While the NFL’s roughing-the-passer rules continue to be unsettled and uncertain (more on that in a bit), here’s one thing that is settled and certain: The best team in the NFL has provided the best examples of getting a quarterback to the ground without also landing on top of him.
NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent has posted a video with three sacks from Thursday night’s Vikings-Rams game, a game that included no fouls for quarterback hits. And it’s easy to see why, when watching the video.
Twice, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald approaches Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Instead of laying on Cousins or executing the scoop-and-dump maneuver (either of which are aimed at compressing the chest and/or busting a shoulder), Donald struck Cousins from the side and rolled him to the ground. On the other play, Rams defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, one of the most-fined players in recent years, used the same technique.
That’s not a mistake or a coincidence. It’s coached, practiced, and planned. And it keeps quarterbacks from being crushed, injured, and ultimately unable to play possibly for weeks.
The overriding goal is clear: The NFL wants exciting games, and the NFL knows that exciting games won’t happen if backup quarterbacks are playing. If fans are going to be complaining about anything, it’s better that they complain about too many flags than not enough games worth watching, because too many substandard signal-callers are on the field playing.