Commanders show their mettle during joint practices with the Ravens

There was a lot to like about the way the Commanders applied themselves in Baltimore.
Terry McLaurin
Terry McLaurin / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Commanders demonstrated their mettle during two joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens before their preseason matchup.

Things got a little chippy between the Washington Commanders and Baltimore Ravens during their joint practices this week. Tempers flared and multiple scuffles broke out - you could tell these teams were ready to get it on.

This was an opportunity for the Commanders to go against someone other than their teammates. The intensity and aggression were there from the outset, which spilled over first when rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes was matched up against Tylan Wallace.

Wallace didn't take kindly to how Forbes was punching at the ball and the two started throwing punches before others joined in. That led to the former Mississippi State star being yanked from behind - but it didn't stop there.

Ravens tight end Mark Andrews body-slammed Commanders' cornerback Danny Johnson after he broke up a pass. Nick Gates got into it to finish the opening practice and things threatened to spill over once again when the teams locked horns earlier today.

Commanders showed they won't be pushovers in 2023

The offensive and defensive lines went at it almost right from the outset. Things thankfully calmed down, but it was a sign that the Commanders aren't going to roll over for anyone in 2023.

You can clearly the two teams wanted to show each other who was the top dog. The Ravens' preseason winning streak is on the line, and they are now fully aware that this Commanders' team is not to be messed with.

Head coach Ron Rivera was pleased with the intensity overall based on his comments via the team's website, even if things did cross the line on occasion. That said, better have them fighting for one another than shirking under the searing Baltimore heat.

"It was really good. It got a little hot a couple times. It gets a little chippy and we can't take it personal. This really is not about me against you. This is about us trying to develop and work together as teams. It can't be chippy. It can't be about yourself. It's not personal. You get beat, you get beat, let's just move on to the next thing and let's focus in on what's happening, what's important. You know, we're trying to practice. Everybody's trying to get better, but that chippiness you just can't have because it doesn't make sense."

Ron Rivera via

It's been a long time since we've said the Commanders' offense was very good against a top-tier defense. Sam Howell seems to improve each time he steps on the field and these joint practices were no different.

Howell was hitting his receivers Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, and Terry McLaurin in stride with short and intermediate passes. You can tell it was a pretty fair fight (no pun intended) between the offense and defense, which is better than many anticipated before the sessions.

The fact Howell was able to build on his camp performances shows a lot of growth and maturity. A guy that in his second year demonstrated a lot of poise and was not fazed by what the Ravens' defense was throwing at him. He looked like a savvy veteran despite his lack of legitimate NFL experience.

Even the Ravens players were impressed with Howell's level of comfort under center, which represents another challenge successfully navigated. Eric Bieniemy seems to be working his magic with the former North Carolina stud, so it's all systems go moving forward.

Howell remains a mystery to opposing defenses. But he's clearly leaving his mark and separating himself to be the clear-cut No. 1.

With a talented receiving core, the Commanders' offense will give a lot of defenses nightmares next season. They still have everything to prove when the regular season arrives with Josh Harris and his new ownership group watching on, but everyone associated with the franchise can take a great deal of heart from these joint practices.