SPARTANBURG — The setting changed, and the opponent changed.
But a persistent problem reared its head for the Panthers Wednesday morning, with a less-than-crisp passing game leading to head coach Matt Rhule not being pleased with his receiving corps.
They were without Robby Anderson, who sat out of practice with a mild hamstring issue, but Rhule wasn't thrilled with the number of dropped passes and bad routes — and brought it up the same way he did last Thursday against the Colts.
"I didn't like the passing game at all," Rhule said at one point after practice.
He was more complimentary of the run game, and the pass protection, and quarterback Sam Darnold's decision-making on the day. But as he did last week, he singled out the receivers. He acknowledged part of that was from practicing against an excellent secondary (though the Ravens were without star cornerback Marlon Humphrey), but was sending a message to his guys.
"They're good, and you'd like to have Robby out here," Rhule began. "Some of these guys are tired, and I say that more as a jab. Little sun out here today, and all of a sudden we're tired, feel sorry for ourselves. I told some of our young guys, you don't get to like all the Instagram posts, and then come out here and not practice well. What you did last week doesn't matter. It's about what you did today.
"Sam was sharp today, protected himself well, against all the blitzes. Quarterbacks were sharp, put the ball where it was supposed to be, guys have to make some catches."
— Darnold himself didn't sound panicky about things. Then again, Darnold doesn't give off a panicky vibe about much of anything.
"We've just got to continue to work on our timing," Darnold said. "I think that's really it. We've just got to stay on top of our assignments. Whether that's studying more late at night or whatever it is. However the guys want to get ready, we just have to be ready for tomorrow."
— As you might expect, there was a fight.
The Ravens offense took exception to a shot Panthers cornerback Keith Taylor put on wide receiver Binjimen Victor, and a large mass of bodies gathered together in a small amount of space to discuss it. Loudly. And angrily. It lasted longer than most camp scrums do, but otherwise it was a reasonably calm practice, not as pushy and shovey as last week agains the Colts.
Afterward, defensive coordinator Phil Snow pulled Taylor aside, as they've stressed not letting things get out of hand.
Veteran Ravens defensive end/wise man Calais Campbell shrugged it off, saying it wasn't a big deal, and that teams just had to be professional and get good work done.
"All that other stuff is unnecessary," he said.
— We can break down tape of Darnold all day, but one of his most impressive qualities is a self-aware sense of humor.
He was asked about whether he'd play in Saturday's game, and whether he felt like he needed to after sitting out last week against the Colts. While there is some value in getting hit and feeling a rush, no one is going to volunteer for extra abuse if they don't have to. Especially if they played for the Jets.
"Obviously I've had experience with it in the past the last few years," Darnold said, laughing at his own joke as everyone around him joined in.
— Right guard John Miller's a fairly steady player, but on one snap Wednesday, he got knocked straight back on his can. It's unusual to see, because Miller's got a solid anchor and isn't often pushed back, so when it happens, you notice.
— Speaking of guards, Dennis Daley has returned to practice this week after he was excused last week, and they're throwing him right back in.
He took some reps with the first team at left guard, where Pat Elflein starts. Rhule has referred to Daley as "a uniquely powerful" player, and they're giving him a chance to push for a starting job.
— The Panthers are getting a number of players back from injuries.
Linebacker Denzel Perryman was actually out there and in pads, doing a bit of work. He's been out since the first day in pads (Aug. 3), and hasn't made much of an impact.
View photos from Wednesday's joint practice with Baltimore down at Wofford.