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John Harbaugh 'Not Happy' With Penalties

Posted Nov 7, 2012

The replacement refs are gone, but the Ravens have still had the second-most penalties.


Head Coach John Harbaugh kind of shrugged off the penalties called by the replacement refs earlier this season.

When the Ravens were leading the NFL in penalties after Week 7, Harbaugh said they were working in the direction of fixing them.

Two weeks later, the Ravens are still having issues and Harbaugh wants to see improvement.

They had nine penalties in Cleveland for a whopping 82 yards. The Ravens are second in the NFL in penalties accepted against them with 66 and have the third-most penalty yardage (577). Only the Washington Redskins have more penalties with 75.

“Not happy about it. I’m not happy about it,” Harbaugh said Wednesday.

“I think some of those calls early in the year with the replacement officials, we looked at and we said, ‘We don’t know about those calls.’ But, the ones since then are all calls that we need to be concerned about. We have to clean that up. We’re capable of doing it.”

Reporters asked quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice whether the Ravens are an “undisciplined” team. Both eschewed the notion.

“I wouldn’t really give the time of the day to it to necessarily give it too much of an argument,” Flacco said. “If you know our guys, I think you would understand that we are pretty disciplined. I guess stuff happens out there. Things get chippy out there.”

“We aren’t undisciplined,” Rice said. “We are a very aggressive group, and we like to get after it.”

Safety Bernard Pollard said there are things that fans don’t see sometimes at the bottom of the piles.

“We can’t get caught up in the bickering matches and all that else,” Pollard said. “People are going to play us hard. They’re going to do anything they can to make it look like they beat up a Raven. We’re just going to play ball.”

The Ravens have done well in the penalty department the past two seasons. They had the ninth fewest last year with 92. They were in the bottom half of the league (18th) with 90 in 2010.

Baltimore had issues with pre-snap penalties early on this season. They have done a better job of cleaning those up, and Harbaugh said they have to keep building on that.

But what the Ravens have had particular problems with recently are the 15-yard costly penalties such as unnecessary roughness, personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct. The Ravens had one of each in Cleveland.

Running back Bernard Pierce had the personal foul for kicking an opponent as he was getting off the ground. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe got the unnecessary roughness for a helmet-to-helmet hit. Harbaugh got the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for having “too much enthusiasm” trying to get a call.

“Obviously, the coach, don’t get one on the sideline,” Harbaugh said. “That’s my own issue. I’m quite certain we can get that corrected.”

Harbaugh’s comment got a little chuckle from the assembled media. It’s his second penalty this season.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs said Harbaugh actually took that penalty for the linebacker, who was  yelling at the referee.

“You just can’t let the emotion of the game get to you so much,” Suggs said. “If it’s a play, you kind of just have to have a short memory and get over it.”

When it comes to correcting the other penalty issues, Harbaugh said it’s a two-part process of talking about them and doing it in practice.

Harbaugh said those are tougher to correct because sometimes an opposing player’s helmet drops into the “strike zone” after a defender has committed to hitting them.

“But, I told them this morning, ‘Hey, let’s just hit them where we are supposed to hit them,’” Harbaugh said. “’Let’s get down and hit them in the body where we are supposed to hit them. We’ll hit them just as hard. Maybe we’ll hit them harder.’”

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