Ravens wondering where flag for roughing quarterback Joe Flacco is

December 20, 2010|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

While the NFL places an emphasis on protecting quarterbacks, the Ravens are questioning whether that mandate applies to Joe Flacco.

Several Ravens were angered Sunday that the officials didn't throw a flag late in the third quarter when it appeared that New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith planted his knee against Flacco's helmet after a sack by defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson.

"I know his last name is not [Drew] Brees or [Peyton] Manning or [Tom] Brady, but our quarterback is very good. He needs to be protected just like the rest of the bunch," wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "You can't allow our quarterback to be hit after he throws the ball or he's on the ground. That's just not called for. If the league fines them, so be it. But if there's a fine, then there should have been a flag as well."

Asked what he saw on the play, coach John Harbaugh said, "I would say that I saw just what you saw. The guy appears to knee him right in the head after the play when he was on the ground. I mean, it's clear-cut."

Harbaugh, who said the organization will send film of the play to the league for an explanation, declined to compare Flacco to other quarterbacks in the league.

"I don't know to make comparisons, but I know he's not getting the calls, and it's a fact over the last three years," Harbaugh said. "That's just documented. I think the officials do the best job they can, and we support them in trying to do the best job they can."

This incident enraged Flacco, who was caught on camera yelling expletives as he complained to officials.

When a reporter asked Flacco about his rare display of emotion, he said, "I have my things on the sidelines sometimes. I don't know that they always get caught. But apparently this one did. I wasn't too happy at the time. It happens. I feel like I was hit late."

Asked if he could sum up Flacco's words in a G-rated version, Harbaugh said, "No, I'd probably rather not get into that. But it's important for quarterbacks to stick up for themselves, and Joe did that."

Heap not a candidate for IR

The move to promote Ravens second-year tight end Davon Drew to the active roster from the practice squad should not be interpreted as a sign of bad news for starter Todd Heap.

Harbaugh said he did not think that the pulled right hamstring that has sidelined Heap for the last two contests would warrant a decision to place him on injured reserve, which would end his season.

"I'm certain he'll play, and I assume it'll be before the end of the regular season," Harbaugh said. "Actually, just talking to [trainer] Bill T. [Tessendorf] just now, he's fairly optimistic that he's going to play this week. Again, a hamstring is so hard to determine. I think Todd needs two or three good days of practice realistically. If that tips our hand a little bit, so be it. We're going to try to get him ready for this game because we think we're going to need him. Of course, we think we could have used him last time, but you want a healthy Todd Heap. And we also want a guy that's going to be ready for the long haul, too. You don't want to have a re-injury that could knock him out for more weeks. That's kind of the line we're walking right now."

Parmele ready to step in

David Reed has said that he intends to play in the Ravens' next game against the Cleveland Browns. If the rookie kick returner who suffered a concussion Sunday can't play, Jalen Parmele said he is ready.

"I think the biggest thing is just preparing in practice and catching the kicks," said Parmele, the team's primary kick returner for six of the first seven games who averaged 26.3 yards on three kickoffs after Reed left in the first quarter because of the concussion. "It's natural. I know that I've done it before. It's kind of like you just get into the rhythm of things and you get into the flow of things."

Still, the loss of Reed could be critical, Harbaugh conceded.

"If David Reed can't go, it's going to hurt because he's become a real special-teams anchor for us," Harbaugh said Monday. "He's a return guy, he's been big in coverage in both punts and kickoffs, and also we were trying to work him into the game plan as you saw yesterday, a lot more wide receiver. He was playing a lot at wide receiver before he got dinged on the kickoff return."

Oher's false starts

After incurring his offensive line-leading eighth false start and 10th penalty of the season Sunday, left tackle Michael Oher said he must correct what is becoming an alarming habit. Harbaugh agreed with Oher.

"I think it's something we've got to get resolved," Harbaugh said Monday. "He's so quick and so athletic that sometimes he beats it. And whether their guy jumped first or not, it's hard for those guys [the officials] to see it. We send all that in, and they talk to their officials about it. But we have to clean that up. We still have too many pre-snap infractions on offense, and it puts us behind the 8-ball."

Ellerbe makes a statement

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