The NFL’s emphasis on protecting quarterbacks has been a massive story through the preseason and into the regular season, with no player feeling more aggrieved by the new regulations than Packers OLB Clay Matthews.
In Week 1, Matthews was flagged for a crucial roughing penalty that kept the Bears alive. In Week 2, he was flagged for what looked like a pretty clean hit on Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, which most people agreed was kind of a joke.
Today, Matthews hit Alex Smith with what looked like a textbook tackle, but once again drew a penalty, which the NFL has already deemed the right decision:
This is a foul for roughing the passer – the defender lands “with all or most of the defender’s weight” on the passer. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9(b): https://t.co/s9YKN8NLuT #GBvsWAS pic.twitter.com/ei2QZkvvzx
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) September 23, 2018
Matthews even releases early as they roll over, and he’s already pleading to avoid the penalty. Those pleas were clearly ignored.
Essentially, you can’t hit a quarterback now. That’s what the “body weight” thing means. There’s no way to actually tackle the quarterback in a fashion beyond a gentle grasp.
At some point, we're just going to have to call this what it really is: You can't hit (most) quarterbacks TOO HARD. Doesn't matter technique, helmet position, body weight, etc. It's just about force. The NFL doesn't want its QBs being hit with the same force RBs or WRs get hit. https://t.co/pMZqzBosK8
— Kevin Van Valkenburg (@KVanValkenburg) September 23, 2018
The Packers are losing late in Washington, and this is only going to make the potential loss hurt more.