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NFL to consider more protections for option quarterbacks

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Before Week One of the 2013 regular season, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh successfully applied the Jedi Mind Trick to the Packers, complaining publicly about hits applied to running quarterbacks after handing the ball off on a read-option play — and then dialing up pass after pass from Colin Kaepernick as part of a 412-yard day.

At the time, NFL V.P. of officiating made the league’s position clear.  “He is still treated as a runner until he is clearly out of the play,” Dean Blandino said. “The quarterback makes the pitch, he’s still a runner — he can be hit like a runner until he’s clearly out of the play.”

Now that the 2013 season has ended, the NFL is exploring the question of whether more protection should be applied to quarterbacks who have relinquished the ball to a tailback.

“There have been discussions on if the quarterback should get more protection on option plays,” an unnamed source familiar with the league’s discussions recently told Mark Maske of the Washington Post.

Discussions may not translate into action; “I’m not sure if you’ll see anything happen there,” the source added.

Quarterbacks can’t have it both ways.  By pretending to still have the ball, the quarterback makes himself live bait.  The goal is to draw the defense away from the guy who actually has possession, and one of the risks is that it will work too well.

That mindset applies regardless of whether the quarterback pretends he still has the ball and runs the other way or, as Brett Favre used to do, executes a goofy, empty-handed jump pass.  In those cases, the offense can’t embrace the benefit of pulling off a fake without accepting the risk that the defense may fall for it a bit too thoroughly.

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47 Responses to “NFL to consider more protections for option quarterbacks”
  1. redfield11 says: Mar 2, 2014 1:35 PM

    A concussion lawsuit from a qb costs as much as from a running back, protect everyone the same.

  2. meatcarroll says: Mar 2, 2014 1:40 PM

    Added protection won’t change the fact that Colon Krapperchoke is a joke QB that uses his legs first, arm second, and brain third.

  3. dondada10 says: Mar 2, 2014 1:40 PM

    Just give the QB a different color jersey and call it a day.

  4. seatownballers says: Mar 2, 2014 1:41 PM

    No way. I hate that the league is being over protective in a contact sport

  5. seatownballers says: Mar 2, 2014 1:42 PM

    Injuries are a part of the game

  6. whatswrongwithmyname says: Mar 2, 2014 1:48 PM

    “Quarterbacks can’t have it both ways.”

    This is the truth. Also, if this is the case, then you have to make it illegal to hit a RB carrying out a fake on a play-action pass.

    This would be an awful rule change.

  7. shaggytoodle says: Mar 2, 2014 1:48 PM

    How about you just let them play football.

    Its bad enough, when defenders rush the QB realize they won’t get to him, so they jump up to knock the pass down. Come down and glance the QB their hand or arm. Even though they didn’t swat or move their arms since take off, its a 15 yrd penalty.

    The QBs don’t need any more protection. They are going to be the new Punters if they keep this up

  8. axespray says: Mar 2, 2014 1:58 PM

    Wanna protect your QB?
    Then Find one that doesn’t need read option gimmicks to be successful.

  9. Gordon says: Mar 2, 2014 1:59 PM

    Just put flags on them already. That’s where this is going. Refs already have an impossible task calling “roughing the passer” penalties.

    If a rule like this goes thru, the refs will need to have X-Ray vision to see if the QB has the ball still on an option play.

  10. xsorethumbx says: Mar 2, 2014 2:07 PM

    I cant believe a Harbaugh was complaining.

  11. mrlaloosh says: Mar 2, 2014 2:10 PM

    Let’s see. Harborugh

  12. mrlaloosh says: Mar 2, 2014 2:12 PM

    Let’s see. Harbaugh has been to one Super Bowl and lost. Lost in the NFC championship game this year and against the Giants two years ago. Can’t finish, huh, Jimbo?

  13. terry19n says: Mar 2, 2014 2:13 PM

    Punters, Kickers & Quarterbacks just give them
    Yellow Jerseys. Other option would just go to
    playing Flag Football.

  14. yizudien says: Mar 2, 2014 2:16 PM

    If they want to bring in the big money for the big throws just get rid of being able to touch the qb. No more sacks or running backs since they are next on the old protection. Instead the game will be played by giving the ball to the qb (might hurt a finger if we snap it to the qb, and snap and hike have a shart negativity about them).

    Then the QB is allowed to take his time considering the options while receivers run routes till one is open. A random number generator will be ticing away removing one defensive player every time it goes off.

    Seriously QBs want to complain about getting paid a ton of money and not having to climb the corporate ladder, or take a risk by starting a small business. Yes you could end up not remembering anything about yourself, but that is part of the risk for the money. Soon they will make football as boring as soccer (Sorry soccer fans), then the QB’s and RB’s and WR’s wont have to worry about long term affects because the money will be gone.

  15. onebigredrocket says: Mar 2, 2014 2:16 PM

    Just get rid of the defense altogether.

  16. chawk12thman says: Mar 2, 2014 2:19 PM

    If the QB waves off the “D” like a punt returner he should be protected the same as if he was sliding…….so if he hands off and after a few seconds of bluffing he raises his hand and signals (same as fair catch) he is then not a runner and protected.

    If he bluffs that he has the ball he is fair game until he either signals or is clearly no longer part of the play due to obvious circumstances.

  17. Gordon says: Mar 2, 2014 2:32 PM

    Teams should just have their QB run on every down. Then when their QB gets hurt, they can complain and get a rule change so the QB cannot be hit on running plays.

    That is basically what is prompting the NFL to consider changes here.

  18. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 2, 2014 2:39 PM

    It’s getting ridiculous. Any player carrying the ball regardless of position, is game.

  19. roadtrip3500 says: Mar 2, 2014 2:56 PM

    Would this apply to only “known” option QBs who have such runs in their playbook? Or would the referee and umpire have to be aware that Brady or the Mannings could run an option-style pitch play just to try to pick up that extra 15 and auto-1st from such a hit?

    Making rules for different types of players at a position makes no sense. That would be the same as different rules for slow-vs-fast WRs.

  20. sarconomist says: Mar 2, 2014 3:07 PM

    The next fad will be halfback passes, and then the question will be whether running backs deserve the same protection quarterbacks receive.

  21. charger383 says: Mar 2, 2014 3:08 PM

    Run the ball and take the hit

  22. chunkderrrty says: Mar 2, 2014 3:34 PM

    This just in kotex is now the official sponsor of the nfl the deal includes a lifetime supply of tampons for the players with extra padding for the qb’s.

  23. raideralex99 says: Mar 2, 2014 4:15 PM

    Is this rule suppose to protect the QBs who can not read a defence?
    How about this rule … If you cannot read a defence you cannot play the QB position.

  24. csilojohnson says: Mar 2, 2014 4:16 PM

    Diving will soon be common place in the NFL.

  25. roxtar10 says: Mar 2, 2014 4:25 PM

    Couldn’t you just consider them to be down when you pulled their flag? Or maybe if their manicure gets scuffed in some way?

  26. russrpm says: Mar 2, 2014 4:26 PM

    The option should be to stay in the pocket if the qb wants protection.

  27. thegreatgabbert says: Mar 2, 2014 4:26 PM

    Give them the option of changing their schoolyard style or suffering the consequences.

  28. thegreatgabbert says: Mar 2, 2014 4:29 PM

    If that means more nude pictures of that braindead Camel on the shelf at the checkout stand, no thanks.

  29. veence69 says: Mar 2, 2014 4:30 PM

    NFL QB are already the biggest pansies on the field. I’m not surprised these princesses are looking for more protection from minor scrapes and bruises.

    The NFL in 2014 is a little girl’s game.

  30. veence69 says: Mar 2, 2014 4:32 PM

    Aaron Rodgers’ success in the NFL can be directly attributed to the over-pampering of these “athletes”. In 1991, Aaron Rodgers would last about 3 plays before something broke on his fragile little frame.

    Today? He gets to sit back in the pocket knowing that if anyone lays a finger on him it’s going to be an extra 15 yards. Pathetic.

  31. gbmickey says: Mar 2, 2014 4:36 PM

    Why can’t the NFL just leave well enough alone? If a coach doesn’t want his qb hit design an offense where he wont. If a qb doesn’t want to be hit then don’t run or fake run the ball. It’s not complicated. This stems from a whiny coach, he whines so much his own team is tired of it.

  32. realdealsteel says: Mar 2, 2014 4:58 PM

    The constant changing of the game is slowly eroding the quality of the game.

    There is no rule change necessary. QB’s that learn to throw and not run won’t get hurt as much. Simple as that.

  33. FinFan68 says: Mar 2, 2014 5:01 PM

    When the officials are practically in need of a slide rule or a compass to determine hit angles before deciding to toss a flag, it’s time to stop the madness and look to common sense again. We can all identify a cheap shot when we see one. Call those and get rid of all the complicated circumstances surrounding hits. There is no way to eliminate potential injury from the game unless you don’t actually play it. These guys know the risks in a contact sport. The lawsuits are ridiculous and those that file them should be held accountable.

  34. robrocker1959 says: Mar 2, 2014 5:22 PM

    Let’s just play flag football and be done with it. It’s going that way. Jeez enough already. What’s next wearing a tu-tu?

  35. bobc74 says: Mar 2, 2014 5:46 PM

    Just pass out two flags for every player and eliminate all contact. That way you a) don’t have to worry about passing more silly rules next year, b) won’t have anyone being injured from contact and c) don’t have to worry about whether a player who is gay made “improper contact” with another player (because you just know there’s going to be a silly rule like that someday).

  36. goldrush36 says: Mar 2, 2014 6:31 PM

    Kaepernick and Newton are big boys. They can take it. Wilson is small but fairly stout. None of them take a lot of hits. The true beneficiaries of such a stupid rule would be RG3, Pryor, Vick, Manziel. The guys that run with reckless abandon and aren’t built for it. STUPID idea. Leave the game alone

  37. idonthavethebloodyoucrave says: Mar 2, 2014 6:43 PM

    This game needs less protection for option quarterbacks.

    If you run the ball, you should be as fair game as a running back. If you can’t handle the hits, pass.

  38. lks311 says: Mar 2, 2014 6:44 PM

    I’m close to checking out.

  39. mattyheisman says: Mar 2, 2014 7:02 PM

    This is craziness,no way they make this happen. Can you imagine watching a game where the qb can’t really be hit at all? Oh wait,we already do….

  40. catfanatic1979v1 says: Mar 2, 2014 7:04 PM

    The game is dangerous. Get over it and let them play.

  41. macbull says: Mar 2, 2014 7:10 PM

    Just put a dress on the sissies and be done with it…no hitting QBs at any time…

    But there is another solution, don’t want your QBs to get hit on option plays, don’t run option plays…

  42. TIM says: Mar 2, 2014 8:21 PM

    The reasons Kaepernick never gets hit while he is running are two fold. He is faster than those running after him ,so they always underestimate how fast he is running …and… he can pass as well as he runs,so they have to guard against his passing and can’t just tee off on him to shut down his running.
    If he only had an offensive coordinator who was not in over his head in the NFL and who knew how to run a passing offense there would be no stopping the Niners and Kap !

  43. jcjaguar says: Mar 2, 2014 8:51 PM

    Just dumb. If you are going to put your QB at risk by playing the option, that is the possibility you should have to face. Same with send small receivers over the middle and not expecting them to get hit!

  44. hess97 says: Mar 2, 2014 9:20 PM

    They should make a rule that the refs aren’t allowed to give Seahawks three extra possessions in the fourth quarter of the NFC championship game. Especially when the best player on the field loses his leg to hold on to an interception- all for naught. The refs should no longer be able to selectively choose when they know the rules about roughing the punter, either.
    When will the fixed games end?

  45. chawk12thman says: Mar 2, 2014 11:51 PM

    Not many of those commenting read the article well enough.

    This isn’t about the QB Running with the ball. If he has the ball and he is running (not sliding) he needs to be hit……This is about the QB pretending he has the ball or running the option and tossing the ball away. If he is clearly demonstrating that he isn’t part of the play any longer (not blocking) the argument is that he shouldn’t be fair game for a hard tackle/hit.

    I prefer to play with the current rules. However, there needs to be some affirmative move by the QB to “call of the dogs” if the NFL wants to change how this is officiated/played.

  46. jadmakaveli says: Mar 3, 2014 10:02 AM

    Anyone ever notice no QB has ever gotten hurt from running the read option? so I never understood this protection thing when honestly qb’s havent ever gotten hit hard or hurt from this?

  47. shlort says: Mar 3, 2014 11:19 AM

    Why should a RB who throws the ball be protected like a QB? The option system is a fad (or the future of the NFL if you are too stupid to know about the past of the NFL).

    If a team runs a gimmick as an offense, why should the teams QB be afforded extra protection? If you want to have a RB as your QB, put more pads on him. It won’t hurt their accuracy because most of them are horribly innacurate.

    I have watched football since I was old enough to turn on the TV. The way the NFL wants to change the game to justify the sissification of society is going to make me do something else on Sunday afternoons unless it is raining or something.

    The NFL must have had a meeeting with NASCAR to see who can tank their brand first. Probably wagered a dollar on who would hit the bottom first.

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