The Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens conducted their second joint practice Saturday in Westfield in preparation for their preseason matchup Monday night. Naturally, we expected some shoving matches, or possibly even some punches to be thrown per the norm when it comes to these training camp exercises.
Every single year it happens. It’s not really that big of a deal. One guy doesn’t like getting beat in a 1-on-1 rep, or another doesn’t appreciate what he deems to be a cheapshot in one form or another, and then the fists start flying. Again, we knew this was eventually going to become a thing.
On the other hand, I wonder how typical it is for one player to be one team’s goon when things do get heated. Saturday during special team’s and even some head-to-head drills, Stanley Jean-Baptiste appeared to be THAT GUY for the Ravens.
Little dust-ups had been occurring over the past two days of practices between the two squads, but nothing serious. Sometimes these situations fester after someone can’t handle their feelings getting hurt in front of their teammates. Jean-Baptiste, though, seemingly had no other purpose for being on the field Saturday than to initiate these altercations, or to act as the camp body tasked with being the enforcer for those who actually can stick to a roster in the NFL.
I’ve helped you out a bit in case you didn’t recognize SJ-B right away. As you can see, the punt is away and then the fight begins. From all accounts, I believe this is between Antonio Morrison and Albert McClellan with the latter losing his helmet, mounting (maybe it is MMA Mr. Frank Reich..) and throwing a pretty powerful punch that appears to hit its mark.
While it clearly appears to be McClellan, I can’t confirm the Colts’ player getting punched as his number was never visible on the video. Anyhow...
Once McClellan throws the punch, several players from both teams react by filtering towards the two, and for the most part attempt to pull the two apart. Multiple little side skurmishes are created in the process, but that’s pretty much par for the coarse anytime that scenario comes about.
But, not for Jean-Baptiste.
You can clearly see that SJ-B had only one reason to move towards the brawl — to throw as many punches as he could towards anyone with a Colts’ jersey. He had no intentions of breaking it up, just to fall in line with the goon mentality.
Typically, the term is used in hockey, and there was actually a pretty average movie made about these type players.
At any rate, this sort of falls in line with SJ-B’s career path. Here’s a visual via pro football reference highlighting his career stats.
Pretty impressive, I know.
But, it didn’t even stop there for him. I mentioned that his sole purpose appeared to be to initiate fights today, right?
A bit later in the practice SJ-B and rookie Daurice Fountain got into it as well. Why does this seem to be a pattern for SJ-B? Apparently he didn’t throw enough punches in the melee a little earlier, so, he turned a simple shoving match — which is as common in practice between teammates as it is in an actual game or anything else — into another 180-man scrum.
Colts WR Reece Fountain and Ravens cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptist were shoving each other before Jean-Baptist tried to turn it into a boxing match by throwing a couple haymakers at Fountain— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNFL) August 18, 2018
Maybe this is the real problem with these joint practices. Jean-Baptiste is just athletic enough to get into camp with teams, but not actually good enough to contribute during the season. Thus, he’s got nothing to lose.
This is similar to why some teams attempt to control as much about these joint practices as possible. They don’t want their starters to go up against the 90th man on the other team’s roster in head-to-head drills in order to avoid injury, and senseless fights that get way too out of hand.
The occasional fight in these practices isn’t the problem, it’s the scrubs on the rosters that have nothing better to do than to throw more gasoline on the fire.