Monday, September 20, 2010

In Defense of Defense

On separate drives, Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs were penalized for contacting Carson Palmer in the Ravens 15-10 loss to the Bengals. Both calls pushed Cincinnati into field goal range and kicker Mike Nugent made both attempts.

Who is the NFL front office kidding? The rules put in place over the past decade to protect the quarterback have about as much to do with player safety as the ban on mid-game tweets. The NFL wants offense and more specifically, passing offense. The easiest way to keep a prolific passing game in top form is to hinder the ability of those whose job it is to hinder the ability of the quarterback.

On Sunday, future Hall-of-Fame linebacker Ray Lewis was called for a tripping penalty when he was blocked into Palmer and Palmer fell over Lewis' legs. Terrell Suggs was called for roughing the passer as he attempted to sack Palmer. After Suggs made his leap, Palmer got off his throw and was driven to the ground by the airborn Suggs.

If you can't hit the quarterback high and you can't hit the quarterback low, you have to hit the quarterback in the middle. As the defender lunges toward the quarterback's midsection, how can he possibly see if the QB threw the pass yet? More importantly, even if the defender notices the QB successfully got off the pass, how can he stop himself on a dime?

Ravens coach John Harbaugh had similar questions at the post-game press conference. “It’s hard for us, right now, to determine what roughing the passer is," Harbaugh stated. "If that’s roughing the passer, I mean, I don’t know how you’re supposed to get Carson Palmer, a 250-pound quarterback, down.” Exactly, Jim. You're not supposed to.

Despite what the highlight reel splicers favor in the halls of Bristol, Conn. at ESPN, football fans love great plays on offense AND defense. Take it from a blogger whose beloved Steelers have mustered up an average of 116 passing yards through two games as the team's third and fourth string quarterbacks battle for playing time, defense is exciting. Pittsburgh clobbered the Titans yesterday by forcing seven turnovers... and viewers certainly got there money's worth.

From the locker room on Sunday, a frustrated Lewis said, “There are so many rules that take away from the game [of football].” Unfortunately, he is right. Studio analyst after studio analyst talk about how they played football when "men were men" and the offense wasn't pampered by rules, regulations and refs. For this gridiron fan, I'd rather see the overall state of football in good health than my quarterback... but that's easy for me to say... the Black & Gold are 2-0.


  1. yeah yeah, the Steelers will choke at some point...i hope.

    But you're absolutely right, let the men play the game. And I'm sure Ray Lewis would say the same thing.

  2. Hey Chris, Nice Opening Drive!

    I think Ray Lewis does have a point. Every year there are men who have their compliants about the way the game is dictated from the standpoint of the Quarterbacks. I think Quarterbacks are important (Peyton Manning Fan Here!) and keeping them healthy is a top priority. However, I think there are still too many rules that pamper them. I think bad injuries to the bread and butter of the franchise and League are what makes the Suits change their minds. But I think that the Competition Committee has to assess if changes would benefit the game for both sides of the ball. Defensive players shouldn't be on the short end of the straw just to be in favor of the QB. I can't wait to see folks in the era of Ray Lewis in the League offices and carry weight with decisions like these.

  3. The owners favor these rules, too. I can't place all the blame on the league. A buddy of mine is an athletic trainer for a minor league baseball team that shall remain anonymous. Needless to say, owners do NOT like when millions of their dollars are on the bench, or worse the PUP list or worst of all IR. Healthy quarterback = happy owner. Logically and from a business standpoint, I understand it. But it's much easier look at the situation with a level head on Tuesday morning than it is on Sunday afternoon.


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