Monday, November 27, 2006

Maybe it IS time to put skirts on them.

Mayhap you have seen the clip of Vince Young about to be sacked late in the 4th quarter of the Giants-Titans game yesterday. If you have, any commentary that was provided by the random talking heads surely marvelled at the abilities of Young to escape that sure sack and keep the drive alive. But if you look at the actual clip, you will be able to see that it isn't the case at all. As of right now, I cannot find the video to post, but I am assuming that if you are enough of a sports nut to be reading this little thing, you have seen it.

So the Giants player that had Vince dead to rights was rookie Mathias Kiwanuka. He had his arms wrapped around him and was beginning to drive him back. Then he let go. WHY WOULD HE LET GO?!?!? I will tell you why. No one has come out and said this, but I cannot fathom any other reason why this would happen. You would be hard pressed to convince me that there is another reason, even though no one involved will ever admit it.

He let him go because the NFL has made protecting the quarterback such a high priority that defensive players are becoming so frightened of getting hit with a roughing the passer penalty that they can't be effective any more. It was 4th and 10, and roughing the passer is 15 yards. A rookie is always fighting just to stick around long enough to show he belongs (unless he is a top 15-20 pick. After that, there isn't a lot of slack, even for 1st rounders). Kiwanuka was so scared of making that fatal "rookie mistake" that he made a fatal rookie mistake.

I know that quarterbacks and kickers need to be protected more than other players. They make themselves more vulnerable to being hurt, just because of the position that they play. If you didn't protect your punter, then someone could come flying in while his leg is still in the air during the follow through, and break the guy in half (and I am not exaggerating by all that much). And the QB needs to be looking at the entire field, so he cannot focus all of his time and energy into the 5-7 300lb+ men who are barreling down on him like he is the last of the all you can eat riblets at Applebees. I am okay with the slide rule (for all the good it did Trent Green), I am okay with the no intentional grounding when outside of the pocket (which usually means that he is running for his very life), even though it costs my team more than a lot of others, since the Ravens' defense is built around getting pressure on the quarterback using a variety of schemes and stunts.I think hits at and below the knees should be illegal for everyone (that does not mean you cannot "shoestring tackle" people, but barrelling in and heading for the knees is an A-HOLE move, and that goes for offensive linemen "blocking" too. Are you listening Denver Broncos? I'm talking to you, you cheap shot artists). But it seems to me that the protecting of the QB has become too much of a focus in the game, and it is making it near impossible to use pressure to affect the outcome of the game. No matter HOW much danger they put themselves in, QB's ARE football players (the jury is still out on kickers, punters are closer to football players than kickers, but that is still one hell of a bell curve). NFL QB's have been playing the position and the sport long enough to know that football is a violent sport, and that they are going to get hit. They are the ones who decided that they wanted to play the position in the first place. Now they have to be able to accept the pounding.

Am I out of line thinking like this? Am I wrong in saying that quarterbacks are being mollycoddled to an embarassing degree now? Is anyone else wondering what Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw and Fran Tarkenton could do with the rules the way they are now? Speak up sports fans of America. Let your voice be read!

Also, I am officially accepting topics you would like discussed. Be they sports topics or a topic that is related to or could affect sports, ask me and I will try my best to answer them.


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