AAAA Bruce AriansBruce Arians understandably isn’t happy that NFL rules allow a player to leap over the line to block a field-goal attempt.

That’s because Seattle’s Bobby Wagner used the tactic to block a 39-yard Cardinals field-goal try in Sunday night’s 6-6 tie. Wagner’s foot made contact with the long-snapper, but he was not given a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty because he did not land on the player.

‘Cannot be officiated’

Still, as Arians explained to Bill Polian and Tom Pelissero on Late Hits, he thinks leaping should be banned because it isn’t safe and is “bad for football.”

“The Competition Committee went through that play and officials wanted it taken out,” Arians said. “The committee left it in, but it cannot be officiated. Whether he touches, whether it was leverage, was his foot within the framework of the defensive lineman’s feet before he jumped, all those things that go into that call, I think it’s bad for football.

‘Dangerous to players’

“Because what you’re going to have to do now is start having centers raise their face up and get kicked in the face and things that are just dangerous to the players. I think it’s a dangerous play as it is and should be taken out of the game.”

 

Eagles ‘weren’t nervous’ about Wentz bouncing back after back-to-back losses

Carson Wentz

It’s easy for quarterbacks to flourish when everything is going well.

That was the common take on Carson Wentz’s early success as a rookie starter for the Philadelphia Eagles.

How would the former North Dakota State star respond during the bad times, such as back-to-back losses?

‘We just felt like he was NFL-ready’

Wentz gave the answer with his performance in the Eagles’ 21-10 victory against the previously unbeaten Minnesota Vikings. His numbers weren’t spectacular — he completed 16 of 28 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown, while throwing an interception, and had a passer rating of 52.4 — but they were good enough to give Philadelphia a commanding 21-3 lead in the third quarter.

“He was the kind of guy that we weren’t nervous about it, really, because of everything that we learned about him,” Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “In the process of scouting him out, interviewing him, working him out, we felt like he was a guy, when we visited him up in Fargo, when we looked at his workout, when we got him on the board, when we watched film with him, we just felt like he was NFL-ready.

‘There is a special camaraderie amongst quarterbacks’

“And even though we came in and the decision was made that Sam (Bradford) was going to be our guy and we were going to have time for Carson to develop, when the opportunity presented himself, (General Manager) Howie (Rosen) made a move (to trade Bradford to Minnesota), it’s his call that he made and I thought it was a good one. And Carson stepped in Week One and showed that, in fact, he was ready.”

One of the major reasons Wentz has thrived is the coaching he receives from Reich and head coach Doug Pederson, both former NFL quarterbacks who have excelled at coaching passers.

‘You don’t have to be the superstar every game’

“There is a camaraderie in general amongst all the guys in the locker room, but I think there is a special camaraderie amongst quarterbacks, when you’ve played the position and you know how difficult of a position it is to play,” Reich said. “Really, our focus with him has really been twofold. One, from a fundamentals and technique standpoint, just footwork, just the proper footwork, timing that up with route concepts that you run and making sure your feet and your target line are right.

“And then, secondly, just philosophically and just from a mentality standpoint, he came from an offense where he’s a big-play guy, making a ton of big plays, and I think philosophically just coming here, just trying to make him understand early on, ‘Hey, you don’t have to make the greatest play in the world on every play. Just take the short completion. You’ve got a good team around you, so you don’t have to be the superstar every game, just play good football.'”

 

Taylor on Dolphins’ turnaround: ‘Fat guys up front really get things done’

Jason Taylor is impressed with the way the Miami Dolphins are handling themselves.

He likes what first-year coach Adam Gase has done as far as setting the right sort of tone for the team. And he loves the work that is happening in the trenches.

‘First thing you see is accountability, discipline’

In the past two weeks, the dominance of the Dolphins’ offensive and defensive lines went a long way toward allowing for back-to-back victories against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills.

“I think the first thing you see that shows up is accountability, discipline,” Taylor told co-host Alex Marvez on The Opening Drive. “And Coach Gase, two or three weeks ago, cut two starters. They played a horrible game. (Quarterback Ryan) Tannehill got beat up, (they) couldn’t run the football. He cuts two guys that started the game, which you don’t normally see happen once the season starts. Once the season starts, your roster’s pretty much set. You’ll turn over the bottom of your roster a little bit and bring guys in here and there. But to cut two starters the day after a bad loss, really put everybody on notice. ‘If you’re not going to play the way we’re looking for you to play and be accountable and do your job and buy into the system, you’re not going to be here.’

‘Offensive line getting healthy again’

“They got some guys back along the offensive line and healthy again. Branden Albert came back and Laremy Tunsil back. And then guys started blocking, protecting Tannehill a little bit more. And they got very physical along the offensive and defensive lines. … And for all the glory the skill positions get, and all the flash and flare and dancing and celebrating and the cool cleats that you see on skill players nowadays, it’s still those fat guys up front that really get things done and allow you the opportunity to win a game.

“Miami was getting pushed around in the first few weeks of the season and they’ve turned it around in the last few.”

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