Late For Work 11/23: Who Has Coaching Edge? Skip Weighs In

Many fans won’t be able to watch Harbaugh Bowl; power rankings; black jerseys coming.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 at 10:35 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Who Has Coaching Edge? Skip Weighs In

I know Ravens fans greatly respect the opinion of Skip Bayless, especially after the recent debates he’s had with Terrell Suggs. #sarcasm

Seriously though, it probably wouldn’t be a stretch to say some Ravens fans are relieved Bayless gave the edge to the 49ers when ESPN’s First Take crew debated which sibling they personally “trust” most: Jim or John Harbaugh.  

That way, fans wouldn’t have to admit they actually agree with the talking head.

But the way ESPN chose to phrase the coaching question is interesting because if they were to argue who is the better overall coach, or who has the better track record, they’d be splitting hairs.

The two were raised by Jack Harbaugh who instilled the same coaching philosophies in both. Each son appears to have been equally successful in applying those principles in their first year on the job.

So to give an edge either coach, Eric Mangini, Jay Crawford, Jemele Hill, and Skip Bayless talked more about each brothers ability to connect emotionally with his players and to inspire trust.

The premise of the question, “Who do you trust more?” is inherently subjective and there is no finite answer. Thus, it is fun to debate.

Watch the exchange below, and let us know what you think.

Week 11 Power Rankings

There wasn’t much movement for the Ravens after beating the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, but if they beat the 49ers, some analysts say it will give the Ravens a bigger jump in next week’s rankings.

Below is the Week 11 list, with this week’s rankings and last week’s rankings in parentheses.

ESPN.com (5/6): “It’s a family affair this week for John and Jim Harbaugh. Could 49ers-Ravens be a Super Bowl preview?”

SI.com’s Peter King (4/5): “Interesting: Jack Harbaugh, father of Raven coach John and Niner coach Jim, said he and his wife won’t be in the stadium Thanksgiving night.”

CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco (4/4): “They have a huge game this week with the 49ers. The emergence of Torrey Smith changes the way they play on offense.”

FoxSports.com’s Brian Billick (8/9): “The Ravens can’t beat the Titans, Jaguars and Seahawks, but they can beat the Texans, Jets, Bengals and the Steelers twice. That is inexplicable. The good news is that once they make the playoffs, they won’t have to worry about facing any inferior teams. Problem solved.”

ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio (6/7): “Turkeys may not be the only birds stuffed on Thursday.”

NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison (7/7): “Huge win at home. Those weren’t the early 2000s Bengals coming to town. Perhaps more importantly, Ray Rice received 25 touches from offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. That means drive-time listeners on Baltimore AM radio will get to hear something besides Cam-ripping this week. If they had lost, Cameron might have been blamed for the Colts leaving.”

Many Fans Won’t Be Able To Watch Harbaugh Bowl

The whole nation is talking about Harbaugh Bowl, but not everyone will be watching it.

That’s because the first ever NFL head-coach sibling rivalry will air on the NFL Network, which is available in just over half of all American homes with televisions, according to the Associated Press.

The cable channel is available in nearly 60 million households, which is a major increase from the 37.5 million in 2006 when the NFL Network first started airing prime-time games.

“Through two games, ‘Thursday Night Football’ is averaging 6.1 million viewers on NFL Network,” wrote the AP. “That’s up 17 percent from last season, though still much lower than other NFL action. ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football,’ for example, is averaging 13.2 million viewers through 11 weeks.”

In both the Baltimore and San Francisco markets, viewers are offered the option of watching the game on a local broadcast channel.

According to The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik, the NFL Network is “sky high” about Thursday’s matchup.

“Executive and announcers at the league-owned cable channel see the matchup between the two division-leading teams coached by brothers as one of the biggest contests and most compelling story lines in its six seasons of telecasting game in prime time,” wrote Zurawik.

They will have about 60 staff on hand to telecast the game, some of whom already started arriving in Baltimore Monday night.

Smith’s Hair Tops Shame Report

I have to point out that NFL.com ranked Torrey Smith’s hair at the top of its Week 11 “shame report.”

If you watched our three takeaways after Sunday’s game, you know I’m in favor of giving Smith’s dreads a little trim – just enough so that defenders can’t get a fist full to bring him down.

Ryan Mink and a few of you passionately disagree. Some of you were pretty hilarious in your comments to show disapproval, including this from ellicottraven: “Well he might consider cutting them if you start sporting dreads yourself, Sarah!” My boss, @ravensgirl, liked that one so much she gave she gave the post a thumbs up (+)!

But at least somebody agrees with me.

“Number one, earning the brown paper bag of shame, Torrey Smith’s hair, which Pacman Jones wisely used to stop Torrey from breaking away and scoring a touchdown last Sunday,” said Dave Dameshek  in the NFL Network video. “In a rare twist, Packman broke no rules there. It’s Smith with whom I have a beef. The Ravens still ended up winning, but what if not scoring on that play cost them the game? The Bengals and Steelers would have been ahead of them in the AFC North. Baltimore literally could have missed the postseason by a hair.”

“But I’m not just picking on Smith. It’s time to cut this fashion trend altogether. There’s no good that can come from it on the field.”

I couldn’t agree more.

That said, the person whose opinion really matters is Smith’s.

I’M NOT CUTTING MY DREADS!!!” tweeted Smith. “Haha I have a million tweets about it.”

Quick Hits

  • 1WinningDrive: I know fans will be excited about this one. #Ravens are wearing their BLACK jerseys Thursday night vs. 49ers. White pants [Twitter]
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    Jimmy Fallon Honors Bet?
  • PMGleason: Quick note re: black jerseys: Ravens are 8-2 all time in black jerseys, including 5-0 under Harbaugh (3-0 w/ white pants & 2-0 in all black) [Twitter]
  • After reviewing the controversial overturned touchdown in the Bengals-Ravens game several times, Peter King slightly changed his opinion about the call. [SI.cm]
  • The stock is down on Joe Flacco’s fumbling, but the stock is up on the Ravens’ explosive plays. [ESPN]
  • The Harbaugh brothers are far from the only compelling storyline in Ravens-49ers game. Here are a few others. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Is it a coincidence that Lardarius Webb, who wears No. 21, is beginning to show signs of succeeding the Ravens’ previous shutdown corner in Chris McAlister, who also wore No. 21 before leaving the team in 2008?  [The Baltimore Sun]
  • A special Thanksgiving message from Jimmy Fallon. Not sure why he did this exactly, but he did lose a bet to Ravens fan and Baltimore native Josh Charles when he came on “Late Night” earlier this month. Fallon originally had to put an Ed Reed bobble head on his desk for an entire show. Looks like he took it a step further…

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