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Shanahan: Nothing new on rules for hitting option QBs

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Shanahan: Nothing new on rules for hitting option QBs

The NFL’s VP of officiating talked about the rules regarding hitting a read option quarterback recently and this is being treated as though it is some sort of change.

It’s not.

In an officiating video distrubted to the media, NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino said the following:
"When the quarterback puts the ball in the running back’s belly, the referee doesn’t know who has the football, the defender doesn’t know who has the football, so if it’s a bang-bang split second, than yes, he can hit the quarterback. But if the quarterback has clearly handed off the football, and he’s standing still, of fading backwards, he cannot be unnecessarily contacted, and that doesn’t matter if it’s a read-option quarterback or a classic drop-back quarterback. If they’re standing still or fading backward after the ball has left their hand, they cannot be unnecessarily contacted.”
This does not represent a change. According to Mike Shanahan this ruling and interpretation are at least a decade old.

“There's not [anything new] but I think they had to clarify because in the past nobody has run any type of option in the National Football League,” he said on Friday. “But about 10 years ago, 12 years ago there was talk after the quarterback handed the ball off, if he faked it, could he be hit. The answer was he could. So any time you carry out a fake with the quarterback you are susceptible to taking a shot. So what they ask you to do, if you do fake it, to put your hands up then they're not allowed to hit you.”

The Redskins had this policy clarified after their game against Cincinnati last year. Robert Griffin III was hit three times after he handed the ball off. It was explained to the team that as long as it looked like the quarterback might still have the ball he was fair game to get hit. But if he made it clear he no longer had the ball by, say, putting his hands up the defenders ran the risk of getting penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.

In the following game against Tampa Bay, Griffin did put up his hands in appropriate situations and he didn’t get hit after getting rid of the ball. For the rest of the season he rarely was hit when he didn’t have the ball in his hands.

The rule adheres to good common sense. If the quarterback is practicing deception and is acting as though he has the ball the defense should have every right to tackle him. If he clearly does not have it then hitting him is just taking a cheap shot and should be penalized.

So relax. Griffin is in no more danger than he was last year. Teams will undoubtedly take cheap shots at him from time to time but if he does he should draw a yellow flag and 15 free yards for the Redskins.

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Need to Know: Betting on the Redskins' playoff race outcomes

Need to Know: Betting on the Redskins' playoff race outcomes

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 3, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No availability

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 8; Panthers @ Redskins 16; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), DE Anthony Lanier (leg)
Questionable: G Brandon Scherff (ankle), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), Bashaud Breeland (ankle), LS Nick Sundberg (back)
Final injury report

Redskins vs. Cardinals
FOX, Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Dick Stockton and Chris Spielman
Line: Cardinals -2.5

Resetting the playoff odds

The Redskins start their stretch drive to the playoffs tomorrow. The will play five games in 29 days. After that, they will have either earned the right to keep playing or will they go home.

Let’s get out the imaginary $100 in casino chips and look at the various possibilities of the finish to the season and spread out the chips based on how likely each scenario is. As always, you are welcome to jump into the comments if you agree or disagree.

Win NFC East, $0—This might be worth a buck or two but this place doesn’t have any chips smaller than $5 and it’s not worth investing even that much in the chance of this happening. The scenario would have to be the Redskins winning out, the Cowboys losing out, and the Giants losing at least two more games. I’d put something on the first scenario and a few chips on the last one but no way is Dallas going 0-4. Keeping my chips in my pocket on this one.

Wild card as No. 5 seed, $40—To do this the Redskins would have to stay ahead of the wild card contenders behind them (see next scenario) and make up a game and a half on the Giants. They play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins would have to make up one game between now and then and they could then determine their status on January 1 at FedEx Field. The Giants go to Pittsburgh on Sunday and host Dallas a week after that so we will see how that looks in a couple of weeks. As of now, the No. 6 seed would go to Detroit for the first round of the playoffs while the No. 5 would play the Falcons in Atlanta. That, of course, is subject to change.

Wild card as No. 6 seed, $35—I think getting the five seed is slightly more likely than getting the six since I think the Giants are a mirage. But even if New York keeps it going, the Redskins can clinch a spot by running the table in their last five games. That would make them 11-4-1 and no other wild card contender could catch them. If they win four of five, only the Bucs can catch them and it would take a 5-0 finish for Tampa Bay. Winning three of five still gives them a good shot at getting in although at that point you are also opening the door for the Vikings, Saints, Packers, and Eagles to catch fire and jump ahead of them.

Out of playoffs, $25—I might be putting a little too much here but it’s the NFL and it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that the Redskins could finish 2-3 and miss out altogether. Their margin for error is slim and an injury here and a bad break there could have them on the outside looking in.

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When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon just filled out his ballot for the annual NFL Top 100 Players list.

Let's just say it's pretty one-dimensional. 

Straight like that

A photo posted by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

As you can see, the form asks guys to rank who they consider the top 20 players in the league. But instead of naming 20 different players, Garcon voted for the same player 20 times. Talk about stuffing the ballot box. 

No surprise, but he's hyping his quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

Cousins is having a career year with the Redskins. His stock has soared over the last three weeks especially. Take a look at his numbers in that span: 84 completions on 116 attempts for 1,086 yards (72 percent), eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

Those efforts earned the Michigan State product NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors. And more importantly, Cousins has the Redskins in favorable position to make the playoffs for the second year in a row.

So far this season, Garcon has caught 52 passes from Cousins for 636 yards and two scores. 

MORE REDSKINS: Reed out, 7 other Redskins questionable