Add Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino to the lengthy list of people who say Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews’ roughing the passer penalty on Kirk Cousins was nonsense.
Both formerly served as the league’s head of officiating. Both now work for FOX as rules analysts. Both say the play wasn’t a penalty.
“Those are not fouls. We don’t like those as fouls,” Blandino said on their weekly show, Last Call.
Pereira said he believes the league is “creating penalties for contact and tackles… that don’t put the quarterback at risk of injury.”
“I think we’re setting a dangerous precedent,” Pereira continued. “You can’t have [Matthews’ hit] as a foul. There’s got to be a line drawn closer to a more violent hit.”
Current head of officiating Al Riveron maintains Matthews’ hit and one by Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks on Aaron Rodgers will be used as examples of what not to do. Riveron says that the calls — both penalties — were called correctly.
Matthews was visibly upset after the game, saying “I have so many emotions running through as far as what a terrible call it was. At the same time, I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know. You let me know. You tell me. Did I put pressure on him? I thought I hit him within his waist to chest, I got my head across, put my hands down. To call it at that point in the game is unbelievable.”
Coach Mike McCarthy defended Matthews on Monday.
“He did what he was coached to do. He tries to brace, the weight distribution,” McCarthy said.
“They (the referees) saw it differently.”
Blandino said he doesn’t know what the league expects pass rushers to do.
“You look at the rule, and it says you can’t commit intimidating or punishing acts. You can’t violently or unnecessarily drive him to the ground or land on him with all or most of your body weight,” Blandino said. “That’s not what you’re seeing in at least two calls in that game. What do you want the defender to do? To me, it looks like he’s wrapping, and he’s trying to bring the quarterback to the ground. There is going to be some force. There is going to be some impetus that takes both players to the ground. Again, what do you want the defender to do in that situation?”
Yes, NFL. What do you want the defender to do? This protecting the quarterback stuff is out of hand.