Mike McCarthy was not happy with Anthony Barr’s hit on Aaron Rodgers this past Sunday, calling it “totally unnecessary.” Barr didn’t just hit Rodgers; he drove him into the ground and landed on him, breaking Rodgers’ collarbone in the process.
Some agreed with McCarthy; some did not. Either way, how much more can the NFL do to protect quarterbacks?
“I think the NFL has done the right thing in trying to take the gratuitous hit out of the game, whether it’s on a quarterback, whether it’s on a punt return from the blindside, whether it’s a wide receiver stretching for a pass and vulnerable,” former NFL safety and current NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Any position that’s defenseless – and that’s the term they use – if you’re in a defenseless position, they’re taking the gratuitous hit out of the game, and I agree with that. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have. Today I do.
“But I think we’ve done about as much as we can do,” Mayock continued. “We’re not letting people roll into the quarterback’s legs. We’ve done everything we can to protect the quarterback, and when they’re out of the pocket, there’s a gray area. If you’re a defensive player, you don’t know if he’s going to slide, you don’t know if it’s going to be headfirst – there’s a whole lot of variables if you’re a defensive player and the quarterback is out of the pocket. So at some point, I think we got to take a step back and say, ‘It’s still a physical game, and there are going to be some physical hits.’”
Mayock, though, believes there’s a fine line between protecting players and preparing them for what they’ll endure on game-day.
“I think it’s a bad thing that training camps have been cut back and we’re not allowed to hit during the season as much,” Mayock said. “I actually think that might be leading to all these injuries we’re seeing today. Sometimes I don’t think players wear their pads enough. That’s the one downside, I think. As a league, we’ve got to take a step back. We’ve got to figure out a consistency in our rule book, No. 1, so we all know what a dropped pass is or a caught pass is or what a touchdown is or isn’t. And I also think we need to figure out a way to try and help with the injuries. There are too many people getting hurt. And I’m not just talking about concussions and major injuries.”