Nuggets from Jim Harbaugh conference call

49ers coach opines on NFL schedule-makers, Lewis-absent defense, 1998 with Ravens, "Suck for Luck" phrase

November 21, 2011|By Edward Lee

The conference call with San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh just wrapped up after about 25 minutes, and here are a few tidbits from the interview.

*Harbaugh seemed to be taking an indirect shot at the schedule-makers for making the 49ers fly across the country to Baltimore after beating a NFC West rival in the Arizona Cardinals, 23-7, on Sunday. “There’s no doubt we got the short end of the straw on this one, but we’ll see if we can make history,” he said. “This is the first time two brothers have coached against each other, the first time an NFL has traveled three time zones to play a Thursday night game after a Sunday game since the league went to a 16-game schedule. So there are a couple firsts, and we’ll do everything we can to be successful.” Asked if he would use this slight as motivation with his players, Harbaugh said, “There will be plenty of motivation for this ball game. We feel like we’re playing the best team that we’ve played all season, and they might be the best team we’ve played all year. We don’t know that or who the best teams are yet, but they’re definitely the best team that we’ve played so far. We know what a huge challenge this will be.”

*Harbaugh said he didn’t notice any drop-off in the Ravens defense without 12-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker Ray Lewis in Sunday’s 31-24 win against the Cincinnati Bengals. “Dominating – like that team defensively has been all season long,” Harbaugh said. “It’s been a dominating, stifling defense.” Asked if he noticed the defense missing a step without Lewis, Harbaugh said, “I think that the Ravens would rather have Ray out there. We would rather have Ray over on the sideline. But I thought they did what they always do. They played dominating defense. [Dannell] Ellerbe played great team defense right along with the rest of that unit and that group. Did they miss a beat or did they not miss a beat? I don’t have an opinion on that other than they played great defense.”

*Harbaugh spent one season with the Ravens, completing 56 percent of his passes (164-of-293) and registering 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for a 6-10 squad in 1998. Harbaugh reflected on his time in Baltimore, saying, “I really enjoyed living in Baltimore. I lived there for about 10 months, and there was good memories of wins. There were some tough losses there. [Coach] Ted Marchibroda, my teammates, I saw firsthand what a tremendous organization that the Baltimore Ravens had in place. Like many great organizations, still many of those people are in place today. They’ve done a tremendous job and stood the test of time. [Equipment manager] Ed Carroll, looking forward to seeing him. So it’s a great organization. Got to see it firsthand and got to learn many things from my year there.”

*Harbaugh took umbrage when a reporter asked him for his thoughts on a “Suck for Luck” campaign, which describes the supposed process by which NFL teams lose for the right to draft Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck who is expected to be selected first in the draft in April. “Don’t know anything about it,” Harbaugh said. “Don’t have any comment about it. I think it’s kind of a ridiculous thing to talk about. Don’t misquote me. Not that Andrew Luck is a ridiculous thing to talk about, but what you mentioned there, I think that’s a ridiculous phrase.”

After the last question, Harbaugh congratulated the media on keeping him on the phone and preventing him from getting back to work. “I’m sure that maybe this is part of the plan here, to see how long you can distract him on a short week,” he quipped. “You guys have done a marvelous job.”

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