New Tomlin Footage Emerges, May Change Minds
Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens have "moved on" from the Mike Tomlin interference incident, but new footage caught on tape by the Pittsburgh television station KDKA-TV won't let the topic die.
The new camera angle, which can be seen in the Deadspin GIF above (mobile users tap "View in Browser"), may change your mind on Tomlin's intent or solidify your opinion that he stepped on the field of play purposely.
"I didn't think Mike Tomlin got in Jacoby Jones way on purpose. But after seeing this, I'm not so sure," tweeted WBAL's Gerry Sandusky.
From the released footage, Tomlin can be seen taking a side-step toward game action with his foot planted on the field as returner Jacoby Jones was breaking to the sideline. For many onlookers, it casts doubt on Tomlin's explanation that "I lost my placement."
"Perhaps the truth is that Tomlin precisely found his placement," wrote ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio. "[The video] shows Tomlin doing anything but wandering aimlessly as he stared at the M&T Bank Stadium's Jumbotron. With his right leg planted on the edge of the field, Tomlin steps with his left leg not absent-mindedly but deliberately, like someone who is trying to stake out a specific piece of turf."
Reports indicate that Tomlin could be facing a six-figure fine and maybe suspension for being on the field. The Steelers organization could also be fined and even lose a 2014 draft pick.
NFL.com's Albert Breer says the new video makes Tomlin "look bad," but he doesn't think it will affect the NFL's ruling much. The camera pans over mid-step, so viewers can't see exactly from where he started his movement onto the field.
That said, Florio believes the NFL may have more unseen footage and angles that will shed further light on Tomlin's intent and could perhaps affect punishment. The league has not yet posted the coaches film on its Game Rewind service, which typically includes an end zone angle.
"The end zone angle could shed more light on what Tomlin was doing just before he ended up standing where he was when Jones approached," Florio wrote. "There could be other video, such as the raw, unedited coaching tape, that shows Tomlin's full movements from the moment the ball was kicked to the instant he flinched toward Jones. Likewise, the league could ask for video shot by one of the many NBC cameras that were blanketing the playing area."
By the way, if you haven't seen it, here is a new video of the Ravens' raw sideline reaction to the interference. Interestingly, Jones' teammates didn't believe him when he said Tomlin got in his way on the field. But when the play was shown on the RavensVision boards, receiver Torrey Smith apologized.
Time To Start Calling It Smith Island?
After two and a half years of intense scrutiny, things seemed to have clicked for Ravens 2011 first-round draft selection Jimmy Smith.
Smith has played so well recently that The Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel floated out the idea that it might be time to start calling it Smith Island.
After all, Smith ranks second only to (Darrelle) Revis Island in yards per snap in coverage over the last seven games, per Pro Football Focus (PFF). He also ranks second only to Tennessee cornerback Alterraun Verner in cover snaps per reception.
"Of course, that would be cherry-picking stats and seven games is a small sample size, so it's too soon to call it Smith Island," Vensel wrote. "But the point is that Smith's coverage area has been pretty desolate over the past two months.
"Not many people outside of Baltimore are talking about it. But if Smith … continues to shut down wide receivers down the stretch, he may get some national recognition."
PFF analysts are seeing the same change in Smith (and James Ihedigbo for that matter) this season. Smith got an overall double-digit negative grade from the statistical website in 2012, but he has an 8.4 grade over the last seven games.
"One of the things people tend to do at times is assume bad players are bad players for good," wrote PFF's Sam Monson. "They can never improve or even just enjoy a season of excellent play along the way. The reverse is true as well, but on this occasion I'm looking at a pair of players Smith and Ihedigbo] who have graded poorly in the past, but are currently [enjoying something of a run of form."
Best To Worst PFF Grades
We're a few days removed, but I haven't had a chance to highlight the PFF grades from the Ravens' Thanksgiving Day victory over the Steelers.
In the table below, you can find the best to worst grades on offense and defense, along with each player's snap count.
Even though defensive tackle Haloti Ngata got the Ravens' best defensive rating ( 2.1) in the game, Monson calls him a "very frustrating player to watch."
"[Ngata] laid down a marker on the very first snap of the game, swimming his way across a pair of Steelers blockers to blow up the run in the backfield," Monson wrote. "This was J.J. Watt-type stuff, but it was to be the exception not the rule for the Ravens' lineman in this game. He regularly flashes the kind of dominance he is capable of, but has never been able to deploy it on as regular a basis as the best players in the game at his position, and [as] such has usually been underrated by PFF compared to the general view of him."
For the second week in a row, left tackle Eugene Monroe got the Ravens' best offensive grade ( 2.3). With both Monroe and fellow tackle Michael Oher set to become free agents this offseason, Monson says the Steelers game shows why it's pretty clear the Ravens should pay Monroe and let Oher walk if they can only afford one under the salary cap.
Monroe surrendered just one pressure, per PFF, while Oher allowed a sack, hit and two hurries, and also jumped early three times.
"I can't see them finding any way to pay both guys," Monson wrote. "So who gets the cash? Well, at the risk of articulating the no-brainer, it has to be Monroe. … Both players were former high draft picks and only one of them has really developed into the kind of tackle teams look for."
|Name||Snap Count||Rating||Name||Snap Count||Rating|
|Eugene Monroe||68||2.3||Haloti Ngata||42||2.1|
|Joe Flacco||68||1.4||Jimmy Smith||64||1.8|
|A.Q. Shipley||68||1.0||Jameel McClain||20||1.7|
|Marshal Yanda||68||1.0||James Ihedigbo||67||1.2|
|Brandon Stokley||5||0.9||Lardarius Webb||66||1.0|
|Gino Gradkowski||68||0.7||DeAngelo Tyson||12||0.5|
|Vonta Leach||8||0.6||Matt Elam||67||0.4|
|Ricky Wagner||4||0.6||Josh Bynes||39||0.4|
|Tandon Doss||14||0.2||Pernell McPhee||14||0.4|
|Jacoby Jones||49||0.0||Arthur Jones||34||0.3|
|Marlon Brown||57||0.0||Corey Graham||56||0.3|
|Jah Reid||2||0.0||Terrell Suggs||62||0.2|
|Bernard Pierce||22||-0.2||Elvis Dumervil||34||0.2|
|Torrey Smith||64||-0.6||Arthur Brown||8||-0.5|
|Dallas Clark||24||-1.4||Chris Canty||30||-0.7|
|Ed Dickson||45||-1.9||Terrence Cody||16||-1.1|
|Ray Rice||46||-2.2||Chykie Brown||3||-1.4|
|Michael Oher||68||-3.2||Daryl Smith||67||-3.1|
- @QadryIsmail: @ChrisCanty99 "Joe Flacco is like an all weather tire, very reliable in tough conditions, but sometimes not the smoothest ride." #Ravens [Twitter]
- @RavensInsider: Ravens have until Dec. 11 to decide whether to activate Dennis Pitta from IR-designated to return, according to the NFL. [Twitter]
@AKinkhabwala NFL Network]: Steelers' Ryan Clark on Raven Jacoby Jones' laughing off Mike Tomlin stepping on the field on his KOR: "That just says Jacoby's [not a turd." [Twitter] * @AKinkhabwala: Ryan Clark also said he'd been "advised" not to talk abt Tomlin's potential punishment. Said Tomlin told team: I don't need you to defend me [Twitter] * @kosevendeuce guard Kelechi Osemele]: Sometimes when I think about all I've done and all I've been through I can't believe [I'm only 24. [Twitter] * @GerrySandusky: Excited to launch my new website: gerrysandusky.com. It has an excerpt from my upcoming book to be released in April 2014. Take a look. [Twitter] * @gdowning14: I love when the Christmas tree goes up here at the Castle. [Twitter] * Really, really great video on Ravens fan, Julie, and why she loves football. She just made the top 10 finalists for the NFL's "Together We Make Football" contest. Watch her story and vote for her here. [Togetherwemakefootball.com] * @OJBrigance: Thank you everyone for the kind words about my story on @CBSSunday! Remember, quitting is never an option! [Twitter] * And here's the story … [CBSNews.com]