John Harbaugh: Defenders are going to be just fine without hip-drop tackles

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was happy to see the NFL move to outlaw the hip-drop tackle this offseason.

The league adopted a rule to penalize the tackle, which sees a defender grab a ball carrier and twist them to the ground while falling on the runner's legs. Ravens tight end Mark Andrews missed a large chunk of last season after a tackle that the league says would be a penalty under the new rule.

Harbaugh cited the increased likelihood of penalty as the chief reason for his objection to the play and said "it needed to be out." He also took issue with comments from pushback against the rule by saying that the hip-drop tackle is a relatively new phenomenon and players will be fine "because they tackled just fine without it for 100 years of football before that."

"When did you ever hear about the hip-drop tackle until like two years ago, three years ago, right?," Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of "That's because it was discovered, probably, in rugby and started being executed as a standalone technique. It's a three-part movement, [and] you've got to execute that play. You've got to be close enough to that ball carrier to actually get him around the hips, pull him close to yourself, swing your hips through and drop on the back of his legs. If you're that close, wrap him up, tackle him and take him to the ground, like Ray Lewis used to do and everybody did for 100 years before that."

The violation will result in a 15-yard penalty in games, but it may be enforced more often through warning letters and fines because of the difficulty involved with seeing all aspects of the tackle in real time.