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John Harbaugh advocating for more referee 'prep time'

The coach's proposal is a good one, and this isn't his first 'airing of grievances' with the referees.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After some questionable officiating calls (in his eyes) during last Thursday's preseason opener, Coach John Harbaugh is advocating more training time for referees to get 'in shape' for the season. After all, if players get a camp to prepare for the season, why not refs too?

As the rules stand currently, referees are required to be at only three training camp practices a year. Harbaugh wants that number increased, but believes that referee unions are blocking any proposals like that.

"It’s interesting because when you ask the league, they’ll say the union won’t let them do it. When you ask the refs, they all say they want to do it. My proposal is that they get together and get on the same page."

Harbaugh called the refs "rusty" after their performance in the game, and cited a missed intentional grounding call too.

This isn't Harbaugh's first run-in with the referees either. Infamously, in last year's AFC Championship Game, Harbaugh said the refs "didn't understand what was going on" when the Ravens weren't informed of who was eligible and ineligible on the Patriots offense.

However, 'Harbs' understands that working with the refs is critical to the game and he would rather work with them. Harbaugh would like for the referees to be at all of the Ravens' practices, saying "We think that makes us better and certainly makes the officials better, too,"

A bigger referee presence at camp certainly seems like a wise move. It'd be a good time for the officials to implement and understand how and when to apply the new NFL rule changes, and camp would get them 'in shape' for the upcoming season. If the 'zebras' roamed the practice fields, it'd also give teams more time to work with them and attempt to coexist peacefully.

Harbaugh's proposal is more blunt than 'peaceful coexistence. He just wants to see some progress out of the referees.

"My proposal is that they get together and get on the same page," Harbaugh said. "Maybe talk to one another and solve a problem once in a while instead of creating a problem."

At the end of the day, referees will always cause problems. That's just the way it is. But added training camp time could be a big step towards a better officiated league.