After hoisting the Lombardi trophy, the corresponding roster moves spoke volumes as to who the undisputed leader of the Ravens would be. Owner Steve Bisciotti made it clear that Joe Flacco would be the on-field leader now that Ray Lewis had retired, but make no mistake about it – this is John Harbaugh’s team.
Standing near the sidelines for today’s training camp practice, we heard a very testy Harbaugh who had no problem publicly shaming a few players who were either underperforming or being disobedient.
As a typical training camp scuffle broke out between linebacker Courtney Upshaw and tight end Billy Bajema, cornerback Asa Jackson found himself being the first victim of Harbaugh’s wrath.
Jackson wasn’t involved in the initial scuffle and attempted to join the action running near the sidelines. Harbaugh intervened, standing between Jackson and the pile of players, and gave Jackson the business.
“Get your squirrely ass out of here,” Harbaugh said to Jackson, who is likely already on his coach’s bad side having to serve an eight-game suspension to start the season for his second PED violation. “If you do that again, you’re cut.”
As Harbaugh reprimanded Jackson for actions that could have cost the team a 15-yard penalty and an automatic ejection, Jackson walked toward the sidelines, away from his defensive teammates and took a knee by himself.
Now that Harbaugh’s blood pressure was already elevated, wide receiver Aaron Mellette and his poor performance on the field would be the next victim to feel the wrath of Harbaugh.
“Get number 13 off of the field,” Harbaugh said towards offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell who was standing on the sidelines. “He’s lackadaisical and lazy, get him off the field.”
Don’t worry, Harbs wasn’t done yet. Roughly ten minutes later, the first-team offensive line was embarrassed.
Following a snap near the the ten yard line, defensive end Arthur Jones blew through the offensive line, and unintentionally laid out running back Ray Rice. Jones put a decent hit on Rice, but was likely surprised at how quick he blew through the line. Following the play, Harbaugh voiced his displeasure.
“[Rice] is too valuable to be out here if we’re going to block like that,” said Harbaugh, prompting Rice to jog to the sidelines and Damien Berry to take his place.
This certainly was one of the more emotional practices we’ve seen from Harbaugh, who is likely feeling the testiness of training camp. However, this wasn’t necessarily an ill-advised display for the coach. In the cases of the offensive line and Jackson, Harbaugh was trying to protect his players. As for Mellette, he have opted to knock the rookie off his lofty perch provided by his first career touchdown grab on the first pass ever thrown his way during the Ravens 44-16 preseason victory over the Buccaneers.
For Mellette and Jackson, they’re likely praying that Harbaugh’s bite isn’t as bad as his bark. However, one thing is for sure, this is Harbaugh’s team and if you aren’t playing to the caliber of a Super Bowl champion, he’ll let you know about it.
For fans hoping the Ravens can repeat as champions, you couldn’t ask for more.