If you saw Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh's press conference Monday afternoon, you couldn't help but chuckle about the exchange he claims to have had with special teams stand-out Brendon Ayanbadejo.
When asked his thoughts on Ayanbadejo's increased roll on the team's defensive sub-packages, Harbaugh was a little uneasy about the Pro Bowl linebacker's mindset.
“He told me something last week that kind of bothered me,” Harbaugh said. “He told me that playing special teams is really great, but playing defense is better. I didn’t appreciate that too much.”
Even though Harbaugh, a former special teams coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, was smiling the entire time and obviously just kidding, Ayanbadejo couldn't pass up the opportunity to one-up his coach.
According to baltimoreravens.com writer Mike Duffy, Ayanbadejo jokingly said during an interview at the teams training facility that he is, "pretty sure that [Harbaugh] likes being a head coach more than a position coach, so we’re in the same boat."
Right back at ya, Coach!
It is refreshing to see that even though the Ravens take their game very seriously, they don't necessarily take themselves too seriously. A team that can have fun with some good-natured ribbing shows that they have a certain level of confidence and trust in one another—which translates into performance come Sunday.
Tight end L.J. Smith is another example.
Smith had been battling a hamstring injury since training camp and finally saw his first regular season game action last week against the Browns. After making a first quarter reception for a first down, Smith came to the sideline and was promptly greeted with even more Raven satire.
"When he came off after catching that pass, a few guys were checking out his hamstring to make sure he was all right, having fun with him,” Harbaugh explained. “That’s how we do it—have a thick skin.”
If the Ravens continue to show thick skin, the result will imminently be more wins.