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Is Harbaugh pushing Ravens too hard?

7/31/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
"Camp Hardball" is quickly turning into "Camp Hard-luck" in Baltimore.

The injury bug arguably has hit the Baltimore Ravens harder than any NFL team this summer. The list of players who have been hurt in the past week include running back Willis McGahee (leg), offensive tackles Adam Terry (ankle) and Jared Gaither (ankle), and defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (knee) and Kelly Gregg (leg). McGahee and Gregg have since returned to practice.

First-year head coach John Harbaugh promised to change the loose culture in Baltimore, and he's doing exactly that by having practices that are both high-energy and very physical. The side-effect has been a rash of ailments to key players.

It is no surprise that Harbaugh is going 100 miles per hour in training camp. It's the only way he knows. He's the son of a coach and a longtime special-teams assistant, and Harbaugh has taken that hard-nosed mentality to the lead post.

But it may be time to ease the foot off the pedal just a little bit.

Harbaugh doesn't have to revert to the country-club style of camp ran by former coach Brain Billick. But for the sake of his team's overall health, Harbaugh should begin searching for a happier medium in the coming weeks.

The Ravens need to have at least 53 players left when they face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 7.