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NFL will discuss giving roughing the passer precedence over intentional grounding

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 11: A referee picks up a penalty flag in the first half as the Buffalo Bills play the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Deep in the various layers and levels of uproar arising from Thursday night’s Panthers-Broncos game resides a nugget that cries out for a tweaking of the rules. Which may happen.

A flag thrown for one of the various illegal hits on quarterback Cam Newton was nullified by an intentional grounding penalty. As NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino explained on NFL Network, personal fouls trump five-yard penalties. For 10-yard fouls (that’s the minimum for intentional grounding), the penalties offset.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league will discuss the possibility of wiping out the grounding penalty in those circumstances.

It would be the right outcome. Hits from defensive players that violate safety rules always should result in penalties that are enforced, unless offset but a similar foul by the offense.

Hopefully, this dynamic from the first game of the season will be the first item on the agenda for the Competition Committee in the offseason.

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22 Responses to “NFL will discuss giving roughing the passer precedence over intentional grounding”
  1. elyasm says: Sep 14, 2016 1:25 PM

    It seems to me that only equal yardage penalties should offset. In this scenario, it seems like the 5 yard difference between Roughing the Passer and Intentional Grounding should be enforced.

    I would apply that policy across the board so that if offensive holding and defensive pass interference are both called, the ball gets placed ten yards back from where the interference occurred.

  2. jonwill57 says: Sep 14, 2016 1:29 PM

    Wow, I posted this on the Brandon Marshall story. In addition, the league should re-assess the definition of intentional grounding. It should be made more liberal. The play in question, he’s outside the tackles, 3 players on him but his pass didn’t reach the line of scrimmage? That should be changed. The QB position is too valuable not to allow them to toss it away. If too many starters get hurt, the league will have more games with guys like Kellen Clements, Brian Hoyer or Kirk Cousins as starting QBs.

  3. ravenbiker says: Sep 14, 2016 1:29 PM

    That has the potential to have QBs do everything with their arms ready to throw so if he sees he’s half a second away from a sack, he can intentionally ground it, then the hit becomes ‘roughing the passer’.

  4. mindelm42 says: Sep 14, 2016 1:37 PM

    No…you have to enforce intentional grounding. It’s how the QB escapes a sack. Pass has to make it back to line of scrimmage.

  5. bobthebillsfan says: Sep 14, 2016 1:41 PM

    elysam, I respectfully disagree with you in terms of applying that policy across the board. So what happens if there is an offensive holding and a defensive holding and the ball is intercepted? Does the intercepting team keep the ball? Where is it placed?

  6. intrafinesse says: Sep 14, 2016 1:45 PM

    I don’t agree.

    The QB can throw it away. The good ones usually do. If you hold onto the ball too long and don’t throw it away in time, you suffer the consequences.

    The rules are already skewed towards favoring the offense, don’t skew it more. It’s already too easy for a QB to avoid grounding by throwing it away.

    The ball should have to pass the first down marker not just the line of scrimmage.

    And none of this throwing it at the receivers feet when they are 6 feet away. That should count as a sack.

    By making it harder to avoid grounding or being sacked, QBs will have to throw it away more.

  7. jbraider says: Sep 14, 2016 1:45 PM

    Why is this even a discussion?

  8. manureman says: Sep 14, 2016 1:47 PM

    Why not just play without defenders just think what numbers all of today’s “GREAT qb’s” yes Tom this means you could put up then!!!!

  9. pfatl says: Sep 14, 2016 1:55 PM

    This is dumb. They should offset as they do.

    Newton intentionally grounded the ball. Period. End of story. This whole narrative the announcer tried to instigate, “did they consider that he grounded to get away from an illegal hit” is absolute B.S. At the time he threw the pass he did not know that he was going to be hit in the head. He may have known he was going to get hit, but like, that’s the point of the grounding rule. You arent allowed to ground just to avoid a sack.

    So the fact is, Newton grounded the ball and then was bailed out by an illegal hit. To change the rule would be to flip upside down the chain of occurrences.

  10. amplewor says: Sep 14, 2016 1:56 PM

    Just give them a red flag already. BUT no more running and sliding.

  11. mmack66 says: Sep 14, 2016 2:10 PM

    pfatl says:
    Sep 14, 2016 1:55 PM

    This is dumb. They should offset as they do.

    Newton intentionally grounded the ball. Period. End of story.
    ———————–

    You’re dumb.

    He was outside of the tackles. He was trying to throw the ball away, and would have been successful had the ball gone past the line of scrimmage.

    The guy has a cannon for an arm, so if he wasn’t about to suffer yet another hit to the head, he would have been able to throw it farther.

  12. RegisHawk says: Sep 14, 2016 2:29 PM

    …and now you know why the rule book is that big. You have to write a law for every possible outcome.

  13. jgedgar70 says: Sep 14, 2016 2:35 PM

    mindelm42 says:
    Sep 14, 2016 1:37 PM

    No…you have to enforce intentional grounding. It’s how the QB escapes a sack. Pass has to make it back to line of scrimmage.
    _____
    So you think that the ball would have landed exactly where it did if Cam did not get clubbed in the head on that play?

    If they don’t change how this was called, defensive coordinators will work it into their game plans. “If you’re close, give him a big enough shot to the head so that he can’t get the ball to the lien of scrimmage. He’ll get called for grounding and we’ll just replay the down.”

  14. fsstnotch says: Sep 14, 2016 2:56 PM

    I think there is a clear difference between intentionally throwing the ball away and what Cam did. Cam was trying to get the ball to a receiver and was leveled as he was throwing it. I think outside the tackles, a hit should negate the requirement to make the line of scrimmage.

  15. crewchief15 says: Sep 14, 2016 3:08 PM

    intrafinesse says:
    The ball should have to pass the first down marker not just the line of scrimmage.
    ——————-
    No logic in this statement, what if it we’re 1st and 25, so now he has to launch it 25 yards pass the line of scrimmage?? You had really good points until this one.

  16. charlsong1 says: Sep 14, 2016 3:09 PM

    There should have been too penalties on the Broncos on that last play. A helmet to helmet hit on a player is one act that results in a penalty, and roughing the passer is another. A helmet to helmet penalty can be called on any player against any other player, just like when OBJ hit Josh Norman last year. So there should have been two penalties: roughing the passer and helmet to helmet, and then there would have also been an intentional grounding. But here’s the deal, you cannot simply assume that the Panthers would have one in that scenario. They had a chance to win with a FG that Gano obviously could’ve made. So in the end, it is what it is…It was a wake up call to the Panthers. Refs don’t like you. Cam gets treated differently. Remmers has issues with speed rushers. Other receivers need to get open faster. So take that info and go win some games….or not. The choice is yours.

  17. elyasm says: Sep 14, 2016 3:28 PM

    bobthebillsfan says:
    Sep 14, 2016 1:41 PM

    elysam, I respectfully disagree with you in terms of applying that policy across the board. So what happens if there is an offensive holding and a defensive holding and the ball is intercepted? Does the intercepting team keep the ball? Where is it placed?
    —————————————————
    That’s a legit concern that I had not considered and I appreciate you pointing it out so courteously. Penalties generally do not result in a loss of down, so even if the line of scrimmage is shifted five yards this way or that, if both penalties occurred before the INT, the INT would be nullified and the down would be replayed. If the penalties occurred after the INT, they would be enforced after the change of possession.

    To be perfectly honest, however, rather like the rules the way they are currently implemented and would prefer to have them stay exactly the way they are.

  18. TheDPR says: Sep 14, 2016 3:42 PM

    It’s fine the way it is.

    If it must be changed, how about rather than offset penalties, they split the difference? Personal foul is 15 yards from where the QB was rather than from the line of scrimmage?

  19. bws1066 says: Sep 14, 2016 4:01 PM

    QBs will start abusing this rule, Cam should have gotten rid of it sooner. He isn’t the most cerebral QB.

  20. everlast79 says: Sep 14, 2016 4:11 PM

    I agree, especially when the hit itself affected the throw and why the ball did not reach the original line of scrimmage.

  21. renocarolina says: Sep 14, 2016 4:30 PM

    As a Panther fan I am looking forward to the return of football on Sunday.

    Enough of the constant justification of rules, safety and fines… and whether Cam should have his own set of rules different from every other NFL player.

  22. clavisra says: Sep 15, 2016 2:21 PM

    Any penalty assessed for player safety should not offset with regular penalties, and should always result in either a loss of down (for your team) or a first down (for the other team).

    So, in the case of the game, you would assess the intentional grounding penalty, but then assess the roughing penalty, resulting in fifteen yards and a first down.

    Another example would be an illegal cut block by an offensive lineman on an engaged defender. The result of the play would be nullified, the offense would lose yards, and lose the down.

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