Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022

Roughing the passer calls have been getting a lot of attention lately in the NFL and for good reason. In Week 5, two controversial calls received serious backlash from players, fans and the media. 

The first controversial call came during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the Atlanta Falcons. The sack of Bucs quarterback Tom Brady by defensive lineman Grady Jarrett looked clean, but a penalty was called.

Fans erupted with confusion, wondering how a player is supposed to sack a quarterback without getting a call if the Brady tackle was roughing the passer.

The next day, on Monday Night Football, Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was sacked by Chris Jones on a tackle that once again looked legal. When the referee flew the flag and signaled roughing the passer, reversing a fumble and giving the Raiders a first down, the crowd erupted with boos aimed at refs and reactions on social media quickly flooded in.

On Tuesday, the Washington Commanders locker room sounded off about the roughing calls, with the overarching message being things need to change.

“Honestly, I’m not getting those calls, I’ll tell you that,” Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke said. “To be honest though, I think it’s ruining the game. I really do … we know what we signed up for. It’s a physical sport. I get malicious ones when they pick you up and slam you. I get that. But when a defensive lineman is trying to make a play like that, what else is he supposed to do? It’s getting harder and harder on defensive guys every year.

Defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said he thinks the league is trying to make a statement and is overreacting to what happened to Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who was carted off with a head injury earlier this season.

“I think in a couple of weeks, this will all be over with,” Allen said. “As a league you’re going to do what’s best for business. And what’s best for business is having your star quarterbacks healthy, so they’re going to protect them.”

Defensive tackle Montez Sweat echoed the thoughts from many players.

“It’s really degrading the game,” Sweat said. “I guess [you go to] put a pillow under the quarterback when you sack him.”

Left tackle Charles Leno pointed out that it’s not easy for a 300-pound player to stop himself from falling on someone during a tackle.

“A few years ago they were overreactive about the penalties for offensive linemen … holding and stuff like that,” Leno said. “It was up for a few weeks and then it went down. Hopefully it’s the same.”

Comments like this are common around the league and more will likely be flowing in, especially if the controversial calls continue. 





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