Steelers tell players to hit Carson Wentz when he runs

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The Steelers have a message for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz on Sunday: Run at your own risk.

Wentz has been running the ball more often of late, with seven attempts in Week Four against the 49ers and nine in Week Three against Cincinnati. As the Steelers prepare to face Wentz, Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Keith Butler had a clear instruction to his players.

“If Wentz takes off he’s told his players you remember he’s a runner not a quarterback,” said Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Media, regarding Butler. “That means you hit him and you hit him hard enough to dissuade him from doing it more.”

That sounds familiar. It sounds a little like something someone said the 49ers should consider doing to a certain quarterback who had run through and around the Titans in the AFC Championship as defensive players tippy-toed around the prospect of subjecting Mahomes to the same kind of physicality that running backs routinely face.

In an era where the NFL protects its quarterbacks (especially the stars) at all costs, quarterbacks who become runners forfeit those protections. So if you hit quarterbacks like running backs and they feel it like running backs they may think twice before running again.

It may not mesh with the league’s fairly recent (in the grand scheme of things) obsession with player safety, but it definitely meshes with the reality that football remains a physical game premised in part on establishing dominance and intimidation of an opponent. As anyone who ever has been hit hard in any athletic setting knows, that first big hit always makes you think twice about risking a second one.

17 responses to “Steelers tell players to hit Carson Wentz when he runs

  1. I support the philosophy, but the reality is the defense can’t treat the QB like a RB.

    The D always has to be on guard for the QB sliding, which RBs just aren’t going to do (outside of the last few minutes where they want to keep the clock running). The refs are also about a billion times more sensitive to hits on a QB headed out of bounds than they are a RB.

  2. And saying this in the open is fine and all until Wentz gets knocked out with a concussion or torn ACL.

  3. It is very simple:

    If you want to win, you take risks. One of those risks include getting hit. If you don’t want to get hit, don’t run. I would suggest becoming a backup QB if you don’t have the stones to take a hit.

    Think Brett Favre and Steve Young. Those two IMO were the toughest to ever play the game, and in an era where the defense was allowed to play too. No wonder teams are putting up 30 and 40 points every week.

    Scoring is great, but big hits and defense are what people like to see in pro football.

  4. Jimmy G tried to be a tough guy a few years back and got blasted, torn ACL. You should be able to hit QB’s. Especially the ones who use their body to an advantage, Cam, Wentz, Jackson, Wilson.

  5. Sadly, defenses have had their hands tied these last few seasons as the game switches to all offense all the time. I agree a running quarterback should lose his “quarterback protections” but guarantee a hard hit to Wentz or Mahomes will mean a personal foul penalty to the defense. Maybe the risk is worth the reward, but the NFLY does not want a (perceived) star QB injured. A Dwayne Haskins or a Drew Lock — hit away, but Wilson, Mahomes or even Wentz. flags will fly. Just my humble opinion.

  6. The question I have is will DeSean Jackson play again this year or will the Eagles continue to baby him and let him nurse a hamstring injury all year.

    Worst $27 mill ever spent by the Eagles. He has had 1 complete game in 2 years.

  7. Nothing wrong with their coach saying this. Its on wentz to know when to avoid unnecessary hits. Now, if they come in late and hit wentz after he gives himself up, THEN there will be accusations of coaching dirty, but hopefully both sides do their jobs and play the game the right way. I hope we get a good game.

  8. Wentz is a bust. He will be injured by Thanksgiving and once again getting ready to set the league on fire in 2021. I watch him pretty close when Eagles games are on and he makes boneheaded plays as much as he makes great plays.

  9. Eagles fans were still trying after Wentz slid late head first and wasn’t knocked out of game by a Clowney hit.

    If QBs aren’t built like Cam Newton they can’t take the beatings RBs take. Slide early, feet and protect yourself. Andrew Luck was a tough dude but his career is now over at 30.

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