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John Harbaugh Agrees With NFL Vote to Ban Hip-Drop Tackle

Head Coach John Harbaugh
Head Coach John Harbaugh

NFL Owners banned the hip-drop tackle by unanimous vote Monday during the league's annual meetings.

The league has defined a hip-drop tackle as using the following technique to bring a player to the ground:

1. grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms; and

2. unweights himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner's leg(s) at or below the knee.

Now that tackle will result in a 15-yard penalty and automatic first down. Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson the hip drop tackle to bring down Ravens tight end Andrews short of the goal-line in Week 11 last season. Andrews suffered a cracked fibula, which sidelined him for the next seven games before he returned for the AFC Championship.

Head Coach John Harbaugh was in favor of Monday's decision.

"I think taking the hip drop out of the game is the right thing to do," Harbaugh said. "I think [NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell and [NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations] Troy [Vincent] are on the right path with that. The competition committee is on the right path with that."

Two other rule changes were also approved:

  • Teams will receive a third challenge after one successful challenge. Previously, teams had to be successful on two challenges to receive a third. The proposal was submitted by the Lions.
  • A major foul by the offense will be enforced before a change of possession in situations where there are fouls by both teams.

Jadeveon Clowney, Kyle Van Noy Keeping Dialogue Open With Ravens

Harbaugh said he has maintained contact this offseason with free agent edge rushers Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy.

Van Noy said via social media that he has spoken to General Manager Eric DeCosta about returning to Baltimore.

On Monday, Jets General Manager Joe Douglas confirmed that no agreement had been reached with Clowney after their meeting last week.

Clowney and Van Noy combined for 18.5 sacks last season, and Harbaugh is hopeful the Ravens will re-sign at least one if not both.

"There's optimism with both," Harbaugh said. "I've been texting with both J.D. and Kyle here and there over the last couple weeks. So, yes, I'm hopeful we get one or both of them back."

Josh Johnson Is No. 2 Quarterback While Malik Cunningham Develops

Veteran quarterback Josh Johnson re-signed with Baltimore earlier this month and has become the primary backup to Lamar Jackson, Harbaugh said.

Tyler Huntley, who was the No. 2 quarterback the past three seasons, signed with the Browns in free agency, Harbaugh said Malik Cunningham, who was signed off New England's practice squad last season, is an intriguing prospect who the Ravens will develop.

"Josh will be the backup quarterback," Harbaugh said. "(We're) thrilled to have him back. He can still play at a really high level. He knows the offense inside and out. He contributes to the offense. He and Lamar have a great relationship, so I think he brings so much to us.

"Malik, it's kind of just an opportunity for him. He's a great guy. I love his personality. From what I can see, his work ethic is really good, all those kinds of things. We'll see what happens with that and see how he looks when we get out there."


594: John Harbaugh Discusses Lamar Jackson's Involvement in Evolving Offense

Our insiders, Garrett Downing and Clifton Brown, discuss what we learned from John Harbaugh's time with the media at the annual league meetings. Harbaugh shared insight into the team's plans to address the offensive line, as well as Lamar Jackson's involvement in the offseason process.

Daniel Faelele to Focus Strictly on Right Tackle

Offensive lineman Daniel Faelele has shown he can play both guard and tackle since joining the Ravens, but Harbaugh wants Faelele to place his full attention on right tackle next season. Baltimore is looking for a starter there after trading Morgan Moses to the Jets.

"I would say, let's focus at tackle right now – definitely," Harbaugh said. "Let's see if we get that right tackle thing down and give Daniel a chance to win the job."

Harbaugh said it was a tough decision to trade Moses, a respected veteran who played through injuries last season. However, the trade gave Baltimore more room under the salary cap.

"Morgan Moses is a heck of a player, everybody loves him, he works hard, he's productive, played through injuries last year and was on a team-friendly contract," Harbaugh said. "But in the big picture, when you kind of step back and you look at the whole cap structure, it was tight, and that was an opportunity. Pick up the cap space, create some cushion. And we have a young player there that has a chance to kind of step forward and play well."

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