The Ravens are entering the dog days of training camp, coach John Harbaugh said, and it showed when punches were thrown Monday between cornerback Cyrus Jones and wide receiver Jordan Lasley.
After Jones went high on press coverage against Lasley in an 11-on-11 drill, the two stared each other down before they started swinging. Safety Bennett Jackson tried to break it up, but after Lasley swung at him, too, he tackled Lasley to the ground. Coaches and players quickly ran over to break it up.
“I don’t know if that’s in the category of a fight,” Harbaugh said. "But tempers are starting to flare. It’s the dog days. You’re going to have moments.”
Lasley said there are no hard feelings between him, Jackson and Jones, and that he was just competing.
“These are my teammates at the end of the day,” Lasley said. “I have to see these guys every single day. So what’s the point of me trying to take something off the field that doesn’t need to be taken off? Guys are heated in the middle of practice.”
Harbaugh said he originally thought Lasley took the first swing, so he gave the offense a 15-yard penalty. He was later informed that Jones initiated the punches.
“I missed it,” Harbaugh said. “Often like the officials do, right?”
Lasley returned to catch a touchdown pass several plays later, which he then launched over the fence and into the nearby pond. He acknowledged that it was a “get-back” at the defense, but it wasn’t a celebration he came up with on his own.
“When you score in the red zone [and] you get a touchdown, you launch it in the pond,” Lasley said. “I learned that from Michael Crabtree.”
Ravens respond to Trump tweets
In light of President Trump’s Twitter attacks of Baltimore, which began Saturday when Trump called U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings’ 7th District “disgusting, rat and rodent infested," Harbaugh was asked about his relationship with the city.
“I can just tell you this: My wife, my daughter and me, we love Baltimore. And more than Baltimore, we love the people in Baltimore," Harbaugh said. "We love the people in Baltimore everywhere. Maybe it’s because the Baltimore people love the Ravens so much, but we’ve felt nothing but love here for the last 11 years. I think all big cities have challenges and problems. Baltimore’s not unique here. I think our prayer as a family, when we go to bed at night sometimes, is — or it will be from now on, at least — is that the politicians can get together and work together, you know? Can you imagine how powerful it would be if the two sides of the aisle, two guys like those two wonderful people [Trump and Cummings], got together and solved some problems and found ways to make things better? I mean, that’s what we’re all rooting for.”
Wide receiver Chris Moore defended the city and praised the team’s fans for their support.
“The love that the fans show us and that the city brings is amazing," Moore said. "It’s really hard to describe the energy that you feel from the city. They say, really, it’s crazy — I haven’t really personally experienced it — but they say the city’s mood almost is dictated by how we play. It’s an awesome feeling that we’re that connected to the city and that we’re able to get that involved with them.”
Carr can do it all
In addition to practicing with the cornerbacks, Brandon Carr has been taking repetitions at safety throughout training camp.
Defensive backs coach Chris Hewitt said that while Carr is still a high-level outside cornerback, he will also be able to play at safety or as a nickel or dime cornerback.
“Brandon knows how to play every position on the back end,” Hewitt said. “He’s our Swiss Army knife.”
Carr will give the team flexibility, especially when the Ravens have problematic matchups, Hewitt said.
It gives Carr a new challenge, as well as another chance to get out on the field while competing for playing time among a strong defensive backs corps.
“I played a long time, and I feel like this is an opportunity for me to go out there and show my flexibility,” Carr said. “So I’m down for whatever challenge the coaches present to me. I’m going to try to knock it out best I can.”
Even if he has to compete for playing time, Carr won’t have to fight for a starting job. With starts in 176 consecutive games, Carr has the longest active streak in the league among defenders, and defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said he’ll hold true to what he said last year: He doesn’t want to be the one to end it. Beyond that, Martindale also considers Carr a worthy starter.
“He’s playing everywhere, because that’s what we do with him,” Martindale said after Sunday’s practice. “That’s one of his values, is being the veteran that he is.”
Martindale said with a laugh that he told Carr he’d even put him in at middle linebacker.
Quarterback on the way
After working out free-agent quarterback Josh Johnson following Robert Griffin III’s hand injury, the Ravens offered him a deal, according to the NFL Network. But Johnson turned it down reportedly because, with Griffin likely to return by the season’s start, it didn’t feel like the right opportunity.
Harbaugh confirmed Monday that there will be another quarterback at Wednesday’s practice. (The team gets Tuesday off.) On Monday night, the Ravens announced that they signed former Green Bay Packers quarterback Joe Callahan. Callahan, 26, has one career regular-season appearance since going undrafted in 2016.
“I’ve been informed of what we’re doing,” Harbaugh said. “But what difference does it make? There will be a guy in here Wednesday, and he’ll be really good. And if he’s really, really good, he’ll have a chance to make the team.”
With Griffin out, starter Lamar Jackson and rookie Trace McSorley are splitting snaps.
Seven absent players
In addition to injured guard Alex Lewis (shoulder) and wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (Lisfranc), who still are not able to participate, five more players were absent from the practice field Monday.
For the second straight day, offensive linemen Jermaine Eluemunor and Randin Crecelius and cornerback Tavon Young were missing from practice. Harbaugh said Eluemunor and Young are out with minor muscle issues, but he expects both back after Tuesday’s day off.
Safety Earl Thomas III and linebacker Pernell McPhee also were not present.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jonas Shaffer contributed to this article.