John Harbaugh defends Matt Elam on hit to Randall Cobb’s knee

Eric Edholm

Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb caught a pass on Sunday. Baltimore Ravens rookie safety Matt Elam hit Cobb low, striking his knee.

That started a chain of events, which injured Cobb, angered Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and had Ravens head coach coming to Elam's defense.

We wrote about the borderline hit here on Sunday, noting the sometimes troublesome nature of NFL rules and the dilemma that defenders face. Cobb suffered a fractured fibula on the play and will miss six-to-eight weeks, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Rodgers got in Elam's face after the rookie's helmet-to-knee hit and took exception to the play, per ESPN Milwaukee, calling it a "questionable play." Rodgers aluded to the season-ending injury to Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller, who also happened to have been hit by a rookie safety, D.J. Swearinger of the Houston Texans, in the preseason.

“I think a lot of us saw the hit on Dustin Keller,” Rodgers said. “I just felt like (Elam) had enough time to make a hit in the legal hitting zone.”

Harbaugh, for one, was not at all upset with Elam and thought he made a perfectly legal and clean football play, per the Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.

"I think Matt made a tackle," Harbaugh said Monday. "He was scrambling to try to catch up with that route as best as he could. To say that it could have been artistically palatable is pretty hard for me to understand."

It's a huge blow for the Packers. And it's another piece of kindling in what has become a slowly smouldering debate around the league about defenders going to high or too low.

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