Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt didn’t hold back on Twitter during Monday Night Football when there were more than a few roughing the passer calls in the first half.
J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans voiced his displeasure on all the roughing the passer penalties being handed out during the second quarter of Monday Night Football between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The game featured multiple roughing the passer calls in the first half as the NFL is really cracking down on pass rushers anytime they touch the quarterback or take the quarterback to the ground, seemingly at the referees’ discretion.
Watt tweeted the following about all of the calls during the Monday Night Football game – a game that also features his brother, T.J. Watt, who is a member of the Steelers defense:
"“Roughing the Passer calls are absolutely out of control.”"
It is tough not to take the side of Watt on this one, and it is safe to say that most likely Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers agrees with Watt, as the past three weeks Matthews has been a big focal point of the roughing the passer penalties with three calls going against him.
Watt and others who disagree with how the roughing the passer penalties are being ruled have a legitimate argument and concern. The officials are handing out penalty flags like they are passing out Halloween candy on trick-or-treat night. There is no way, with the size and speed of the athletes who play defense in the NFL, that they can stop on a dime and not make contact with the opposing quarterback in a physical manner.
On Sunday, following the Packers’ loss to the Washington Redskins, Matthews was quoted in an ESPN.com article in saying:
"“Unfortunately this league’s going in a direction I think a lot of people don’t like. I think they’re getting soft.”"
I have to agree with Watt and Matthews when it comes to how the rule is being determined. It is great that the NFL wants to be safer when it comes to protecting quarterbacks, but the question that remains is just how are defensive linemen and linebackers supposed to protect themselves when trying to avoid the opposing quarterback while going full speed?
Until that question can be answered, or players just stop rushing quarterbacks, Watt, Matthews and other defensive players will continue to disagree with how the rule is handed out. There will be a lot of controversy over the rule, and everyone will keep talking about it each and every week.