Twelve Ravens Thoughts following first day of joint practice with Washington

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With the Ravens welcoming the Washington Commanders to Owings Mills for the first of two days of joint practices, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Lamar Jackson likes to “see where we are before the season starts” while John Harbaugh appreciates a “more controlled” environment compared to games. With many starters no longer playing in preseason contests, these two days with the Commanders will be the best measuring stick for the Ravens until Week 1. 

2. With so much going on during a joint practice, I focused on the Ravens offense going against the Washington defense with plans to watch the Baltimore defense against the Commanders offense on Wednesday. From the little I saw, however, Mike Macdonald’s group was much more physical than the visiting defense. 

3. The teams lost that aforementioned control when fights broke out on back-to-back plays with Tylan Wallace and Emmanuel Forbes first takings swings. On the next play, Mark Andrews took exception to a hit by Danny Johnson and threw the Washington corner to the ground. The confrontations were brief but entertaining. 

4. Having covered multiple joint practices over the last decade, I find the special-teams drills to be as intense as anything you’ll find with roster hopefuls trying to make a strong impression against an unfamiliar opponent. Watching the gunners battle the vices during punt drills is a great example of that. 

5. The play of the day was a long Jackson throw hitting Justice Hill in perfect stride for an easy touchdown on a wheel route. J.K. Dobbins is still ramping up his activity, but I can’t help but think Todd Monken has designs to keep Hill involved in this offense. 

6. Commanders defensive backs got to see what all the Zay Flowers hype was about as the rookie receiver burned Forbes, a fellow first-round rookie, for a long touchdown on the first 1-on-1 rep. The receiver has a huge advantage in those drills, but Flowers was still impressive winning multiple matchups.

7. Jackson wasn’t as consistent as he’d like to be with the deep ball, but he remained aggressive, connecting on long completions to Odell Beckham Jr. and Andrews as each made a good adjustment to the football. You could tell Beckham’s competitive juices were flowing a little more than normal. 

8. Marlon Humphrey was asked to compare facing Washington’s talented wide receivers to what he’s encountered every day in training camp, and the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback offered a glowing review for Beckham and the rest of Baltimore’s group. “I see us having at least two 1,000-yard receivers this year.”

9. Rashod Bateman remains a limited participant since making his camp debut last week and left the field roughly an hour into the workout. However, he gave head athletic trainer Adrian Dixon a thumbs up and a fist bump after finishing his on-field work. So far, so good with his foot.

10. Asked why Ronnie Stanley missed back-to-back practices after sitting out the preseason opener, Harbaugh said he “was just kind of protecting his ankle a little bit” from the workload. Stanley has practiced extensively this summer, so that explanation deserves the benefit of the doubt despite making fans a little nervous. 

11. The Patrick Ricard offensive line experiment is over, according to Harbaugh. “He came to me the other day and said, ‘Hey, I want to get back in there where I know what I’m doing, and maybe this is something for next year.’” He’s focusing exclusively on fullback and tight end. 

12. The tragic death of Alex Collins remained on the minds of coaches and former teammates as Harbaugh and Humphrey started their press conferences offering their condolences to his family. Collins wasn’t in Baltimore for long, but his 2017 may have been as surprising as any individual season in team history. 

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