Harbaugh OK With Hurdling ... If It's Effective

Todd Karpovich

Ravens tight end Mark Andrews leaped over a Steelers defender attempting a low tackle on a critical third-and-nine play.

At 6’5, 256-pounds, that was no small feat for Andrews, who managed the first down.  

Just a few minutes earlier, fellow tight end Hayden Hurst used the same tactic to extend another key drive.

While the players might be exposing themselves to injury, the strategy has been effective and emblematic throughout the season.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh is okay with the tactic as long as it helps the team.  

"I like it if it's effective," Harbaugh said. I don't like it if it's not effective, and really only a player can determine that. I think you have to let guys play and give them a chance. I'm all for lowering the shoulder, too. I played defensive back a little bit, and you don't love seeing those 265-70-pound guys barreling down on you, either. 

"That's why DBs go low, and that's why guys go over. That's why they hurdle, so I think it's part of the game. I love those guys, and I think they're playing really hard, and we'll let them play."

Harbaugh had some experience dealing with aggressive receivers and tight ends as a defensive back at Miami University in Ohio. He couldn't recall if he was ever hurdled as a player.  

He tried not to think about it. 

"There were probably a lot worse things that happened to me, yes," Harbaugh said. "I block a lot of memories out. I have found that to be a very effective way of dealing with the past."