John Harbaugh comments on moving on from Super Bowl defense


The changing of the landscape of the Ravens defense if evident with the moves the team has made since the start of the free agency period two weeks ago. While much of the fan base was panicking prior to the signing of Elvis Dumervil, head coach John Harbaugh admitted that much of the turnover is by design.

At his introductory press conference at the Under Armour Performance Center, Dumervil was accompanied on stage by Harbaugh, who answered questions about the state of the Ravens defense prior to the NFL Draft on April 25th.

Pictured: Luckily for Harbs, he didn’t have to address fans in this manner a couple weeks ago

Even though the Ravens reached their ultimate goal last season with a Super Bowl championship, defensively the team struggled at times. Now that so much turnover has occurred on the defense – either voluntarily or involuntarily – Harbaugh was asked if this was the time the team could use to turn the corner.

“To say ‘no’ just wouldn’t be honest,” he said. “We want to be the best in everything. We want to be the best defense in football, and we were the winningest defense in football last year.”

Age, injuries and egos were blamed for defensive struggles during the 2012 season. Harbaugh isn’t one for excuses – he just realized that change was necessary.

“You’re either getting better or your getting worse, and we need to get better in everything we do,” Harbaugh said. “I know our defensive coaches and our defensive players feel the same way. It’s how I feel. Let’s put the best defense together we possibly can, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Even though much turnover has occurred on the defensive side of the ball, Harbaugh is excited, while embracing change.

“Sure, I think we’ve done that every year to some extent,” he said about the turnover. “Obviously, it’s more obvious this year with the big stars like Ray [Lewis] retiring and Ed [Reed] moving on. Cary Williams was a heck of a player for us, but that is the nature of the business in this league.”

“I think everyone is moving on to opportunities that they’re excited about across the board. There’s nothing negative in any of those – Bernard [Pollard] as well. All those guys were just huge parts in what we have accomplished. They are great friends. They will continue to be great friends. We walk together, we walked the championship together, so we have that together and we will bind us together. But, like anything in life, we all go through life, things do change. You evolve and grow and move in another direction.We just have to make sure it’s a successful direction.”

Overall, Harbaugh is pleased with the way his new team is shaping up for a repeat run at the Super Bowl.

“Truthfully, it hasn’t been an ebb and flow for us here. I feel like it’s been very steady,” said Harbaugh. “There are some highs and lows obviously. You hope you can get things accomplished – some things do, some things don’t – but I don’t think you dwell on that too much. We have a vision on where we want to go with our football team and how we want to apply our resources and build the best team we can.”

As a fan, it’s hard to not question some of the moves the team has made. However, coaches and front office members live by the saying, “once you start listening to the fans, you become one.” Given that the Ravens didn’t retain many fan favorites – much to the dismay of the fan base – it looks like Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome are out to prove their detractors wrong once again.

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About Kris Jones

Kris Jones
Kris - or "Goob" as he's widely known - has turned an obsession into a career. As a media member by day and super fan by night, he reports from the Under Armour Performance Center twice per week and brings Ravens news from a fan's perspective. His popular YouTube series...more

9 Raves on “John Harbaugh comments on moving on from Super Bowl defense

  1. Eric on said:

    People that were freaking out about the loss of Reed, Kruger, Ray, and Ellerbe must have just started watching the Ravens in the playoffs.
    This was not a defense that was going to get better. Kruger peaked during the post season and Ellerbe has played less than 20 games his entire time as a Raven. Reed and Ray were out of position many times and lacked the speed to make up for so. Even when in position, they lacked the ferocious tackling ability they once had. Heck even Q had his best season in 2012. Prior to that the team was led by our go to guys Mason and Evans.
    Last year was the most painful of all years to watch our defense. I never had the confidence that we could hold onto a lead. I want to get back to the times that if we have a two possession lead we pretty well know our defense would seal the game. ;)

    • Hut Guy on said:

      Ditto !! I felt the same way last year. At times it seemed like 96 when Vinnie would have to throw five TDPs in order for us to be competitive. I think we see a return to shutdown defense in 13.

    • RavenousD on said:

      ” Prior to that the team was led by our go to guys Mason and Evans”

      Evans was never a go-to guy here in Baltimore….maybe you meant Heap?

    • Mill on said:

      Correction: Ellerbe STARTED less than 20 games in his career. He played in plenty. He didn’t start a single game before Ray got hurt, yet he compiled 31 tackles in those 6 games. Like I said, he played plenty.

      When was Lee Evans ever a go to guy for the Ravens?

  2. Nicholas on said:

    I have missed Coach Harbaugh’s motivational chat, really since ‘ain’t no mountain high enough’ when the lights came back on.

    New defensive look.. Harbaugh’s first go at a defence without Ray and Eds impact. I can’t wait for football.

  3. 2KDad on said:

    A lot of new faces on that side of the ball, but by the time the draft is over I’m SURE that Ozzie and Harbs will have a team together that we can be excited about!! Go Ravens…

  4. Ravenwoman on said:

    We had to move on from last year’s defense. There is no way it would be better with everyone a year older. The defense last year ran on the fumes from Ray Lewis’s “Last Ride” speech. It was a once in a lifetime accomplishment, a story book ending, a run for the ages.

    This year’s defense will be lean and mean. We will have linebackers who can run sideline to sideline. Our front line will stuff the run and collapse the pocket. There will be pressure on the QB. Our CBs will be in position to make plays and we will have safeties that can help them cover. Our defense will be respected and talented enough to hold a lead in the 4th quarter and get off the field after 3rd down. The draft will solidify our depth and our leaders will be young enough to mentor the young rookies. It will be a return to Raven’s football as we knew it.

  5. Mill on said:

    Am I the only person that thinks coaching has atleast something to do with the dropoff on D? The guys on defense always had that swagger under coaches like Ryan and Pagano. Look at the years after Ryan left. Mattison always produced statistically sound defense but the didn’t have the same feel. The fire wasn’t there, until Pagano took over. Under Pees the fire was gone again. Mentality plays a huge role. Rex and Pagano were aggressive coaches, they sent players out to attack. Pees and Mattison are bend but don’t break coaches. The defense is never going to feel the same until you get someone with some fire running things.

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