For decades, defensive players have complained about the protections afforded to quarterbacks. It likely will continue for decades to come.
Saints defensive end Cam Jordan, who entered the league as a first-round pick in 2011, chimed in during a Thursday session with reporters about the changes he has seen during his time in the league.
“Quarterbacks practice with red jerseys on in practices,” Jordan said. “At this point, they’re going to have red jerseys on in games as well. That is just the game we play in at this point. We might as well attach a flag to their hips and go off that. But no, seriously, it’s a part of the game we have to play. I think it sucks that, from 11 years ago when I first entered the league, you saw quarterbacks fearful of being hit in their blind side, but now they’re fully protected. I think it takes away from the game, but again, that’s the game we play in today. It’s something that we have to overcome and apply more pressure as the weeks go on.”
But the protections haven’t really increased. Arguably, the officials are more careful about protecting them. Indeed, one of the worst calls of the season came when Packers linebacker Za'Darius Smith hit Saints quarterback Jameis Winston in a clean, legal way. Because Smith hit him really hard, a flag came out.
It’s unfortunate, but the league realizes that the game goes only as far as the quarterbacks will take it. If that requires red jerseys or flags or whatever, the league will do it.