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Greg Olsen on NFL’s player safety: “You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth”

FILE - Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) takes a knee after being hit against the Denver Broncos during the second half of an NFL football game in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney, File) AP

Much of the attention regarding the multiple hits to the head of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton last week has centered on whether the concussion protocol was properly followed.

But for Panthers teammate Greg Olsen, the bigger issue is the hypocrisy that four fairly obvious hits to Newton’s head in the second half last week against the Broncos weren’t called, except for the last and most egregious one which was negated by an intentional grounding penalty.

“I think any time you talk about player safety, that’s obviously important,” Olsen said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “I just don’t think you can talk about player safety and have what unfolded. You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth.

“Player safety sounds great, is a great offseason rallying cry, sounds awesome. But we got zero yards out of any of those hits. That’s the reality of it.”

Even if some Broncos are fined, and it’s fair to expect that linebacker Brandon Marshall and safety Darian Stewart will be, it’s hard to know what kind of deterrent it will be to other players.

Stewart already said he’d appeal any fine, and said that the plan was to inflict as much punishment on Newton as possible. And while that’s not a new concept, the ambiguousness Newton seems to create in officials because of his size and running ability is frustrating to the Panthers.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that Newton was dealing with some general soreness, but showed no signs of a concussion, while maintaining that the team handled the situation properly.

Whether the league and its officials have or will is something Olsen seems to doubt.

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57 Responses to “Greg Olsen on NFL’s player safety: “You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth””
  1. hatersgonnahatehate says: Sep 12, 2016 1:15 PM

    Let me introduce you to the league office…

  2. eaglesnoles05 says: Sep 12, 2016 1:15 PM

    NFL’s response to Greg Olsen’s comment: “Yes we can, watch.”

  3. lscottman3 says: Sep 12, 2016 1:16 PM

    i give a lot of credit to Olsen

    Godell and the NFL none

    watch as his favorite team skates on this.

    deliberate head hunting and no fines

  4. metalman5150 says: Sep 12, 2016 1:17 PM

    Yeah well no sympathy from me.

    Signed. Chris Culliber pick six hit on Greg Olsen; flagged for unnessecary roughness.

  5. jjackwagon says: Sep 12, 2016 1:17 PM

    Sure they can Greg. They have been doing it for years.

  6. arpy911 says: Sep 12, 2016 1:17 PM

    You can’t have it both ways. If he wants to run over people instead of sliding or stepping out of bounds, then he’s going to get hit, just as hard as anyone else does.

  7. flankerright says: Sep 12, 2016 1:18 PM

    If your last name isn’t Brady, Rodgers, Manning or Bree’s the officials will not throw that hanky for shots to the head. If you want to stop headshots, start suspending players for when they commit the foul….

  8. 6thsense10 says: Sep 12, 2016 1:28 PM

    arpy911 says:
    Sep 12, 2016 1:17 PM
    You can’t have it both ways. If he wants to run over people instead of sliding or stepping out of bounds, then he’s going to get hit, just as hard as anyone else does.
    —–
    It’s obvious you don’t understand the rules. When any player is in the pocket and in the act of throwing the ball the NFL has decreed they’re in a defenseless position and cannot be hit above the neck or below the knees. What you just described has NOTHING to do with Cam getting hit in the head. A QB who turns into a runner is treated like any other player who is running the football but that is not the complaint here.

    Newton while in the act of throwing the football should not be taken shots to the head. It’s that simple.

  9. JSpicoli says: Sep 12, 2016 1:31 PM

    They have to talk out of both sides of their mouth. The game is a conundrum by today’s PC baloney.

    Football would never be allowed to be invented today. It is too rough for the snowflakes and the lawyers are all too willing to oblige. It is caught in a death spiral that is evident by the rule changes and the lawsuits and the inconsistent penalties and messaging.

    In the end football as we knew it, is already gone.

  10. mvalvt says: Sep 12, 2016 1:31 PM

    The NFLPA is completely silent here. Until the PA starts holding players accountable on this, nothing will change. Just like off-field issues.

  11. harness88 says: Sep 12, 2016 1:32 PM

    He is right

  12. Patskrieg says: Sep 12, 2016 1:40 PM

    He sure isn’t wrong. The NFL cares about player safety when it feels like it. They care about the rules when they feel like it. They care about a lot of things if and only when they feel like it. And there isn’t much in the way of figuring out when they might feel like it. The only thing you can be sure of is that once Denver gets involved everything goes out the window.

  13. liftheavyorliftheavy says: Sep 12, 2016 1:41 PM

    arpy911 says:
    Sep 12, 2016 1:17 PM

    You can’t have it both ways. If he wants to run over people instead of sliding or stepping out of bounds, then he’s going to get hit, just as hard as anyone else does.

    —————-

    No one is talking about contact on designed running plays or passing plays in which he has become a runner … please pay attention.

  14. stealthjunk says: Sep 12, 2016 1:42 PM

    Everyone is really spilling a lot of ink over one missed call by the refs, which happens every game. Two of the helmet hits were legal because Newton was a runner outside the pocket. Two other ones were illegal, and one of those two was flagged. It’s not the first time the refs have ever missed a single call in a game and it will not be the last. Heck, it was only a few minutes later that they missed Benjamin’s arm inside Chris Harris’s facemask on 4th and 22.

    To the extent we keep hearing players whining over the concussion protocol not being properly followed, guess what? The players themselves are not helpless — they can protect each other on the field instead of relying on some guy standing far away on the side of the field. It doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to tell when someone has been hit hard and when they look woozy afterward.

  15. myeaglescantwin says: Sep 12, 2016 1:42 PM

    I hope Olsen blows the same wind when he sees his running back lower the crown and spear a defender for that extra yard or two.

    no one talks about the RBs intentionally spearing though.

  16. pourman says: Sep 12, 2016 1:44 PM

    Not sure why they can’t adopt the same targeting rule as college. That took some getting used to but seems to be reasonably effective. All targeting flags get reviewed and if confirmed player is ejected. Would add suspensions for repeat offenders.

  17. jonwill57 says: Sep 12, 2016 1:45 PM

    @arpy911 says:
    Sep 12, 2016 1:17 PM

    You can’t have it both ways. If he wants to run over people instead of sliding or stepping out of bounds, then he’s going to get hit, just as hard as anyone else does.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    You’re either one of the officials from that game or league office employee. Those hits to his had nothing to do with sliding or not sliding. He was scrambling in the pocket. So you think the last two hits to the helmet were legit? If so, you’re influenced by the wrong thing.

  18. Lucky82 says: Sep 12, 2016 1:45 PM

    $miling league office note to players.

    $afety, Safety $afety – now be ready for Thursday night with a clear head

  19. jonwill57 says: Sep 12, 2016 1:48 PM

    On the other hand Mr. Olsen…the players in many instances are as much to blame. They absolutely will NOT leave the field and will continue to play. RG III had a sprained shoulder, couldn’t raise his arm yet with <2:00 in a game in which they were down 3 scores, he goes back out there to hand off to Crowell. Why was that necessary?

  20. dcpatfan says: Sep 12, 2016 1:53 PM

    Roger.
    Your “golden boy” has retired…..

    free the officials.

  21. palewook says: Sep 12, 2016 1:53 PM

    you tell ’em.

  22. exhelodrvr says: Sep 12, 2016 1:55 PM

    Olsen is correct.

    Of course, the same thing applies to the players. They are the ones going back into the game when they shouldn’t, and making the “illegal” hits.

  23. beavertonsteve says: Sep 12, 2016 1:56 PM

    You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth. Newton didn’t want to exit for a concession exam, even though he took a brutal shot to the head. Apparently, player safety is critically important… unless the game is on the line.

  24. factschecker says: Sep 12, 2016 1:57 PM

    If the NFL cared about player safety there would be no Thursday Night Football.

    When the league office says “player safety” replace those words with profits and their press releases would make much more sense.

    PS: The new Sunday Night song stinks to high haven. P.U.

  25. robinobishop says: Sep 12, 2016 1:58 PM

    QBs moving out of the pocket while behind the line of scrimmage should have greater protections.

  26. tylawspick6 says: Sep 12, 2016 2:01 PM

    Of course you can! ROger Goodell can lie, frame and spin anyway he wants!

    Article 46 says so!

    bawhaah

    Pats fans are just laughing at this point.

  27. jayhawk6 says: Sep 12, 2016 2:03 PM

    “Even if some Broncos are fined…it’s hard to know what kind of deterrent it will be to other players.”

    If the NFL would treat it the same way they treat PEDs and start suspending them without pay, maybe the flagrant hits will stop.

  28. blackstrat says: Sep 12, 2016 2:04 PM

    So Newton should not be hit like a running back when he is behind the line of scrimmage because he may raise his arm to throw or even simulate as if to throw?
    How stupid and candy a– of you.
    Newton and the Panthers coaching staff devise their offensive strategies around Newtons strengths and understandingly seek to exploit the rules of protecting the quarterbacks by running him more often than typical teams with typical QB’s.
    Don’t complain when he get hit and occasionally gets hit in the helmet.
    It comes with the territory, Olsen.

  29. jimmysee says: Sep 12, 2016 2:07 PM

    I favor a three strikes and you’re out approach. Flagged three times in a season for these sorts of hits your’re suspended for the remainder of the season.

    Suspended in two seasons and it is for life.

  30. xinellum says: Sep 12, 2016 2:13 PM

    It isn’t whether or not Cam is behind the line of scrimmage or in the pocket. The Eagles went through this when the Ravens blew up Foles and put him out for a couple games. They stopped the run and shoot. As soon as Cam starts a run and shoot play where he puts the ball out for the halfback then whether he hands it off or not, he could potentially run the ball so he is a running back. If you want to protect your quarterback then don’t run those plays, but as long as you continue to run the run and shoot plays, then you expose him to hits. Stop blaming the NFL, blame the coaching staff. Riverboat Ron wants to gamble with his QB and when he does, sometimes you lose. If I was Cam, I would be in the coaches office pounding him in the head and asking how he liked it because it is the coach who opens up Cam to those hits. It is an internal Panthers issue, not an NFL issue

  31. lapantherfan86 says: Sep 12, 2016 2:14 PM

    blackstrat says:
    Sep 12, 2016 2:04 PM
    So Newton should not be hit like a running back when he is behind the line of scrimmage because he may raise his arm to throw or even simulate as if to throw?
    How stupid and candy a– of you.
    Newton and the Panthers coaching staff devise their offensive strategies around Newtons strengths and understandingly seek to exploit the rules of protecting the quarterbacks by running him more often than typical teams with typical QB’s.
    Don’t complain when he get hit and occasionally gets hit in the helmet.
    It comes with the territory, Olsen.
    —-
    Every anti Cam comment since Thursday has either been hateful, ignorant, or just false.

    Nice to see that these articles bring those who know nothing about football out of the woodwork.

  32. hibcid16 says: Sep 12, 2016 2:20 PM

    You can in Roger GODells NFL

  33. captainspangled says: Sep 12, 2016 2:21 PM

    The “protocol” nonsense pushed out by the league is nothing but a misdirect by the league to brush aside exactly what Greg is talking about. Their officials displayed no concern for player safety Thursday night.

    Unfortunately, stupid media suckers have gobbled it up for no other reason than their previous obsession with “the protocol.”

    Stop reciprocating this nonsense and call the NFL out on their hypocrisy.

  34. beauregard says: Sep 12, 2016 2:24 PM

    The Broncos have given the rest of the NFL a blueprint on how to contain and beat Newton.
    They’ve done it two times in a row now.
    If Newton wants to play physical and run over people then he can expect physicality back.

  35. lapantherfan86 says: Sep 12, 2016 2:33 PM

    beauregard says:
    Sep 12, 2016 2:24 PM
    The Broncos have given the rest of the NFL a blueprint on how to contain and beat Newton.
    They’ve done it two times in a row now.
    If Newton wants to play physical and run over people then he can expect physicality back.

    Denver’s Blueprint to beating Carolina
    1. Go for illegal head shots
    2. Hope the refs don’t call it
    3. Hope Carolina misses a field goal.

    Awesome blueprint.

  36. dinkydonkey says: Sep 12, 2016 2:39 PM

    At the end of the day it’s a contact sport, but if the players really want to do something about it then they have to take a long hard look in the mirror, as they are the cause of this, but they can also be the cure.

  37. yourunclerico says: Sep 12, 2016 2:50 PM

    beauregard says:
    Sep 12, 2016 2:24 PM
    The Broncos have given the rest of the NFL a blueprint on how to contain and beat Newton.
    They’ve done it two times in a row now.
    If Newton wants to play physical and run over people then he can expect physicality back.
    —————
    except you cannot use this tactic if you are any other team than the donkeys. they are the only ones that the WWNFL allows to blatantly cheap shot players and consistently break the rules. I guess horseface and goodell are drinking buddies.

  38. ziplock10 says: Sep 12, 2016 2:55 PM

    Having watched RGIII as a Redskin fan, a running QB will take hits. The head shots always happen. This amnesia to head contact to all RB’s and WR’s is hilarious to me. He is a running threat and a load at that. He lowers his head, he gets it hit. Its fair play. Brain Orakpo hit him dead in the back and bounced off when he was a rookie. Just can’t wait to see all the whining stop. His whining makes me think of Lebron. A big man that throws himself into a tizzy whenever a perceived foul is committed. I remember when Sonny and Joe Theisman used to get destroyed after every pass. I can’t feel sorry for a man making 118 million and is 6’5″ 250+.

  39. jrebar88 says: Sep 12, 2016 2:58 PM

    Panthers were playing dirty, ask Derek Wolfe, targeting, taunting, even punched Norwood after a punt return. Keep Pouting Greg Olson. Keep Pouting.

  40. cardinealsfan20 says: Sep 12, 2016 3:04 PM

    @JSpicoli – “[Football] is too rough for the snowflakes”.

    You mean fans who would rather not watch talented people have to endure a (short) lifetime of misery after their careers?

    Let’s put you in an arena and allow you to be bludgeoned. At least we wouldn’t be losing anyone important.

  41. panther17 says: Sep 12, 2016 3:09 PM

    Just because he is bigger does not mean the rules don’t apply to him the same.

    And of the hits in the head, only one was while Newton actually still had the ball in his hands. A sack in the pocket. So no he was not a runner.

    We know on design running plays/option running plays or when he pulls down the ball and crosses the line of scrimmage he is considered a runner. He’s free game then.

    Moving out of the pocket does not make you a runner. It takes some of the protection away from a QB but it does not signal open season on the QB’s head.

  42. cardinealsfan20 says: Sep 12, 2016 3:14 PM

    @ziplock10 – “I can’t feel sorry for a man making 118 million and is 6’5″ 250+”.

    What does the salary amount or a person’s size have to do with the amount of sympathy they should receive? Suppose something terrible were to happen to Cam’s young child? Would he be undeserving of sympathy just because he’s a large, wealthy man?

  43. puhleezho says: Sep 12, 2016 3:18 PM

    All of this is a distraction. Newton gets hit a lot because he hold on to the ball instead of throwing it away or conceding a sack when he’s trapped. The majority of other QBs accept that if they stand there till the very last second they are going to get smoked, so they throw it away or go down. head shots happen every game and most are not intentional. go down when you are sacked and save yourself a beating like every other QB.

  44. jimk003 says: Sep 12, 2016 3:25 PM

    I don’t have a issue with any of the Broncos hits. Cam was ducking his head and providing punishment, then dancing and acting like a moron in the end zone. He woke a sleeping Giant. He deserves everything he gets. He doesn’t know how to win or lose. He is a joke!

  45. ziplock10 says: Sep 12, 2016 3:27 PM

    cardinalsfan20

    Its a contact sport where he gives out alot of contact. If you run read option, you’re going to get hit.

    panther17

    DB’s can’t go low so they have to go above the waist. He won’t get every call just like he’ll get phantom calls. It’s game 1 of 2017. He got 1 and they missed 1. You got the BS 4th and 21 call. Again, the Panthers came up short. They have 15 more to redeem themselves.

  46. panther17 says: Sep 12, 2016 3:30 PM

    It doesn’t matter if he holds on too long or he braces himself for the hit and lowers his head. It’s defensive players responsibility to not hit the head.

  47. bigwalt2990 says: Sep 12, 2016 3:33 PM

    So…..he just wanted yards…..I guess better field position would have made all those hits OK…

  48. panther17 says: Sep 12, 2016 3:37 PM

    Above the waist. Not above the neck. He got one, missed more than one. They even missed the ticky tacky arm to head that other QBs get while in pocket.

  49. tonebones says: Sep 12, 2016 3:59 PM

    Hey Greg, why not let the players decide the outcome instead of wanting help from the refs. Pathetic! Tell your QB to stay in the safety of the pocket. That’s the area the league has designated for protection. Once your QB becomes a RB, he’s open season. By the way, the doctors examined Cam the day after the game and there was zero sign of concussion. None. Nil. Zip. Quit crying.

  50. xxsweepthelegxx says: Sep 12, 2016 4:46 PM

    flankerright says:
    Sep 12, 2016 1:18 PM
    If your last name isn’t Brady, Rodgers, Manning or Bree’s the officials will not throw that hanky for shots to the head. If you want to stop headshots, start suspending players for when they commit the foul….
    ———
    Newton just broke Steve Youngs record for rushing TDs by a QB. Cam is an impressive QB and athlete, but comparing how he plays the position to the ones you’ve named above just isn’t apples to apples.

    Running the shoot offense, trying to trick defenders as to whether he is running with the ball or Stewart opens him up to big hits.

    With that being set, Cam is talented enough and strong enough to play the QB position that way, blessed with a rocket arm too. Denver needs to wrap tackle, and stop leading with the helmet. There are rules in place and they need to be better enforced.

  51. jgedgar70 says: Sep 12, 2016 5:28 PM

    As usual, the anti-Cam comments are downright juvenile.

    There is no way a mature adult could watch that game without concluding Cam is held to a much higher standard for roughing the passer than the NFL’s favored QBs (Brady, Rodgers, Peyton). For example, last year at Minnesota, the Vikings got a roughing the passer penalty when all the defender did was yank on Rodgers’ arm.

    Not only that, but Steratore invented a new definition of intentional grounding. According to him, you must still get your pass to the line of scrimmage, even if you get clubbed in the head. Do you really think he would have called that on Tom Brady? No way in hell.

    The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Trai Turner was also fresh hot garbage. He’s just standing on the goal line hopping up and down like a pogo stick. If that’s taunting, you need a much thicker skin.

    The personal foul on Harris’ interception was an equal amount of fresh hot garbage. No one had touched him, so Kalil dove on top of him.

    Would any of this have changed the outcome of the game? It’s highly unlikely. That FG would have been wide left no matter what the distance. But it was extremely clear the officiating crew was not applying the rules as written or with any consistency.

  52. davikes says: Sep 12, 2016 5:51 PM

    NFL – Player safety is important!

    NFL – Yes we know Roger makes more than all the officials combined, but we still can’t afford full time officials!

    The funny/sad thing is that NFL refs earn an average salary of $173k for a four month part time job. There are about 150 of them, include replay assistants. So they cost about $26 million. Which really is less than Rodger makes. And in fairness, the refs have a union, which is one reason they haven’t moved to full time refs.

  53. controlaltdeletedeletedelete says: Sep 12, 2016 5:54 PM

    I don’t recall anybody on the Panthers sideline pulling Cam out of the game in the interest of “safety.”

    Maybe they would have, if they weren’t down 1 in the fourth…

  54. mjd08501 says: Sep 12, 2016 6:36 PM

    I don’t understand what is so difficult about Cam. His style of play and his size are irrelevant to his taking hits on passing plays. It’s very simple, if the QB (Newton or others) is behind the line of scrimmage, that means he can still throw the ball and thus a defender can’t launch at his head. Being big doesn’t mean he should be exposed to head shots in the pocket or while scrambling behind the line. Once he crosses the LOS he’s a runner just like anyone else, but behind the line he’s a passer and should be treated as such.

  55. nufcedmcgreevey says: Sep 12, 2016 6:40 PM

    NFL suspends a guy 4 games because he might of let psi out of a ball but hitting a guy in head illegally is only a penalty or maybe a fine. All makes sense to me.

  56. bartpkelly says: Sep 12, 2016 6:58 PM

    I saw only two if the 4 hits that would be sure calls. One one is a shoulder to shoulder.

    Of the two one was called and the other should have been. So really, one missed call.

    Not bad.

  57. twopaw513 says: Sep 12, 2016 9:16 PM

    The NFL is not talking out of both sides of its mouth. EVERYTHING that comes out of the mouth of MR. INTEGRITY??? Rog Goodell is nothing but lies.

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