NFL won’t ‘back off’ on protecting quarterbacks after controversial roughing the passer calls, executives say
The NFL is not backing down on “protecting the quarterback” after being called on to review the parameters of roughing-the-passer penalties following a pair of controversial calls in Week 5.
The topic was brought up during the league meeting in New York on Tuesday, but NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent made it clear that the league has no intentions of “changing the philosophy on that call.”
“Everyone knows if your quarterback is not healthy, you don’t have a chance to win,” he said. “We’re not going to back off of protecting the quarterback.”
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Commissioner Roger Goodell echoed that sentiment.
“We're not backing off of protecting players that are in a defenseless position or in an exposed position that could lead to injury,” Goodell said, via the NFL Network “and we'll take those techniques out of the game.”
Chairman of the NFL’s competition committee Rich McKay said the owners had a brief conversation about making roughing-the-passer penalties reviewable but noted that more discussion was needed.
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“When you decide to review subjective fouls, then you’re going to have subjective eyes on something that’s already been viewed once.”
The attention surrounding those calls began in Week 5 when Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was flagged for his seemingly standard tackle on Tom Brady. The resulting penalty gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a fresh set of downs and ultimately sealed Atlanta’s fate.
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones was also called for roughing-the-passer during the Chiefs’ Week 5 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders. He tackled quarterback Derek Carr from behind, knocking the ball loose and recovering it in what would have been a pivotal turnover.
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Game officials defended the call saying Jones landed on Carr “with full body weight.”
“We’ve had less calls than we’ve had in the past,” Goodell said. “There has been no change to the rule. We obviously, as in any officiating, officials make calls that we would rather not have be calls or we’d have calls that we prefer that they do make. We make that clear to the officials and make it clear to our coaches.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.