Mike McCarthy defends Desmond Bishop’s hit on Newton

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On Sunday at Charlotte, referee Albert Riveron threw a roughing the passer flag on Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop, who took Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to the ground after an incomplete pass.

On Thursday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy defended Bishop.

“I’ll just say this, the hit that Bishop put on Cam Newton in the game, that’s the highlight tape we showed for our tackling drill today,” McCarthy said, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  “That’s exactly how you’re supposed to tackle through the offensive ballcarriers.

“I understand there’s judgment involved in that call and that’s fine.  But based on my judgment that is a classic example of a perfect tackle.”

Bishop, who has yet to be fined by the league office, has no regrets.  “I’d do it the same,” he said.

Bishop and McCarthy seem to think that the flag was thrown because Bishop drove Newton into the ground upon making contact.  While there has been no public comment from the league or Riveron regarding the call, the problem seems to be that Bishop put the top of his helmet into Newton’s stomach.

Defenseless players (a term that includes players who have just thrown a pass) cannot be hit in the helmet or with a helmet.  Though helmet-to-helmet hits attract most of the attention in this regard, a defensive player can’t hit a defenseless player with a helmet anywhere on the defenseless player’s body.  If that wasn’t the reason for the flag, it should have been.  And even though Bishop has yet to be fined for the play, the placement of his helmet into Newton’s stomach suggests that he should be.

McCarthy’s characterization of Newton as an “offensive ballcarrier” glosses over the reality that Newton was defenseless in that situation, and thus protected from hits to or with the helmet.  Once again, then, it seems that teams aren’t teaching this critical distinction to its players.

A ballcarrier — i.e., a guy who is running with the ball — can be hit anywhere.  Helmet-to-helmet, shoulder-to-helmet, helmet-to-groin, etc.  A defenseless player has special protections.  It’s not clear whether teams are accidentally or intentionally ignoring this fact, but between Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson’s insistence that he did nothing wrong on Sunday night when going helmet-to-helmet with Jeremy Maclin and McCarthy’s explanation regarding Bishop’s hit on Newton, there seems to be a disconnect with which the folks who currently are moving from 280 Park Avenue to 345 Park Avenue should be concerned.

19 responses to “Mike McCarthy defends Desmond Bishop’s hit on Newton

  1. Back in the day that would have been a good hit. Problem is, this is not back in the day. When the rules change you need to teach your players to change too. Tell me coach, would you like someone to drive aaron rodgers into the ground like that? I think not.

  2. the people on park have no f’n bis making these decisions anyway. A bunch of suits making these decisions is what will bring this game down 2 hockey or nba level.

  3. Tackling 101 ~ facemask into the chest, wrap the arms, squeeze and lift/drive. How do defensive players tackle if they can’t complete step 1? C’mon Rodger, do they really need to use their hands/arms only?

  4. If he hasn’t been fined “yet”, he probably won’t be! And we really don’t need any yellow belly failed WA WA lawyers stoking the NFL into dishing out anymore of these BS fines, thank you!

  5. I certainly hope that everyone is just ignoring the rule altogether. And I really hope McCarthy did show this film and tell his team to tackle that way. We watch football, in part, for the collisions and doing away with them is pathetic. Why don’t we give the QB’s and other defenseless players skirts so the guys on defense can tell who the wimps are and not hit them too hard?

  6. “Though helmet-to-helmet hits attract most of the attention in this regard, a defensive player can’t hit a defenseless player with a helmet anywhere on the defenseless player’s body. ”

    The NFL apparently doesn’t know that most people have heads sitting on top of their shoulders. While an understandable admission from the league office, when you are running full speed angled forward, um, the way football players run, and if the person you are trying to hit just maybe moves a little bit, um, see he’s not usually completely stationary, you just might make contact between that thing that sits on your shoulders and some part of the other guy’s body, regardless of your intent.

    Now, if Goodell and his people can invent a robotic cybersuit with powerful magnets throughout, and place similar powerful magnets with opposite polarities on other players, then I think we got something here.

  7. It all evened out Mike. In the same game Greg Hardy was flagged for hitting Rogers right after he released the ball. He hit him neither high nor low.

  8. Just a coach defending his player.

    Both RTP calls in that game were BS. In fact, the one given to Rodgers later in the game was even more weak.

    It looked like a classic make-up call… which has no business in this league. Leave that crap for NBA refs to use.

  9. If a referee’s calls are subjective and discretionary, they need to take the propensity of a scrambling QB to take off running at any moment into account, as opposed to a (primarily) pocket passer. The bobbing and weaving is unpredictable and makes it difficult to have your body in the “legal” position to make a hit. I think this guy got the flag for drilling the QB into the ground, not the actual hit…but they haven’t said which (yet.)

  10. It’s just pathetic. The Greg Hardy hit on Rodgers was even worse. Perfect form tackle started before he even got rid of the ball…15 yard penalty.

    Makes me even more pissed about the Packers losing in OT to Arizona in 09. Helmet to helmet launching on second down and pulled down by his facemask on third. No call there.

    Inconsistent. Selective. Slow. Reliant on the booth. Determining outcomes of games. They just need to re-vamp the entire structure of Goodell’s NFL and it’s officiating crew.

  11. I’m a Packer fan and Panthers34 is right. The refs were aggressive in calling roughing the passer, but the outrageous calls went both ways – neither was a penalty in my eyes (irrelevant as that may be).

    Hopefully the fan backlash will hurt the NFL brand equity enough that they start actually letting players play aggressive football. The violence is what makes this such a fun game to watch – lose that and you lose one of the pillars that made the game so popular in the first place.

  12. They should just put skirts on all the QB’s. Some of the roughing the passer calls I saw last weekend were ridiculous, specially the call on John Abraham who grabbed the QB to help himself stop so as not to be called for roughing the passer. How is a 260+ pound man suppose to stop on a dime when he is running full speed?

  13. If Chad Greenway made that hit there’d be 20 cheeser comments calling the Vikings dirty, boat partying losers. Having said that, I agree with McLardy.

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