Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has been on the job in Baltimore for little more than two months, so he's still getting to know the area. He took the time to sit down with members of the local media that will regularly cover the team last week for a personal, off-the-record luncheon. BR.com asked some of those media members for their initial thoughts regarding Harbaugh's early progress.
Stan White, former Baltimore Colt and Ravens analyst for WBAL 1090 AM:"I like his enthusiasm. I like the fact that he's a disciplinarian, a tough guy. The one thing that I always felt, but had a hard time arguing because of their success, was that they didn't practice as hard as I thought they should. Training camp wasn't as tough as I thought it should be to build toughness. He's kind of an old-school coach, and I like that. I'm looking forward to seeing how his tenure pans out."
Gerry Sandusky, Sports Anchor for WBAL-TV:"I think people will really take from his genuineness. He's a down-to-earth guy, and that comes across every time I've had a chance to meet with him. The second thing is his passion. You can't be around the coach for 10 minutes and not want to run down and cover a kickoff. It really is infectious. The third thing I think about is how he uses the word 'team.' He says it a lot, but I don't think it sounds like a cliché. You realize quickly that team is the axis around which everything will revolve. It's more than a buzzword. It's how he's going to organize everything his coaches and players do. 'Team' is going to be the north on his compass, so to speak."
Jamison Hensley, Ravens beat writer for the Baltimore Sun:"From your first conversation with him, you know he is just a football guy. He grew up with this game and he lives it. You can tell that by the energy that he brings. There is an excitement that comes through when he talks. But he also has this down-to-earth appeal. You feel like you can talk to him about anything, whether it's his family, his college roommate or going for it on fourth-and-goal."
Aaron Wilson, Ravens beat writer for the Carroll County Times:"My initial impressions of John Harbaugh since he's been hired have all been positive ones. He's a clear, professional communicator with an upbeat personality. He tends to deliver his message in a way where he gets across what's on his mind while engaging in the traditional give-and-take with reporters. He doesn't take himself too seriously and will joke or banter with you on several topics, football or otherwise. He's also interested in what you have to say and doesn't try to dominate a conversation. I would say he's been accessible and upfront so far. He's been consistent from his first job interview at the Ravens' training complex when he stopped to talk with a few of us who were staking out the building during the coaching search.
"After talking to several players and team officials, they've outlined how he's energized the building and basically been a breath of fresh air, in their opinion. He also built a really good reputation in Philadelphia and around the league prior to his arrival in Baltimore. It looks like Harbaugh has assembled a quality staff, particularly with his coordinators in Cam Cameron, Rex Ryan and Jerry Rosburg. And he's hired some really good assistant coaches that aren't as well known like Chuck Pagano, John Matsko and Greg Mattison in addition to Hue Jackson, Jim Hostler, etc.
"Of course, it's worth noting that this is the so-called honeymoon period as a new head coach and the Ravens haven't played a game yet. So far, it looks like Harbaugh is off to a good start during his first few months on the job."
Matt Palmer, Ravens beat writer for the Baltimore Examiner:"The thing that jumps out about John Harbaugh is this interesting combination of humility and confidence. He's able to make you believe that he really can't believe he's a head coach in the NFL, while also convincing you he's ready to take the controls of the biggest community-bonding entity in the Baltimore area.
"He's going to win over a lot of people with his charm and spontaneity. Obviously, the season has to start, but he's going to be a hard guy not to like.
"He's not a personality that eats up the room, but rather is a person who is used to being a link in the chain. He's a very good listener and communicator, which should serve him well with this veteran-laden team.
"Those skills are crucial to being a head football coach in the NFL, which has become more and more managerial in nature. It will be interesting to see how he handles the Xs and Os of the game, because that is truly where he is an unknown. He has a terrific coaching staff surrounding him, which will make his transition much easier."