NFL sticking with officiating emphasis on quarterback hits

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2018, file photo, Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews tackles Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins during the second half of an NFL football game, in Green Bay, Wis. Matthews was penalized for roughing the passer on the play. The NFL is getting roughed up over its amplified enforcement of roughing the passer penalties that has produced head-scratching, game-changing calls and a season-ending injury to a defender trying to comply with the league’s mandate not to land on the quarterback. What constitutes a clean hit anymore is anyone's guess. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer, File)

NEW YORK — The NFL is sticking with its officiating emphasis on quarterback hits, including those in which the tackler uses all or most of his body weight when falling on the quarterback.

NFL football operations chief Troy Vincent says Thursday that the powerful competition committee has clarified to game officials the techniques used in such hits, which have been a source of debate through the first three weeks of the schedule. Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews has been called for three of them, two of which appeared to be normal tackles.

A lack of consistency on such calls also has been a source of contention throughout the league. In its regularly scheduled conference call, the committee reviewed video of such plays from 2017 and this year.

“In reiterating its position on quarterback protection,” Vincent says, “the committee determined there would be no changes to the point of emphasis approved this spring, or to the rule of which the body weight provision has been in place since 1995.”

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