John Harbaugh

Did Patriots fake out the Ravens by drafting TE Devin Asiasi instead of WR Devin Duvernay?

Did Patriots fake out the Ravens by drafting TE Devin Asiasi instead of WR Devin Duvernay?

The Baltimore Ravens thought the Patriots had swooped in to snag the wide receiver they were looking for with the 92nd pick when New England traded up to move one spot ahead of Baltimore in the third round of the NFL Draft.

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Turns out it was a false alarm where the Pats chose a pass-catcher named Devin, but not the one the Ravens coveted.

Via ESPN's Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley, here's the intrigue that went along with the Patriots trading picks 100, 139 and 172 to the Las Vegas Raiders to jump ahead of the Ravens at 91 and get the 159th pick as well.

So, instead of Duvernay, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound slot receiver from Texas, whose blazing 4.39 40 time also makes him a vertical threat, the Patriots chose to fill their glaring need at tight end with the 6-3, 280-pound Asiasi, the first tight end they've drafted before the fifth round since Rob Gronkowski in 2010. 

Not done addressing tight end, The Pats traded back into the third round with the New York Jets at 101 to select Virginia Tech's Dalton Keene, 6-4, 253, whose versatility had him playing H-back, slot and inline tight end for the Hokies. 

Ravens' John Harbaugh worried about Zoom hacking in virtual NFL Draft

Ravens' John Harbaugh worried about Zoom hacking in virtual NFL Draft

Stop us if you've heard this before: John Harbaugh is paranoid about another team breaking the rules.

The NFL told clubs Monday that the 2020 NFL Draft will be "fully virtual" with team facilities still on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That means team personnel will be sequestered separately in their homes and must rely on phone calls and Zoom video conferences with fellow coaches and executives to make their draft picks.

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Harbaugh sees a potential danger with that setup, though: Bad actors who could hack into the Baltimore Ravens' Zoom calls and steal their draft secrets.

“Yeah, big concern,” the Ravens head coach told reporters Monday in a Zoom call (ironic, right?), via the Baltimore Sun.

“Every time I read something in, like, the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times that talks about how messed up Zoom is, or some of these other deals ... I immediately text it to our IT people, and [director of football administration] Nick Matteo’s one of those guys, and they assure me that we are doing everything humanly possible."

We don't envy Matteo, who apparently has to calm Harbaugh down every time the coach reads an article about Zoom.

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In fairness to Harbaugh, Zoom has experienced hacking and harassment issues (you've probably heard of "Zoombombing" by now) since social distancing measures caused an explosion in the software's usage.

He's not the only NFL coach or executive with the same concern, either: Los Angeles Rams COO Kevin Demoff worried aloud to NBC Sports' Peter King about the security of Zoom calls, while ESPN's Adam Schefter said Tuesday morning that several teams have raised security concerns about Zoom.

Zoom has beefed up its security in recent days, but those measures apparently haven't placated Harbaugh, who pointed out that supposedly high-security banks have had data breaches.

"I really wouldn’t want the opposing coaches to have our playbook or our draft meetings," Harbaugh said. "That would be preferable, if we can stay away from that."

Patriots fans are familiar with Harbaugh being on edge about unfair advantages, of course: The Ravens coach famously griped about the "deceptive" formations New England used in its 2014 AFC Championship Game win over Baltimore.

If you want to go there, you could argue Bill Belichick's Patriots are prime candidates to sneak onto another team's Zoom call and snag some intel.

It sounds like Harbaugh is on high alert for any shenanigans, though.

NFL Turning Point: Lamar Jackson fourth-down toss buries Patriots

NFL Turning Point: Lamar Jackson fourth-down toss buries Patriots

BALTIMORE — John Harbaugh said he believed Bill Belichick when the Patriots coach said that analytics matter "less than zero" to him when making in-game decisions.

Analytics, Harbaugh explained, are just one piece of the puzzle. And while he acknowledged that Belichick "has been very out in front in terms of strategic decision-making and using different forms of information," he said that no coach would be "basing your decision on what some number tells you."

Harbaugh, meanwhile, has been very open about how he listens to the numbers. Late in the third quarter it looked like the numbers were screaming at him to make an aggressive decision. He listened. 

After Lamar Jackson ran for three yards on a third-and-seven play at the Patriots 41-yard line, Harbaugh never sent his punt team onto the field. He never sent kicker Justin Tucker onto the field to try a 55-yard field goal. 

Harbaugh kept his offense out there. And offensive coordinator Greg Roman called the type of play the Patriots offense has run time and again in critical situations. 

On the fourth-and-four snap, the Ravens ran a rub route on the outside that allowed Willie Snead to get open near the sideline and convert.

With the score 24-20, Harbaugh played the numbers, and he won. Five plays later — including this highlight-reel run from Jackson — the second-year quarterback found Nick Boyle for a five-yard touchdown to take a 30-20 lead. The Ravens went on to win, 37-20.

Baltimore was the better team in a number of statistical categories at home Sunday night. They were a perfect four-for-four in the red zone. (The Patriots were 2-for-4.) They converted more than 50 percent, 6-for-11, of their third and fourth-down attempts. (The Patriots were 5-for-12.) They averaged 5.5 yards per carry. (The Patriots averaged 4.4, one of their better nights on the ground.) The Ravens held the ball for more than 36 minutes. (The Patriots were a shade over 20 minutes in the time-of-possession category.)

But the numbers that shifted the tide of this game for good, handing the Patriots their first loss of 2019 in the process, were the numbers Harbaugh had at his disposal on that fourth-and-four play late in the third quarter. 

The Patriots are now 21-1 in their last 22 games against first-and-second year quarterbacks. 

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