Poor coaches. They try so hard not to say anything when they speak.

Sometimes, they slip and say something interesting. Kind of like what happened to Ravens rookie coach John Harbaugh when doing a conference call with Miami reporters.

Asked to comment on Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who was fired as Miami's head coach after last year's 1-15 season, Harbaugh said: "He was an effective coach in Miami last year, even though the results weren't what people were hoping for. He did a great job there, with what he had to work with."

Harbaugh was A-OK up to those final seven words.

Naturally, the media passed along those final seven words to the Dolphins, who were preparing for today's game against the Ravens.

"What I would say," said Dolphins defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday, "is, what did we have to work with as players?"

Freeney refreshing

I love Lambeau Field as much as the next non-Purple person. But I also found it refreshing when Colts DE Dwight Freeney didn't go into full Chris Berman mode when asked what he had been told about Lambeau before his first trip there today.

"I heard the field was bad," Freeney said. "That's about it."

If penalties kill ya, then ...

We're told 12,000 times per telecast that "penalties will kill ya." Then wouldn't it stand to reason that a lack of penalties would make a better team? Apparently not. The least penalized team in the league is Houston (11 penalties, average of 2.2 per game). The Texans are also 1-4.

The fewest penalties per game during a nonstrike season is 3.0 by the 1972 Lions. They went 8-5-1 and finished second in the NFC Central.

Haslett: One for the sideline

We've all seen coaches get clobbered on the sideline. Joe Paterno, Charlie Weis, Mike Tice. All have been toppled by a player flying out of bounds.

Rams interim coach Jim Haslett apparently decided enough was enough when he saw Washington 5-11, 182-pound cornerback Leigh Torrence coming toward him last week.

Haslett clobbered Torrence with a forearm. A ticked Torrence got up and exchanged heated words with the former NFL linebacker.

"I figured it was him or me," Haslett said. "He was going to run me over or I was going to get him. I got a good shot on him."

Quote of the week

"The biggest thing that I try to impress upon our players is don't let it be so close that a call decides your fate.'' -- Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, when asked about all the blown calls by officials this season.

Stats of the week

16: The Chiefs' league-high number of rookies, most of whom start or contribute heavily.

1: Years remaining on the contracts of Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards and GM Carl Peterson. P.S.: That could explain why KC backed off on trading one of its best veterans (Tony Gonzalez) for a draft pick.

Not as crazy as you think

Now is about the time we usually write, "Sheesh, what a crazy league this is." Well, it's not as crazy as you might think. Just follow the bouncing ball. Literally.

The lowly Rams upset the Redskins last week. A shocker, no doubt. But the Redskins were minus-2 in the turnover differential.

The Vikings needed a field goal in the closing seconds to beat the pathetic Lions. Angry fans went nuts over the two-point win. But the Vikings were minus-2 in the turnover differential. Before the Vikings won that game, teams with a turnover differential of minus-2 or worse were 6-24 this season.

Mark Craig • mcraig@startribune.com