Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh
Charles Krupa, Associated Press
From Baltimore: A look ahead to the Vikings-Ravens game
- Article by: Baltimore Sun staff reports
- December 3, 2013 - 8:43 AM
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he's moved on from the Thanksgiving night sideline incident involving Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin.
As the NFL continues to investigate the sideline incident involving Tomlin to determine what level of discipline he'll face, the Ravens say they've already turned the page.
Tomlin — who wasn't penalized for sideline interference after nearly colliding with kick returner Jacoby Jones during a 73-yard kickoff return Thursday night — and the Steelers are expected to face a six-figure fine from the league within the next few days. As far as the Ravens are concerned, it's not a big deal because they wound up winning the game.
“Truthfully, we've moved on from that,” Harbaugh said. “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.
“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 acknowledged that the NFL did send a memo and video from vice president of officiating Dean Blandino last week that included a reminder about the need to stay back on the sideline.
“No, I don't need anybody to keep me back on the sideline,” Harbaugh said. “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 one of the newest members of the influential NFL competition committee that includes Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome.
When asked if Tomlin should be held to a higher standard considering he's on the committee, Harbaugh replied: “I think everybody should be held to a high standard. 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. So, I'll be good to leave it at that.”
Ravens players and coaches returned to work Monday to begin preparations for the Vikings after being given the weekend off.
“Everybody got two days off, which was great,” Harbaugh said. “I had a chance to watch a little football, which was interesting and entertaining. A chance to heal at this time of year going into December is a big plus for us.” … The Vikings are 3-8-1 following an overtime win over the Chicago Bears where running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 211 yards on 35 carries. Peterson has 1,208 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
“It’s not just him,” Harbaugh said. “They have a heck of an offensive line. They’ve got playmakers at wide receiver. Defensively, they can rush the passer really well. They’re stout upfront. They present you a lot of different challenges. It’s a team, and Peterson is definitely the building block for them.”
When play concluded Sunday the Ravens were in an even better playoff position in the AFC than they were when they exited the field late Thanksgiving night, following a 22-20 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The six 5-6 teams have been whittled down to just two 6-6 squads, the Ravens and the Miami Dolphins. All three 4-7 squads were beaten this past week as well, resulting in only one of the teams staying in the playoff hunt.
As the Ravens returned to the team facility Monday to start preparations for the Minnesota Vikings, their path to the playoffs was certainly more clear.
“We’re excited about where we’re at,” Harbaugh said. “You can’t really look back and say, ‘We wish this would have happened, or we wish that would have happened.’ What has happened has happened, good and not so good. But we are in position to control our own destiny. That is what you try to accomplish going into December, so we’ve accomplished that.”
However, with six teams within a game of the sixth and finally playoff spot which the Ravens currently hold, Harbaugh sees no reason to look beyond Sunday’s game against the Vikings and what remains on the Ravens’ schedule.
“The interesting thing is that everybody is playing everybody right now,” he said. “… A lot of times, it helps us either way, and it hurts us both ways — it doesn’t really matter. What matters to us [is] we just have to win. If we win games, things are going to work out for us. If we don’t, things are going to be tough.”
Statistically, the Ravens have the second toughest remaining schedule over the six contenders for the final AFC wild-card spot.
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