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Harbaugh's real response will come later

11/27/2013

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't share his thoughts on Joe Flacco ripping the team's use of the Wildcat offense. He sidestepped the question as to whether the Ravens would continue to use it. He didn't even have a nickname for the Ravens' new offensive formation, although he chuckled at one reporter's suggestion.

In other words, Harbaugh said nothing of significance on what has become the hottest topic of the week. Like he does with most controversial issues, Harbaugh did his best not to stir up what has been a touchy subject these days.

I don't think it's a stretch to think Harbaugh cringed when he heard Flacco's terse comments on the Wildcat. Harbaugh's first message when he was hired was "Team, team and team," and Flacco's assessment of the new wrinkle came across as self-serving.

And, although Harbaugh doesn't want to give his opinion on what Flacco said, the frequency that the Ravens use the Wildcat in the future will indicate Harbaugh's real response. If the Ravens use it again throughout the season, Harbaugh is saying this is best for the team, no matter how his $120.6 million quarterback feels about it. If the Ravens shelve the Wildcat, you could interpret the team is took Flacco's opinion into account.

To get a better feel of how Harbaugh handled the matter, this is the first few minutes of his Wednesday chat with reporters ...

What's your reaction to Flacco's comments about the Wildcat?

"My reaction would be my reaction. I'll just leave it at that," Harbaugh said. "One thing about Joe and I think any great player is they want the ball in their hands. He's always been that way. He's always felt that way. I want him to have the ball in his hands."

Does Flacco's dislike of the Wildcat change whether the team will run it?

"We're going to do everything we can do to move the ball offensively," Harbaugh said. "We've got guys that can play [and] that we'll put on the field in different spots where we feel like we need to. And all our guys support that."

There was a light-hearted moment Wednesday when Harbaugh was asked if he had a nickname for the new offensive formation, which puts backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor behind center and splits out Flacco as a wide receiver.

"I don't have one off the top of my head," Harbaugh said. "I'm sure you have been thinking about it now for about 24 hours, so what do you got?"

A reporter suggested "The Joe Hates This Package."

Harbaugh laughed before saying, "I like it."

Harbaugh was later asked whether he has grown to like Flacco's outspoken nature.

"I would say yes," Harbaugh said. "But I'm not really into analyzing all of that right now. It's just about, let's go play the game and let's be our best."