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Harbaugh Has His Own Team


It would be natural for **John Harbaugh** to feel a bit of nostalgia as he prepares to face the Philadelphia Eagles.

After all, the team that gave him his start in professional coaching – and ultimately led to his current gig heading the Ravens – is coming to town. Additionally, Harbaugh must now man the sidelines for the first time against his mentor, Andy Reid.

Still, there are bigger things on Harbaugh's mind this week – namely righting the Ravens' ship after dropping to 6-4 with a 30-10 loss to the New York Giants. While he readily acknowledges his roots, the first-year head coach still prefers to turn his focus inward.

"I'd like to say it does," Harbaugh said in his Monday press conference regarding any added importance to the game after spending the last 10 years in Philadelphia as a secondary and special teams coach. "I think it'd be a good story. It'd be interesting to talk about it. I've got a lot of great relationships there. I love those guys – the coaching staff, players, people who are really good friends.

"But the Ravens are my football team. These are my guys, and I'm proud to be their coach. I'm looking forward to going into a football game this week with those guys."

The Ravens came out of Giants Stadium looking to regroup. Sporting a four-game winning streak, Baltimore was gutted for 207 net rushing yards by the NFL's top-ranked ground attack, the highest amount allowed this season by the best run defense in the league.

New York's two rushing touchdowns were the second and third the Ravens' had given up all year long.

And, a Baltimore offense that had been prolific recently – posting at least 27 points in each of its last four victories - featured quarterback [Joe Flaccointernal-link-placeholder-0]'s 57 yards as its leading rush tally, more than running backs **Willis McGahee** and [Ray Riceinternal-link-placeholder-0] and full back **Le’Ron McClain** combined.

For the Ravens, this is neither a time to dwell on past transgressions, nor a time to think about off-field pleasantries with former Eagles friends.

"The point is that through success you don't rest, you build; through a failure you don't wallow in it, you build," Harbaugh said. "That's what a football team does, because the point is that you have to get better from one week to the next in order to have a chance to compete in this league.

"Our goal, just like it is every week, whether we win or lose, is to be better next week than we were last week."

Taking a cue from their head coach, Ravens players are quickly moving on from the New York incident.

"It's not like we haven't lost a game this year," said wide receiver **Derrick Mason**. "We know how to regroup when we lost. We'll continue to fight the way we fought when we were on the winning streak."

Added linebacker Ray Lewis: "What do you do? Do you drop your head? Or do you come back to work Monday?"

The Ravens did come back to team headquarters in Owings Mills, Md., to officially put the Giants game film in the past and begin planning for Philadelphia, a 5-4-1 squad fighting to remain in the playoff race.

But as challenging as every week in the NFL can be, Harbaugh did admit to a small significance in the impending Eagles matchup, even noting how he circled the Nov. 23 date when the schedule first came out in April.

"Competitively, you're going against your brothers," said the coach upon further introspection. "It means something. It's exciting. There's a little bit of something at stake, and it'll be fun before the game.

"But when the game starts, it's going to be our players playing against their players, and whoever plays the best is going to win."

As for any battle between Harbaugh, who played defensive back at Miami (Ohio), and Reid, a hefty former offensive lineman at BYU?

"It wouldn't be much of a showdown between me and coach Reid out there," Harbaugh added with a laugh. "I think I'd be able to cover him, and he'd probably be able to block me. That'd be my guess."

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