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Ravens News 3/28: Harbaugh discusses free agency, NFL rule changes and more

New Orleans Saints v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images


“I’m excited about both receivers,” Harbaugh said. “John Brown is a really exciting player that our fans are really going to be thrilled to watch play. He was hurt last year, had some hamstring issues, and I think that took his production down a little bit, and that probably opened the door for us a little bit to get him. Sometimes that’s a positive deal. This guy is an explosive receiver. He’s a really good route runner. He’s really fast. He has good hands.”

Michael Crabtree, it almost speaks for itself,” Harbaugh said. “I know our fans are excited about that, and they should be. This guy is a pit bull. He’s a Raven.”

While it is often a challenge to parse out the coach speak when Harbaugh addresses the media, he is cleary excited about the remade receiver corps. To the Ravens credit, they went outside of their comfort zone with these additions, particularly with Brown who is considered an ascending not descending talent. Furthermore, the contract structures these receivers agreed to should not negatively impact future salary caps much, if at all.

League meeting: 3 playing rules and 4 bylaws approved, ‘targeting rule’ could go to a vote on Tuesday - Logan Levy

The biggest rule change that will get the most attention is, without a doubt, the alteration to the catch rule. It appears the biggest change was removing the component in the previous rule that the pass-catcher must “survive the ground”.

The NFL also voted to permanently make a touchback on a kickoff result in the next snap being taken from the 25-yard line. In addition, they have given one official the ability to instruct the on-field referees to disqualify players for “flagrant non-football acts”.

The competition committee has reportedly passed a targeting rule that could possibly result in player ejections. The NFL must be careful not to alienate long time fans who enjoy the violent nature of football. The targeting rule has caused considerable controversy at the collegiate level in recent seasons.

2017 Adjusted Games Lost: By Unit - Scott Kacsmar

For those unfamiliar with this metric, with AGL we are able to quantify how much teams were affected by injuries based on two principles: (1) Injuries to starters, injury replacements and important situational reserves matter more than injuries to benchwarmers; and (2) Injured players who do take the field are usually playing with reduced ability, which is why AGL is based not strictly on whether the player is active for the game or not, but instead is based on the player’s listed status that week (out, doubtful, questionable, or probable/blank).

This is a much better way to quantify the impact of injuries compared to simply counting the number of players on injured reserve at the end of the year. The Ravens offense suffered the 27th most adjusted games lost (58.7) and the defense had the 23rd most (42.9). Impressively, Baltimore’s offensive line lead the league in AGL, yet still came together to post a strong season. Using this metric, the Ravens were the sixth most injured team in 2017 after finishing the season as the eleventh healthiest in 2016.