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Led By Coach Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens Shocking NFL World

Bleacher Report Senior Writer INovember 12, 2008

The Baltimore Ravens are 6-3 and on fire because of the play of many.

It might be Quarterback Joe Flacco, the consistency of the running game, linebacker Ray Lewis, or the havoc raised by the defensive linemen, but many fail to point out the outstanding coaching job done by John Harbaugh.

Wide receiver Derrick Mason said, “We’re not out there just standing around, wasting time."

Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick ran very calm practices. There wasn't as much contact, and was very laid back.

Harbaugh came in and on day one, the Ravens were hitting each other and getting in eachother's faces. It even resulted in a 53-man brawl.

Mason added, “It’s a high-tempo, but we’re on and off the field fast. Coach wants to get a lot done, but he’s not making us spend all day out there.”

At first, I didn't think much of Harbaugh. I thought, 'Who does this guy think he is? He was a special teams coach with the Philadelphia Eagles and now all of a sudden, he has a right to completely change the Ravens' minicamp style?' I also thought to myself 'this could ruin our season. Everyone will get hurt.'

But as we can all see, Harbaugh's style has brought the team together. Team veterans bought into the style and the rookies are now used to it, which should be good.

Harbaugh hasn't been through an easy road, though. He had to deal with a holdout by Terrell Suggs, injuries to both quarterbacks Kyle Boller and Troy Smith, three consecutive losses, and a completely new coaching staff.

"I think it says a lot about the character of our team. Our players stepped up. There was obviously a time probably in their minds when they (were) wondering how this was going to go, but they didn't bat an eye."

I think it definitely speaks of the characters we have on the team. I think it also speaks about the character of the coach we have.

Harbaugh has really redone the Ravens.

Last year, the Ravens had virtually no passing game, one running back and NO pass defense. This season, the Ravens have had a great passing offense as of late, three viable options at the running back position, and have intercepted 14 passes.

Let's break it down slow-mo:

 

2008

  • 212 points (12th in NFL)
  • 150.2 rush YPG (third in NFL)
  • 193 pass yards allowed per game (ninth in NFL)
  • 16.7 PPG allowed (fifth in NFL)
  • 65.4 rush YPG allowed (first in NFL)
  • 14 intercepted passes (tied for second in NFL)

 

2007

  • 275 points (23rd in NFL)
  • 112.3 rush YPG (16th in NFL)
  • 222.3 pass yards allowed per game (19th in NFL)
  • 24 points allowed per game (22nd in NFL)
  • 79.3 rush YPG allowed (second in NFL)
  • 17 intercepted passes (16th in NFL).

 

Most importantly, last year with Brian Billick, the Ravens won five games.

This season, after nine games with John Harbaugh, the Ravens have won six games and are on the way to a playoff appearance. Not bad for a guy who was special teams coach of the Eagles for nine seasons.

Harbaugh has done an amazing job of preparing the Ravens. To say the least, the Ravens have an experienced defense.

They have an experienced defense, a rookie quarterback, three halfbacks under 27, and the youngest offensive line in football. Yet, they are 6-3!

People might say about Harbaugh, "oh, he's faced terrible teams." Pardon my french, but B.S.!

The Ravens went to Heinz Field on Monday Night with a rookie quarterback who was coming off of a less then stellar performance against the Cleveland Browns, and barely lost, 23-20!

The Pittsburgh Steelers have not lost a Monday Night affair at Heinz in 14 contests. He even took the Steelers to overtime.

He also should have been responsible for the only loss of the Tennessee Titans. Instead, the Titans are 9-0.

The Ravens were up 10-6 for most of the game until 1:52 left in the game when Kerry Collins threw a touchdown pass as the Ravens lost, 13-10.

I'm not implying that he should win Coach of the Year, but he definitely deserves some credit. And if he beats the New York Giants and/or the Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, and Washington Redskins, ESPN will hop on Harbaugh's bandwagon. Write that down.

Who knew?

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