Rams Coach Jeff Fisher Tells Ravens To 'Look In Mirror'
Update: Harbaugh was asked about Fisher's 'look in the mirror' comment in the video above, and clarified that he never insinuated the Rams play dirty.
"That's unfortunate because that insinuation was never made," Harbaugh said. "My guess is that when he was informed of it, he probably was a little bit misinformed of the intent of the statement, because that's not what I meant to say. It's a tough game, it was a hard-fought game, it was a physical game, it was an emotional game. That's the kind of game you always expect to get with a Jeff Fisher-coached team. That's the way their guys play. It's not meant to insinuate anything negative, and if he came back with a negative connotation, then that's too bad. If he was saying it in a positive way in terms of 'look in the mirror,' that could be construed as a positive I guess, huh? I'll just take it as a compliment and leave it at that."
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked Monday about a punt return play in which three flags were thrown against his team.
Here was Harbaugh's response:
"I saw the punter hit one of our guys dead in the back that [the officials] missed. I saw our guy retaliate, which is not what you want to see. Then I saw a free-for-all out there, which is not unusual against the team we were playing."
Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher apparently heard the comment and said the Ravens "need to take a look in the mirror" on his weekly ESPN 101 radio show. The Ravens were penalized 10 times for 137 yards.
"I'm kind of intrigued by some of the stuff - and I can't verify it - but the insinuations or whatever of, that we were a dirty team coming out," Fisher said. "Then I've got plays I've got to send the league office where their players are hitting us in the mouth after plays with fists. It was allowed in the game because it wasn't called, and I'm not complaining. We played hard."
(For context, I've embedded video of both coaches' comments. Harbaugh is in the video above, and Fisher is in the video below. Fisher's response on the topic starts at about the 22-minute mark.)
For about three weeks now, other teams have suggested the Rams have played dirty. So the Ravens aren't alone. It started after their game against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 8, when Head Coach Mike Zimmer and NBC analyst Rodney Harrison accused the Rams of a "cheap shot" on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Harbaugh went through his team's penalties one-by-one on Monday, and he did point out where he believed his players were wrong. He specifically called out safety Terrence Brooks for a hit out of bounds on return man Tavon Austin. Harbaugh called the hit "unacceptable."
Fisher seems to agree.
"We're a dirty team and they're hitting us two or three seconds after the play is over, and they hit Tavon out of bounds? We had six penalties and they averaged about 5 yards apiece. ... They need to take a look in the mirror," Fisher said.
On the season, the Rams have committed 81 penalties, while Baltimore has committed 78. The Rams are 18th in penalty yards (610) and the Ravens are 29th (751). The number of penalties, however, sometimes isn't as important as looking at the nature of each penalty individually.
Forsett Clearly In Ravens' Plans For 2016
If there was any question that running back Justin Forsett would be back in a Ravens uniform next season, Harbaugh erased all doubt Monday.
He said he expects Forsett to be full-speed and ready to go during the offseason program and noted the 30-year-old veteran is still under contract.
Was there any real reason to think Forsett would be cut loose, Jamison Hensley?
"It wasn't considered a sure bet," the ESPN reporter wrote.* *
"Forsett will turn 31 next season, Baltimore can create salary-cap room by cutting him this offseason or next, and the Ravens drafted running backs (Buck Allen and Lorenzo Taliaferro) in each of the past two drafts."
Ravens Probably Preferred Manziel Over McCown
ESPN will have to start from scratch on their Monday Night Football promo of the Ravens-Browns game.
When it aired last Monday, it pretty much only featured Johnny Manziel.
Well, as the Browns announced Tuesday, Manziel is out and Josh McCown is back in after video surfaced of Manziel partying over the bye weekend.
Not only is this bad news for Manziel, but it might not be the best news for the Ravens either. That's because McCown lit up Baltimore in Week 5 by throwing for a whopping 457 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He led Cleveland to a 33-30 overtime win.
Flacco's Injury Tells Us Ravens Need Bookend Tackle
Wherever the Ravens end up selecting in the first round of 2016 NFL Draft, The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec believes General Manager Ozzie Newsome should consider taking an offensive tackle.
He says Flacco's injury is "further proof" the team is in need of someone who can consistently protect their franchise quarterback.
"Don’t misunderstand: I'm not putting Flacco's injury all on left tackle James Hurst, who entered the game as a substitute for injured starter Eugene Monroe, and rolled into Flacco's left knee," wrote Zrebiec. "But Monroe's continued struggles to stay healthy have become problematic.* *
"… A lack of stability on the quarterback's blindside will hold back any offense. Cutting Monroe after the season would create a significant amount of dead money on the salary cap, so I'm not necessarily advocating that. But with Monroe continually battling health issues, Hurst not establishing himself as a long-term answer and starting right tackle Rick Wagner a year away from free agency, the Ravens will have to at least consider taking a tackle if a top one is available when they're on the clock."
Could This Be Clausen's Audition For Next Year?
The Ravens claimed quarterback Jimmy Clausen off waivers yesterday after he was cut by the Chicago Bears.
It was a natural move seeing as Clausen played under Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman and knows the offense. That's a big plus so late in the season.
"I have a sneaking suspicion that he will see the field before the regular season is over," wrote Russell Street Report's Tony Lombardi. "Depending upon how he does, it could be his audition for the backup roll next season, particularly if Trestman returns, which I fully expect."
The Ravens will need to solidify backup options this offseason. Matt Schaub's contract only lasts through 2015, and he will be an unrestricted free agent come March.