Harbaugh on taunting penalties: “I don’t understand them”

Bernard Pollard doesn’t get why he was flagged for taunting during yesterday’s win over the Cardinals.

Same goes for Ray Rice, even though the running back might not be as vocal about expressing his frustration with the taunting penalty he received as Pollard is.

You can include John Harbaugh in the group of Ravens befuddled by the unsportsmanlike conduct flags, as well.

Harbaugh was asked today about the two taunting penalties his team received yesterday against Arizona, and while he declined to delve into the calls in much detail, the Ravens’ head coach clearly didn’t agree with the penalties.

“I saw what happened,” Harbaugh said. “They were both right in front of me. I’m going to have to save (my feelings) for the league, to be honest with you. I don’t understand them, so I look forward to seeing how the league explains it to us.”

Later on in his Monday press conference, Harbaugh re-addressed the flags on Pollard and Rice, saying he doesn’t think those two are the type to showboat or rub success in their opponents’ faces.

“We try to play with class,” Harbaugh said. “You look at Ray Rice, for instance, this guy is nothing but class. He’s been that way from the first day he stepped foot on campus, so to speak. He’s a star. And he plays with emotion and enthusiasm. And I look at Bernard the same way. That’s the way Pittsburgh plays, and that’s the way I think the great teams in this league play. You play with enthusiasm, with emotion, love for the game.

“The NFL has drawn a real clear line on what’s tolerated and what’s not tolerated, and I think our guys are very good at understanding that, and our guys are very respectful of their opponent. So, we just try to walk on that line.”

The Ravens were penalized 11 times for 99 yards during a flag-filled game yesterday, and while they’ve done a decent job limiting the infractions this year (averaging fewer than 7.5 penalties and 58 penalty yards per game this year), there’s the risk that the penalty issues could carry over to this Sunday’s game against the Steelers.

Things between these two rivals are always intense and always heated, and if the Ravens make a few mental errors Sunday night, they know it could cost them big-time.

“Penalties are always really important,” Harbaugh said today. “It’s always a point of emphasis for us. I think what you do is you look at the ones you can do something about, and you correct those. The ones we can do something about, whether it’s a false start ... we really didn’t have too many holding penalties, but those are always something you look at and see what you can do to correct. Things like that, you do. The personal foul penalties, I’m not sure what I would tell our guys about that, but you try to be careful with that.”

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