On Now
Coming Up
  • Mon., Sep. 26, 2016 4:00 PM EDT Live John Harbaugh Presser Ravens head coach John Harbaugh will address the media.
  • Wed., Sep. 28, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Live Press Conference Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and key players will address the media following practice.
  • Thu., Sep. 29, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Live Coordinators Presser Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, defensive coordinator Dean Pees and special team coordinator Jerry Rosburg will address the media.
  • Sat., Oct. 01, 2016 7:00 PM - 7:30 PM EDT Ravens Report Hosted by WUSA-TV's Kristen Berset, Ravens Report, the flagship program of the Baltimore Ravens that showcases life in the NFL. Created by Ravens Productions, this magazine-style show features behind-the-scenes access to Ravens players and coaches as they prepare for each week's opponent.
  • Sat., Oct. 01, 2016 7:30 PM - 8:00 PM EDT Ravens Wired See the plays, hear the sideline conversations and feel the hits on Ravens Wired, the only behind-the-scenes show featuring a Ravens player wired for sound during each week's game. Go behind the Ravens bench for in-game adjustments and inside the locker room for Head Coach John Harbaugh's post-game speech. Produced by Ravens Productions, Ravens Wired is hosted by WBAL-TV's Keith Mills.
  • Sun., Oct. 02, 2016 1:00 AM - 1:30 AM EDT Ravens Unscripted Ravens beat writers Ryan Mink and Garrett Downing join our host to tackle the latest Ravens headlines and hottest topics. Each week's show, brought to you by Ravens Productions, also features a special guest, including prominent sports media, front office staff, players or other Ravens insiders.
  • Sun., Oct. 02, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Live Game Audio Broadcast Listen to the live WBAL broadcast of the Ravens vs. Raiders on BaltimoreRavens.com or in the Ravens mobile app.
  • Sun., Oct. 02, 2016 4:15 PM EDT Live Post Game Presser John Harbaugh and key players will address the media following the game.
  • Mon., Oct. 03, 2016 5:00 PM EDT A Purple Evening A Purple Evening is back! Join Purple on Monday, October 3rd for on-field drills, player appearances and autographs, giveaways, and much more! Tickets will go on sale soon. Check Purple-Just for Women on Facebook for the latest club and event information.
  • Sat., Oct. 08, 2016 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM EDT Ravens Report Hosted by WUSA-TV's Kristen Berset, Ravens Report, the flagship program of the Baltimore Ravens that showcases life in the NFL. Created by Ravens Productions, this magazine-style show features behind-the-scenes access to Ravens players and coaches as they prepare for each week's opponent.

News

Print
RSS

Eisenberg: The Harbaugh Way Is Working

Posted Aug 10, 2014

Some coaches struggle to get through to today's players, but the Harbros discovered what it takes to prosper.


More and more NFL teams have held joint training camp practices in recent years, but there’ll never be two teams more suited to sharing a field than the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.

They’re coached by brothers who share ideas and philosophies. When Jim and John Harbaugh held back-to-back separate interview sessions before their teams’ joint practice Saturday at the Under Armour Performance Center, you could only shake your head at just how alike they really are – and as a result, how alike their teams are.

The brothers have the same jaw and same smile, bristle with confidence in the same way and give the same kinds of answers to questions. Not that any of that is breaking news. They were “raised in the same house, ate the same food, came from the same mother, lived in the same room for 16 years. There’s bound to be some similarities, I would think,” Jim said Saturday.

They certainly coach football the same way. Just ask receiver Anquan Boldin, who played under John in Baltimore for three years and under Jim in San Francisco last year.

How the Ravens practice is “real similar to the way we (in San Francisco) practice,” Boldin said Saturday. “In a lot of instances, the practice field (in Baltimore) was tougher than games because of how hard we work, how we compete, how we go after one another. It’s very similar to how we (in San Francisco) practice.”

For both teams, practice is fast-paced, competitive and demanding, which is a pretty good description of what we probably should call The Harbaugh Way. The brothers aren’t old school taskmasters or extreme disciplinarians, but they’re firmly in charge and know what they want their players to understand:

They need to practice hard. They need to play like they practice. They need to be tougher than the guy across the line from them.

The Harbaugh Way is working. Some NFL coaches struggle to get through to today’s players, finding them so coddled and well-paid that they’re harder to motivate, a bit of a mystery. But the Harbaughs have discovered what it takes to prosper, the right tone to set, the right edge to calibrate.

In six years with the Ravens, John has gone 62-34 in the regular season, taken three trips to the AFC title game and won a Super Bowl. In three years with the 49ers, Jim has gone 36-11-1 and also taken three trips to his conference title game.

Combined, they have a .680 regular-season winning percentage, a .667 winning percentage in the playoffs (they’ve won 14 of 21 postseason games) and have made six conference title game appearances in nine seasons.

There are a lot of ways to excel as an NFL coach. Vince Lombardi rose to the top by stripping down his playbook, making things simple and demanding perfection. Bill Walsh and Tom Landry were innovators, pioneering new ways to play. Bill Belichick was the smartest guy in the room.

The Harbaughs are winning with their own, unique blend of old and new, preaching physicality and teamwork while still allowing for individual expression.

Yes, they do have some differences. As the Ravens and 49ers plowed through the first of their three days of joint practices Saturday, Jim was right in the 49ers’ offensive huddle, calling plays; a former NFL quarterback, he runs the show on that side of the ball. John delegates his units to coordinators but oversees with a CEO’s meticulousness and interjects what he wants.

“They’re both leaders,” Boldin said. “Their biggest similarity is the work ethic that they have and that they try to instill in the teams they coach. You try to go out and out-work everyone.”

Putting two teams with that philosophy on the same practice field could lead to trouble, but there was barely any chippiness Saturday. The players wore full pads and there was plenty of intensity (though no tackling to the ground), and the offenses dominated, but no one got hammered and there was plenty of helping each other up. A level-headed vibe prevailed.

It was clear that the head coaches had laid down the law as only they can, telling their players to behave.

And on these teams, when the head coaches speak, everyone listens.

 

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

Related News

Recent Videos

Recent Photos