I completely understand Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh’s reasoning to throw deep, call two timeouts in the final 34 seconds and score a touchdown, despite a commanding 24-13 lead. Outside of the coaches, many of the players, including the younger ones fighting for roster spots, understand Harbaugh’s rationale.
After all, this is the preseason. This is the time to build team chemistry, evaluate younger talent and, let’s be honest, it’s inconceivable to think that John Harbaugh and his staff can get those full evaluations if they take an innocent knee and call it a night.
Take for example Hunter Cantwell, 3rd string quarterback, who is on the fringe. Now, considering that the Ravens are in the market for a veteran QB and the team has shows no indications of letting this year’s 6th round draft choice, Tyrod Taylor get away, you don’t think he was happy Harbaugh called in for the pass play? Heck, coach Harbs presented the younger Chiefs defenders a golden opportunity. I guarantee a few of Kansas City’s defenders would have been thrilled had they been able to get a sack or make a play in pass coverage. To me, I see nothing wrong with what Harbaugh did.
Let’s be honest, this is the preseason. Anytime you have the opportunity to put players in late game situations, you do it, bottom line. Does Todd Haley really have a gripe over Harbaugh’s decision? I’m sure in the heat of the moment it rubbed Haley the wrong way, but imagine if the shoe was on the other foot: does Haley not do the same thing as Harbaugh? Maybe, maybe not.
Trust me when I say this, if Todd Haley ever gets the opportunity to run up the score on John Harbaugh, I expect him to take full advantage.
Here’s what Harbaugh had to say (via the Carroll County Times) in his apology to the Kansas City Chiefs organization and Head Coach Todd Haley:
“I want to apologize to the Chiefs if they feel like we were not doing the right thing at the end of the game,” Harbaugh said. “The mindset was this is preseason. If this had been regular season, we would have been on a knee. The idea in that situation is to give these young guys who work hard and who are trying to make a football team to play the whole 60 minutes and give them a chance to show what they could do… I know that’s debatable. I know there is a point of view both ways. I understand that. But I just felt like that was the right thing to do for our players, to give them a chance to play the game out and see what they could do.”
When describing his post game hand shake with Haley, Harbaugh said the the Chiefs coach said,
“something like, ‘I don’t know about that,’ and I understood that. I just said, ‘Preseason, preseason, for the young guys. And he said, ‘OK.'”
Harbaugh made it a point time and time again that he wasn’t trying to show up the Chiefs or Todd Haley.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Todd Haley and a lot of respect for the Chiefs organization and what they do,” Harbaugh said. “It was just purely about trying to get young guys in a game situation to show their abilities.”
I don’t see the big deal. After all, this was just another preseason game right? If John Harbaugh and the entire coaching staff don’t take a good hard look at what they have in their youngsters, then when can they? They may never get another opportunity again and may never truly know what hidden gems they may or may not find on this roster.