Jon Gruden: I thought Danny Trevathan made a great play

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One of the NFL’s most prominent voices is speaking out in support of Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan, who was suspended for a hit that hospitalized Packers receiver Davante Adams.

Jon Gruden, the Super Bowl-winning coach turned Monday Night Football commentator, said on Mike & Mike that he thinks going full speed until the whistle blows is part of football, and that means a linebacker drilling a receiver over the middle is part of football.

“I don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” Gruden said. “It was a vicious hit, but not to be politically correct, you’re supposed to run to the ball. We used to tell our receivers, if you want to run an inside breaking route, if you want to fight for yardage after the catch, you better be careful because these defensive players, they’re on the hunt. I think some of these receivers that are running these quick screens and these inside breaking RPOs [run/pass options], they need to get down, personally. I’m not blaming Davante Adams but I think there’s two ways to look at it. I’ve always coached energy, hustling, rushing to the pile, and if it is wiggling, you do hit it. Because guys are fighting for yardage, and sometimes you’ve got to give up the ball because of one inch. Inches matter. That’s why they measure first downs. That’s why they have a crew down there with those chains. So I’m a little sensitive. I thought Trevathan made a great play. Obviously, what he’s hitting, the surface, below the neck, all those things, I’m totally agreeing on. But I thought Trevathan made a heck of a play and unfortunately a man got hurt.”

Derrick Brooks, the Hall of Fame linebacker who played for Gruden for seven years in Tampa Bay, was the person who reduced Trevathan’s suspension from two games to one on appeal. Brooks and Gruden both come from a time, not long ago, when a linebacker lowering his helmet into an opposing receiver’s head was just part of the game. The NFL wants to put that part of the game into the distant past.

67 responses to “Jon Gruden: I thought Danny Trevathan made a great play

  1. First off I really like Gruden the announcer. I also think he is overrated as a coach and won with Tony Dungys team after having a stellar Raiders roster. But as good of an announcer he may be he’s wrong. He always wants to “appear” to be the tough guy with the nasty sneer but that hit was dirty and has no place in the game. Period. They are going to happen but to approve of them after the fact with the benefit of replay and knowledge just diminishes his respect IMHO. I’d like to see what he thinks after he took a hit like that. Oh yeh, he probably never did….

  2. I agree somewhat. I wouldn’t call it a great play, but it was a legit football tackle. Unfortunately dude got hurt, but that’s part of the game. People looking at things in slow motion need to remember the game is not played in slow mo, its played full speed. I think people are too quick to knee jerk react after a guy gets hurt. It wasn’t dirty. Every former defensive football player I’ve heard talking about it on the radio all agree it was not a dirty play and should not result in a suspension.

  3. you’re supposed to run to the ball
    Yes but you’re not supposed to lead with the helmet and hit so hard you knock the mouth guard out. C’mon Gruden.

  4. A crushing, helmet-to-helmet hit that knocks a guy unconscious and sends him to the hospital is not a great play. Not in my book, anyway, and not with all the focus on CTE, either. Leading with your head to another guy’s head is dirty.

  5. I always thought Gruden was an idiot. Glad he just confirmed it, again.

    I agree with run to the play until the whistle. But lowering your head and going helmet to helmet is illegal (meaning not a great play). Trevathan needs to attack that scrum with his head up.

  6. I admire tbat he played to the whistle. A lot of conmenters seem to believe forward progess had been stopped or that he was already wrapped up. But he had already broken a tackle or two and looked as though he might break another. And the whistle hadnt blown. That said, Trev probably could have altered his trajectory enough to avoid the helmet to face action

  7. Most fans over 30ish would agree with Gruden. It was only a couple of years ago that the panel on ESPN would have yelled “he got jacked up”! as the replay was being shone!

  8. “Yes but you’re not supposed to lead with the helmet and hit so hard you knock the mouth guard out. C’mon Gruden.”

    There’s no rule to how hard you can hit. The harder, the better … that’s how you create turnovers. If he didn’t go helmet-to-helmet, it’s an incredible play. Helmet-to-helmet has to be called a penalty, but the vicious impact and hitting a guy fighting for extra yardage is exactly what you want in a defender.

  9. He did, the Packer’s fans just love the attention. They sound like a bunch cry baby’s about all this.

  10. Gruden’s comments just show how little NFL insiders respect the danger of brain damage resulting from leading with the helmet – also note that arms were down – he wasn’t even trying to tackle Adams. It was a sickening hit and Trevathan was lucky that he didn’t receive a 5 game suspension.

  11. Fighting for yardage? Watch the play–Adams caught the ball, was wrapped up by 2 players and was going down, and Trevathan came from 5 yards away, full steam, and speared Adams. No doubt there was a lot of time for Travathan to pull up, or at least not lead the tackle with his helmet.

  12. This is 2017 not 1960. The games has evolved to remove those type of hits from the game. You may not feel its right, but that’s the way the game is going. That was a classic, leading with crown of helmet.

  13. He’s correct. I love people saying don’t lead with your head as if it’s possible when your running at a 4.5 clip chasing a moving target running at 4.3. Results don’t match intentions when things are moving that fast.

  14. too many times these head shots are the result of the runner lowering their head as they’re getting or about to be tackled. many times you can’t fault the defender but in the end it ends up on them.

  15. Though not really premeditated, that hit was vicious and unnecessary. The play still could’ve been made without leading with the crown of the helmet. Adjust your strike zone and technique.

  16. Top of your helmet into the receivers face, how is that not an illegal hit and a penalty. How? On a side note, I personally am sick and tired of his tough guy image, his sneer, and his body language. Of course his broadcast partner is even worse.

  17. He’s correct. I love people saying don’t lead with your head as if it’s possible when your running at a 4.5 clip chasing a moving target running at 4.3. Results don’t match intentions when things are moving that fast.
    =====

    Uh.. except in this case Trevathan speared what was basically a stationary target.

  18. It would have been a great play if Trevathan had tackled Adams as allowed by existing rules. He didn’t. Accordingly, Trevathan was appropriately flagged. As for the suspension and appeals process, it’s so riddled with flaws I can’t even really comment on any aspect of it anymore.

  19. First off I really like Gruden the announcer.

    ______________________________________________

    Maybe its just me, but I listen to him and think to myself, he doesn’t know much more than the drunk at the end of the bar. For some reason expected an ex coach to provide some insight, not just brag up players.

  20. Gruden know better. Adams was in the process of being tackled by another player when Trevathan came spearing in. Not a good play in any generation and certainly not something worth condoning.

  21. If the NFL wants to really eliminate injuries they will start to stop plays when progress is actually stopped. When I guy is stood up the play need to stop. These guys fall forward for three yards each play when progress is stopped but get a flag thrown on D when a strong play is made to stop this progress. Same thing with guys rolling over on top of bodies. Down needs to be down, stopped progress needs to be down.

  22. It was a sickening hit and Trevathan was lucky that he didn’t receive a 5 game suspension.
    ________________________________

    Lucky is the word. If he had received a five game suspension, it would have likely been reduced to three or four games. Instead, he got his two game suspension reduced to one game.

    Either way, the league didn’t seem to think the hit was as dirty as you did, and the appeals officer thought it was even less dirty still.

  23. cmon Gruden!! – for one the guy was stood up by two defenders and his forward momentum was completely stopped. So you are good with Trevathan going full bore into Adam’s face-mask with the crown of his helmet while the guy can’t move? the hit was egregious and disgusting and made me feel physically ill to witness it. Trevathan deserved a suspension, i don’t think the guy is necessarily a “dirty player” but when you are a competitor and you are losing sometimes you will cross the line …. IMO that’s what happened … anyone that has competed knows what i am talking about.

  24. Football is a game where discipline is stressed by the coaches. It’s too bad protecting yourself isn’t. Of course Trevathan hustled and went balls out. But there is no excuse for leading with your head like a ram. It’s called spearing. And the penalty for it is for the protection of both players. As the player spearing, you can break your neck, become paralyzed or even lead to death. Spearing has been on the books decades prior to this CTE issue. Don’t lead with your head! Unfortunately, kids in Pop Warner and high school are not being taught the proper way to tackle. Safety is not emphasized, only winning. Gruden is so wrong, and his comments are irresponsible. Video doesn’t lie.

  25. First off I really like Gruden the announcer. I also think he is overrated as a coach and won with Tony Dungys team after having a stellar Raiders roster.
    =====

    It would be interesting to know where his Raider team would be if not for the Tuck Rule call. My guess is, that Buccaneer team never wins a Super Bowl.

    Gruden got that 2002 team over the top. He elevated teh offenses play, AND the defenses play.

    .. overall, I would agree with you, but 2002 was a masterful coaching job. Dungy couldn’t win with that team. Gruden did.

  26. aarons444 says:
    October 4, 2017 at 12:05 pm
    I’m sure he thought the Warren Sapp hit on Chad Clifton was clean too.

    —————

    It was and I am a Packer fan. Clifton was moving to the play. I know he was just jogging but he was moving towards the runner and that means you can be blocked.

  27. You either enforce that rule or you don’t. If you do, then I think this hit was about as clear-cut an example of a hit that you would have to penalize as you could find.

  28. I have been playing football before Gruden was a coach and I was taught to see what you hit. Trevathan not only put the career of Adams in danger but himself was well. There was a Jets’ DL guy who went paralyzed back in the early 90s that didn’t see what he was hitting either.

  29. alaric411 says:
    October 4, 2017 at 12:08 pm
    Fighting for yardage? Watch the play–Adams caught the ball, was wrapped up by 2 players and was going down, –

    Sorry, wrong, he was held by one defender only. Go look again.

  30. No way was that a good hit, JON. You are wrong. Davonte was ALREADY wrapped up. If Danny kept his facemask forward he could have simply piled on and brought Davonte down.

    I lost huge respect for you today, man.

  31. A hit being a penalty and a hit being dirty are two different things. Sure it should have been a penalty in the current rules, but it was not a dirty hit.

  32. It was a clean hit without intent to injure by Trevathan. Football collisions by big men in happen in split seconds. Should not have been suspended for any games.

  33. Fighting for yardage? Watch the play–Adams caught the ball, was wrapped up by 2 players and was going down, –

    Sorry, wrong, he was held by one defender only. Go look again.
    =====

    He didn’t say 2 defenders.

    A Packer lineman (64-McCray) hit and moved the Bears S and Adams and moved them backward, away from the point of contact.

    It is debateable Adams was still fighting for yardage, but his forward progress had been stopped.

  34. It’s the exact type of hit the NFL wants to get rid of. I’d agree (somewhat) with Gruden if it’s wasn’t obvious that Trevathan saw the ball go incomplete before he lowered his head, continued to accelerate, and smash the crown of his helmet into Adams’ head. It was hard to watch and has no place in football. Adams deserves to be able to remember his own name when he gets older.

  35. Trevathan didn’t make ” a heck of a play”, he made an aggressively stupid play that cost his team. Penalties and missing games are not helping the team win, Gruden. It’s a bad play, period.

  36. Before I saw it, just hearing about it, I expected far worse…and have seen miles more blatant, cheap and away from the ball. It’s the stuff they are trying to get rid of, but it was marginally late and marginally high to a player still fighting for yards. The over reaction was mostly due to the immediate injury, and its pretty clear there was no intent to injure, which can’t be said for some other hits over the years.

  37. its a real simple fix. No wrapping motion in the tackle attempt, 15 yard penalty. that’s it.

  38. Ridiculous to see the hypocrisy of some on here commenting. How about those O Linemen and RB’s that pound the crap out of defensive backs and LB’s with the crown of their helmet all the time. Basically using the helmet as a weapon. I’m all for safety, but if you want to make an impact on this CTE issue, then get serious about it by protecting all the players from these vicious blows…not just skill players and quarterbacks.

  39. realestwhiteboy says:

    October 4, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    “Yes but you’re not supposed to lead with the helmet and hit so hard you knock the mouth guard out. C’mon Gruden.”

    There’s no rule to how hard you can hit. The harder, the better … that’s how you create turnovers. If he didn’t go helmet-to-helmet, it’s an incredible play. Helmet-to-helmet has to be called a penalty, but the vicious impact and hitting a guy fighting for extra yardage is exactly what you want in a defender.
    ———————————————————————————-
    That’s the only distinction in my mind. He led with the helmet instead of the shoulder. If Adams had not dropped when he had already committed, it would not have been helmet-to-helmet, but it still would have been spearing/leading with the crown of the helmet. If he had gone in leading with a forearm or shoulder, or had the head to the side, it would have been a devastating but legal hit.

  40. aarons444 says:
    October 4, 2017 at 12:13 pm
    He’s correct. I love people saying don’t lead with your head as if it’s possible when your running at a 4.5 clip chasing a moving target running at 4.3. Results don’t match intentions when things are moving that fast.
    =====

    Uh.. except in this case Trevathan speared what was basically a stationary target.

    ///////////

    Kinda like Matthews spearing Hoyer and breaking his arm?

  41. Whenever I hear Gruden the announcer, I am stunned at how successful Gruden the coach was.

    I will still say–he won the superbowl with Tony Dungy’s team. And don’t forget–he got to coach against his old team that still run the same offense…and the replacement coach didn’t change very much.

    So he got to take over a super bowl ready team with a killer defense against a team that ran the offense he knew better than anyone.

    Makes me wonder if Al Davis had swallowed his ego and let Gruden stay…he would have won that superbowl and maybe more. Or at least, not let him go to a team he would likely face in a SB. Could have insisted on a non-contender. Especially given the coaching situation for the raiders post Gruden was pretty crazy for a while. Looking at you Kiffin!

  42. He also failed to call out his brother for screwing up on Monday night. Jay Gruden called time out with the clock running, Skins had the ball and the game tied with about a minute to go. He should have let clock run down then call time out and KC wouldn’t have had as much time.

  43. To me it’s very simple. Did he use his arms, or did he leave them at his sides and make himself into a torpedo? No arms, flag it. Arms raised, no flag.
    Butkus, Bednarik, Bubba Smith and back to the leather helmet guys, they used their arms, absolutely did NOT lead with the helmet/head; they still managed to hospitalize each other regularly.
    In the 60’s and 70’s, it used to be a point of pride as to how many of your own helmets you broke… truly, a lot of teams and schools kept that as a stat. Fred The Hammer Williamson made himself famous for doing just that. Now we know that if you’re breaking helmets. you’re breaking brains at the same time.
    We’re just scratching the surface on CTE and its prevention, but we do know it comes from repeated blows the head. And we do most certainly know that you don’t have to be a billy goat to deliver a tackle with devastating impact.
    Being a reactionary may be in vogue today, but in this case, let’s stay in the 21st century, let’s actually continue to take action based on knowledge, instead of a knee-jerk reversion back to the good old days of my childhood.

  44. A lot of thought and consideration must not have gone into the comment by Gruden.

    Adams was stopped and being held up by two or three other defenders and Trevathan then came forward leading with his helmet.

    I would preferred that the arbitrator had increased the suspension to three games rather than reduce it.

  45. 2002 is the ONLY season those Bucs had the Leagues #1 defense.

    In 9 years under Tony Dungy the Bucs were top 5 only 3 times.

    They’re not an All-Time great defense without Gruden and that 2002 season.

  46. I’m good with the flag/fine…. the suspension… not so much.
    Nothing malicious about his hit.
    Wasn’t a Suh type moment….

  47. Pointless analysis. No one’s saying he shouldn’t have hit him at all, or that he needed to stay out of the play altogether.

    The issue is spearing a defenseless player in the head with the crown of your helmet at full speed, Jon. That’s what this whole thing is about.

    I’ve watched the NFL since I was a kid in the ’70s. My idea of “old school” is a test of wills, tests of physical strength and strategy, and use of power and speed. The result is an inherently dangerous game, but NONE of it requires this kind of garbage play.

    Run hard. Block with leverage. Wrap up when you tackle. THAT is “playing like a man”. You don’t make the play when you play with honor? Own it. Cheap shots are for cowards and losers.

  48. He could have pulled up. Anyone who plays knows this. He meant to whack him, not hurt him and if he were to admit it, the way the game was going added to his frustration, which lead to him going in full bore. This is only a big deal because people dont do this much anymore. I remember when this started–I am a Cowboys fan, Darren Woodson–he used to level people, then about 3 years into his career, they started calling them as fouls. Never dirty, never meant to harm, just good bring the lumber football. Well, that game is gone fellas. I have accepted it, and I understand why. Players are bigger, stronger, faster and millions are on the line, it’s a different game. I still try and enjoy it, though each season that seems to take more effort. I have resigned myself to the fact that the NFL is something I will no longer watch in my lifetime. Wish it were not so, but where the game is going, it is what it is.

  49. Obviously, what he’s hitting, the surface, below the neck, all those things, I’m totally agreeing on. But I thought Trevathan made a heck of a play and unfortunately a man got hurt.”

    ++++++++++++++++++

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but that sounds to me like it doesn’t agree with the helmet to helmet, which is what this is all about.

  50. EZWriter says:
    October 4, 2017 at 2:31 pm
    To me it’s very simple. Did he use his arms, or did he leave them at his sides and make himself into a torpedo? No arms, flag it. Arms raised, no flag.
    Butkus, Bednarik, Bubba Smith and back to the leather helmet guys, they used their arms, absolutely did NOT lead with the helmet/head; they still managed to hospitalize each other regularly.
    ____________________________________________
    What you just said is absolutely untrue. Butkus made tackles with his arms sure, without, etc…he tackled if a tackled is what was called for. When he had a chance to put his crown into someones jaw or earhole he did it. Your memory may not be so good my friend. I suggest youtube. You can watch him lower his head over and over just abusing people with the crown of his helmet. He said his goal was after the hit, for that player not even have to look and see who hit him, he just knew. Can’t remember the receivers name from Detroit, but the play before he had cracked back on Buffone and knocked some teeth out. Doug went back to the huddle spitting blood in pain Butkus looked at him and growled what’s wrong with you??? So and so just cracked back on me…next play Butkus nearly decapitates him on crossing route. Throws and elbow running full speed, and launching into the receiver face. Done, out before he hit the ground. It’s who he was, and what he did…do not try to rewrite history that is available to watch.

  51. It would have been a great football play if he would have managed to stop his forward progress without drawing a penalty and keeping the Packers drive alive. I like Gruden but if he thinks this play should not have been a penalty and it was just a great play, I don’t think he is correct. Of course you want aggressive defenders flying to the ball, but spearing with the helmet has been a penalty as long as I have been watching football since I have been watching for 35+ years and that was what I saw, spearing. Throw in that the NFL is trying to crackdown on big hits to the head even more now than in Grudens’s time, it was not a good play, situation wise or rules wise.

  52. I would have hurt myself more than Adams but I could have rammed the crown of my helmet into his facemask while he was defenselessly propped up by 2 other players. This was not a great play John. He was 10 yards from the endzone on 3rd and goal, the drive was kept alive because of this blatant penalty.

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