A key play from Sunday night’s Chiefs-Patriots game had Kansas City applying double coverage to three options in the New England goal-line passing game, which created an opportunity for quarterback Tom Brady to run for the end zone. And run he did.
NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent, speaking to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, didn’t seem to buy Speaks’ story.
“I looked at the video and Tom Brady moved up and the player missed a tackle,” Vincent told Paolantonio. “He missed an opportunity to make a sack. We have seen Tom step up thousands and thousands of times. In that particular situation, he stepped up, then he wound up running in the end zone. But that is one thing we always want to remove from a player’s mind is doubt and we think that we continue to educate, showing players what their peers are doing to make plays, but in that situation its something we have seen Tom do year in and year out, step up in the pocket, avoid a sack and wind up running into the end zone.”
Even if Speaks truly was thinking about not getting a roughing call, Speaks shouldn’t have held back. He should have made the tackle, and he should have welcomed the risk of a penalty being called. After Pittsburgh’s Week Five win over the Falcons, Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt told PFT that he won’t change his playing style due in part to the inconsistencies among referees regarding what is and isn’t roughing.
Speaks and every other player would benefit from adopting that same mindset. Learn good techniques, incorporate them into your game, and make tackles when tackles need to be made. It’s far too easy for the “I went too easy” explanation to be interpreted as an excuse.
It’s also far too easy for that excuse to be picked apart in the film room by the defensive player’s team, as Peter King predicted on Tuesday’s PFT Live that it will be this week in Kansas City.