Quarterbacks need to avoid the fray after a turnover

Philadelphia Eagles v Denver Broncos
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It’s time to drop the fake macho football bullshit when it comes to quarterback behavior after a turnover.

Yeah, I said it. It is fake macho football bullshit.

Quarterbacks are quarterbacks, not defensive players. After a turnover, the quarterback has one job. To get out of the way, and to avoid getting injured. (Actually, that’s sort of two jobs. But you get the point.)

Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is getting called out mercilessly by many (including Broncos coach Vic Fangio) for not making more of an effort to tackle Eagles cornerback Darius Slay after a third-quarter fumble on Sunday. Bridgewater actually spoke to reporters on Monday (something he wasn’t scheduled to do) in an effort to explain his heat-of-the-moment business decision.

He would have been better saying nothing. Ultimately, here’s what Bridgewater should have said: “Hey, guys, I had a serious knee injury five years ago, without contact. I’m not going through that again. If you don’t like it, I don’t know what else to tell you.”

That should always be the attitude when it comes to a quarterback playing defense after a turnover. Remember when Dolphins coach Brian Flores said in the preseason that he wants quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to pursue the ballcarrier after an interception? Get the hell out of here with that; the quarterback should literally get the hell out of there after a sudden change in possession.

This isn’t a running back or a tight end or a receiver or a tight end pulling up after a fumble. It’s the most important guy on the team, the straw who stirs the drink. They guy who must stay healthy for the team to have a chance.

Let it be 11 on 10 after a turnover. Let the quarterback be as useless as the giant white plastic kick/throw/run piece in electric football, the one that no one ever wanted to actually use. Just leave. Get away. Go to the sideline.

Nothing good comes from trying to make a tackle. (Just ask Baker Mayfield; that’s how he messed up his left shoulder, way back in Week Two.) As Bridgewater has learned, nothing good comes from even pretending to try to make a tackle.

Just leave the field. Or, if all else fails, shelter in place, like Tom Brady did after throwing his second interception on Sunday.

For all coaches, media, and fans, here’s the message, again: Drop the fake macho football bullshit. We no longer make fun of a quarterback who takes a dive in a collapsed pocket, like Jim Rome used to do with Jim Everett. We also shouldn’t chide a quarterback who decides not to throw his body in the way of a defender who ended up with the ball.

Nothing good comes from putting a starting quarterback unnecessarily in harm’s way, since the harm that comes to the starting quarterback could derail a team’s entire season.

59 responses to “Quarterbacks need to avoid the fray after a turnover

  1. It’s football Teddy. Tackle the guy or go play badminton. What if it’s the Superbowl and that is a game winning tackle or “business decision”?

  2. Aaron Rodgers tackled Brian Urlacher on what would have been a sure pick 6 in the NFCCG. Green Bay won by a touchdown.

  3. Cam was in the superbowl that is not excusable. Regular season nope not unless you can push them out of bounds.

  4. Cam Newton approves of this message.
    So does Dan Marino.

  5. By that logic, the Steelers would not have won Suoer Bowl 40. It would have been either the Shehawks, Colts, or Broncos as your World Champion. Also, Jerome Bettis wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame either.

  6. They get paid the most to play a brutal, violent sport. If they can’t give or take a hit, just start handing out flags.

  7. Making excuses for Bridgewater – that figures. He has a lower bar than his peers. We all know why.

  8. I agree with staying out of a crowded scrum or fully taking on a bigger, heavier runner or blockers.

    In Bridgewater’s case, he could have shoved the runner as he ran by, which could have knocked the runner over or at least slowed him down. There didn’t need to be anything “macho” about it. Wave your arms, do a dance, yell something, distract him, just do something.

  9. Jerome Bettis has his ring because Big Ben manned up and tackled the dude who picked up BUS’s fumble .. that’s what a good team mate does… BS has nothing to do with it

  10. He didn’t have to spear him to the ground, but the pirouette he did to avoid even being touched isn’t forgivable on the football field, sorry. At least give as much effort as a kicker does.

  11. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor and sometimes it’s not. There’s no rule. It depends on the situation.

  12. Zach Ertz was crucified in Philadelphia for avoiding a block on Vontaze Burfict when Burfict was barreling towards an Eagles runner who already had one foot out of bounds. Ertz block was not necessary or relevant to the play, but he was abused for not sacrificing himself, and pulling up on the block. In that spirit, this post is most welcomed because professional football players get paid a lot of money, but they should not be expected to put their bodies on the line when there is no benefit. They’re people first. Teddy’s play hurt because it did matter and could have made a difference. I think part of the equation was that it was not clear it was a real fumble. Even those watching thought Slay might be just running out the play, as often happens. Teddy may have thought that too. It’s a shame because he’s a fine player having a fine year, and hopefully this will pass over quickly. The Eagles dominance of both sides of the lines was what won the game.

  13. That was REALLY Bad…Inexcusable. Like a dude said earlier…he aint good enough to get way with THAT kind of BS…truthfully NOONE is.

    That being said…If I was Teddy I would have went with “i thought i heard a whistle because dude’s knee was down”

  14. Brady did try to tackle a player in the SB vs Atlanta after tossing a pick-six.
    But his clumsy attempt was described by Edelman that it looked like someone tossed a dead body toward the Atlanta player. It was comical, even for a Pats fan.

  15. If you’re one of the dudes on a football field during a football game and you’re wearing a football helmet then you are a football player and you should be expected to try to recover a loose ball and tackle an opponent who has the ball.

  16. Hard to lead men into battle when you show them you’re afraid of taking a hit. Every other player on that team besides the kicker and punter gotta be thinking, “I put my body on the line for this team and my brothers every play. Why should I keep sacrificing my body when our leader won’t do the same.” This is a team in a very crowded AFC playoff picture that could ill afford to lose and was about to go into their bye week. Even with two full weeks to recover Teddy said, “Thanks, but no thanks” to making any attempt at a football play.

  17. My god. Do people not understand there is a big difference between regular season and playoffs or super bowl? A QB that puts his health on the line to make a tackle in the regular season is an idiot.

  18. I see both sides. I definitely wouldn’t want Teddy trying anything crazy. But he could have attempted something. Anything. Its football. I have literally witnessed kickers plow people down head on. See my man McAfee.

  19. “ We no longer make fun of a quarterback who takes a dive in a collapsed pocket, like Jim Rome used to do with Jim Everett.”

    Rome was such a jerk to Everett. I can’t stand Rome.

  20. I think it’s ok if you’re teddy cause of course you’ll be tentative after his injury. But if you’re the last line of defense on a pick six then aim for the legs. You can ball up and knock the legs out without getting hurt often.

  21. I remember Tannehill coming back and running 40 yards and tacking a LB after an interception against the Raiders. And coming back and winning the game.
    The game is tackle football. And if you don’t want to risk an injury it is very difficult to command respect from the other 10 guys who are.

  22. The thought process that the leader of a team should do less than his teammates, especially in times where the leader put his team at a disadvantage is just not acceptable.

  23. So what about Cam Newton? Are you saying he was justified in not diving on his own fumble in SB 50? – How far do you really want to take this BS argument that an offensive player has no duty to play defense when called to? You’re seriously arguing that players need to make business decisions in sporting events?

  24. A quarterback should pick his spots. Teddy has it right for a regular season game. In a playoff game he might choose to play it differently if he thinks that he can make the play while still trying to protect himself.

  25. First off, Bettis’ fumble vs Colts would not have had any effect on his 10k+ rushing yds career, to keep him out of the HOF. It’s one thing for the QB to make a save in a playoff gm vs one in early Nov. I have no prob w/ a QB getting out of the way.

  26. A lot of people have difficulty holding two thoughts in their head at the same time. Of course in the super bowl everyone should go all out, including the QB, it’s the last game of the season. During the regular season or even playoffs? Better to live to fight another day. It’s really not that hard a concept.

  27. Sonny Jurgensen broke his shoulder while tackling Dick Anderson following an interception in 1971. In a PRESEASON game. It cost him all of that season and he wasn’t “right” until halfway through the next. So yeah, QBs need to get the hell out of the way. It’s not about “playing football” or “being a man,” it’s about something far more adult and boring: “risk management.” The QB is the most important player on a team (unless he sucks). He goes out, everybody else on the team pays the price.

  28. So the position that entails the greatest reward should also be the lowest risk? Good luck not building resentment on the team when they see their quarterback avoiding even the slightest effort to make necessary play.
    As for Bridgewater, it’s true he had a horrific injury that wasn’t from contact. But the thing is, if he doesn’t feel his body can take a hit or the basic physical rigour of the sport, he shouldn’t be on the field.

  29. In such a soft league you would have thunk they’d have figured out how to turn the injury slider down to zero.

  30. It’s simply a different time. I’m old enough to remember Joe Namath getting his jaw broken in 1967 on a sack by the Raiders Ben Davidso (no flag, btw), and he played through it, finished the game, did not miss a start, and after the game refused to give the Raiders the satisfaction of knowing what they did, saying “I bit into a bad steak during breakfast” as the reason why his jaw was swollen. And Namath was the highest paid QB in the league at that time

  31. Tom Brady did the exact same thing against the Saints when HE fumbled in the pocket. He sat there looking at the ball bouncing around instead of diving into a soon to be scrum. Funny how narratives change depending on the player.

  32. Plays like that lead to finger pointing between the offense and defense. Makes all the coaches jobs harder.

    Nah, can’t excuse that.

  33. I don’t recall Tom Brady or Peyton Manning ever making a tackle in a regular season game nor do I recall any criticism of their lack of effort to do so.

  34. It wasnt like Teddy had to give chase to the guy,he was standing right next to him so why did he not give the dude a shove to knock him off balance? just pretend you are shoving your cash at an suv dealer,quarterbacks are good at that.

  35. If they are competitors instinct takes over and they will go for the tackle. Similar situation in Ravens game, the RB bounced outside and Lamar instinctively started trying to lead block, then he thought better of it.

  36. The better take is in a regular season game it’s forgivable to two hand touch on an interception return, depending on the circumstances. Denver has no real shot, and if the coach is okay with the QB saying that it doesn’t matter if they win a regular season game, then good on them. In the playoffs the QB absolutely has to try and tackle on an interception return, 100%.

  37. Or we could just have the quarterback wear a distinctive (skirt) garment that announces he is off limits like Jack Lambert suggested nearly 50 years ago!

  38. Teddy Bridgewater is listed as 6’1″ 215 Lbs. Darius Slay is listed as 6′ 190 Lbs. Teddy is the bigger guy! It’s not like he was asked to take down a 275 lb D lineman. Sorry Florio, your argument loses credibility when a corner the size of Slay is expected to tackle a RB that outweighs him by 20-30 lbs, but Bridgewater gets a pass for not making the effort when he has the 25 lb advantage

  39. It is painfully obvious that some people have never played football in their lives. You either play the game correctly or find something else to do. It’s that simple. Sheesh.

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