New Orleans Saints defensive end Cam Jordan, a 2017 first-team All-Pro, has some hard questions for the NFL. Flags have been rampant in 2018 after a change to the roughing the passer penalty. Officials now penalize defensive players for putting their full body weight on opposing quarterbacks on hits, leading to negative plays and at least one major injury for a defensive player.
Jordan, who ranks third in the NFL with five sacks, and nine other pass rushers spoke with SB Nation’s Natalie Weiner and Jeanna Thomas to air their concerns about the issue. Jordan specifically was emphatic in his criticism:
“Why is it that we’re being penalized for something that we’re supposed to be doing?
“Hit the quarterback, but don’t. Sack the quarterback and help your team out, but before he lands, put a pillow underneath his head, read him a bedtime story — all after asking if you can invade his personal space.”
Jordan even paraphrased the late, great Deacon Jones, who coined the term “sack” and has been a model for pass rushers for decades:
“ ‘A sack is when you annihilate the hope of another team’ — this rule takes the whole game out of that context.”
As it turns out, Jordan nearly injured himself while sacking Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan back in Week 3:
“I hit him from the back so he immediately lurched forward, and on contact it was like, ‘Brakes brakes brakes’ — I almost sprained my wrist,” Jordan said.
The SB Nation article digs deeply into the problems NFL pass rushers face after the crackdown, whether they have to try changing techniques they’ve spent a lifetime refining or trying to control their bodies in real time to avoid a penalty. It’s well worth your time.