clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

William Hayes tore ACL vs Raiders trying to abide by ‘tough’ new roughing rules, Derek Carr says ‘go ahead and land on me’

New, comments

These roughing the passer penalties are way out of hand. Even the twice-injured-on-a-sack Derek Carr doesn’t like it.

Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

This new rule this year about penalizing players who land on the quarterback on a sack has every team in the league confused and fans in an uproar. It is extremely difficult and often impossible to keep from landing on a player you are tackling, especially if it’s a sack. That’s kind of what it is, so it’s rather unavoidable.

In the Raiders’ game in Miami, Gerald Hayes sacked Derek Carr and attempted to not land on him and in the process, he tore his ACL. So, we’re exchanging injuries to quarterbacks with injuries to defensive players. That seems to be just the way the league wants this to go. Protect their precious quarterbacks and skill position guys at all costs, including the costs of defenders suffering serious injuries instead.

Immediately following the sack by Hayes, he writhed on the ground in serious pain.

“I could hear him,” said Carr. “I heard him and kind of just rolled over and looked at him to make sure he was alright and obviously he wasn’t. That’s a situation where you feel bad, man. You don’t want the guy’s season to be over. Man, go ahead and land on me, I’ll catch my breath eventually and we’ll move on.”

The spirit of the rule has existed for years. Roughing the passer would be intentionally putting all your weight on the quarterback after the pass was thrown, when you could have pulled up. You know, like Tony Siragusa did to Rich Gannon in the playoffs in 2000.

The problem with the new enforcement of it is it becomes a catch-22 for pass rushers like Hayes. Risk injury or risk the quarterback escaping or completing a pass or risk a penalty. And how they’re supposed to make that judgment call in an instant is anyone’s guess. Even Carr understands this and he plays the position these guys are going after every play.

“It’s that fine line of our league trying to find the right balance,” said Carr. “It’s an imperfect game. We’re trying to figure it out too. It’s 22 guys, full speed chaos for four seconds and you’re trying to make rules for it and it’s tough.”

There was a roughing the passer penalty called in that game in Miami. It was called on Maurice Hurst. And it was a terrible call. Absolute nonsense. It was also an extremely costly penalty.

It was third-and-9 at the Raiders 34-yard-line early in the second quarter with the Raiders up 7-0. Ryan Tannehill’s pass fell incomplete. Bruce Irvin was held on the play, which means either the Raiders would have declined it and forced a 51-yard field goal try or accepted it to move them out of field goal range in third and 19. But with the penalties offsetting, the Dolphins simply got another shot at it. And Tannehill found Kenny Stills deep for the touchdown. All because you simply can’t touch quarterbacks without a flag anymore.

Gruden doesn’t like that a man got hurt trying to avoid a penalty. But he was more upset at the penalty on Hurst and the general confusion for these players in how to avoid getting a penalty.

“It’s a tough call. They’re trying to protect the quarterbacks,” said Gruden. “Defensive linemen have it really hard right now. There was a call on us for roughing the passer that I didn’t agree with. Could say that play cost us the game. I hate to see what happens any time a man gets hurt. We need more clarity. I think that’s been a common theme around a lot of rules, honestly.”

Remember in the preseason when everyone was up in arms about the lowering the helmet rule? That seems to have been left in the preseason (thankfully) and the uproar has been replaced by the enforcement of this rule. These rules have gone way too far and it absolutely must stop now. The NFL already only vaguely resembles itself from just ten years ago. Keep this up and it won’t resemble football at all.