Four days after the Ravens’ 22-20 win over the Steelers, the NFL is still buzzing about the Mike Tomlin-Jacoby Jones incident, where the Pittsburgh head coach had a foot on the field of play during what might have been a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Jones was tracked down by Cortez Allen and settled for a 73-yard return over six points. No flag was thrown and whether Tomlin is at fault for keeping Jones out of the end zone is debatable.
However, what isn’t as arguable is the seriousness with which the league is treating the situation. Reports have said the NFL is considering a hefty six-figure fine and the possible loss of a draft pick. The latter seems a bit excessive, but illustrates just how egregious the league finds it.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the league has included sideline protocol on weekly rules videos issued to the teams.
“There was a videotape that they send out every week, that was part of it. But there’s always five or six points that relate to the game every week that (vice president of officiating) Dean Blandino and the league sends out that’s helpful,” Harbaugh said Monday. “We share all that with our team, as a matter of fact, every Saturday. We want to keep our guys updated on what’s going on as far as what’s important with the officiating.
“No, I don’t need anybody to keep me back on the sideline. Mostly when the play’s coming right at me, I’m pretty adept at getting out of the way. Those guys are big and move really fast. It’s good to stay out of the way.”
Tomlin is a member of the league’s competition committee, which helps shape NFL rules and procedures. Harbaugh was asked whether someone on that committee should be held to a higher standard.
“I think everybody should be held to a high standard,” Harbaugh said. “We’re in the National Football League, no matter what the issue is, and I know that every coach in this league believes that certainly.”
Another angle of Tomlin being in Jones’ path was released today, and Harbaugh said he did see it.
But he also guarded that the Ravens aren’t concerning themselves with it anymore.
“I don’t know how you could not see all that stuff. Over the course, you see it all,” Harbaugh said. “But truthfully, we’ve moved on from that. We have. It’s out there, it’s something that’s in the league’s hands. I thought it’s been addressed a lot and everybody’s talked about it about every angle. I really don’t have anything to add to it. It doesn’t matter what I think or anybody else thinks. It is what it is, and the league will handle it. So our focus really is Minnesota. It’s really not that play. In the end, the good thing is it worked out. We won the game and we had enough points to win the game at the end. So we’ve moved on from that.”
Harbaugh also provided some updates on ailing Ravens coming out of the Steelers game. The coach seemed especially upbeat about cornerback Jimmy Smith, who was involved in the scary head-to-head collision with tailback Le’Veon Bell on the 1-yard line during Pittsburgh’s final possession.
Bell’s helmet was knocked off and he appeared to be unconscious. Both players left the game.
“Jimmy seems to be doing really well. He was doing well right after the game,” Harbaugh said. “He’s going through the concussion protocol now. That was what it was during the course of the game, but everything looks really, really good for Jimmy. Should be fine. You never know with that, but it looks like he’s going to be able to even practice on Wednesday, so we’ll be feeling good about that.”
“(Dumervil) got through the game and he came back in and played. He looks OK. We’re going to have to nurse some things just like we do with a lot of different guys,” Harbaugh said. “Nothing structurally with Stokley. Everybody came out of the game with bumps and bruises, like we said. We expect all those guys to play on Sunday. We just have to see if something flares up between now and then.”
Harbaugh also provided an update on tight end Dennis Pitta, who began practicing on Nov. 20 as he tries to come back from a dislocated hip.
Pitta was placed on injured reserve/designated to return before the season. But Harbaugh wasn’t sure whether the tight end has a limited window to practice before coming back, like with the physically unable to perform list. With the PUP, a player is permitted just three weeks of practice before a team must decide whether to activate him or sideline him for the rest of the season.
Harbaugh addressed the chances of Pitta being activated for Sunday’s visit from the Vikings.
“It’ll probably come down to the end of the week,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve got a pretty good idea that he’s doing well. It’s just a matter of how well - you know, is he feeling good enough, do the doctors feel like he’s ready to play? That’s what it’s going to come down to. So he ran around well last week. You guys know that, and we’ll go through the week this week and see how he does. If he can play, he will, he should. We want to get him up, that’s our goal. But it’s not 100 percent certain at this point.”