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What to expect from John Harbaugh

So, will the Ravens be robbing the cradle for their new head coach -- Cradle of Coaches, that is.  We're talking Miami of Ohio.

That's where Eagles secondary coach John Harbaugh went to college. So did Paul Brown, Weeb Ewbank, Sid Gillman, Ara Parseghian and Bo Schembechler, to name a handful.  More recently, Sean Payton.  (Woody Hayes coached there).

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But more to the point, if Baltimore tires of Jason Garrett's coy dance and hires Harbaugh as head coach, what do Ravens fans get?

Just speculation but, defensively, you would seem to get the Jim Johnson defense. It's already been exported to New York, where Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spanuolo is running it effectively. Actually, it won't be unlike what we've seen here with Rex Ryan in the broadest terms.  It relies on pressure on the quarterback, particularly with blitz packages. Occasionally, it gets burned badly, even a little more than the Ryan scheme. Players tend to like it -- at least the ones who get to blitz -- because it allows them to attack. It might actually work better here in Baltimore because in Philly it has been vulnerable against the run up the gut, and that's arguably the strength of the Ravens' defense, the triangle of their two defensive tackles and middle linebacker.

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On offense, well, Harbaugh has been around Andy Reid for as long as Reid has been in Philadelphia. Does that mean Harbaugh subscribes to the West Coast offense? Hard to tell. Reid is among the most committed practitioners of the pass-as-run approach. As we've seen in Philadelphia and elsewhere, a running back can flourish in such an offense (Roger Craig, Ricky Watters, Brian Westbrook), so Willis McGahee's talents wouldn't necessarily be wasted. This year, Westbrook even approached 300 carries (278). The West Coast makes good use of a pass-catching  tight end (Todd Heap). And you don't necessarily need a game-breaker at wide receiver (although it helps to have someone who can split the safeties and stretch the field vertically, as always).

As far as intangibles go, Harbaugh brings the enthusiasm that's characteristic of special teams coaches, which is what he was for years in Philadelphia. In that way, he might be a shock to the system of the Ravens' locker room. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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