Not only was Wednesday the last full day of training camp — though it didn’t feel like it with the Ravens now training at their Owings Mills facility — but it also brought the first major fight of the summer.
It was unclear what sparked the melee during an 11-on-11 period, but defensive end Arthur Jones showed off his mixed martial arts training as he got the best of rookie center Gino Gradkowski. Jones’ younger brother Jon is the UFC light heavyweight champion of the world.
Meanwhile, offensive tackle Jah Reid began sparring with safety Bernard Pollard and what looked like the entire Ravens secondary. Coaches observed the fighting for nearly a minute before order was restored and cooler heads prevailed.
“What are you going to do about it?” Harbaugh said. “Get in there and start tossing bodies around and get them out of there? They got back on the line, and we ran the next play pretty quick. It was a spirited fight, no doubt about that.”
Though not involved in the brawl, running back Ray Rice made light of the grappling as he joked with fans and media, exclaiming, “You see how many punches I threw in there?”
Harbaugh downplayed the significance of the physical altercations as players quickly refocused on the latter portion of practice. The coach laughed when asked who he thought had gained the upper hand in the fight.
“It was all a big scrum to me,” said Harbaugh. “We’ll have to go back and evaluate the tape on that, I guess.”
It was another difficult day for Cundiff, who went 3-for-5 on field goals after hitting the right upright on a try from 52 yards and missed wide right on a 56-yard attempt. In contrast, it was another superb day for the rookie Tucker, who connected on all five of his tries with the longest field goal coming from 56 yards.
Needless to say, if Cundiff has a poor showing against the Lions, it could get far more diffuclt for the veteran in terms of both fan reaction and ramifications for holding onto his job.
With guard Bobbie Williams returning to the practice field after a two-day absence due to a right swollen ankle, the starting offensive line once again sported Oher at left tackle and rookie Kelechi Osemele at right tackle. Veteran Bryant McKinnie had worked at left tackle with the starting line on Monday and Tuesday while Oher moved back to the right side.
Rookie tight end Matt Balasavage appears to be inching his way up the depth chart in the absence of Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta. Working in two-tight end sets with veteran Billy Bajema, Balasavage lined up in the slot much in the way the Ravens used Pitta late last season.
A rookie free agent from Temple, Balasavage has shown impressive hands as a receiver but will need to show a consistent ability to block to prove his worth as a candidate for the 53-man roster. Fourth-year tight end Davon Drew worked with the second unit as it appears Balasavage has moved past him on the depth chart.
Even after witnessing the first fight of the summer, Harbaugh gave his team an opportunity to end practice early and gain some free time in the evening, but it came with a twist.
Offensive tackle Michael Oher and defensive tackle Terrence Cody were challenged by the coach to each field a punt from Sam Koch. If they were both successful in making catches, the afternoon practice would end roughly 40 minutes earlier than expected.
To the surprise of nearly everyone, the pair suddenly resembled Webb backing up deep on fourth down — at least when it came to catching the ball.
“I’ve seen Michael Oher catch a pop fly before and it didn’t go well,” Webb said. “T-Cody, I just never thought in a million years he would have caught it, but he caught it with one hand, and I can’t catch it with one hand, so he did a great job.”