William Hayes‘ tore his anterior cruciate ligament while trying to adhere to the new roughing the passer rules. Hayes sacked Derek Carr on third down, but in attempting to avoid landing with his body weight on the Raiders quarterback, Hayes’ right leg got caught as he tried to roll over Carr.
Hayes immediately grabbed his right knee.
“He was trying to not put body weight on the quarterback,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said Monday, via Cameron Wolfe of ESPN. “His foot got caught in the ground.”
Gase would not directly blame the rule for Hayes’ injury when asked a followup.
“I’m just telling you what happened,” Gase said. “. . . I’m just telling you what he did.”
The irony is obvious, though. The league’s attempts to protect the quarterback have cost the Dolphins a defensive end for the season.
49ers cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted about Hayes’ injury, saying the NFL only cares about the health of its quarterbacks.
Hayes made four tackles and two sacks this season. His hit on Marcus Mariota in Week Two injured the Titans quarterback, but Hayes was not penalized or fined for the hit.
“It sucks because he was trying to protect the quarterback while still trying to make the play, and it’s a double-edged sword,” Dolphins defensive lineman Akeem Spence said. “What do you expect us to do? We know the rule, but we don’t know the ins and outs. And then I saw Clay Matthews, he had another one yesterday. What do you want the guy to do? You gotta put the guy down. How much is too much weight? What technique do you use? How do you go about it? We are still asking questions just like y’all are.
“Let’s be honest, that’s a difficult rule to gauge.”