Dean Blandino thinks the NFL has made it too complicated for officials to determine what is or isn’t a roughing-the-passer penalty.
The league’s former head of officiating, now a rules analyst for Fox Sports, said language that was previously in place should be restored because it is what most of the 17 referees the NFL employees understand best.
‘We’ve got to get back to the old standard of, if you lift the quarterback and drive him into the ground … that’s a foul’
“To me, we’ve got to go back to the old standard of, if you lift the quarterback and drive him into the ground, stuff him into the ground with something extra, that’s a foul,” Blandino told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “Referees can officiate that, they’ve been doing that for years. I get protecting the quarterback and nobody wants to see a quarterback hurt or any player that’s hurt, but again, it’s part of the game. You see what happened to (Jimmy) Garoppolo (Sunday) and part of the onus has to be on the quarterback and the players themselves — get out bounds, get rid of the ball before that contact is imminent and you’ll be around for the next snap and that, I think, is where we are.”
Blandino said the frustration over the controversy stemming from the calls — most notably the penalty Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews drew for his hit on Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins in Week 2 — has been felt within the NFL, as well as outside. Blandino said it will be interesting to see to what extent the matter is addressed during a conference call of the league’s Competition Committee next week.
‘I would imagine (the Competition Committee) is going to discuss this interpretation of the rule’
“Now that call had been scheduled, so this isn’t like an emergency, scrambling-type situation,” Blandino said. “But I would imagine they’re going to discuss this interpretation of the rule. And this all goes back to the Anthony Barr hit on (Aaron) Rodgers last year. The committee looked at that and said, ‘How do we make that a foul?’
“When I was with the NFL, we always looked for the language that said, ‘Did you lift the quarterback up and dump him to the ground and really drive him, stuff him into the ground, land on him with all your body weight?’ Now, the standard is just body weight where it’s not necessarily unnecessary or violent, but if you land on the quarterback with all or most of your body weight, that’s a foul. And I think that’s part of the frustration for defensive players and people around the league.
‘There doesn’t seem to be any consensus on what is and what isn’t a foul’
“There are 17 different referees. There is going to be inconsistency from time to time. But there doesn’t seem to be any consensus on what is and what isn’t a foul, and I think right now where we are — and I agree, I didn’t think it was a foul on Sunday but I thought it was probably closer than the ones he’d had previously — but it seems to be the standard is, if you land on the quarterback with your body weight, that’s going to be a foul unless the committee gets together next week and decides they’re going to go back to the old standard, which was something that was more flagrant, more violent or more unnecessary.”
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