'School was out ' Thursday for many NFL teams, as the team offseason programs concluded and Summer break began for the players. Some teams truly celebrated, as the Buccaneers canceled practice on account of high temperatures, went bowling, and treated themselves to some shaved ice, courtesy of DT Gerald McCoy. The Patriots, and Dolphins both called off Thursday's practices too.
However, the Ravens would have none of that. While it was the 'last day of school', Coach Harbaugh showed no mercy. The Ravens battled through hot weather, as temperatures soared to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average humidity was 81% in Owings Mills this Thursday. Coach pushed the players as hard as he could before they went on break, scheduling a two and a half hour practice. Per NFL Media's Albert Breer, the team "went hard for well over two hours." Breer said the team went over many things, including "spirited 11-on-11 work that was simulated to game conditions." The drill mimicked real gameplay, with the offense on one sideline, and the defense on the other. There were substitutions, and a fast pace of play.
When all was said and done, and a good effort had been put forth, Coach called the practice only ten minutes early, he was very satisfied, saying "Guys fought through it. I’m happy with where we’re at and looking forward to where we’re going."
After practice, Harbaugh had some wise words as to why he pushes his players so hard, saying "You can go to the movies anytime -- we only get three of these practices. Guys get four weeks to go to the movies if they want. You don't have those four weeks to practice and be together like this. I just think we have guys that love football. I want guys that would rather practice than go to the movies."
It's no mystery that Harbaugh is a motivator, and pushes his squad to the limits, expecting competitiveness and for them to give it their all.
"I think you can have a great relationship and you can inspire somebody to be the best at what they do,'' Harbaugh said. "If you're not willing to push people to achieve the most they can achieve, you don't deserve to call yourself a coach. I think if you watch me, I believe in relating to people and correcting problems. That's also [Steve Bisciotti's] way, and I think it's the right way."
- John Harbaugh
It's instances like these, when the Ravens are giving it their all on the practice field, and their peers are off bowling and enjoying delicious shaved ice, that give the Ravens an advantage. The team's constant postseason appearances wouldn't happen without hard work, and hours of practicing and perfecting plays in the hot Summer sun. It's the little things that make a big difference, and the Ravens know that very well.