Payton: Roughing rule about intentional body weight

Roughing the passer penalties have taken center stage since the regular season kicked off three weeks ago.

The glare is bright enough that's Judy Battista reported some members of the NFL Competition Committee are uncomfortable with the calls.

Whether New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who serves on the committee, is one of those members not feeling a full level of comfort with the penalties is unknown.

Payton, however, took a moment during his Wednesday teleconference to address the league's emphasis on preventing defensive players from placing their body weight on quarterbacks during a sack or tackle. The Saints head coach conceded there have been some calls that were incorrect, but he didn't believe the rule needed to be tweaked.

"No," Payton told reporters. "Listen, I think the point of emphasis in the offseason was very simple and that was avoiding the player intentionally placing all the weight on the quarterback. So, have we seen some that have been flagged that should not have been? Absolutely."

Officiating crews determine during a game which plays draw the yellow flag, of course, and 34 such infractions have been called around the league.

Some penalties, however, have drawn league-wide controversy, including Packers linebacker Clay Matthews getting flagged for two consecutive weeks.

The league's rule drew further attention on a national stage during Monday night's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers with four roughing the passer penalties.

One of the calls from Monday night prompted Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who has 79 career sacks, to take to social media:

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones even provided a strong opinion on how roughing the passer calls have changed the game. Jones' comments are noteworthy when considering he is one of the league's most influential owners and his son, Stephen Jones, serves on the Competition Committee.

In the meantime, the committee will hold a regularly scheduled teleconference next week. Whether there are any changes to the wording of the rule's emphasis or how it is being called remains to be seen.

But the Saints head coach pointed out there is a lack of uniformity on how the rule is currently being called by officiating crews.

"I think it's more about the consistency from crew to crew, and the message from crew to crew to get that on the same page," Payton said. "And that's with any new rule, but I think that's the biggest challenge."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content