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Ron Rivera sides with NFL on hitting read-option QBs

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Terrell Suggs' hit on Sam Bradford this weekend kicked up dust regarding when a quarterback is protected and when he should be protected.

A line has been drawn in the grass. NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said it was a legal hit because Bradford was running a read option play. Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly disagrees with that assessment.

Coaches across the NFL are lining up on one side or the other of the divide.

While each has his own opinion, the views of Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera and Seattle Seahawks' Pete Carroll are notable given how much their quarterbacks -- Cam Newton and Russell Wilson, respectively -- run the football.

It's interesting that they are on opposite sides of the discussion.

Rivera said Tuesday he sided with the league on the view of when a quarterback is free game to be hit.

"The biggest thing we talk about ... is how the quarterback has to react," Rivera said, via ESPN.com. "If the quarterback hands the ball off and surrenders, basically stops, then he should not be hit.

"If he hands the ball off and continues to fake, now you've got to be careful because ... some of these guys have really adapted good at faking the ball. Then he becomes a live target."

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Carroll, on the other hand, believes the league should do more to protect quarterbacks.

"You can force this thing about they are a runner, (but) when they don't have the ball in their hands, and the ball is already handed off and gone, guys need to make good decisions hopefully," he said, via MyNorthwest.com. "So we'll be very much a part of that discussion if things continue like it's going because it's not right."

Some of the issue is the difficulty referees have deciphering in real time when a quarterback is making a fake and when it's a simple handoff. As Rivera mentioned, quarterbacks like Newton and Wilson have become very good at deking out defenders.

"Part of it is, too, how obvious the handoff is," Rivera said. "If the handoff is given, the guy takes a second step ... once he takes a second step, you're allowed to hit.

"Again, there's a lot of interpretation there. We try to make sure we're aware of it, our quarterback is aware of it, and we try to take care of him that way."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Jordy Nelson's knee injury and gives its winners and losers from Week 2 of the preseason.

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