5:18 PM EDT, September 17, 2012
Nearly two weeks into the preseason, Ravens Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said the replacement referees would have little impact on the outcome of games if the Ravens performed well.
"We [the players] get paid to make plays and if we do our jobs, then we take the game out of the hands of the officials," Suggs said. "The outcome of a game should never come down to a referee's call."
The injured Suggs hasn't been able to play this year, but maybe he should talk to his teammates before they play the New England Patriots here Sunday night.
After losing to the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-23, on Sunday, some of the Ravens blamed the loss on the officiating. There was more whining from the Ravens than when former Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens cried about his quarterback Tony Romo a couple of years ago.
I had the same reaction Sunday as I had for Owens then: Stop your whining.
Here is some advice for the Ravens: Instead of pointing fingers at the officials, point some at yourselves. The Ravens need to make more plays and fewer comments.
In other words, pipe down.
We're two games into the 2012 regular season and unless the NFL reaches an agreement with the normal officials, we're going to get the same bizarre, horrendously officiated games every week.
Officials can't mark the balls properly. They are extremely sensitive when it comes to hitting a quarterback. They are flag happy. Some of them don't know the rules. They are inconsistent when it comes to pass interference.
But what did you expect?
They are, after all, replacement officials.
They aren't even the good ones from the SEC or the ACC because those officials already had their assignments. Some of the replacement guys may have been parking cars or pumping gas weeks ago.
Around the league Monday morning, there were fans and players in 14 other NFL cities complaining about the officiating.
But I'm not feeling sorry for a filthy rich business like the NFL. They got what they paid for.
At some point, the Ravens have to treat the officials like Philadelphia coach Andy Reid did. When asked if the delays of the officials disrupted the flow of the game, Reid stayed away from the criticism.
"We don't worry about all of that," Reid said. "I don't even care about all of that. They are trying to do their job to the best of their ability. They've been put into a tough situation and they're trying to do the best that they can. They are getting better as the weeks go on. We have to play the game and we can't worry about that. We have to take care of business and take care of what we can control."
That's the perfect answer.
Are you listening, Ravens?
After Sunday's game, the Ravens complained about whether or not Eagles quarterback Michael Vick actually fumbled and if Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones actually committed offensive interference — which nullified a touchdown.
They said the officials were too inconsistent and didn't take charge, which led to a lot of pushing and shoving on the field ...
On and on it went ...
But if the Ravens had taken care of their own business, they wouldn't have lost. It wasn't a blown communication by an official that led to Jeremy Maclin's 23-yard touchdown reception, but one between cornerback Cary Williams and safety Ed Reed.
It wasn't head linesman Michael Bell who hurdled Reed after a catch, but tight end Brent Celek. The officials didn't stop the Ravens from getting constant pressure on Vick, and they didn't allow the Eagles to pile up 486 yards of total offense.
Referee Robert Frazer didn't throw a pass in the game, but quarterback Joe Flacco was only 8-for-25 in the second half. Side judge Steve Hendley may have blown some calls, but not as many as the Ravens' offensive staff, who forgot about Ray Rice and the running game — especially in the second half, especially at crunch time.
If the Ravens can go on and on, so can I ...
Until further notice, the replacement officials are here to stay. Every week, there are going to be questionable calls, but the Ravens should not allow the officials to get so deep into their psyche that it affects their performance on the field.
In the season opener against Cincinnati, those officials were bad, but the Ravens won and no one complained.
It should be that way after a loss, too.
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