While the Ravens are six weeks away from training camp, they¿re also four weeks into their offseason program, and the intensity is starting to rise.
Late in Wednesday's practice during the Ravens' mandatory minicamp, tight end Darren Waller stretched out and pulled in a difficult catch near the left sideline, drawing celebration from the offense. When he dropped the ball after falling to the ground, a defensive player took it the other way, sparking a similar reaction from the defense.
Earlier in practice, safety Matt Elam took a shot at tight end Nick Boyle after a play, and Boyle restrained himself from responding. After another play, a mild scuffle even broke out between the offense and defense.
While the Ravens are six weeks away from training camp, they're also four weeks into their offseason program, and the intensity is starting to rise on a team that will face tough position battles in the coming months.
"You can honestly stand in front of the group and say everybody here deserves to play in the National Football League," offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said. "Unfortunately, not everybody's going to be a Raven. But there's a competition for the guys who want to be one, and everybody's in the competition."
That competition showed itself Wednesday, maybe the first significant time this summer. Only Thursday's practice remains before the end of minicamp, the last team activity until training camp.
The Ravens have a surplus at several positions including running back — where six players are competing for four spots — and tight end. At the latter, Crockett Gillmore, Dennis Pitta, Benjamin Watson, Maxx Williams and Waller are all healthy and vying for time. Watson saw the most reps with the first team Wednesday.
"We'll just see how it unfolds — we got a lot of time left," Trestman said. "It's a great competition going on, and we'll see how things work out as we work through training camp. We still have a long way to go, and we still have to see how it's all going to unfold with these guys and with our personnel."