We finally got some NFL excitement this week that wasn’t surrounding a lockout. Sure, with the draft inching closer, that’s grabbing some headlines as well, but the league got its usual publicity this week when it released its schedule. The fact that we don’t really know if there will be a season certainly played a role in that unveiling, but at least one NFL coach says the schedule makes him optimistic that the season will start on time.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh says the fact that the Ravens are slated to open the season with archrival Pittsburgh must mean the league is confident that it will have a full season.
That’s not the only intriguing Week 1 matchup that helps Harbaugh’s belief. The week revolves around the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and has the Washington Redskins facing the New York Giants and the New York Jets taking on the Dallas Cowboys. Is Harbaugh reading too much into it or is he onto something there? For the sake of sports, let’s hope he’s got a point.
John Harbaugh joined 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore with The Norris and Davis Show to discuss what he’s doing during the lockout, why he’s optimistic the league will play a full season, having the second-easiest schedule, facing his brother on Thanksgiving, Derrick Mason’s comment that Roger Goodell is a joke and the upcoming draft.
What is life like for a coach during a lockout?:
“It hasn’t really changed. After the draft and everything, we’ll probably start really feeling it because the guys aren’t here yet, and I guess they probably won’t be. But right now it’s just full steam ahead for the draft and we’re working on football. … It’s just a lot of ball right now. I wish the players were around. I miss those guys.”
Is he optimistic the league will play a full season?:
“The way I look at it, they scheduled us and the Steelers the first week, so they must be pretty optimistic we’re going to play a full schedule. It’s interesting to me. You look at the schedule, the openers all across the league are pretty compelling. … The 49ers are playing the Seahawks. For anybody that’s been covering Stanford and SC the last few years, that should be pretty interesting.”
On having what has been ranked the second-easiest schedule in the league this season:
“That stuff, people talk about that but from one year to the next it never means anything. Teams always change. The one thing you can be certain of in this league is that nothing is certain. … Obviously there’s a lot of tough matchups on there. We’ve got some west coast trips. … The goal is going to be to go 1-0 and then if we go 1-0 then 2-0.”
On facing off in the first-ever battle of brothers on Thanksgiving:
“It’s going to be wild. I don’t think it’s going to be like any fights we used to have in the driveway. … It probably won’t be that compelling. He and I won’t be lining up against each other. I was a college defensive back and he was a pro quarterback, but he’s getting old. … The matchups that might be more interesting might be Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis and Ray Rice going against their players, Frank Gore, he’s a pretty good player. They’ll make a little more difference in the game than the two coaches.”
On receiver Derrick Mason calling Roger Goodell a joke on the radio:
“I’m around Derrick, when we’re together, every single day and we have a lot of great conversations. The one thing you can count on with Derrick Mason, he’s going to tell you what he thinks. That is definitely true. I wasn’t surprised. … This whole thing with the lockout is tough on everybody. The money part of it’s big, but guys like Derrick, he’s been around and he’s not hurting for money. I just think the guys, from a pride standpoint, a professional standpoint, are starting to feel it.”
On draft philosophies and those predicting the Ravens take Jimmy Smith in the first round:
“It’s a combination, best player definitely but you do look at needs, no doubt. You mix that in. The chances of Jimmy Smith being there at 26, in my mind, are slim to none. But if he’s there, he’s definitely a guy we’d have to consider. There’s probably five or six players that could slide to 26 because what happens is now, with all the quarterbacks and all the pass rushers and all the offensive tackles in the draft, people are going to be jumping up there and taking those guys.”