Break scrambled eggs with Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh early in the morning and you come to this realization: It would be wonderful if he was providing the coaching quotes at the NovaCare Complex.
That's not to say that Harbaugh is a better head coach than Andy Reid. He'd have to lose four more AFC championship games and a Super Bowl to reach Reid's status, and that is meant as a compliment to the Eagles' coach.
Harbaugh just gets the media part of his business a lot better than Reid, and he's comfortable enough to have an open discussion about all sorts of different things.
Here are some interesting Eagles-related subjects Harbaugh discussed at breakfast this morning in the swanky St. Regis at Monarch Beach hotel:
Could you talk about Quintin Mikell?
"Quintin Mikell is a really good player. I don't know why he doesn't get recognized more. Everybody who plays against him thinks he's a really good player. He will hit you and he doesn't make mistakes and he covers ground."
Did Reid give his assistant coaches input into personnel decisions, especially during free agency and the draft?
"The coaches didn't make decisions, but he always listened to their input. You had to watch all the guys, rank them out and tell them what you thought. If you didn't want a returner or a corner, I don't think Andy was going to take him if the coaches didn't want him."
Is Reid stubborn?
"It's not stubborn if you're right. That's being convicted. I think he really listens a lot. To me, the perception that he doesn't listen to anybody is completely incorrect. Andy listens to his coaches, listens to his scouts and I think Tom (Heckert) has a ton of impact."
Why do members of Reid's coaching tree like Harbaugh and Minnesota's Brad Childress run the ball so much more after leaving the Eagles?
"I think you do whatever gives you the best chance to win. Last year, we ran the ball I think 60 percent of the time and that's what we had to do to be successful. We had a young offensive line and a young quarterback. But it is pretty good to be able to run the ball. We think running the ball and stopping the run is pretty important."
When you realized Donovan McNabb had been benched against you guys, was it a shock to you?
"I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it, but Andy was doing something that he thought was best for the team. When you're a coach and you make a decision like that, there probably are a lot of things that are going on ... and for a lot of reasons, he did that at that time. It's hard to second guess because it turned out to be a great decision. Maybe it unified the team a little bit. Maybe it got Donovan's attention. Whatever the case, Andy had to do something and he did it and that was the right move."
How difficult of a situation was it for Kevin Kolb?
"He did pretty well actually. He moved them down the field on that one drive and then Ed Reed just made a ridiculous play -- an Ed Reed-type play -- and took it back 109 yards for a touchdown. I thought (Kolb) did pretty well when he was in there. All I know is I saw Kevin Kolb every day in practice for a year as the secondary coach when he was going against us as the scout-team quarterback and we'd get in the red zone and we couldn't defend him. I think he's a good player."
How will L.J. Smith fit in with the Ravens?
"I think he's really talented. For us to get a talented tight end like that in the place we got him in the second tier of free agency, even though it's only a one-year deal, we were willing to give him a one-year deal because it was fair to him. It gives him a chance to prove himself."
Why has Smith underachieved?
"The only guy who can pull him out of that is himself. I think the timing in his career is probably really right. Just in talking to him, he has a great perspective on it. He really wants it."
Do you think it helps him to get out of Philadelphia, where he was truly disliked by the fan base?
"It's pretty hard to over estimate the impact of something like that. That can bring a person down pretty quick."
Tra Thomas said Reid and the Eagles' coaching staff needs to be more fiery. Do you agree with that?
"Did anybody tell Tra Thomas he should show more emotion? Andy told Tra Thomas to let your personality show. Andy coaches to his personality and I guarantee you he coaches with plenty of personality and fire inside those four walls. Those players know what Andy is all about. For him to say that, I'd be surprised if that's what Tra meant."
THOUGHTS ON BUCKHALTER
Great to see that former Eagles running back Correll Buckhalter had his good name restored by the drug dealer who claimed he had sold him marijuana.
Of all the athletes I've ever covered, I never saw one who grew up and became more of a quality person than Buckhalter.