September 16, 2011

Coach: If Ravens Chop, Titans Will 'Hurt Them': Several Pittsburgh Steelers players accused the Baltimore Ravens of using chop blocks and cut blocks during their game last weekend. Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said that if the Ravens do that this week against them, the Titans will "hurt them." "You've got to make sure you're doing something that's hopefully going to hurt them, too. You can't just be the recipient of everything. You've got to start doing something that's going to get you back on track and hopefully they'll tone that stuff down when you do something else."

posted by rcade to football at 11:11 AM - 18 comments

Anyone breaking down last week's game film, whether at the league offices, in a team's film room, or at a journalist's desk, would readily be able to identify that stuff, if it is indeed there to be seen.

With that in mind, Gray's comment sounds as much like a public demand for enhanced scrutiny and oversight during the upcoming game as anything else.

Putting the officiating crew on notice and trading on the assumption that the league does not want to see things get out of hand during a game (especially with prior warning) is a more sensible approach than actually engaging in retaliatory activity that may result in injuries or suspensions. It's only Week 2.

It'll be interesting to see how the game is called.

posted by beaverboard at 01:36 PM on September 16

Almost as Gray figures his team needs an additional edge.

And really, Steelers accusing another team of dirty play? Throw them a box of kleenex. They do place a large amount of emphasis on the physical game themselves.

posted by cixelsyd at 02:55 PM on September 16

Agreed. New staff, same Titans.

posted by yerfatma at 04:42 PM on September 16

I miss when the Titans and Ravens were in the same division and played a lot more often. There have been some classic games over the years.

posted by bender at 08:28 PM on September 16

I missed the game this weekend, but on PTI Jaws was reviewing the WHY the Ravens dominated and he pointed to the fact that they were "cutting off" the backside pursuit. He then shows a long TD run to emphasize this which has the NG Hampton engaged with the center while the backside guard throws at his legs. They even highlighted the player getting chopped. I was surprised that an NFL analyst was using an illegal play to make his point, and at no point indicating it was an illegal play.

They do place a large amount of emphasis on the physical game themselves.

There's a difference between dirty and physical. One of my irks is everyone (including players) indicating Hines Ward as dirty when his hits are made between the whistles and legal (until they rewrote the rule last year, anyways). So they were just pissed that he kept playing through the whistle while they stopped a little bit early? Having a Romonowski spit on player, punch them in the head..Haynesworth stomping on players heads...Rodney Harrison diving headfirst into a pile after the guys on the ground...those are dirty plays. Blindsiding a linebacker on a crackback isn't (or at least WASN'T...it is now) a dirty play.

posted by bdaddy at 09:38 AM on September 18

Blindsiding a linebacker on a crackback isn't (or at least WASN'T...it is now) a dirty play.

Yeah, but doing it and then bragging in a press conference about how he goes out there intending to hurt people is a good way to be lumped in with the dickheads.

posted by Hugh Janus at 10:48 AM on September 18

There's a difference between dirty and physical

Come on, Ward and Harrison aren't dirty players? The league found it necessary to implement new rules to protect opponents from blindside hits because of them ... can't be much clearer than that.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:43 AM on September 18

The fact that it wasn't a rule when he was doing it indicates it wasn't illegal (hence dirty). Can't get any clearer than THAT. That's like saying roy williams was a dirty player because he was tackling players by their shoulder pads before they outlawed horse collaring. He was playing within the rules, as was Ward. Now if he KEEPS doing it now that it's against the rules, then you can argue he's dirty. Before that, he's playing well within the rules. Note the same exact hit is LEGAL on punt returns, are those guys that blindsiding punt cover guys dirty? What's the difference?

posted by bdaddy at 11:56 AM on September 18

about how he goes out there intending to hurt people is a good way to be lumped in with the dickheads

When has ward EVER bragged about intending to hurt someone? Show me and I'll take back what i said and admit he's dirty. I won't need to though, because you're pulling that out of your ass.

posted by bdaddy at 12:00 PM on September 18

Ah, you're right, it was Harrison. So I pulled it out of his mouth by mistake (his mouth, my ass: great pair); it's an easy error, as they both play for the same team and are both well-known for play brutal enough to force the league to change the rules.

I won't need to though, because you're pulling that out of your ass.

This sort of approach is also a good way to be lumped in with the dickheads.

posted by Hugh Janus at 12:14 PM on September 18

So when Ward is voted by his peers a couple years in a row to be the dirtiest player in the NFL, that means nothing to his apologists? It's not just the stuff the NFL has now made illegal; he's been cheap-shotting opponents for more than a decade now.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:47 PM on September 18

The fact that it wasn't a rule when he was doing it indicates it wasn't illegal (hence dirty).

Is that the standard you live life by? The contra-argument would be no one needed a rule saying don't do that until some asshole did it.

posted by yerfatma at 03:02 PM on September 18

That's like saying roy williams was a dirty player because he was tackling players by their shoulder pads before they outlawed horse collaring.

Given your logic, if it wasn't dirty, why was it outlawed?

posted by rcade at 04:14 PM on September 18

This sort of approach is also a good way to be lumped in with the dickheads.

It was something the player never said, and you associated it to him as if stating a fact, all in order to make your argument (you had to pull it out of somewhere, since it never happened I assumed it came from your ass.)

So when Ward is voted by his peers a couple years in a row to be the dirtiest player in the NFL, that means nothing to his apologists

I watch a LOT of Steelers games...the ONLY shots I've EVER seen by Ward that would be considered cheap are the blindside crackback blocks and the hits when the other players have slowed down but the whistle hasn't blown and he keeps playing. That was the whole point of my argument, is that his PEERS feel he's a cheapshot artist, but as I said, "So they were just pissed that he kept playing through the whistle while they stopped a little bit early?" I can't recall seeing him hit after a whistle, dive in late in a pile, step on a guy, dive at a guy's knees, etc...all things that I consider DIRTY. Hitting someone between the whistles even if that other guy wasn't expecting it isn't, in my mind, dirty. His peers that feel differently, IMO, are just whiny because he popped them a few times when they weren't ready but should have been. Now it's entirely possible he does things OFFSCREEN that are dirty and warrant the distinction..I'm just saying I haven't seen them.

Is that the standard you live life by?

In sports? Yes. So the counter argument is what if you feel a receiver chopping out the legs of a DB is dangerous and should be outlawed. Are the guys doing it right now dirty? What if a premier DB get's injured and the NFL decides to make it safer by only allowing blocks above the waist..Are the guys who do that today DIRTY? That's my point. Those guys doing that TODAY are playing by the rules and using it to their full advantage. They aren't dirty. If the league changes the rules because of it and they keep doing it, they're dirty..but not now.

Given your logic, if it wasn't dirty, why was it outlawed?

Because it presented an unnecessary injury risk that the NFL thought they could fix. Blocking with a 5 player wedge on kickoff teams wasn't DIRTY, but they outlawed it to reduce injury risk. Were the guys doing wedge blocks on special teams 2 years ago playing dirty?

posted by bdaddy at 09:30 PM on September 18

Because it presented an unnecessary injury risk that the NFL thought they could fix.

Actions that have an excessive risk of injury are typically the ones that players most consider dirty.

Given Wards' well-established rep as the NFL's dirtiest player according to his peers, it's pretty amazing he isn't laid flat more often by a questionable hit. We can argue about whether he's dirty, but his toughness is beyond doubt.

posted by rcade at 09:36 PM on September 18

I assumed it came from your ass.

Not much of a thinker, huh?

posted by Hugh Janus at 12:42 AM on September 19

His peers that feel differently, IMO, are just whiny because he popped them a few times when they weren't ready but should have been.

I think you're operating under the assumption that H. Ward is the only player in the NFL who plays until he hears a whistle, and I think it may have to do with your alliegance as a fan. There's a lot of guys in the league who play hard-nosed whistle-to-whistle football, and Ward is certainly one of them. There must be something else that sets him apart from those other hard nosed players in order for him to get the reputation he has among his peers. And your definitions of what makes a player "dirty," formulated from the comfort of your couch, probably do not have the same gravitas as the definition of "dirty" decided upon by the guys who share the field with Ward.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:01 PM on September 19

There must be something else that sets him apart from those other hard nosed players in order for him to get the reputation he has among his peers

well my argument to that is what sets him apart (and may contribute to this reputation amongst his peers) is he is the only RECEIVER that really does that. DBs aren't accustomed to being lit up by their offensive counterpart like this, so I can imagine they'd be pretty pissy about the player who actually does that. I've seen Ed Reed get lit up more than a handful of times on perfectly legal plays and he gets up cussing like someone slapped his sister..I can totally picture Ed then turning in his vote for Hines for "dirtiest player", even though he's the one who should have had his head on a swivel.

And your definitions of what makes a player "dirty," formulated from the comfort of your couch, probably do not have the same gravitas as the definition of "dirty" decided upon by the guys who share the field with Ward.

Fair enough, but that's also why I said "Now it's entirely possible he does things OFFSCREEN that are dirty and warrant the distinction..I'm just saying I haven't seen them. "

posted by bdaddy at 01:11 PM on September 19

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