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NFL Unfiltered Week 1: Is the NFL profiling quarterbacks instead of protecting them?

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When it comes to quarterbacks, the NFL is running a different kind of fake.    

We used to think the quarterback is the most important player on the field. We saw him as the meal ticket, the one man on every roster teams could ill-afford to lose.  

We were wrong.  

Recently, the NFL and its competition committee made it clear they are only concerned with the well-being of certain types of quarterbacks.  If you doubt that, consider the words of the vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino:

“The quarterback and the running back, they’re both treated as runners.  We don’t know who has the football, we don’t know who’s going to take it, and so both players are treated as runners.”  Blandino continued, “The basic concept is, the quarterback position is not defenseless throughout the down.  It’s the posture he presents that will dictate his protections.”

Think about those statements for a moment.  

The NFL is essentially saying a quarterback must play a certain way to receive all the protections afforded his position, or he is on his own.  If that sounds suspiciously like profiling, it is and 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh agrees, calling the NFL’s interpretatioKaepernick photo: Doug Mills/The New York Timesn of the rule “flawed and biased.”

If you believe the league is better when Colin Kaepernick plays, does it matter how he carries out a fake?  Isn’t it more beneficial if he is “defenseless throughout the down,” regardless?  More importantly, do you want to see Colt McCoy play because an overzealous linebacker lost sight of the football?

What makes the NFL’s view even more confusing is the fact its decisions are almost universally based on economics.  There is no doubt CBS, ESPN, FOX and NBC prefer to showcase games featuring the most dynamic players in the league.  The NFL is putting that goal at risk.  

In my view, the league is showing an obvious bias and it isn’t good business. They could simply make it known hitting quarterbacks with impunity because you cannot find the ball is intolerable.  

Yet, they haven’t. Why?

Apparently, only slow-footed quarterbacks who approach the game like Tom Brady warrant protection. The others must protect themselves.  One cannot help but notice the double standard.

Instead of realizing the importance of Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Griffin III, the competition committee believes their successes are fleeting.  They believe the read-option is merely a fad that will fade away once these upstart quarterbacks receive their rightful beatings.  Said Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin (a committee member), “I think it’s the flavor of the day.  We will see if it’s the flavor of the year.  We’ll see if guys are committed to getting their guys hit.”  “We look forward to stopping it.  We look forward to eliminating it.”  

Why is the competition committee endorsing the abuse of players fans want to see?  Is it because they think we cannot get enough of the aerial artistry of Alex Smith?  

The NFL’s stance is shortsighted and tinged with racism.  If you look at the football landscape, the big, strong-armed, pocket-passing statue is becoming extinct.  Not because there are no more of them, but because the young ones like Ryan Tannehill and Blaine Gabbert are no good.      

Still, it is on Kaepernick, Wilson and Griffin III to win championships because as long as Joe Flacco-types hoist the Lombardi Trophy, the NFL won’t budge.  

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THINGS THE PUNDITS COULDN’T OR WOULDN’T SAY: Week 1

-With all due respect to Jon Gruden, Michael Vick did not “pave the way” for anybody.  In fact, his foolishness on and off the field probably set the uber-athletic quarterback movement back a decade.  

-Vick won a phantom quarterback competition, but based on what I saw, he isn’t the right quarterback for Kelly’s offense, either.  

-It is idiotic to lump all athletic quarterbacks together, because if you are paying attention, the differences in their games are unmistakable.Photo: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

-The Redskins completely disrespected the Eagles by playing RGIII.  He was not ready to play in a NFL game, but they played him anyway because they thought they could handle the birds.   

-Unlike Kaepernick, you have to wonder if RGIII’s mind and arm are enough to consistently beat NFL defenses.  

-Now we know why Kelly’s Oregon teams struggled against teams with equal talent: many of his plays leave the quarterback with as little protection as possible.  

-Evidently, Packers’ defensive coordinator Dom Capers didn’t ask the Texas A&M coaching staff any questions regarding pass defense.

-Is it impossible for teams with Hall of Fame caliber quarterbacks to run the football effectively?  The Falcons, Packers, Patriots and Saints approach games like it is.  

-Interestingly, the Lions are trying to win the same way as the aforementioned teams (sans the great quarterback.)  

-Based on the fact Lions’ defensive tackle Ndamukong Sue keeps acting up, head coach Jim Schwartz is obviously out of motivational material.  

-It’s a decided disadvantage for teams on the west coast to play football games at 1:00pm in the east. Still, the Seahawks shouldn’t struggle that badly against the Panthers.  

-Despite Russell Wilson’s 320 yards passing, the Panthers defense did a good job.  Fantasy team owners and stat geeks cannot comprehend that.

-Known for keeping head coaches for decades, Tomlin will test the Steelers’ patience more than any coach in their history.  He looks overmatched.  

-The Colts won the game, but why did it take the defensive coordinator three and a half quarters to adjust to Terrelle Pryor?  

-Occasionally, a head coach wins a game despite his game management deficiencies.  Way to go Rex Ryan.  

-As bad as Lavonte David’s personal foul was, Jets linebacker Antwan Barnes risked cancelling the penalty by taunting David. Fortunately for Jets fans, the officials didn’t see it or decided to let it go.  

-Vince Young obviously has his issues, but he belongs in any league where Christian Ponder is a starter.       

 

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention. His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

 

Contact Earl at emyersiii@gmail.com  and follow him on Twitter @EMyersIII

 

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Kaepernick photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times
Vick and Kelly photo: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports