The NFL’s new roughing the passer rule was established to help protect quarterbacks, but one particular signal-caller doesn’t appear to be all that fond of it.
To its credit, the league did have good intentions in its implementation of the rule, as Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed nine games last season with a broken collarbone after Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr drove him into the ground on a sack attempt.
Unfortunately, it appears the NFL missed the mark with the new rule, which has already impacted the outcome of one game, when a potential game-sealing interception by Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander was nullified by what appeared to be a bogus penalty on Clay Matthews for a hit on Kirk Cousins. Not only that, Dolphins defensive end William Hayes suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Sunday’s game against the Raiders, when he attempted to roll off quarterback Derek Carr, which caused his knee to buckle a bit.
The new rule has been met with criticism from fans, players and coaches alike, and apparently Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is among them. Watson shared his thoughts in speaking to reporters on Wednesday.
“Of course, it helps me out as a quarterback,” Watson said, via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “I’ve been playing this game for 12 to 14 years, and some of the calls are just crazy.”
Watson acknowledged that he understands why the rule was implemented, but he also pointed out that defensive players can get hurt trying to shift their body weight off a quarterback.
“I’m cool with it because I want to be safe and sound, but at the same time, let’s play football,” he said. “It goes both ways. Some of the times, when the defensive guys are trying to hold up, they get hurt.
“I’m the quarterback, and I’m being honest with you, let the guys play and see how it goes.
Watson raised some good points, as it really is hard for a defensive player to tackle a quarterback without putting their body weight on the signal-caller. Keeping quarterbacks upright is an important initiative for the NFL, and understandably so, but the league may need to reassess the new rule, which apparently hasn’t gone over well with the competition committee.