Over the years, he has grown. When he came to Baltimore, he already had the special teams and defensive background as an assistant in Philadelphia, and he spent a lot of time learning the offensive side from former coordinator Cam Cameron.
Harbaugh always has been old-school when it comes to practice and discipline, but he was masterful in handling grumpy veterans, such as Bernard Pollard, Reed and Boldin, as well as an aging star, such as Lewis in the second half of last season.
Harbaugh still has an edge but is more thoughtful. He doesn't believe he is the smartest guy in the room, but make no mistake, this is his team.
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It's all been scripted. Look at the free-agent additions in defensive linemen Chris Canty and Marcus Spears, linebacker Elvis Dumervil, wide receiver Brandon Stokley and tight end Dallas Clark. They're not only good players, but also high-character guys.
Six of the team's 10 draft picks this spring were captains of their college teams, which shows Harbaugh isn't looking back, but for future leaders. Everything about Harbaugh and the Ravens points forward.
Asked two weeks ago whether he had consulted any coaches about the pressures or dangers of repeating as a champion, Harbaugh quickly shook his head no, but then remembered his father, Jack, a former college coach and his mentor.
"It's an everyday thing. He just said, 'If you get ahead, stay ahead,'" John Harbaugh said.
"You get up in the morning and stay out in front of everybody else. Right now, the work ethic is great on this team, as good as it can be coming out of training camp. Now we just have to keep building on it."
Most of the modifications were made before last season, when the Ravens changed their stretching routine and weight-training sessions. In 2013, it's about the big head game.
There isn't any talk about the miraculous comebacks or overcoming major injuries from last season. There are no pictures of owner Steve Bisciotti or Harbaugh standing on the stage in New Orleans celebrating as the confetti dropped and the entire world watched.
That came to an end during the same week the Ravens went to the White House and received their Super Bowl rings during the offseason.
"It's about proving yourself again, and we have a lot of guys who want to do that," Harbaugh said. "We never want to lose that desire."