Late For Work 4/29: The Harbaugh Coaching Tree

Plus the Draft may change some more, the cornerback position and Ali waived.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, April 29th, 2010 at 8:00 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

The Harbaugh Coaching Tree

Jack Harbaugh dedicated nearly a half a century of his life, 42 years to be exact, to coaching young men in the game of football.

His enthusiasm and passion for the sport not only inspired players in the locker room, but ultimately shaped the lives of his two sons who would go on to be high-profile, successful coaches in their own right.

You know the elder son as Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. The younger, a former Ravens quarterback, is Stanford’s head coach, Jim Harbaugh.

“Since [Jack] retired as headman at Western Kentucky, in 2002, after winning a I-AA national title, his tree has arguably grown taller than those of the Bowdens, the Holtzes and the Ryans in the forest of successful football families,” Eddie Matz said in the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine.

That’s quite the statement, but a statement that has merit.

Stanford was 1-11 the season before Jim arrived (2006). Last season, the Cardinal were 8-5, earning their first bowl invite since 2001.

Meanwhile, the Ravens had one playoff appearance in the four years prior to John’s hiring. Last year, he and quarterback Joe Flacco became the first coach-quarterback duo to start their careers together with consecutive playoff berths.

“You remember driving your kids to Little League, and they’re nervous about making the team, and you’re encouraging them,” Jack told ESPN. “Forty years down the road, we’re having the same conversation. Only it’s about the Ravens and Steelers, or Stanford and Cal.”

Long before John burst onto the head coaching scene with the Ravens, he had once decided that coaching football wasn’t for him. His goal when he entered college was to become a lawyer or a senator.

John unexpectedly caught the coaching bug when he would pitch in to help his dad at practice. Little-by-little, and by the time he turned 22, he realized he needed to coach football too. It was a decision that his younger brother, Jim, had made “since he was in diapers.”

“Two sons, born of the same mother, fathered by the same father, lived in the same home, ate the same food, and yet they’re different,” Jack said. “The fire burns, but they wear it differently.”

Matt Weiss, a former Stanford staffer for Jim and currently John’s assistant at the Ravens, explained the difference between the brothers: “Put a brick wall in front of Jim and he’ll run through it. Put that wall in front of John and he’ll find three ways around it.”

(If you have ESPN the Magazine or an ESPN Insider account, you may want to read the entire story. LFW’s recap hardly scratches the surface of the 2,200-word feature.)

New Draft Format, Overtime Rule Updates

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sat down with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and said the league may continue tweaking the new three-day draft format, but it’s likely to again be a prime-time event in 2011 in light of last week’s improved ratings.

Additionally, Goodell said the new overtime rules, which have already been adopted for the postseason, may be incorporated into the regular season as well. The commissioner expects the new format will be discussed among owners, coaches and the NFL’s business partners in advance of the league meeting in May.

“We will present it to our membership, and we will evaluate it and possibly vote on it,” said Goodell.

How Much Should Ravens Invest In CB Position?

In his AFC North mailbag, James Walker helped a fan sort out the Ravens’ dilemma at the cornerback position.  Simply put, the inquiring fan wanted to know what the Ravens’ next move should be.

“The Ravens couldn’t fill every hole in the draft,” Walker said. “But the Ravens are in a tricky spot here. They have cornerbacks. The team just isn’t sure Lardarius Webb and/or Fabian Washington will be ready for Week 1 after knee surgeries.

“What happens if the team invests a lot in a veteran corner and one or both of its injured players return? That’s what Baltimore has to weigh right now. Here is a list of what’s currently available.”

Ravens Waive Reserve FB Charles Ali

The Ravens waived reserve full back Charles Ali yesterday, a roster move prompted by the team moving tight end Edgar Jones to fullback according to Aaron Wilson of Carroll County Times.

Wilson added that the Ravens are planning to try out undrafted Boston College rookie linebacker Mike McLaughlin at fullback.

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