Ravens Get Morelli’s Flag-Happy Crew

The Ruling On The Field Ravens Get Morelli’s Flag-Happy Crew

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26 penalties. 215 yards. 1 game-changing holding call.

That would be the Week 2 penalty line between the Ravens and the Raiders. A game that was officiated by Pete ‘#$&%!’  Morelli, and currently holds the title of ‘Second Most Penalties Accepted’  in the 2015 season.

HE’S BAAAAAACK!

Of course with Murphy’s Law taking a firm grasp on this Ravens 2015 season, it only makes sense to see Morelli this week. After all, the Ravens are coming out of a bye week, the team is relatively healthy, and they’re looking to build off of their Week 8 victory over San Diego. What better way to kill a great buzz than an officiating crew that doled out 109 penalty yards against Baltimore in Week 2!

Officiating Crew: Pete Morelli (referee), Ruben Fowler (umpire), Ed Camp (head linesman), Rick Patterson (field judge), Sarah Thomas (field judge), Rob Vernatchi (side judge), Dale Shaw (back judge).


Ravens Penalty Issues Minor at Best

The biggest issue the Ravens seem to have in the penalty department is timing. Overall, however, they continue to linger right around the middle of the pack in all facets of the penalty battle.

At a quick glance, we can see the team ranks 13th in accepted in penalties per game (7.38) and 14th in penalty yards per game (61.6).

To validate the lack of officiating skew, we can go back to our newly-minted FPD (Favorable Penalty Differential), where the Ravens currently reside at 1 penalty in the good (1 more penalty called against their opponents than against the Ravens) which is not too shabby.

FPD

Delving deeper into the penalties for Baltimore, we can take a look at their allocation of penalties by type to date.

Ravens BO

The pattern seems to have held up for most of the season, with a heavy emphasis on defensive holding/DPI penalties and pre-snap penalties on the offense. Let’s take a peek at the team’s top-5.

Top 5

Some of this is not as bad as it looks. For example, the 10 offensive holding penalties actually ranks 14th best (i.e. fewest) in the NFL. The 8 false starts puts the Ravens in the top third of the league at avoiding early jumps.

On the flip side, those 8 Defensive Pass Interference penalties give Baltimore the worst spot in the NFL, tied with Buffalo for the most.


Jacksonville’s Penalty Breakdown

Jacksonville and Baltimore are similar in the number of penalties called against them this season. Jacksonville averages 7.0 penalties per game while Baltimore sits slightly higher at 7.38.

The discrepancies come in the distribution of those penalties.

Jags Breakdown

The obvious difference here is in the Defensive Hold/PI/Contact area, the most common area where the Ravens draw flags. The Jags are much less likely to commit a foul in that department. There’s also a bit of a discrepancy in the Personal Foul department, where the Jags are more likely to commit the crime.

BAL JAC COMP

Pete Morelli’s Disdain for the Offense

Looking back to the Week 2 match between the Ravens and Raiders, the Ravens were hit with 10 total penalties, 7 against the defense, and only 3 doled out to the offense. With that isolated observation, you’d assume Morelli’s crew gives an advantage to the offense over the defense, or at the very least holds the defense to a higher standard of play than the offense (less likely to call ticky-tacky holding calls on the offense, but any contact by the defense downfield draws a flag).

As it turns out, the Ravens distribution of penalties in Week 2 appears to be an anomaly for Morelli & Co.

Morelli BO

Morelli’s crew actually calls offensive penalties with much more frequency than defensive ones. And taking it a step further, we can take a look at Morelli’s most frequently called penalties (by percentage of total calls), versus the frequency of those calls against both opponents in this week’s game.

Top 5 BO

-1 in every 5 flags thrown by Morelli’s crew is for a False Start.

-The same 1-per-5 frequency holds true for Offensive Holding.

-The Ravens get called for Defensive Holding and Defensive Pass Interference much more frequently than the Jags or Morelli.

-The Jags are more disciplined on defense than Baltimore, with much fewer calls for Offsides/Holding/DPI.

Collectively for the Jaguars, they are getting hit with 15 yard Personal Fouls (i.e. Roughing the Passer, Facemask) at a very high clip.


HE’S BAAAAAACK!

Of course with Murphy’s Law taking a firm grasp on this Ravens 2015 season, it only makes sense to see Morelli this week. After all, the Ravens are coming out of a bye week, the team is relatively healthy, and they’re looking to build off of their Week 8 victory over San Diego. What better way to kill a great buzz than an officiating crew that doled out 109 penalty yards against Baltimore in Week 2!

Officiating Crew: Pete Morelli (referee), Ruben Fowler (umpire), Ed Camp (head linesman), Rick Patterson (field judge), Sarah Thomas (field judge), Rob Vernatchi (side judge), Dale Shaw (back judge).


Ravens Penalty Issues Minor at Best

The biggest issue the Ravens seem to have in the penalty department is timing. Overall, however, they continue to linger right around the middle of the pack in all facets of the penalty battle.

At a quick glance, we can see the team ranks 13th in accepted in penalties per game (7.38) and 14th in penalty yards per game (61.6).

To validate the lack of officiating skew, we can go back to our newly-minted FPD (Favorable Penalty Differential), where the Ravens currently reside at 1 penalty in the good (1 more penalty called against their opponents than against the Ravens) which is not too shabby.

FPD

Delving deeper into the penalties for Baltimore, we can take a look at their allocation of penalties by type to date.

Ravens BO

The pattern seems to have held up for most of the season, with a heavy emphasis on defensive holding/DPI penalties and pre-snap penalties on the offense. Let’s take a peek at the team’s top-5.

Top 5

Some of this is not as bad as it looks. For example, the 10 offensive holding penalties actually ranks 14th best (i.e. fewest) in the NFL. The 8 false starts puts the Ravens in the top third of the league at avoiding early jumps.

On the flip side, those 8 Defensive Pass Interference penalties give Baltimore the worst spot in the NFL, tied with Buffalo for the most.


Jacksonville’s Penalty Breakdown

Jacksonville and Baltimore are similar in the number of penalties called against them this season. Jacksonville averages 7.0 penalties per game while Baltimore sits slightly higher at 7.38.

The discrepancies come in the distribution of those penalties.

Jags Breakdown

The obvious difference here is in the Defensive Hold/PI/Contact area, the most common area where the Ravens draw flags. The Jags are much less likely to commit a foul in that department. There’s also a bit of a discrepancy in the Personal Foul department, where the Jags are more likely to commit the crime.

BAL JAC COMP

Pete Morelli’s Disdain for the Offense

Looking back to the Week 2 match between the Ravens and Raiders, the Ravens were hit with 10 total penalties, 7 against the defense, and only 3 doled out to the offense. With that isolated observation, you’d assume Morelli’s crew gives an advantage to the offense over the defense, or at the very least holds the defense to a higher standard of play than the offense (less likely to call ticky-tacky holding calls on the offense, but any contact by the defense downfield draws a flag).

As it turns out, the Ravens distribution of penalties in Week 2 appears to be an anomaly for Morelli & Co.

Morelli BO

Morelli’s crew actually calls offensive penalties with much more frequency than defensive ones. And taking it a step further, we can take a look at Morelli’s most frequently called penalties (by percentage of total calls), versus the frequency of those calls against both opponents in this week’s game.

Top 5 BO

-1 in every 5 flags thrown by Morelli’s crew is for a False Start.

-The same 1-per-5 frequency holds true for Offensive Holding.

-The Ravens get called for Defensive Holding and Defensive Pass Interference much more frequently than the Jags or Morelli.

-The Jags are more disciplined on defense than Baltimore, with much fewer calls for Offsides/Holding/DPI.

Collectively for the Jaguars, they are getting hit with 15 yard Personal Fouls (i.e. Roughing the Passer, Facemask) at a very high clip.


Expectations

There’s some major concern for the glut of DPI/D-Holding calls against Baltimore. Morelli’s crew picks up on those calls on a somewhat regular basis (but not as regular as Week 2 would have led you to believe), and the Jaguars have a talented passing attack.

But the Ravens’ DBs probably won’t be able to keep up with the Jags’ receivers long enough to actually grab them downfield, so perhaps this is a moot point.

As for the Ravens pass rush , they should be able to generate enough pressure on Blake Bortles, who has been sacked 25 times this season, to generate a few holds and possibly get the line to jump out of their shoes a handful of times.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Ravens have done a great job keeping Joe upright for most of the season, but a change at Center to John Urschel may arise some sloppy, penalty-riddled play against a talented front-7. At receiver, the Ravens’ under-talented receivers may draw fewer illegal contact and holding flags without the separation that was provided by Steve Smith.

As we have seen all season long across the NFL, the biggest problem has been the inconsistencies and egregious errors in officiating this season. Even the cream of the crop crews have been doling out some head-scratchers this season, leading to major criticism of the NFLRA.

Well-deserved criticism indeed.

 

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Adam Bonaccorsi

About Adam Bonaccorsi

Known by his fellow 227ers at M&T Bank Stadium as “Are You Kidding Me?” Adam Bonaccorsi is a vocal and opinionated Baltimore sports fans, who appreciates thinking outside of the box and offering far-fetched perspectives that tend to leave readers left wondering ‘what if?’ Adam is a devout fan of the Ravens, Orioles and Capitals, while also dabbling in the college and professional hoops game. As a self-proclaimed ‘draftnik,’ Adam spends entirely too much time focusing on NFL prospects , has an obsession with the NFL Combine, and hopes to one day land the perfect 1st round mock draft. More from Adam Bonaccorsi

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