Report: Competition Committee Members Uncomfortable with Flags for Roughing QB

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2018

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) hits Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

As players around the league have voiced their displeasure with the NFL's new rules to protect quarterbacks, the league's competition committee appears to be open to change.

According to NFL.com's Judy Battista, members of the competition committee are "uncomfortable" with some of the roughing the passer penalties called this season. However, it's not clear if any changes will be made this season.

Earlier this year, the NFL implemented a new rule that makes it illegal for a defender to land on a quarterback with his body weight. This comes after Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers was limited to just seven games last year due to a broken collarbone.

Coincidentally, it has been Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews who has been at the center of the controversial new rule. He has been flagged for roughing the passer in each of the first three contests. After the latest flag, the six-time Pro Bowler said the NFL was "getting soft," according to Lindsay Jones of The Athletic.

Matthews is hardly the only player to have a problem with the new rule, though. After Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes tore his ACL in Week 3 while trying to avoid landing on Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr with his body weight, a number of players spoke out:

Richard Sherman @RSherman_25

They don’t care about the rest of us getting hurt. Long as the QB is safe https://t.co/ihjlz3lVQl

Bobby Wagner @Bwagz

@RSherman_25 This is very true. If a QB got hurt they would create a new rule today

cameron jordan @camjordan94

Wow.... 😶😶😶 https://t.co/Fx8nk1pQYU

With Monday night's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals drawing the most roughing-the-passer flags in a single game since, according to ESPN Stats & Info, Houston Texans star J.J. Watt is fed up:

JJ Watt @JJWatt

Roughing the Passer calls are absolutely out of control.

Even Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger—a player the new rule is trying to protect—voiced his concern about the increase in penalties, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler:

"There's a lot of them. I don't want to criticize the officiating, especially when you're talking about a penalty that helps the quarterback out. I was surprised at the first one. The second one I thought was legit. He hit me in the helmet. It was kind of like hearing that loud ring when your helmet gets hit. There are sure a lot of them. I can't imagine the fans at home are enjoying it too much."

The new rule was put in place in order to try to prevent injuries. However, it has led to no shortage of frustration and even an unintended injury in the process.

The competition committee is scheduled to meet next week. According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the rule may not be changed this season, but it may be applied differently in the coming weeks.