John Harbaugh Warns Players About 'Stupid' Penalties


Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked Monday for what he learned after watching film of Saturday's second preseason game.

Of the "150 things" he remembered, Harbaugh gave kudos to playmakers such as linebacker Anthony Levine Sr. and wide receivers Jeremy Butler and Chris Moore. As far as negatives, he quickly touched on problems with blitz packages, trouble containing quarterback scrambles and a turnover.

Then he turned to penalties. For 14 sentences and just shy of a full minute, Harbaugh spoke about his displeasure about the Ravens' yellow flags.

Last year, the Ravens ranked sixth in the NFL in penalties called against them (145) and tied for sixth in penalties accepted (122). Baltimore gave up the third-most penalty yards (1,153) in the league.

Thus, Harbaugh has sent a clear, early statement that stupid penalties will not be tolerated this year.

"Some of the penalties you can live with. I tell the guys, 'There are going to be some penalties that you're not going to agree with. There are going to be calls that are going to be judgment calls,'" Harbaugh said, naming pass interference and holding calls as examples.

"You don't compound that by stupid penalties that are of your own creation, because that's when you have 11 penalties. That's when you have seven first downs for an offense created on penalties. That's a great learning experience for us. That's unheard of. I've never heard of that."

An encroachment penalty by defensive tackle Kapron Lewis-Moore gave the Colts a free first down on their second offensive drive. Linebacker Za'Darius Smith committed a neutral zone infraction on the Colts' third drive that also moved the chains. Cornerback Maurice Canady had an encroachment penalty on Indianapolis' next drive in a third-and-3 situation.

The worst penalty was committed by rookie fourth-round defensive tackle Willie Henry on the next-to-last play of the game. Henry jumped early into the neutral zone with five seconds remaining. Instead of attempting a Hail Mary, the Colts trotted out Pat McAfee for a 62-yard field-goal attempt. It fell short, but it could have flipped a 19-18 win into a loss.

"Being in the neutral zone the last play of the game is unfathomable," Harbaugh said. "But those are young guys mostly creating those penalties. That's what we go to work on in meetings tonight and try to play winning football every week."

On Saturday night, Harbaugh was asked whether it's a case of young players being too anxious.

"Overanxious would be a psychological question," Harbaugh said. "So it's either you do it or you don't do it. That's all we have to look at. You look at the ball. You understand snap counts. You don't jump on a hard count."

Penalties could also factor into the Ravens' final 53-man roster. That's how serious Harbaugh is taking them this preseason, as he made clear Saturday night.

"Just way too many penalties," he said. "We need to clean those things up, and guys who do those things just aren't going to be here."

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