Three days of joint practices between the Ravens and the 49ers that concluded Monday were universally characterized as productive by both NFL teams.
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh raved about the Ravens’ hospitality at their training complex, including the food, meeting rooms and quality of the practice sessions.
“We got better, there’s no question about it,” Jim Harbaugh said. “I think even more so than we thought. A big thank you to the Ravens organization, A-plus-plus in terms of just treating us right. We’re a professional football organization of people that have very high standards for how we’re treated and not one complaint. Not one complaint from anybody, which speaks volumes.”
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Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Jim Harbaugh's older brother, estimated that it felt like his team got over a week of work accomplished because of the exposure to different offensive and defensive philosophies and personnel.
“You could never replicate,” John Harbaugh said. “It’s not just because of the tempo or the attention to detail, which is part of it. It’s the fact that you see schemes that you’re not going to see. You could practice for months out here, we’re not going to see the things we see because our team doesn’t do those things both sides of the ball. Very valuable work.”
And 49ers star quarterback Colin Kaepernick relished competing against a Ravens defense headlined by former NFL Defensive Player of the Year outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Haloti Ngata.
“They have a lot of great players over there,” Kaepernick said. “Obviously, their front is always very good, great disguise team, a lot of different blitzes, a lot of different looks. The competition level is higher. You’re going against guys you’re not going to be playing with on Sundays.
"So, you get different looks, you get different players, you get different techniques from them. Whether they’re showing something coming off the weak side and then bring it strong or vice versa, they do a lot of different things to try to mess with your mind as a quarterback and as an offense.”
There were no fights during the practice sessions.
"It was very productive," Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith said. "We got a lot done."
Jim Harbaugh quipped that the teams would ideally like to square off again in Arizona at the Super Bowl, but practicing against the Ravens in Northern California in the future has already been discussed. The two teams play each other next year, so, if not next year, Harbaugh said the following year is a possibility.
“Not to get out in front of our headlights, we’ll do it next year possibly,” Jim Harbaugh said. “It was just really well done and hats off to the Ravens organization and John Harbaugh, who did a tremendous job. I was just so proud of him, just watching him fulfill his duties, and the way he runs his team, just the kind of football team that they are. Just a tight ship, it’s impressive.”
John Harbaugh said it hit home with him how rare it is to get to practice against his brother's football team while their parents, Jack Harbaugh and Jackie Harbaugh, and several other relatives were attending the practices.
"I’ve said this before, but when you play against your brother, I know it’s unique," John Harbaugh said. "I don’t like dwelling on it too much, but you look over there every now and then and say, ‘Wow, that’s pretty neat.’
"Same thing at practice, working together, figuring out the scripts and things like that and organizing stuff. It was fun to work together. [Jim Harbaugh's a ] smart guy, and I have even more respect for him now than I did before.”
Orioles pitcher Bud Norris attended practice and displayed his loyalty to his favorite NFL team, wearing a red 49ers T-shirt. … Rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro’s parents unknowingly parked in Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti’s prime parking spot, which is marked with his initials, ‘SB.’ The car was moved to a different spot prior to Bisciotti’s arrival after being alerted by security.