoring a 50-yard touchdown just before practice ended, according to The Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer. In the absence of Baltimore’s top receivers, Proche has made the most of his increased opportunities. He will be a player to watch on Saturday.
Running back Ty’Son Williams continued to push for the RB3 spot on the depth chart, showing off his pass protection ability by picking up a blitzing Panther linebacker in practice, per Shaffer. Williams is trying to usurp Justice Hill, the team’s third-string running back for the last two years, who has remained on the team due to his pass blocking and special teams versatility.
Williams ran the ball well last week against the Saints and functioned as a receiving threat out of the backfield, putting the pressure on Hill to make an impact on offense against the Panthers.
Harbaugh offered praise for the USC and BYU product, saying “He’s done really well. Hopefully he can continue. I think he’ll be able to. He’s looking good,” per Sarah Ellison.
Ravens Breathe Sigh of Relief After Injury Scares
While the injuries have been mostly concentrated on the offense, two recent defensive injuries alarmed Ravens fans, with All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey and defensive end Derek Wolfe sustaining injuries in consecutive days.
While Humphrey did not practice, he did join the team on the field (wearing a white bucket hat) without a noticeable limp, signaling he is recovering quickly after he limped into the locker room on Tuesday.
Harbaugh does not expect Humphrey to be out for very long, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
Wolfe went down during a collision in practice and had to be attended to by an athletic trainer before he went to the sideline, where he remained in pads for the rest of the day.
Harbaugh said that Wolfe’s injury is “nothing serious,” noting that the team got out of practice “injury-free,” per Shaffer.
The Ravens appear to be working their way back towards full health, as their injured players have been ramping up their activity in practice.
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, guard Ben Cleveland and safety Brandon Stephens all practiced on Wednesday, and wide receivers Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, Miles Boykin and Deon Cain did conditioning drills as they work their way back to the field, per The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec.