NFL Sticking with Officiating Emphasis on Quarterback Hits
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL is sticking with its officiating emphasis on quarterback hits, including those in which the tackler uses all or most of his body weight when falling on the quarterback.
NFL football operations chief Troy Vincent said Thursday that the powerful competition committee has clarified to game officials the techniques used in such hits, which have been a source of debate through the first three weeks of the schedule. Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews has been called for three of them, two of which appeared to be normal tackles.
A lack of consistency on such calls also has been a source of contention throughout the league. In its regularly scheduled conference call, the committee reviewed video of such plays from 2017 and this year.
"In reiterating its position on quarterback protection," Vincent says, "the committee determined there would be no changes to the point of emphasis approved this spring, or to the rule of which the body weight provision has been in place since 1995."
The inconsistency led Matthews to suggest the league has gone soft. He argued that what constitutes a clean hit is anybody's guess nowadays.
Compounding the complaints: Dolphins DE William Hayes tore his right ACL trying to avoid landing on Raiders QB Derek Carr.
The competition committee's decision to remain with the status quo doesn't mean there will continue to be a flurry of such penalties. By clarifying the technique, the league is attempting to find some uniformity in the calls.
There have been 34 roughing-the-passer calls so far. While that works out to just one flag for every 100 pass attempts, it represents a massive increase over previous years. There were 16 such penalties through three weeks last season and 20 the year before that.
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