What in the world is the NFL coming to? I understand the fact that player safety is of the the utmost importance these days but where do we draw the line between safety and a clean football hit?
Yes the league should protect those who are vulnerable, but to what extreme?
On Sunday, Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw was flagged on a special teams block he made against Jets punter Ryan Quigley.
“From my understanding, they’re going to protect the punters just like a quarterback,” Upshaw said after the game. “I thought it was clean. I tried to get in good position on him too. I’m not a dirty player. I’m not going to take him out.”
Upshaw, who recorded four tackles against the Jets also had another huge crushing block on Jets linebacker Troy Davis (which was not flagged).
On Monday head coach John Harbaugh praised his young linebacker and brought up a good point.
“I sure would hate to see him make the tackle,” Harbaugh said about Quigley. “[Upshaw] did it with two hands, so he didn’t do anything with his helmet. It certainly wasn’t a dangerous block. We don’t want to just let the punter go make tackles, so we’ve got to get a ruling on that.”
A ruling on that would certainly be nice. It did appear to me – and maybe my eyes were deceiving me at the time – like Quigley turned to make a play before Upshaw blocked him. After all Jacoby Jones was brought down a mere 10 yards away from where Upshaw was flagged.
“As soon as [the official] threw the flag, my whole thought process was that this fine is going to be crazy,” Upshaw said. “I think it was clean. A lot of my teammates think it was clean. I’m sure a lot of [the media] think it was clean, and hey it is what it is.”
If punters are going to be given free range on the field to make plays without consequence, then maybe we should get Sam Koch some bigger pads and start using him on the goal line.
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