Rams show rest of league the right way to take down a quarterback

Getty Images

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.

40 responses to “Rams show rest of league the right way to take down a quarterback

  1. Perfect, now let’s hope the other 31 qb’s just happen to step up, or turn their bodies at the last second, like Kirk did on all of these examples.

  2. so, basically what you are saying, there is only one correct was to tackle a qb…I guess the defenses are so good the qb’s need all the help they can get…hate to say it, but these qb’s could not have played in the 90’s…

  3. If you really want to stop the QBs from getting hurt than start using the “in the grasp” rule from a few few years back. Sure it is also flag football BS, but at least then the QB that you want to protect has to take the downside of the early whistle rather than the defense constantly being punished 15 yards for doing their job.

  4. They want exciting games that’s why they throw 50 flags a game on a contact sport They’re so worried about player safety or just quarterback safety. Idk about everybody else but one player on the team isn’t what makes it exciting for me to watch the sport I love. Hopefully w this new league start up the nfl gets some real competition in the end it’s all about money and the nfl can care less about safety

  5. If enough quarterbacks get tackled this way eventually they will start getting hurt. It’s part of the game. Look for the NFL to eventually make a rule against it. It’s a a brutal game played by huge men that lift weights and injuries are just a part of life if that’s the sport you choose.

  6. Donald and Suh are among the strongest defensive lineman in the league, that’s why they can do it.

    Bigger QBs will escape the grasp if smaller linebackers try it that way.

  7. Factors being ignored here: Cousins is less mobile and slippery than many QBs (try tackling Wilson or Roethlisberger the same way and see what happens), Suh and Donald are much bigger/stronger than many guys trying to tackle the QB (and so can “roll” QBs down more easily), and the nature of where the QB and defender are also makes a huge difference. If you get a clean hit on a foot-planted QB who isn’t starting his throw, it’s easy to pull him down any way that you wish, but if you’re approaching the QB from certain angles or with him starting his throw it limits the options for how to hit him.

  8. elmerbrownelmerbrown says:
    September 30, 2018 at 9:53 am
    Great now the d lineman can hurt himself while trying not to hurt the quarterback !

    YEAH .. that is great .. fans don’t want to see great lineman, we want to see a great offense driven by a great QB .. don’t give us that talent and we will go watch NBA instead

  9. Wasn’t there a play in that game where the QB was literally thrown to the ground? I was surprised there was no flag thrown considering what they have been tossing hankies for this year.

    Remember when defenders were taught to run through the tackle or similar language that meant to push through the initial hit and get the ball carrier off balance and then on the ground? Many of these flags are for normal tackles that happened to result in both players landing with the defender on top. There was no intentional driving the QB into the ground. Just plain old tackling. Let them play defense but hammer the headhunters that are easy to see.

  10. I don’t know, I mean, I saw Aaron Donald spin Cousins around and basically spike him into the turf on his shoulder. I really thought that was going to get called for roughing.

  11. Scipio_Africanus says:
    September 30, 2018 at 10:01 am
    Try that with Cam Newton or Big Ben. Or any QB that can scramble
    The only thing Big Ben can scramble is eggs.

  12. And, people wonder why even middle of the pack QBs nowadays have “better” stats than even the greats of yesteryear? Sure, the cream of the crop QBs now would always be superb, but, with a literal fence being put around modern day QBs is it any wonder that stats get padded for even mediocre passers?

  13. This is making me mad.

    The nfl takes us for dumb in showing these 3 videos and suggesting that the tackles made in these clips can be repeated in all situations. Like come on.

    Secondly, those three situations absolutely cannot solely be attributed solely to coaching. Absolutely no way.

    Suggesting that this is the right way to do things, and the rams are doing it because they are coached like that? Come on.

    This article made me re-log in so I could post a comment. Hadn’t logged in since I got the app upgrade. The app upgrade is really good by the way, for anyone that hasn’t gotten it yet.

    This whole issue is ridiculous. The nfl us making this ridiculous. Defending the nfl here is ridiculous. All the head protection is awesome. Do not take physicality and do not take defense out of the nfl.

  14. So Qb’s are making more and more money, for less work and risk? That’s the story here. What again are these Qb’s breaking the bank for again?

  15. That great when you are facing a smaller 200 lb qb but what about when you face a behemoth size like Cam Newton or Big Ben. Good luck getting them down without using your weight.

  16. Donald and Suh have been the main guys landing on QBs with their weight and now are the poster boys for the proper form tackles??? Give me a break.

  17. Add this to the list of reasons I’m mad Elway didn’t resign Wade Phillips. Instead of complaining and whining like everyone else, Wade probably had his players running drills on how to legally sack the QB under the new rules. Once again ol’ Wade is ahead of the curve. He’s with every penny Kroenke is paying him.

  18. bigbenisabigbaby says:
    September 30, 2018 at 10:48 am
    Scipio_Africanus says:
    September 30, 2018 at 10:01 am
    Try that with Cam Newton or Big Ben. Or any QB that can scramble
    The only thing Big Ben can scramble is eggs.

    I don’t think he was saying that Ben can scramble. Just that Ben is a big ogre that’s tough to bring down. That’s why he said “or” any QB that can scramble.

  19. “I thought that throwing someone to the ground (as in the third sack in the video) was illegal?”

    Don’t know, but Donald did it to Russell Wilson last year without getting flagged.

  20. THE NLF IS FIXED! LA isn’t doing anything that GB or MN or Cincinnati wasn’t doing. The diff is LA is a large market and therefor the refs will let certain plays slide because the farce league wants those ratings. Seems fitting since LA has lost NFL franchises twice but MN and GB fans are at every game, every week. Through the good and the bad. And this is how the farce league repays loyal, paying fans. By spitting in their face with bias calls and flat out fixing games for those larger markets. You don’t think the farce league is creaming itself over the fact that LA is a powerhouse team? Continue to watch and continue to see the “little fan” get crapped on. If you want to watch a more pure game, check out NHL or MBL. I’m not saying those leagues are perfect, but a hell of a lot less obvious about fixing games than is the farce league. Jussayin’

  21. The fallacy in this argument from the NFL is that this new form of tackling is safer than form tackling.

    False. Anybody that played football knows arm tackling is far more dangerous.

    Form tackles are the safest form of tackle for the tackler and the guy being tackled. It’s a fact. You put the guy on their shoulder pads. No twisting motion needed. Twisting like these shown by the rams jeapordizes knees getting tangled up and injured. This throwing the qb to the ground will eventually result in shoulder injuries or knee injuries.

    I was specifically taken out of practice for tackling like Darnold in that last play shown, because arm tackling is dangerous and a wimpy way to tackle. You can tangle up knees and ankles with arm tackles. I was taught form tackling is the only way to tackle properly.

    Just wait for a big time quarterback to get hurt in a big time game as a result of this type of tackling. That’s when the nfl comes back with a new rule: no bringing a quarterback to the ground. You can wrap them up only. But you can’t bring them to the ground.

  22. Why can’t the league just say…”The rules are a subjective carp shoot” & leave it at that.
    Case in point: Adam Thielen’s pass reception, where he made the catch rolled beneath the defender, who reached out, & tried (but clearly missed) to touch him down. Thielen gets up and scampers down field, for what would have been an easy 6 points.
    Most watching the game were able to see Thielen did not get touched, but those wonderful officials called him down by contact.

  23. It’s really not difficult

    You lift him up in both arms, but you HAVE to make sure you cradle the neck

    Then you gently lay him down. Make sure the head is on the pillow. If the feet land on the pillow, then you messed up somewhere along the line

  24. Stop with the conspiracy theories about certain teams getting flagged or not getting flagged. Just play football and shut up.

  25. Try that on Cam Newton and see what happens, he’ll roll right out of it and score on you. Nice try NFL. And I’m a huge Cousin’s fan so opinion is unbiased.

  26. Its a lot easier to choose your sacking maneuver carefully when no one bothers to block you on the way in, as was the case on both of these sacks. If someone is fighting through a double team and finally manages to burst through its less likely they will have the time to do that.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.