When Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David shoved Jets quarterback Geno Smith out of bounds, the first guy I thought of was former Browns linebacker Dwayne Rudd.
It was, as it turns out, 11 years to the day since Rudd threw off his helmet to celebrate a Week One win over the Chiefs. Rudd was flagged, giving the Chiefs 15 more yards and an untimed down and Kansas City won the game.
For David, the untimely penalty didn’t involve using his arms to throw his helmet into the air but throwing his arms into Smith.
Smith was still in bounds when the hit was applied. The problem is that Smith was running out of bounds.
Per a league source, the NFL’s position on plays of that nature is that, if a guy is running out of bounds, any forceful pushing or shoving will be viewed as unnecessary roughness.
It’s similar to the slide. The player in that situation is giving himself up.
If Smith had been running along the sidelines, he would have been fair game. But he was clearly running out of bounds.
So if, as David said after the game, he believes Smith was in bounds, it shows that David simply doesn’t understand the rules. Yes, Smith was in bounds. But he was going out of bounds, and he shouldn’t have been shoved.
It means that he either hasn’t been taught the rules properly, or that he ignored the information the team provided to him.
Either way, it was the difference between 1-0 and 0-1.