Around the NFL  

 

Mike McCarthy on Clay Matthews hit: We need 'clarity'

Print

Clay Matthews' controversial roughing the passer penalty against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday isn't changing the Green Bay Packers' approach to tackling.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, coach Mike McCarthy said he's still perplexed over why Matthews drew a flag on the play, which came in a pivotal, late moment in the 29-29 tie.

"I'm just going to tell you this: We haven't changed anything with the way we're coaching our players," McCarthy said, per ESPN's Rob Demovsky. "The way we coach the fundamentals, it's a constant, everyday deal. The conversation I had with Clay was the same way. There needs to be some clarity on it. But just to say this is a black-and-white, right-and-wrong, I don't agree with that. It's irrelevant. I've got to coach the team to play in the game. I know the way we're going to approach the game, we know how we're going to rush the passer, we know how we're going to hit the quarterback, and the way we're teaching it is the way we're going to do it."

Referee Tony Corrente said after the game Matthews was flagged for picking up Cousins and driving him to the ground -- which is a violation under the league's roughing the passer rule. Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks was penalized for a similar infraction during the second quarter of the game. The NFL intends to use both plays in a teaching video it distributes to clubs this week to emphasize the "scoop-and-pull" tactic that Matthews used was illegal.

Still, did Matthews pull up Cousins before hitting him down? Matthews and McCarthy don't understand why it was a penalty. Their stance was echoed by Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden ahead of Sunday's game against the Packers.

"That was a huge one with Clay the other day, which I don't know how that was a penalty," Gruden said on a conference call with reporters, per Demovsky. "He did everything right, in my opinion. I think with offensive [pass interference], illegal contact, the helmet rule, I think you're subject to a lot of questionable calls possibly that could go against you."

McCarthy isn't pleased that, in Week 3 of the regular season, there's still confusion among players and coaches as to what constitutes asa legal hit on a quarterback.

"I think these are things you work through and, frankly, you'd like to have seen this worked through in the preseason," McCarthy said. "To think that we're talking about it in the regular season and it potentially can affect the outcome of games, nobody wants that. I mean, nobody. And no one feels worse about this than Clay Matthews. But, hey, we've got to get ready to play the next game."

Print