The NFL has decided to excessively call roughing the passer this season. Defensive players are basically unable to hit a quarterback. This is a problem.
For the third consecutive week Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was called for an extremely questionable roughing the passer penalty. Honestly calling it questionable is generous. The penalty was non-existent. The NFL is doing everything they can to protect quarterbacks, this is a good thing. However it is coming at the expense of defensive players being able to do their job.
The NFL decided that a defensive player cannot land on a quarterback with all their bodyweight. A decision that without a doubt came after an injury to Aaron Rodgers. In theory this rule is a good idea. Doing everything to protect a position that it is extremely difficult to find premium talent at is smart. The execution of said protection is absolutely unacceptable. Players such as Matthews are being penalized for plays that are not egregious in any way. Matthews had a textbook wrap-up on Redskins quarterback Alex Smith and because he landed on him it was determine to be a penalty.
Everyone but the NFL realizes this is not a penalty but this did not stop the NFL’s operations Twitter account from backing up the call. Just because the NFL utilizes a Twitter account to explain and support the penalty does not mean it is correct. Michael Lombardi has suggested that if a bar full of drunk guys can watch a play and determine whether a certain play is a catch instead of the bloated NFL review system that often botches calls. Maybe this same suggestion should be applied to roughing the passer calls.
The NFL’s ineptitude has caused a season-ending injury, to a defender
In a world where the NFL has provided even more protection to quarterbacks an injury to a defensive player has occurred as a result of the new emphasis being placed on roughing the passer. While attempting to avoid a penalty, Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes tore his ACL. Hayes shifted his bodyweight onto his right leg which resulted in the injury. Hayes’ season is now over because the NFL has botched enforcement of their own rules. This injury should not have occurred, Hayes should still be healthy and taking the field with his teammates. Instead his year is over and has to watch from the sidelines.
Hayes is just the first of what could be many injuries to defenders this season. The NFL has stated they will not change the rule. Some members of the competition committee want the rule applied differently while others do not. The entire situation is a mess.
Preventing injuries to quarterbacks is fine, but this is overkill
As the above states, injury prevention is fine. Protecting the most important position on the field is entirely reasonable. Often an injury to a quarterback will derail a season for a team, (the Eagles from last year are definitely an exception). What it all comes down to is that this is overkill. There were not (excessive) problems with the previous enforcement of the rule. Sure quarterbacks suffered injuries, but sometimes that happens. The NFL overreacts to a premier player in Rodgers getting injured. Here is the deal, the majority of the time if a player is going to get hurt, he is going to get hurt. The overwhelming majority of injuries are suffered on routine plays. Attempting to change one aspect of the game will not prevent the majority of injuries suffered to players. This includes quarterbacks. Throwing in new terms to prevent quarterback injuries will not prevent anything.
Terms such as “burping” and “scoop and lift” are absolute nonsense. Even monitoring the amount of bodyweight a player places on a quarterback is excessive. Ordinary tackles on a quarterback are now subject to a penalty . Defenders are not body slamming quarterbacks like they are wrestlers or part of a game of NFL Blitz. For absolutely no reason penalty flags are present on the majority of plays.
The modern NFL is now an NFL where a pass rusher cannot do their job
The job of a pass rusher is to sack the quarterback. The NFL wants to make that as difficult as possible. Even hitting a quarterback is beneficial to a defense. A hit can make a quarterback jumpy and get happy feet in the pocket. Resulting in potentially more sacks or bad decisions resulting in turnovers. Apparently the NFL would rather not have that happen.
Welcome to the modern NFL, where offense rules and defenses should just not show up.