Tag Archive | "Jim Harbaugh"

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Is the 2014 season Harbaugh’s best coaching job?

Posted on 06 January 2015 by Luke Jones

Despite admittedly being a history buff, John Harbaugh was in no mood to reflect on the past less than 48 hours after the Ravens’ 30-17 first-round playoff win over Pittsburgh.

The seventh-year head coach tied Tom Landry and Tom Coughlin for the most road playoff wins (seven) in NFL history on Saturday as the Ravens matched the Green Bay Packers for the most postseason road victories (10) in league history. Harbaugh has guided Baltimore to at least one playoff win in six of his first seven seasons as well as a Super Bowl title and three conference championship appearances.

“It’s great after you do it, but it doesn’t mean much for the next game,” said Harbaugh when asked to reflect on his postseason achievements. “We’re excited about the challenge — looking forward to New England.”

With the Ravens defeating the Steelers in the playoffs for the first time in four tries, it would be difficult to deem this season as anything but a success regardless of what happens against the Patriots on Saturday. And with the well-documented adversity the Ravens have experienced from the Ray Rice saga to 19 players landing on season-ending injured reserve this season, a simple question must be asked.

Has this year been Harbaugh’s finest coaching job?

It’s tough to argue against his 2012 campaign in which the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII after changing offensive coordinators in the middle of December. And his 2008 debut season garners strong consideration after the Ravens had finished 5-11 the previous year and went all the way to the AFC Championship with a rookie quarterback named Joe Flacco starting all 16 games and also having 19 players on IR.

But the adversity has never been greater than it was this season as the Ravens dealt with off-field turmoil that brought the entire organization under fire as well as a plethora of injuries while maintaining an impressive level of focus en route to a 10-6 regular season. Countless players have credited Harbaugh’s encouragement and ability to keep the focus on the task at hand as major reasons why they’ve overcome so many trials.

“Just like any teacher, if you’re proud of anything, you’re proud of the accomplishments of your students,” Harbaugh said. “You’re proud of the fact that you’re associated with them and you get to be a part of their journey. That’s the most important thing for a coach or a teacher.”

Which season was John Harbaugh's best coaching job?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Like any head coach, Harbaugh isn’t perfect as his in-game decision-making and clock management often come under scrutiny, but any suggestion that he has simply been along for the ride — a phrase his biggest critics have had the nerve to utter — is absurd after such an extended period of success. Many questioned the team’s leadership after the retirement of Ray Lewis and the departure of Ed Reed, but Saturday’s playoff win in Pittsburgh — something neither future Hall of Famer accomplished, mind you — suggests the Ravens continue to be in good hands moving forward.

Even if the former Philadelphia Eagles special teams coordinator lacks a perceived expertise on either side of the ball, he’s proven himself to be an excellent motivator and delegator, traits that a successful NFL head coach must have. Harbaugh has also done an exceptional job of assembling and restocking his coaching staff over the years with a few assistants moving on to become head coaches elsewhere.

Asked to react to longtime Cleveland sportswriter Tony Grossi’s proclamation over the weekend that the Ravens have the best overall coaching staff in the NFL, Harbaugh showed self-deprecating humor in his response that should also serve as a dig to his harshest detractors.

“Well, then I’ll try not to drag us down too much, you know?” said Harbaugh as he laughed. “Hopefully, they’ll carry me. We have a great staff. They do a great job.”

Brotherly support

Harbaugh was unsure if his younger brother Jim would be accompanying the Ravens to Foxborough, but it was clear he was appreciative of the new University of Michigan head coach’s support in attending Saturday’s playoff game in Pittsburgh.

It had to be a surreal feeling for the former San Francisco 49ers head coach wearing Ravens gear less than two years after falling to them in the Super Bowl, but the older Harbaugh saw an extra perk with his brother being on the sideline.

“I told him, ‘That’s probably pretty good recruiting, you know?'” John Harbaugh said. “You tell those guys, ‘You want to play in the National Football League, come to Michigan.’ That’s a recruiting pitch, right?

“It was great to have him there, and it seemed like he enjoyed it. He was able to enjoy the environment. When you are coaching, you don’t really enjoy the environment that much. I saw him looking around up at the crowd and the players and interacting with guys, and that stuff was neat to see.”

Fresher Ngata

Several Ravens players commented on how fresh defensive tackle Haloti Ngata appeared to be in his return on Saturday, but it was apparent that his head coach had no interest trying to glean any positive from his four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

“We don’t have the ‘fresh leg’ meter to give you an empirical answer to the question,” Harbaugh said. “I’ll just go with what the players saw. They probably have a pretty good eye for that.”

The five-time Pro Bowl selection Ngata played in 50 of 75 defensive snaps against the Steelers, finishing with two tackles, a sack, and a pass breakup in his first action since Nov. 30.

Comments Off on Is the 2014 season Harbaugh’s best coaching job?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Only one scenario remains for Ravens to clinch playoff spot in Week 16

Posted on 21 December 2014 by Luke Jones

Jim Harbaugh is likely on his way out as the head coach in San Francisco, and his team was unable to put his older brother and the Ravens in position to potentially clinch a playoff spot on Sunday afternoon.

With the 49ers’ overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers, the Ravens can only clinch an AFC wild-card berth with a win over the Houston Texans and losses by Pittsburgh to Kansas City and Cincinnati to Denver. Such a scenario would not only guarantee the Ravens no worse than a wild-card spot, but it would land Baltimore in first place in the AFC North entering Week 17.

The Ravens can win the division by running the table and Pittsburgh and Cincinnati each losing at least one more game. The Bengals host the Broncos on Monday night before traveling to Heinz Field to take on the Steelers in Week 17.

Of course, John Harbaugh and the Ravens are guaranteed a playoff berth if they win their final two games against Houston and Cleveland.

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Harbaugh expects Hoke to be Michigan coach for “long time to come”

Posted on 29 September 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As Baltimore fans watched the Ravens improve to 3-1 with a 38-10 thumping of the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, a report stated the University of Michigan could be targeting the services of head coach John Harbaugh.

With the Wolverines off to a disappointing 2-3 start and current head coach Brady Hoke’s status in severe doubt, the NFL Network reported that the program prefers the Ravens coach over younger brother and 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, whose future in San Francisco remains uncertain beyond this season. This isn’t the first time the Harbaugh brothers have been linked to the Michigan football program as John graduated from Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor and Jim played quarterback for the Wolverines before going on to play in the NFL.

Their father, Jack Harbaugh, served as an assistant under legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler in the 1970s.

According to The Sun, John Harbaugh is not interested in the job, but the head coach did not go out of his way to confirm or deny potential interest when asked Monday about once again being linked to Michigan. In addition to being under contract as one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL through the 2017 season, Harbaugh has remained close with Hoke after they coached together at Western Michigan in the mid-1980s.

“It seems like it’s kind of there. I don’t really know why,” said Harbaugh about being linked to Michigan. “Brady Hoke’s a guy that we believe in. The Harbaughs believe in Brady Hoke. He’s a great coach; he’s done it anywhere he’s ever been. He believes in Michigan. I believe in what they’re doing there. I think they’re going to get it turned around.”

Former Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison has served in the same capacity under Hoke since 2011, another link between the two. Rumors have also persisted that Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon could be on his way out, which would certainly complicate any potential search for a new head football coach in Ann Arbor.

On Saturday, the Wolverines fell to Minnesota for just the third time since 1967. This season marks the first time in its 135-year football history that Michigan has sustained three losses before the start of October.

“The team should be galvanized right now,” said Harbaugh, who has a 65-35 regular-season record in seven NFL seasons and guided the Ravens to a win in Super Bowl XLVII. “I would expect them to come out like a bunch of wounded lions and go to work, because they love Brady and they love those coaches. They’ve just got to [play]. I’m interested in Brady Hoke being the coach at Michigan for a long time to come.”

Webb’s status still mystery

Even though he didn’t appear on the injury report last week for the first time all season, cornerback Lardarius Webb was ruled inactive prior to the 38-10 win over the Carolina Panthers, creating even more uncertainty regarding his status.

Harbaugh acknowledged Webb’s struggles against Cleveland played a major role in deciding he still wasn’t ready to rejoin the Ravens’ starting defense. The head coach is hopeful that changes this Sunday as Baltimore travels to Indianapolis to take on the 2-2 Colts.

“I’ll probably have a pretty good idea after watching practice,” Harbaugh said about Webb’s status for Week 5. “I probably won’t let anybody know until Sunday. But it will be based on how he practices and how he looks in terms of getting his acceleration and his burst back — the things that everybody saw that weren’t quite there.”

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees continues to use strong safety Matt Elam in the nickel position, but rookie Terrence Brooks saw extensive action with 32 defensive snaps playing free safety in the nickel package against the Panthers. The 2014 third-round pick was inactive in Week 3 but fared well against Carolina, according to the head coach.

Harbaugh said the health of Webb’s back is no longer a concern after the cornerback didn’t practice from July 25 through the end of training camp.

“They tell me that he’s healthy now, and he says he feels healthy,” Harbaugh said. “But it’s just a matter of that strength and quickness and burst, which should come back fast. Anybody that has ever trained [knows] if you’ve been in great shape, you get back in shape pretty quickly, in terms of strength and burst and things like that. You just have to do it. He’s working really hard at it, and it very well could be this week.

“I’m sure hoping it’s this week. I want to see it this week, and we’ll be shooting for that.”

Two receivers going in different directions

After what was unofficially his fifth dropped pass of the season against the Panthers, struggling wide receiver Jacoby Jones finished the game having taken only seven offensive snaps, his lowest total of 2014.

Jones also made an ill-advised decision to field a punt at his own 2-yard line before returning it to the Baltimore 20. Harbaugh reiterated that the 30-year-old continues to work extremely hard in practice and is simply trying too hard to make a play.

“He catches the ball in practice. Sometimes I think he’s pressing,” Harbaugh said. “I really do. Jacoby has a lot of pride, and he’s made big, big plays in this league before, and he wants to pick up where he left off. [That] hasn’t happened for him, but the thing he has to know — just like Torrey [Smith], just like anybody – is that the key is persistence. You just keep hammering and you don’t get down on yourself, and focus on the fundamentals and the details, and it’ll work out.”

With Jones playing poorly, second-year wide receiver Marlon Brown has suddenly reemerged in the Baltimore offense after making three receptions for 31 yards and playing 31 offensive snaps, his highest total since Week 1.

The 6-foot-5 Brown gives the Ravens another appealing option in the red zone and on third down after tight end Dennis Pitta was lost for the season last week in Cleveland.

“He was in there on the first three-wide group,” Harbaugh said. “He did a good job, made a couple plays — third-down conversions that were very important. [He is a] big target, gets off press really well and blocks, and he did a good job in special teams. He played well. It kind of goes back to what we were saying as far as guys stepping up at different positions.”

Colts’ Landry suspended

The NFL announced Monday afternoon that Indianapolis safety LaRon Landry has been suspended four games without pay for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy.

His suspension begins this week as the Colts’ 21st-ranked pass defense will now be without its hard-hitting safety.

He is the younger brother of former Ravens safety Dawan Landry.

Comments Off on Harbaugh expects Hoke to be Michigan coach for “long time to come”

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ravens welcome Boldin, 49ers to practice fields in Owings Mills

Posted on 09 August 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Taking part in joint practices for the first time in the 19-year history of the franchise, the Ravens welcomed the San Francisco 49ers to their training facility Saturday for the first of three practices following their 23-3 win in the preseason opener.

Both head coaches preached the need to take care of the other team in terms of practicing smart and not wanting to cause injuries while putting in the necessary work. The Ravens escaped the preseason opener in great shape from a health standpoint as cornerback Lardarius Webb (back), guard Will Rackley (back), and defensive tackle Terrence Cody (active physically unable to perform list – hip) were the only players not taking part in Saturday’s practice, meaning no players missed practice time due to injuries sustained in Thursday’s game.

Safety Brynden Trawick left the field while appearing to be favoring his back and didn’t return before the conclusion of practice. Offensive lineman Ryan Jensen also appeared to be banged up at one point but remained on the field.

“It definitely makes things a little different,” said quarterback Joe Flacco prior to the first joint practice. “I’m sure when we first go out there, we’ll be feeling each other out a little bit and seeing what kind of tempo there is and all that.”

The 49ers offense appeared to get the best of the Baltimore defense in 11-on-11 team work with former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin making several catches in a red-zone period and fellow wideout Stevie Johnson making an acrobatic sideline grab with Jimmy Smith in tight coverage. Veteran receiver Kassim Osgood also lost safety Matt Elam and cornerback Chykie Brown in coverage for a long completion.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs appeared to struggle to create pressure off the edge while matched up against Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley.

Meanwhile, Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith continued his impressive summer with a number of challenging catches against the 49ers secondary, including an over-the-shoulder grab on a deep ball down the seam.

Head coach John Harbaugh said the teams intend to practice in full pads all three days, but they will not conduct live drills in which they tackle to the ground.

“We want to take care of the Ravens,” 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “We want to be safe out here, and we need them to do the same for us. That’s the kind of environment where iron sharpens iron. That’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for good practice work. These aren’t games out here.”

Harbaugh brothers call out media

The Ravens and 49ers made it out of Saturday’s workout without any fights of note as outside linebacker Pernell McPhee and 49ers fullback Will Tukuafu appeared to get heated at one point before order was quickly restored.

Each Harbaugh brother preached to their respective teams about the importance of remaining focused during practices and the consequences of getting into scuffles with the opposition. However, both spoke about the media’s tendency to focus on fights and skirmishes in practices instead of the football side of things.

“What’s interesting to me — and what’s a real indictment on you as the media — is the fact that Jimmy Smith was asked about it, and he said when he sees these things on TV, all he ever sees is fights,” John Harbaugh said. “What does that tell you? How about a little self-check?

“We’re probably going to have 99 percent all great, positive things, but if there is a little shoving match out here, I’m quite sure that that’s what will be on these cameras, and it’ll be countrywide, and that’ll be everybody’s take on how it went, right? Because that’s how it is all the time. We’re going to look for the positive; you all can look for the negative — as usual.”

Flacco sees preseason opener as “good foundation”

After an opportunity to view the film from the strong opening drive on Thursday in which the starting offense traveled 80 yards on 10 plays to score a touchdown, Flacco echoed how encouraged he was to see the offensive line perform at a high level.

The challenge now will be continuing to progress as the first unit receives more extensive snaps in the second and third preseason games. Flacco completed four of five passes for 52 yards before most of the starting offense was pulled after running back Bernard Pierce plunged into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown.

“We ran the ball really well and protected really well,” Flacco said. “There is a lot to build on. I think we built a good foundation there. I think each week from here on out, we have to keep showing that improvement and building off what we did.”

Boldin not dwelling on past

Making his return to the Ravens’ training facility in Owings Mills, Boldin seemed at peace with his former team’s decision to trade him to San Francisco last offseason and spent the early portion of practice greeting old teammates and staff members.

John Harbaugh quipped that he still blames general manager Ozzie Newsome for dealing Boldin away for a sixth-round pick before acknowledging it was a difficult business decision stemming from a tight salary cap. The 33-year-old receiver enjoyed the opportunity to visit his old neighborhood on Friday and has been appreciative for continued support from Ravens fans following the trade.

“I got a chance to see a lot of people I haven’t seen since the trade,” Boldin said. “It’s always good to see those people. I built a lot of relationships in my three years here.”

Comments Off on Ravens welcome Boldin, 49ers to practice fields in Owings Mills

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ravens-49ers preseason primer: Five players to watch

Posted on 06 August 2014 by Luke Jones

A brotherly reunion and Super Bowl XLVII rematch adds a little more spice to the preseason opener as the Ravens welcome the San Francisco 49ers to Baltimore on Thursday night.

As is always the case with the first preseason game, the contest will offer little more than a cameo appearance for veteran starters expected to make the biggest impact this season, but it does provide welcome change for a group of players tired of working against one another after two weeks of practices in Owings Mills. While most veteran starters figure to see little more than a series or two, younger starters figure to see more extensive action in the first half if history holds to form.

“We’re kind of on a standard plan right now, as far as that [goes],” coach John Harbaugh said. “I don’t know exactly the number of plays yet, but it won’t be anything we haven’t done in the past.”

Of course, the first preseason game won’t be the standard road trip for the 49ers as they’ll then join the Ravens at their training facility in Owings Mills for three days of practices, providing extra competition as well as opportunities to evaluate just how much improvement has been made to a team that failed to make the playoffs last season for the first time since 2007. Much will hinge on the offense under new coordinator Gary Kubiak, who is bringing his version of the West Coast attack to reinvigorate a group that finished 29th in the NFL last year.

Entering his seventh season at the helm of the Ravens offense, Joe Flacco has been all business this summer as Kubiak and quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison have focused on the veteran quarterback getting rid of the ball quickly while improving his footwork. Flacco isn’t the only one who will be under the microscope with the new offensive attack, but even he acknowledges the preseason opener carrying more significance than in past years because of the dramatic changes made this offseason.

Of course, the outcome of the opener won’t provide any definitive answers for questions facing the Ravens on both sides of the football, but the game will sharpen points of emphasis for both coaches and players after facing another team.

“Anytime you’re running a new offense and you think you’re doing it pretty well, it’s always nice to get out there and have a real test,” Flacco said. “Have people hitting you and flying around and going full speed under the lights. It’s probably a little more important.”

Thursday will mark the first ever preseason meeting between the Ravens and the 49ers, but Baltimore owns the 3-1 edge in the regular season and a 1-0 advantage in the postseason after their 34-31 win in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. The Ravens are 42-29 all-time in the preseason and have a 15-9 preseason mark in the Harbaugh era.

Unofficial (and largely speculative) injury report

The Ravens are not required to release an injury report like they do for regular-season games, but I’ve offered my best guess on what the injury report would look like if one were to be released.

Most of the players ruled to be out will come as no surprise, but the status of a few will be in question. This list, of course, will not include any veterans who may be held out of the preseason opener due to the coaching staff’s preference. Cornerback Lardarius Webb is not expected to play in either of the first two preseason games as he’s been sidelined with a lower back injury since July 25.

Again, this is not an official injury report released by the Ravens:

OUT: CB Lardarius Webb (back), G Will Rackley (head), DT Terrence Cody (hip), DE Brent Urban (knee)
DOUBTFUL: LB Daryl Smith (groin)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Michael Campanaro (ribs), CB Marrio Norman (unspecified)
PROBABLE: DT Timmy Jernigan (back), CB Jimmy Smith (back)

Five players to watch Thursday night

1. RB Ray Rice

With so much attention justifiably paid to his off-field transgressions, you almost forget the 27-year-old back is coming off the worst season of his career in which he averaged a meager 3.1 yards per carry. Rice was heavy, slow, and banged up during the 2013 season and must play well to not only hold off backup Bernard Pierce but give the Ravens confidence that they can move forward with the three-time Pro Bowl selection beyond the 2014 season. Rice will want to use the first couple preseason games to make a favorable impression on Kubiak with his two-game suspension looming at the start of the season.

“Ray has looked really good,” Harbaugh said. “Comparisons to years in the past, we’ll find all that out during the season. But he’s in tremendous shape. I’m seeing him make good lateral cuts. He has really good burst, acceleration is there, [and] vision is there. He’s been very patient with the zone runs, which is something that I believe to be an improvement over the past — even two years ago.”

2. FS Darian Stewart

Signed to a one-year, $1.3 million contract in the offseason, the former St. Louis Ram has yet to be seriously challenged at the free safety position with third-round pick Terrence Brooks struggling to grasp the playbook in his first season. Stewart isn’t spectacular, but he’s been complimented by Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Dean Pees for knowing his assignments and being in the right place, traits that shouldn’t be taken for granted considering the Baltimore defense gave up too many big plays a year ago. Stewart isn’t a long-term answer or dynamic player, but the Ravens hope he can be a value signing comparable to when they signed Corey Graham a couple years ago.

“I see a grown, mature, confident guy that I think fits really well in our room,” said secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo, who was Stewart’s head coach for two years in St. Louis. “He’s kind of slipped in there. I’ve noticed he’s taken a backseat, which you have to do when you change teams a little bit, and that was early on. Now, I see his personality coming out. I think that will happen more and more. I think he’s going to be a great leader for us. I really do.”

3. RT Rick Wagner

Perhaps the storyline received too much attention during spring workouts, but there’s been less buzz about the right tackle position than you’d expect with second-year lineman Rick Wagner continuing to be the favorite to start over fourth-year disappointment Jah Reid. The Ravens have been higher on Wagner than most of the outside world all along, but the Wisconsin product will need to prove capable against preseason opponents to put concerns to rest. Wagner doesn’t need to be a Pro Bowl tackle, but he needs to hold his own as the Ravens are too challenged offensively to be forced to constantly provide help in protection on the right side of the line.

“He is doing a lot better,” said linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who often matches up against Wagner during practice. “You’ve got to stay consistent with [offensive line coach] Juan Castillo’s scheme — his protection, his switching it up. But for the most part, he’s just doing a really good job.”

4. DT Brandon Williams

The 2013 third-round pick appeared to be emerging as a contributor in the defensive line rotation last year before wearing down and being inactive over five of the last six games, but the Ravens have shown plenty of confidence in Williams so far this summer by sliding Haloti Ngata back to the 3-technique defensive tackle position and lining up the Missouri Southern State product at the nose. His strength and athleticism have been mentioned frequently, but Williams will need to show those traits translate in taking on interior blockers and making plays in stopping the run. If Williams is not up to the challenge, the Ravens could elect to shift Ngata back to the nose and take longer looks at second-round rookie Timmy Jernigan and third-year lineman DeAngelo Tyson.

“Now, his strength is a lot more functional because he understands the technical part of the game a lot better,” defensive line coach Clarence Brooks said. “He understands how we play a lot better and how we want things done. He understands that, and he was able to take his natural strength and work it into what we want. So far, everything is on the upswing.”

5. CB Tramain Jacobs

Most eyes will inevitably fall on Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson as the Ravens try to figure out who will be lining up at the No. 3 cornerback spot in the regular-season opener, but Jacobs is on a short list of rookie free agents to watch this summer. Playing at Texas A&M, the 5-foot-11, 182-pound cornerback saw plenty of tough competition in college practices matching up against wideout Mike Evans with Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel throwing the football. Jacobs has shown good athleticism and a nose for the football to put him in the conversation for a spot on the 53-man roster. With so much concern over the lack of depth at the cornerback position, Jacobs will have opportunities to turn heads if his play carries over to preseason games.

“Everybody’s getting a good look. It’s a stiff competition right now,” said starter Jimmy Smith, who mentioned Jacobs as someone in contention for the No. 3 cornerback job. “Obviously, we don’t want Webb hurt, but that gives opportunity for [others]. It’s a stiff battle at the third cornerback position right now.”

Comments Off on Ravens-49ers preseason primer: Five players to watch

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ravens, 49ers to hold joint practices in preseason

Posted on 19 April 2014 by Luke Jones

As if a rematch of Super Bowl XLVII in the Ravens’ preseason opener wasn’t enough, head coach John Harbaugh will welcome brother Jim and the San Francisco 49ers for a series of training camp practices in Baltimore.

The Ravens and 49ers will meet at M&T Bank Stadium on Aug. 7 to kick off the preseason schedule before the teams meet for four days of practices in Baltimore. The teams will hold a light practice at the stadium the day after the game followed by three days of joint practices at the Ravens’ training facility in Owings Mills.

“I called Jim about a month ago and asked him if he wanted to do it, and I wasn’t really sure if he’d want to,” Harbaugh told the team’s official website on Friday. “And he was like, ‘Absolutely. Let’s do it.’”

One of the annual themes of training camp is players growing weary of going up against their own teammates, so the decision to invite the 49ers to practice with the Ravens figures to break up the monotony of the summer. Former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin will certainly be familiar returning to the training facility at which he spent three seasons.

It will be interesting to see how the brothers interact with one another while their teams prepare for the 2014 season, and their father, Jack Harbaugh, is expected to be present for the practice sessions.

“He’s going to be the unofficial, official,” Harbaugh said. “He’s going to be in charge of breaking up all fights – different brotherly scuffles. If we start rolling around on the field my dad is going to have to jump in I guess. It’s going to be fantastic. We just can’t wait to do it.”

Comments Off on Ravens, 49ers to hold joint practices in preseason

Tags: , , , , , ,

Super Bowl XLVII rematch headlines Ravens’ 2014 preseason schedule

Posted on 09 April 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens will kick off the 2014 preseason in a rematch of Super Bowl XLVII when they welcome the San Francisco 49ers to M&T Bank Stadium on Aug. 7.

Though the stakes will be much lower than they were some 14 months ago in New Orleans, head coach John Harbaugh will face off against 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh for the first time since their teams met on the NFL’s biggest stage. The preseason opener will also mark the return of former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who was traded to San Francisco last year for a sixth-round pick.

In addition to facing the 49ers for the first time in the preseason, the Ravens will also travel to AT&T Stadium to take on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2 of the preseason. Baltimore hasn’t played at Dallas since 2008 when they helped close Texas Stadium with an upset win over the Cowboys.

Week 3 will bring the Washington Redskins to Baltimore as the geographic rivals square off in the most important game of the preseason. This year will mark the eighth preseason meeting between the teams as the Ravens hold a 5-2 series lead.

The preseason finale will be played on Aug. 28 when the Ravens travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to face the New Orleans Saints. In their only other preseason meeting, Baltimore beat the Saints in a 2005 contest taking place only hours before Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans.

The Ravens will also play at New Orleans during the 2014 regular season, but given the way teams typically rest starters during the final preseason game, this amounts to little more than an interesting coincidence.

Entering their 19th season, the Ravens are 42-29 in all-time preseason play and 15-9 under Harbaugh.

None of this year’s preseason games will be nationally televised, but all will air locally.

Dates for the Dallas and Washington games will be determined at a later date.

Ravens 2014 Preseason Schedule

Week 1: Thursday, Aug. 7 vs. San Francisco 49ers
Week 2: (Date TBD) at Dallas Cowboys
Week 3: (Date TBD) vs. Washington Redskins
Week 4: Thursday, Aug. 28 at New Orleans Saints


Comments Off on Super Bowl XLVII rematch headlines Ravens’ 2014 preseason schedule


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ravens Need A Leader

Posted on 05 January 2014 by Tom Federline

The City of Baltimore and Ravens fans were spoiled. We have been spoiled since the Ravens came to town and Game One of September 1996. The guy that secured the middle linebacker position and posed as a motivational speaker for 17 seasons, spoiled us. You are not going to replace a Ray Lewis in one year. You are not going to replace a Ray Lewis in two years. Ray can be replaced, everyone is replaceable. It’s a matter of who and how the team adapts to their approach. What seperates leaders from the average person is communication, passion and the ability to reach a performance level that 99% of the population simply cannot attain. There just aren’t that many Ray Lewis’ out there. So Ravens don’t lose him.

Now Ray-Ray wasn’t running solo in providing the leadership role on the field. He had a little help along the way. How about starting with Art Modell. Then how about some other notable teammates; Jonathan Ogden, Matt Stover, Micheal McCrary, Ed Reed, Matt Birk, Derek Mason, etc. Feel free to add to the list. Did anyone see any consistent leadership qualities from any current Raven on the field this year? How about the sidelines? How about up in the Owners Suite? The Ravens use to have leaders, they all gone.

Week by week it became more apparent – no one was going to step up and take the reigns Ray Lewis had left on the wagon. You would think at the very least, the coach would attempt to take command. Yeah right. You would think at the very least, the rewarded 20 million dollar per year quarterback, would step up into that role. Flacco is a winner, he is not a leader. You would think that in the year following a championship season, there would be player candidates graciously accepting a move into that role. Yeah right. Most of the Ravens games this past year were embarassing. The Ravens finished 8 – 8 and in my book, they should have been 3 – 13. Nice way to follow up a Super Bowl win, huh?

Did they actually, beat any team this year? I can think of one. And really up unitl 2:30 left in the first half, that game was typically sloppy and up for grabs. The Ravens finished that game by beating the Houston Texans, Game 3 of the season, 30 – 9. Luckily, I was there to witness it. It just so happened Ray Lewis was in the house, also. It was Ray Lewis Day – he was getting inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor. Hmmmmm, convincing win with Ray in the house – interesting. The Ravens were a mediocre to poor team this year. After getting fed up watching the Ravens ineptness, I would turn the station and witness the majority of other NFL teams actually moving the ball with confidence and wondering to myself – Why can’t the Ravens do that?

The Ravens year of 2013 was definately a ride of “Good Times/Bad Times” – Led Zepplin). 2013 started off “Good”, but ended up “Bad”. The Super Bowl Run/Ray Lewis’ last ride, was better than good – it was awesome. The 2013 regular season was challenging to watch. They were lucky to survive without losing face. Actually they did lose face, right out of the gates – Game 1 vs. Denver. The season was a bust. Thirty-three minutes of the Texans game and two minutes five seconds of a Vikings snow game. The rest, was a waste of time. There were some positives: Justin Tucker, Marlon Brown, Justin Tucker, Daryl Smith, Justin Tucker, Jacoby Jones, Justin…..ok, dig the reoccuring theme? The kicker was as close as the Ravens got to a Leader.

Ok, you win the Super Bowl and the team gets dismantled. So who do you rely on? Front office? Yes, do your job and replenish. Coaches? Yes, that should go without saying. Did any of that happen? No. The Front office blows it, recogmize and correct next year. The Coach doesn’t step up – that’s a big problem. The guy who rode Rays coat-tails, did not step up. When Flacco did not step up, when Suggs did not step up, when Rice did not step up, somebody had to and nobody did. Come on, John Horribaugh, you maybe paid the least compared to star players, but it is your job to at least get those overpaid steroid boys to show up and perform.

The Ravens need a leader or two on the field and they need a leader on the sidelines. Right now, they have neither. Gut checks are in order, (along with a revamped offensive line). Candidates: Defense – Elam. Offense – it has to be Flack Nut. Coaching? – I’m not a John Horribaugh fan, never have been. Can the Ravens get his brother Jim? Now there’s a coach in my book.

We were spoiled. The only game the Ravens actually WON, Ray Lewis was in the house. Hmm???? Hey Ray, whatcha ya gonna do when you get done playing TV analyst? Let’s start out with Director of Player personnel and Motivational Speaker, then linebackers coach and Inspirational speaker, then defensive coordinator and Motivational speaker. Then by that time, hopefully you would have mentored somebody to take over the reigns. Who knows? There just may come a day, when Ray Lewis on the sideline again. If not on the sideline, get him under a lifelong contract as part of the organization. Front office….. step up! Nobody else did.
T-minus 53 days until O’s first Spring Training Game.


Comments (5)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ravens get 12/1 odds to repeat as Super Bowl champs

Posted on 04 February 2013 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv,  Twitter: @BovadaLV).


“It is not a secret that we did not have an ideal result last night, the Ravens winning outright really cost us on the money line and futures and it made two years in a row the book did not have a winning Super Bowl.  One saving grace was the safety at the end of the game did not allow Baltimore to cover the alternate spread of them winning by 3.5 paying out at 5/2 odds, which was our heaviest bet prop, so at least that went in our favor.  The National Anthem as unpredictable as it was this year, our number was pretty dead on with it just going over the total of 2:15 while we were a bit low on the number of times they would say “Harbaugh” during the game, we had posted a total of 20.5 and I stopped counting once it hit 30, the power outage was no help on that one.”


-Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager, Bovada.lv



Super Bowl XLVIII Odds (2014)

Odds to win the 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII  

Denver Broncos                                     7/1

New England Patriots                             15/2

San Francisco 49ers                              15/2

Green Bay Packers                                10/1

Baltimore Ravens                                   12/1

Seattle Seahawks                                  12/1

Houston Texans                                     14/1

Atlanta Falcons                                     18/1

New Orleans Saints                               18/1

Pittsburgh Steelers                                18/1

Chicago Bears                                       20/1

New York Giants                                    20/1

Dallas Cowboys                                     25/1

Washington Redskins                            30/1

Indianapolis Colts                                   33/1

Cincinnati Bengals                                 35/1

Detroit Lions                                          35/1

Minnesota Vikings                                 35/1

Philadelphia Eagles                                35/1

San Diego Chargers                               35/1

New York Jets                                       40/1

Carolina Panthers                                  50/1

Kansas City Chiefs                                50/1

Miami Dolphins                                      50/1

St. Louis Rams                                      50/1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers                         50/1

Arizona Cardinals                                   66/1

Cleveland Browns                                   66/1

Tennessee Titans                                   66/1

Buffalo Bills                                           100/1

Oakland Raiders                                    100/1

Jacksonville Jaguars                               150/1


Exotics Results

SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – How long will it take Alicia Keys to sing the US National Anthem?

Over/Under                    2 minutes 15seconds


SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Will Alicia Keys be booed during or after her rendition of the US National Anthem?           

Yes                  5/1



SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Will Alicia Keys forget or omit at least 1 word of the official US National Anthem?           

Yes                  +150     (3/2)

No                     -200     (1/2)



SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Will Alicia Keys add at least 1 word of the official US National Anthem?   

Yes                  +200     (2/1)

No                     -300     (1/3)



SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Will Beyonce be joined by Jay Z on Stage during the Super Bowl Half Time Show?           

Yes                  +110     (11/10)

No                     -150     (2/3)



SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Will Beyonce’s hair be Curly/Crimped OR Straight at the beginning of the Super Bowl Halftime show?           

Straight             -140      (5/7)

Curly/Crimped    EVEN   (1/1)



SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – What predominant color will Beyonce’s top be at the beginning of the Super Bowl Halftime show?           

Black                            9/4

Gold (Yellow)                 11/4

Silver (Grey)                  7/2

White                            5/1

Red                              13/2

Pink                              15/2

Orange                          12/1

Blue                              15/1

Green                           15/1



SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Will either Jack or Jackie Harbaugh be shown on TV wearing any clothing that has either a SF or BAL logo on it during the game?         

Yes                  +200     (2/1)

No                     -300     (1/3)



SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – How many times will Jack Harbaugh be shown on TV during the game?  

Over                              1.5  (-140)          (5/7)

Under                            1.5 (EVEN)        (1/1)



SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – How many times will the game be referred to as the Harbaugh Bowl or Har Bowl or Super Baugh during the game?         

Over/Under                    2 ½



SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Who will be shown first during the game? 

Jim Harbaugh                            1/1

John Harbaugh                           1/1

Split screen shot of both             4/1

Jim Harbaugh


SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – How long will the post game handshake/hug last between Jim & John Harbaugh?           

Over/Under                    7.5 seconds

4 seconds


SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Who will be mentioned more by full name during the game?       

Jim Harbaugh                 -120

John Harbaugh               -120


SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – How many times will Harbaugh be said during the game?


Over 30 times


SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Will any Baltimore of San Francisco Player on active roster be arrested before Super Bowl XLVII?    

Yes                  5/1



SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Who will Barack Obama pick to win the game?     

Baltimore Ravens                        -200     (1/2)

San Francisco 49ers                  +150     (3/2)

No Action, did not make pick


SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – What Color will the Gatorade (or liquid) be that is dumped on the Head Coach of the Winning Super Bowl Team?  

Clear/Water                   7/4

Orange                          5/2

Yellow                           5/2

Green                           13/2

Red                              13/2

Blue                              13/2

No Action, no Gatorade dumped


SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Who will the Super Bowl MVP of the Game thank first?     

Teammates                                          5/4       

God                                                      5/2       

Coach                                                   12/1     

Family                                                  12/1     

Owner                                                   15/1     

Does Not Thank Anyone                         9/4

Does Not Thank Anyone


SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – If Ray Lewis is interviewed on TV after the game on the field or in the locker room how many times will he mention “God/Lord” 

Over/Under                    3



SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – What will the TV Rating be for the Super Bowl?    

Over/Under                    46

No results yet


SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – How many average viewers will the game have?  

Over/Under                    111 million viewers

No results yet


SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Which region will have the higher local TV Rating?          

Baltimore                          -150     (2/3)

San Francisco               +110     (11/10)

No results yet

SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – What will happen with the Dow Jones the day after the Super Bowl?       

Market Up                     -140      (5/7)

Market Down                 EVEN   (1/1)

No results yet


SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – What will be the highest tweet per second during the Super Bowl?          

Over/Under                    15,000

No results yet


SUPER BOWL XLVII SPECIALS – Will any player get a penalty for excessive celebration in the game?       

Yes                  +225     (9/4)

No                     -350     (2/7)


Comments Off on Ravens get 12/1 odds to repeat as Super Bowl champs

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Time now for “other” Harbaugh to step outside brother’s shadow once and for all

Posted on 01 February 2013 by Luke Jones

NEW ORLEANS — I’ll never forget my reaction upon learning the Ravens were interested in John Harbaugh as a candidate to replace the fired Brian Billick as head coach in 2008.

I wasn’t alone as many asked the same question about the Philadelphia Eagles assistant and longtime special teams coordinator of Andy Reid.

Don’t they mean Jim?

Of course, Ravens fans were familiar with former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh after his stop in Baltimore during the 1998 season, but only the savviest football fans knew anything about his older brother by 15 months. Even watching the brothers together in a press conference two days before the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers meet in Super Bowl XLVII, you get the sense the older brother is still trying to escape the younger one’s shadow.

John wore a sharp suit while the San Francisco coach wore a black sweatshirt, khakis, and a 49ers cap. It was a sharp contrast as John has embraced the media coverage of Super Bowl week — or at least tolerates it far better — while Jim has appeared disinterested in any and all questions except those about his parents and son Jay, who works as an assistant for John and the Ravens. The Baltimore head man buys into the corporate image while Jim, the accomplished former pro quarterback, looks the part of the old high school jock with nothing to prove.

It makes no difference in how either is truly evaluated as each Harbaugh brother is a terrific coach, with a combined five conference championship appearances in seven seasons between them. But John has always balanced celebrating his younger brother’s accomplishments with a tenacious desire to be as good as he possibly can despite lacking the physical tools Jim had growing up.

John played college football at Miami University of Ohio, but Jim starred for one of the biggest programs in the country at the University of Michigan. The older brother became a college coach while the younger one played quarterback in the NFL.

Even when it appeared John had finally found a way to outdo his brother by leading the Ravens to playoff victories in each of his first three seasons as head coach — including an AFC championship game appearance — Jim was hired by San Francisco and led the 49ers to the conference championship in each of his first two seasons, culminating with their teams meeting in New Orleans on Sunday.

“There are none better than Jim Harbaugh, and I mean that seriously,” John said on Friday. “There’s no better coach in the National Football League than this guy right here.”

The brothers said they would hire the other if and when the time comes that one loses his head coaching job, but the compliments flowed more freely from John’s mouth than they did from Jim, who replied to his other brother’s compliment by suggesting father Jack Harbaugh was the best coach of them all.

Being older and the more media-friendly brother, John took the lead on most questions and was asked if he still feels the need or desire to want to protect his younger brother. Even though Jim was the better athlete and became the starting quarterback on their high school team as a sophomore, it was John who smoothed things over with teammates taking issue with Jim’s cocky demeanor.

Now, however, the older brother competes directly against blood after so many battles growing up in the backyard. There’s no need to protect, even if their bond is still strong.

“No, not at all. I suspect he feels the same way,” John said. “It’s about the teams. We are fiercely loyal, there’s no doubt. We all say that. Not just of one another and we always have been. That’s definitely not ever going to change, we will continue to be fiercely loyal and protective of one another, but also of our teams.”

Perhaps the most memorable moment of Friday’s press conference was John’s description of following Jim’s 15-year playing career in the NFL while he plodded through the lesser-known collegiate coaching ranks before finally reaching Philadelphia and the NFL in 1998 — the only season his older brother played in Baltimore.

It was a glimpse into the human element of this remarkable meeting of brothers at the Super Bowl and shows how often John has been the one rooting on his younger brother, who always owned the spotlight.

“I can just remember living and dying, along with our parents and [sister] Joani, with every single snap that Jim ever took as an NFL football player, whether it was Chicago or Indianapolis, or all the other places he was at. That is how it is when you’re family.”

The time feels right for John to finally step away from his brother’s shadow and finally put to rest the notion of him being “Jim’s older brother.” We’ve known in Baltimore just how special the “other” Harbaugh is for quite some time, but Sunday will give him a chance to do what he really wants — even if he’d never admit it because of his love for his brother.

He wants to beat Jim, the man who was bigger, taller, faster, and better than him on the field despite his best efforts and many accomplishments on which he should be very proud. The sideline has become the great equalizer for the 50-year-old Ravens head coach, but one brother will leapfrog the other in that department after the Ravens or 49ers are crowned Super Bowl champions.

You can tell how badly John Harbaugh wants this based on everything he’s done throughout the week in New Orleans. He’s looked and talked the part of a champion as he has throughout his five seasons in Baltimore. He was born to be in a Super Bowl.

Both men are fantastic leaders worthy of a championship, but only one will prevail on Sunday.

“Great competitions have been won and adversity has been battled through by both teams,” John said. “For the side that comes up short, it’s going to be a bitter disappointment. That’s how football works. That’s how life is, and we understand that.”

Knowing from where they’ve come and their respective backgrounds, it’s tough not to root for John, the successful and loving older brother who never could quite do the same things his younger brother did on the field.

The timing feels right for that competition to finally swing in the opposite direction.

And maybe we’ll refer to Jim as “John’s younger brother” just this once.

Comments (1)