Tag:James Harrison
Posted on: October 19, 2010 4:40 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 5:13 pm

Fines: Harrison $75K; Meriweather, Robinson $50K

Posted by Will Brinson

Brandon Meriweather, Dunta Robinson and James Harrison are a lot lighter in the wallet after today -- the NFL announced that Meriweather and Robinson will be fined $50,000 and Harrison will be fined $75,000, for their "devastating" hits from Sunday. 

Chris Mortensen first reported Harrison's fine, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston initially dropped the news of Meriweather's fine and Fox Sports' Jay Glazer first reported that Robinson was fined $50,000 fine as well for his hit on Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

None of the players will be suspended, according to current reports, but make no mistake -- those are monster fines (remember that Rodney Harrison said he saved up $50K for a season) and the league is making a clear statement that it intends to back up its newly found desire to enforce a rule already in place.

Robinson's hit was called "illegal" by NFL VP Ray Anderson earlier, but it's still surprising that he'll receive the same amount as Meriweather, simply based on the intent behind the hit. 

Harrison reportedly received more than Robinson and Meriweather because of "repeat offender" status. What's interesting about these fines is that the NFL doesn't appear to be discerning between a player's "intent" or not -- Meriweather essentially headbutted Todd Heap, while Robinson's hit on Jackson was, as Anderson put it, a "bang-bang play." Anderson calling the hit "illegal" indicates the league's belief that what a player was trying to do doesn't matter.

The reaction to these fines, from NFL players, should be interesting -- Chris Harris already told our own Dave Richard that the league's reaction was "knee-jerk," Antrell Rolle called it "absolutely ridiculous", and Aaron Curry tweeted that the fines were "absolutely crazy."

In a statement, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said that "increased discipline for violating player-safety rules [will] include suspensions" but that there were no suspensions this week because "fair warning needed to be given to players and clubs before increased discipline starts to include game suspensions."

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Posted on: October 19, 2010 10:16 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 10:39 am

Ray Anderson: 'We are not changing any rules'

Posted by Will Brinson

Anyone paying attention to professional football this weekend noticed a plethora of big (or, if you prefer, "devastating," which Ray Anderson may or may not, depending on which ESPN personality he's talking to) hits that resulted in the league announcing that it would begin to suspend players for these big hits.

This news, which Andy and I predicted recently, was met with relatively widespread acceptance, although if NFL VP of Football Operations Ray Anderson is to be understood, it's not actually a change from what the league's been doing thus far.

"We are not changing any rules, just enforcing the existing rules to protect our players," Ray Anderson said on ESPN's Radio "Mike & Mike."

Technically, that's correct -- the NFL and its officials have the power to suspend players and eject them from games for "egregious" hits, respectively. But neither party has done a spectacular job of enforcement thus far. According to Anderson, that will change now.

"I don't know where the word 'devastating' came from -- that's not my word," Anderson said. "What I would say is that  if there are flagrant and egregious [violations] of the rules, we will be enforcing immediately discipline at a higher level. 

We need to get our players firmly in line with the current rules and that's what our intentions are effective immediately."

(Quickly: Anderson supposedly used "devastating" in talking to Chris Mortenson on Monday night, then he denied using it -- see above, then Mort said on SportsCenter that Anderson DID use it. Just to catch you up.)

And that's the key: the NFL wants the players to get in line, and that doesn't just apply to intentions. In fact, Anderson said that intent wouldn't be considered the primary concern, while instead stressing the importance of "liability" on the part of the tackling player.

In other words, James Harrison is responsible for adjusting his pad level to Mohamed Massaquoi, when Massaquoi, as the ballcarrier, drops the ball. Brandon Meriweather's "hit" (read: headbutt) on Todd Heap was considered "egregious" by Anderson, and that's good news -- even without the NFL's policy shift, the Patriots safety escaping sans fine would be shocking.

Perhaps the most interesting case is with Dunta Robinson and DeSean Jackson. Robinson's intention, at least interpreted by 90 percent of the people watching and involved with the game, weren't malicious, even if the result was "illegal." But Anderson said that doesn't matter.

"Yes, it was a bang-bang play ... but at the end of the day it was still illegal under the rules," Anderson said of Robinson's hit.

In other words, the NFL is far more concerned with taking the letter of the law (which is currently established under the league's rules) and making sure to enforce it.

" "We're not going to be apologetic, we're not going to be defensive about it," Anderson said.

That's not a surprising attitude from the NFL -- and in this situation, it's appropriate -- but the challenge won't come with the backlash towards the NFL's attitude. The problem will come with the backlash to the NFL's enforcement on and off the field for these hits.

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Posted on: October 19, 2010 12:26 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:27 am

NFL will suspend players for dangerous plays

J. Cribbs sustained a concussion after his hit by Pittsburgh's J. Harrison Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The fallout from the violent hits on Browns WR Joshua Cribbs and WR Mohamed Massaquoi by Pittsburgh’s James Harrison and on Ravens TE Todd Heap by Patriots S Brandon Meriweather continues into today.

Ray Anderson, the NFL’s vice president of football operations told ESPN.com today that the league will start suspending for dangerous hits.

"We can't and won't tolerate what we saw Sunday," Anderson told Chris Mortensen. "We've got to get the message to players that these devastating hits and head shots will be met with a very necessary higher standard of accountability. We have to dispel the notion that you get one free pass in these egregious or flagrant shots.

"What we saw Sunday was disturbing," Anderson said. "We're talking about avoiding life-altering impacts."

In other dangerous hits news, Harrison didn’t show much contrition for the two hits. The league reviewed the Cribbs hit and determined it wasn’t an illegal hit (really, it almost seemed incidental. Sort of). I imagine the Massaquoi hit won’t be deemed a legal shot.

"I'm not worried about getting fined on that. Not at all," Harrison told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "If I get fined on that, it's got to be a travesty. They didn't call (penalties on the plays). There's no way I can be fined."

I think “no way I can be fined” is a little strong. I think he’ll definitely be fined for the Massaquoi hit, and honestly, I think he should be. 

And if you’re a Steelers official, you have to cringe when you read something like this.

"I don't want to injure anybody," Harrison said. "There's a big difference between being hurt and being injured. You get hurt, you shake it off and come back the next series or the next game. I try to hurt people.

"I thought Cribbs was asleep. A hit like that geeks you up, especially when you find out the guy is not really hurt, he's just sleeping. He's knocked out but he's going to be OK."

As for Meriweather, he was apologetic, but he didn’t regret the aggressiveness of the play.

I was playing aggressive and something happened,” Meriweather told WEII radio, via the Boston Herald. “I’m going to be aggressive. Point blank. I won’t change my game, period. I’m sorry it happened.”

Hey, at least he apologized for the result. Harrison thinks everything is right with the world. Until the NFL reaches into his wallet, of course. Or until he's suspended the next time.

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Posted on: October 18, 2010 5:41 pm

F&R NFL Approval Matrix Week 6

Posted by Will Brinson

Our affinity for graphs and charts and purty pictures knows no bounds, so (with a nod to the smartypants at NY Mag), we present the NFL approval matrix. Suggestions, complaints and intellecutual property lawsuits may be directed to us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).

Click to embiggen.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 5:09 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 5:15 pm
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Posted on: October 18, 2010 3:17 pm

NFL Week 6 Podcast Review

Posted by Will Brinson

Week 6 of the NFL is almost in the books and Sunday provided some pretty big storylines.

For instance: who's more desperate, the Chargers or the Cowboys? Does the NFL need to do something about all the ridiculously violent and dangerous helmet-to-helmet hits taking place?

What do we make of Kevin Kolb's sudden ability to throw the deep ball? Is there any really dangerous team in the NFC? Are the Jets or the Steelers the best team in the NFL? How big of an impact did Deion Branch have on the Patriots?

Okay, so those are questions, and not storylines, but the answers provide the stories, and that's what Andy Benoit and I provide in our weekly podcast review.

Click play below and don't forget to subscribe via iTune

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Posted on: September 17, 2010 7:29 pm

Chris Johnson vs. the Steelers front seven

C. Johnson hasn't had great success in the past against Pittsburgh (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

I wondered if Andy, in his weekly key matchup feature, would look at how the Steelers front seven would try to shut down Titans RB Chris Johnson.

Andy went with Michael Vick vs. the Lions defense (read it; it’s a fascinating look), so that leaves me to make sense of the Tennessee-Pittsburgh game.

Johnson, as you know, has 12-straight games where he’s rushed for at least 100 yards. That’s two off Barry Sanders’ all-time record. But remember, the Steelers are traditionally pretty good at stopping the run – in the past 35 games, an opponent has reached the century mark in rushing only once (Baltimore’s Ray Rice).

So, what will happen Sunday? Well, if the past is any indication, it could be a long day for Johnson. Last year, in the season opener, he gained 57 yards on 15 carries, and the season before, he was held to 69 yards.

But the past two seasons, Johnson – no matter what Adrian Peterson thinks – has been the best RB in the league. Yet the Steelers have their gameplan.

"It's a big priority,” OLB LaMarr Woodley told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. "You stop the run, you force a team to go to its passing game, which allows us to bring a little heat and get to the quarterback.

"We hit him as a team (the past two seasons). We constantly got to him. When running backs are taking hits after hits from big guys, they slow down a little bit."

True, but not every team can boast the tackling skills of Woodley, James Farrior and James Harrison. This week, though, Johnson might catch a break because starting NT Casey Hampton is out for the game.

Most important for the Steelers is for the defense to maintain gap control.

"He's not real heavy but he's so fast and strong," NT Chris Hoke told the paper. "He jump-cuts on a dime, he's very quick at making his reads. You have to make sure you're gap-sound on every play because he gets a little crack and he's gone.

"It's easy for a guy like that, to get everybody a little over-excited – you want to make sure he doesn't make a big play so maybe you get out of your gap a little bit and you run to the ball and he cuts back when you're running to the ball. You have to make sure you stay square to the line of scrimmage so there is no cutback lane."

And what does Johnson – and his teammates – have to do in order to get that 100-yard game? The Titans offensive line has to work harder than the Steelers.

"One thing they do a lot of times is just outwork guys," Titans guard Leroy Harris told the Tennessean. "Every guy is working to the whistle, no matter what. Their technique is sound. They hold responsibility. They do their job. They outwork guys and they keep running to the ball.

"You can’t let the other guy outwork you. You don’t let the other guy make the play. We’ll do that. We also make sure we see the different looks they have and the blitzes they have. We get bodies on guys."

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Posted on: August 31, 2010 12:34 am

Harrison thinks Orton 'got what he had coming'

Posted by Will Brinson

A quarterback running his mouth to a linebacker makes some sense, maybe. Unless it's the preseason, in which it's silly. Or, if it's a preseason game and that quarterback be forced to try and stop that linebacker from scoring on the return of a fumble. Then it's just flat-out dumb.

Fortunately, that actually happened on Sunday night with Kyle Orton and James Harrison.

"I don't know if I hit him or he hit me," Orton said.

Actually, Kyle, Harrison ABSOLUTELY hit you. Need proof? Go here and fast forward to the 1:00 mark . But why on Earth would Harrison spot Orton kind-of/sort-of trying to get in his way and then proceed to lower try and break Neckbeard's face?

"He was running his mouth and getting in the way of the train," Harrison said. "And the train wasn't coming off the track."

"He was popping off down there the first time they were about to score," Harrison said, referring to the Broncos' game-opening touchdown drive. "So you run your mouth, expect to get something. Everything's between the lines, so he got what he had coming."

Really, the "tackle" -- for both parties -- is just ridiculous. Harrison's definitely went after Orton on purpose, but he's right: field of play and whatnot. More importantly, though, is what the hell Orton was thinking; he supposedly was trying to stop Harrison but he really just took a dive.

As the only person standing between a full season of Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn vying for starts, he needs to know better than that.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com