Ravens Prove To Be The Real Deal With Hardball Coach

Andrew ButlerCorrespondent IAugust 13, 2008

     This season, John Harbaugh, who has spent his last years in Philadelphia under Andy Reid, has been signed to be the new head coach of the Baltimore Ravens replacing Bill Billick.  Bill has traditionally let players go home for the weekend or take days off in camp if they're feeling tired, but this year Harbaugh won't allow it, and wants them to stay in a hotel on the weekends and continue to be in camp regardless of players personal feelings about going to practice the next day. 

     John Harbaugh has came into camp and emphasized more team development and has been less easy going in hopes of changing the demeanor in Baltimore.  Harbaugh has also signed Cam Cameron as their new offensive coordinator who will put a stronger emphasis on the west coast offense this season as well.  

     In camp third round pick OG Oneil Cousins from UTEP started a fight in camp with some pushing and shoving in response to making practice more aggressive.  While John Harbaugh watched on the sidelines letting them fight it out in hopes of making the players more competitive as an obvious sign of his appeal to competition and aggressiveness in every aspect of the organization, for better or for worse.

     Harbaugh has also used one of his terminally ill assistants, O.J. Brigance, as a source of inspiration in camp, especially to those who question his unconventional methods as being too rough and how its a hard on the players.  Whereas Brigance having Lou Gehrig's disease might know a thing or two about being tough while he still wears his Super XXXV ring to show his dedication to the organization.

     The Ravens are in their rebuilding phase this season while they have aging corners and linebackers, and have retired QB Steve McNair and OT Johnathan Ogden which were the cornerstones of the offense last season.  With Heisman trophy winner Troy Smith, first round pick Kyle Boller, and rookie Joe Flacco, their QB is loaded with depth and talent, and questions at experience and leadership.  The Ravens also have high hopes for rookie RB Ray Rice from Rutgers who at 5'9'' packs a power for a punch running up the gut while Willis McGahee is more of a side-stepping RB.

     Harbaugh has put a work hard mentality into Baltimore distant from Billick's laid back style, which has put some obvious concerns to those players who have trouble adjusting to the new system.  Although veteran linebacker Ray Lewis, the commander of the Ravens for the past decade has expressed his appreciation personally to Harbaugh for being a hardball.

     As a metaphor to the changes in the organization with John Harbaugh as head coach, and going through their rebuilding phase, the Ravens have actually trained real ravens to come out of the tunnels with the players and circle around the stadium.  Daniel Walthers, trainer of the ravens, is even attempting to get the birds to say "touchdown" and "go ravens". 

    New things are acoming in Baltimore with John Harbaugh as the head coach, with hopes that Cam Cameron can be more successful in Baltimore than he was in Miami as he implements his west coast offense.  Coach "Hardball" can make or break his NFL head coaching career with his debut this season.  Whether its for better or for worse, Hardbaugh is changing this organization and we can only hope that it's for the better.  Either way we should anticipate seeing what direction and changes the Ravens make this season and where it leads them in the long-run.