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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Wednesday news and notes

Ryan Clark was fined $40,000 for his penalized hit on Baltimore tight end Ed Dickson last Sunday and he and his teammates aren't happy about it.

This is the second week in a row Clark has been fined. He got hit with a $15,000 fine for hitting New England tight end Rob Gronkowski out of bounds two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Baltimore's Ray Lewis was fined $20,000 for his unpenalized helmet-to-helmet hit on Hines Ward that knocked Ward out of the game.

And therein lies part of my problem with the way the NFL levies its fines.

If a player draws a penalty for what it deemed and illegal hit, hasn't he already paid - and by extension, his team - for the incident?

How can an incident that drew a flag also draw a larger fine for a hit that wasn't flagged and also knocked a player out of a game?

Some will say it is because Clark is a repeat offender, and there is some truth to that. But Lewis has also been fined for illegal hits in the past.

James Harrison said he has not heard anything from the league about a potential fine from Sunday's game. ESPN reported that Harrison will be fined, but Harrison said that was speculation on the part of reporter Adam Schefter.

He does not expect to be fined.

© Mike Tomlin released this statement in regard to the fine on Clark: "I think the fine that Ryan Clark received was excessive. I am a proponent of player safety and the league's pursuit of improvement in this area. I, like the vast majority of people in this industry, witness daily the steep price that these young men pay to play this game on so many levels. Ryan has my full support if he chooses to appeal this in any way."

© Ben Roethlisberger talked about the final sequence of plays at the end of the game against the Ravens today. Here's what he had to say:

Q: Ben, in retrospect, would you just rather have run the ball three times at the end?

Unfortunately, the plays were there. It was either a miscommunication where one guy saw something and the other guy say something else. The plays were there. You can look at it now and say, ‘If we would have done this, this would have happened.’ You can do that in every sport after every game. We’ll go and we’ll stay aggressive because that’s the kind of offense we are.

Q: Re: The miscommunications?

I think it’s always going to happen. I guarantee that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and those guys that you say are the best offenses, have had miscommunications. You have to limit them. You can’t have them in key situations like that with guys that you expect to make the plays. If you have one a game, you have one a game, but we have to limit them and not have them in key situations.

Q: You and Mewelde Moore have completed a lot of passes over the years.

He’s running a flat route and he’s got the option to turn it up late. He felt he had the linebacker on him, which he did, he could beat him turning it up the field. He’s supposed to wait a second to see if I wait half a second to turn it up. He was excited about turning it up because he had the backer trailing him. I was trying to get it to him in the flat to get the first down. That’s one of those things that it’s the first time it ever happened and it probably won’t ever happen again.


adamg said...

I think BR's play has improved immensely over the past few games, but you can be aggressive and still be smart.

The fines are hard to believe, twice as much for Clark as for Lewis who never tried to do anything else but hit Ward high.

marc said...

dale had to post those quotes by #7 just to stoke the fire even more.

that's it #7, stay agressive. it's almost as if he thinks running the ball in that situation would be like giving up.

i long for the day i never see an empty set backfield on third and short ever again.

Henry said...

Say what you will Marc but the empty sets have been effective this year (Dale has posted the stats to prove it)

Ben's explanation is very reasonable and one this fan can accept.

marc said...

what stats? i missed those. could you direct me to them?

and please keep in mind, i do not detest the empty set backfields in general. rather, when they are used on 3rd and 5 or shorter. it completely eliminates the running option which, imo, makes it easier for the defense. add to that a less than spectacular pass protecting o-line (though they are playing better) and you will have problems.

better yet, does anyone have stats on the empty set when used in 3rd and 5 or shorter?

also, #7's explanation shows why the play didn't work. but not why he thought it was better than running the ball...other than to say they like to be aggressive. well...look at it this unsuccesful pass play nets zero yards and stops the clock while an unsuccesful run play nets zero yards and forces a timeout (or the clock keeps running).

so, go ahead and be aggressive in a situation the requires calculated risks.

as i've said before, there's a reason cowher was so successful when his team had a lead in the 4th quarter.

marc said...

actually, anybody want to look up Tomlin/Arians record with a 4th quarter lead versus Cowher?

that would be interesting.

Tim said...

It's like the league looks at what happened (Clark getting flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit) and doesn't look at the actual play when deciding a fine. Dickson caught and is holding the ball so high it's against his face mask. Clark's helmet hit his face mask, but he also hit the ball! And jarred it loose! According to everyone I've ever known, that makes it perfect timing and a perfect play.

What else is he supposed to do? If you try to hit a guy like that in the hip, you run the risk of just bouncing right off him. You can't go for the chest because half the time the receiver will duck down and give you his head, and the other half he'll get whiplash and the refs will assume you hit him in the head. I've seen Clark flagged for a helmet to helmet hit when no part of him came within 6 inches of the dude's head. That leaves one spot: the knees. Good job league.

If the league has to fine stuff, can't they keep it to the malicious hits, like the Merriweather-Heap spear? I don't know how you can say Clark had anything but good intentions after watching him spear the ball and knock it out of Dickson's hands.

As for the Lewis hit, in a perfect world that wouldn't be fined either. Of course, given today's rules he had to be penalized and fined, but I wouldn't call what he did malicious either. A penalty, I could see, but I don't need a fine there.

What really gets me about that game isn't that the officiating was horrible, just horribly inconsistent. We should have had 1st and goal from the 9, not 4th and 7 from the 18. That's a big frickin' difference. Not to mention they disallowed Ward's catch and kept Dickson's, and were not as eager to throw flags on the Baltimore secondary.

We did plenty of stupid things to lose this game, but we do have a gripe with the league. I can't say for certain we would have won if the calls had been accurate, but there's no question they hurt us and kept Baltimore in the game.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how throwing a four-yard pass to David Johnson or a three-yard pass to Mewelde Moore is "staying aggressive." If you want do that, treat it like a must-have first down to win the game. Ben has a $100 million contract and, if the second half of his career is as good as his first, will be in the Hall of Fame. Throw the ball to your best players, just run a couple of regular routes -- not the halfway point between turtling and aggressive. Have your best player win or lose the game for you in a probable division-deciding game.

Anonymous said...

pass to johnson was a great play. He catches it and they are near the first down and can (presumably) run for the 1st down. He just dropped it, which killed it

coming off the play action they obviously didnot expect him to be the guy. It would have work perfectly had he just got it done

bruinmann77 said...

It would be nice to see them throw to Saunders.

KT said...

I agree with Tim.

I am not one to get too up in arms about the officiating, but even the commentators in ESPN America Latina were commenting on that.

The Ravens, in fact, had a TD nullified because a play got whistled dead too soon.

Anonymous said...

Heath Miller-on-a-reverse pass to tackle-eligible Trai Essex. Would have completely fooled them.

marc said...

i'd really like to see those stats henry was talking about. anyone know where they are?

adamg said...

marc, Steelersdepot has a game by game breakdown of the set on each play. That might be a good place to start looking.

marc said...

thanks. that is pretty cool, but wish they had play results as well.

interesting to see the ravens blitzed everytime steelers had empty backfield, except once, which was the final failed 3rd down conversion.

on that play ravens only rushed 2 and had 9 in coverage. the first time they had done that the whole game. the ravens changed it up at a crucial point and forced the steelers to go to their worst receiver on the field, for that play.

i wish i could see a replay of that play, because i remember thinking even if they complete that pass he was not getting the first down.

Anonymous said...

It's on NFL gameday's highlight reel from the game online. He wasn't getting a first down unless McClain (?) completely whiffed on the tackle. It could have been fourth-and-2-ish, though. Maybe could have gone for it in that spot.

kyle said...

Here's what I want to know. The Ravens first offensive play was the TD run by Rice that got called back because of the hold on Gay. They bring it back and the Ravens start...1 and 10. Not 1 and 20. I was screaming about it as it happened and none of the announcers mentioned it. I thought maybe it was from the spot of the foul but if that were the case you would just hold way down field every play. Am I missing something about this?

Rob said...

Thanks to Kyle for bringing that up about not being 1st and 20. We could not figure that out. I would like an explanation. It was first down, there was a 10 yard penalty and then it was 1st and 10 again from the same spot. It was like there were offsetting penalties and replay the down.

marc said...

i wondered about that too, but heard the call on the radio as i pulled into the garage. by time i got to the tv it was first and 10, so i figured i missed something.

just another case of the nfl having arguably the worst referees in sports.

Anonymous said...

It's a spot penalty for a hold, it should have been 1st and 15ish since the hold was not much beyond the line of scrimmage.


Tim said...

I covered the holding penalty on the "official" Steelers message board. There was confusion there, too.

It's 10 yards from the spot of the foul, unless it's behind the line of scrimmage, which it is about 99% of the time. Normally holding is called on passing plays, by offensive linemen who are 4 or 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage. If you did 10 yards from there it could easily wind up being a 14 or even 18 yard penalty. That's too much. On the rare occasions that it occurs ahead of the line of scrimmage (on running plays), it is 10 yards from the spot of the foul. If, hypothetically, a runner goes 50 yards and is about to enter the end zone, but a receiver on his team holds the last defender at the 5 yard line just before he goes in, the offense would have 1st and 10 at the opponent's 15 yard line, and most of the run would count. The whole thing would not come back.

After rewatching this play, Smith commits the hold about 8 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. So it should have been 1st and 12 from the 22. But the whole thing covered several yards, and the refs ultimately ruled that the hold happened 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, so after they put the ball 10 yards back from there, it just so happened to be on the original line of scrimmage at the 24, and it just so happened to be 1st and 10 again. You could quibble over a yard or two, but they made the right call.

I also think the refs made the right call on Rice not getting into the end zone. He was completely stopped for a couple of seconds, and so they blew the whistle. After that, he finally moved forward with the help of linemen behind him and made it in. But he'd been stopped for long enough. Imagine if he'd fumbled. Baltimore would be screaming that the play should have been whistled dead (that happened to us with Stefan Logan and Jacob Hester a couple years ago -- that was BS).

marc said...

thanks for the explanation and i agree regarding rice's play being whistled dead. forward progress was clearly stopped.

adamg said...

I remember going to a game vs NYG in Pitt Stadium many years ago. NYG had the ball near the end zone and handed off to Joe Morrison. He was stuffed by the Steeler D, but not downed and kept trying to go forward to no avail. Finally, the fans in that section of the field started yelling to blow the whistle, but nothing was forthcoming until finally Morrison was able to get free and make positive yards!

Anonymous said...

Dale, please tell me good things about #43's rib and #92's toe. Thank you.

Dale Lolley said...

They're both fine - Harrison and Polamalu.

As for the holding penalty, Tim nailed it. They ruled the hold came 10 yards downfield.

Patrick said...

How bad are the Chargers playing this year?

That whole division is a mess, and barring a miracle, no way is a wildcard coming from that division.

The Steelers really need to just have a better record than (1) Cincy and (2) Buf or NYJ.

That really won't be that hard considering the schedule. I just really hope that 2nd playoff game is in Baltimore.

Thats looking too far, I know. Lets just beat Cincy first, which they will.