OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh fully supports the NFL's new rule against using the helmet to tackle, but he believes it will be an adjustment for only a small number of teams.
"We already coach that way to get it out of the game," Harbaugh said. "I think 95 percent of the coaches in this league coach that way, and the other 5 percent have to get on board."
Under the new rule, a player will be penalized 15 yards and potentially ejected any time he lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.
Harbaugh said the Ravens have always coached the correct technique and plan to coach it even better. He did acknowledge there will be instances when teams question penalties involving the new helmet rule.
"I told the guys today, I said, 'You know what? There's going to be a call or two this year that's going to go against us, and we're going to look at it and go, Huh? Really?'" Harbaugh said. "But that's OK, because the payback is the fact that it's better for the players and player safety. That's the way you have to look at it."
The new rule also allows the league to eject a player if he initiates contact with his helmet. If a player is ejected, NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron and his staff in New York will use network camera angles to review the play and either uphold the ejection or overrule it.
"If they eject somebody out of there, it's going to go on one of those hits that is going to deserve it," Harbaugh said. "The thing I like about that is they're going to go back to New York. It's not going to be like real time, 'Did I see it or not?' They're going to go back and look at what you see as fans. When you see it on TV ... If you see it as fans and are like, 'That shouldn't be in the game,' to me, that's the one the players should get ejected for."
Harbaugh was also part of the committee that helped formulate the new kickoff rule, which eliminates running starts for kickoff coverage teams, removes two-man wedge blocks and requires eight of the 11 men on the return team to be aligned within 15 yards of the ball.
"We want to keep the exciting play in the game, but we want to make it safer -- especially for concussions," Harbaugh said. "I think we did that. I actually think there could be more returns, because there's more incentive to return the ball, because it's going to slow the kickoff play down a bit -- but that's the idea."
Asked how he keeps up with the numerous rules changes made by the NFL this offseason, Harbaugh said with a smile, "I've been accused of not keeping track of the rules changes, right?"
He was playfully alluding to the time Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told the Ravens to "study the rule book" after Harbaugh objected to what he called a "substitution trick" by New England in a 2014 AFC divisional playoff game.