Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk:
When the Patriots unveiled their surprise four-lineman formation in a January win over the Ravens, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh was furious, feeling that the officials wrongly allowed the Patriots to disguise which players were eligible receivers.

But even if Harbaugh’s gripe is legitimate, he wants his players to be ready for any future shenanigans. And so Harbaugh told USA Today that his team spent some time working on illegal formations at minicamp, just in case another team springs something surprising on the Ravens.

The ghost of New England Patriots' TE Michael Hoomanawanui still haunts the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens used timeouts, complained to the referees, but were completely caught off guard as the Patriots pulled out all the stops in shocking the Baltimore defense in the AFC divisional playoffs on January 10, 2015. The formation left ineligible skill position players lined up wide, while the Ravens were forced to guess who was eligible and who was not.

The Baltimore Ravens had never seen some of the formations that the New England offense presented in overcoming a 28-14 deficit. It only added insult to injury when WR Julian Edelman tossed a 51 yard TD pass to WR Danny Amendola, tying the score at 28 late in the third quarter.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had some words of advice for the Baltimore Ravens following this weekend's game: "Study the rule book."

Harbaugh said, “The first time we ran it, you heard [linebacker Terrell] Suggs out there saying, ‘That’s not legal, that’s not legal.’ We will not assume that the referees are going to understand."

John Harbaugh could follow the lead of Green Bay Packers legendary head coach Vince Lombardi or greater legendary UCLA basketball head coach John Wooden, and not bother worrying about what their opponent might do. "Do what you do best and let them figure it out. Your time is more valuable than theirs."

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire. .

Follow me on Twitter at @_prmurphy

For more of my articles, click here.

Paul Murphy 6/22/2015 02:10:00 PM Edit

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