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Packers’ Clay Matthews & Mike McCarthy react to roughing penalty with anger Green Bay Packers Hoodie , confusion For the third time in three games, Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was penalized for roughing the passer. For the second week in a row, the play drawing the flag has become a flashpoint for NFL players, coaches, fans, and referees regarding the league’s rules around protecting quarterbacks.In week two’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, Matthews was called for roughing the passer when he hit quarterback Kirk Cousins. Referee Tony Corrente said that he threw a flag for an illegal “scoop-and-pull” technique, for which he also penalized Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks earlier in that game. This week, Matthews sacked Alex Smith, bursting off a block and hitting Smith in the shoulder. Matthews’ momentum carried his body weight onto Smith, which was apparently the action worthy of penalty.This is a new rule in the NFL, despite referee Craig Wrolstad’s comments to the contrary to media after the game. Complicating matters, Wrolstad did not flag a far more egregious hit on the previous series, when Da’Ron Payne picked up Aaron Rodgers and body-slammed him to the turf. Wrolstad apparently was picked up on his microphone saying that he “couldn’t see through 14 guys.”Regardless of the inconsistent application of roughing the passer rules, players and coaches are upset about what is being considered a penalty in the first place. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was livid on the sideline after the flag was thrown, and was spotted screaming at the official nearest him. After the game, McCarthy stood by his initial feelings, saying “I thought Clay did exactly what he’s supposed to do there.”McCarthy continued on to elaborate why he felt that Matthews’ hit was within the rules: “He hit him with his shoulder, he’s coming full speed off of a block, he braced himself. I was fine with what Clay did there.” However, that was the extent of McCarthy’s comments on the matter, saying that questions about the intent of the rule should be asked of “other people,” presumably in the NFL officiating department.Matthews himself Customized Green Bay Packers Jerseys , however, was much more willing to address the rule itself after the game.He spoke at length with reporters, clearly upset about yet another flag that he seemed entirely incapable of avoiding. “Obviously I don’t agree with it again,” Matthews said. “(Like) last week, I thought I hit the quarterback correctly. (My) head was to the side again, (I) wrapped him up. You see as soon as I hit the ground I try to put my hands up. Obviously when you’re tackling a guy from the front, you’re gonna land on him. “I understand the spirit of the rule, I said that weeks prior. But when you have a hit like that, that’s a football play.”Matthews even went on to say that he talked to Alex Smith after the game, asking him what he could have done differently on that hit. Predictably, Matthews said that Smith told him there was nothing he could have done, and simply “That’s a football play.” That response echoes Aaron Rodgers’ comments from after the Vikings game, when the Packers quarterback said that he “couldn’t believe there was a penalty” on the Kendricks or Matthews hits.Ultimately, Matthews went a step farther on Sunday, however, calling out the NFL entirely. “Unfortunately this league’s going in a direction I think a lot of people don’t like,” he said. “I think they’re getting soft. The only thing hard about this league is the fines that they levy down on guys like me that play the game hard.” He added that as a pass-rusher, he feels that the only option now is to not bother hitting the quarterback at all, saying “you just have to attack the ball.”Ultimately, the officials aren’t giving Matthews, or other pass-rushers, much leeway here to make those “football plays” that players — including quarterbacks — feel are a normal part of the game. It’s lessening the enjoyment of the game for those playing it, as well as for those watching it when plays that do not appear to be unnecessary injury risks are being legislated out of the sport. As the Green Bay Packers look to bolster their outside linebacker unit in the 2019 offseason Womens Geronimo Allison Jersey , most of the attention at present is going to the 2019 NFL Draft class. That’s entirely understandable, as this year’s group of edge rushers is both strong at the top and quite deep, with quality players likely available well into day two of the draft. The free agent class will also see some intriguing players coming available, with big names like Jadeveon Clowney, Dee Ford, and Demarcus Lawrence set to see their contracts expire.However, there is a third group of players who are under contract for 2019, but whose cap numbers may make them available this offseason. These are the cap casualties — players who could end up being released and saving their former teams significant amounts of cap space.It just so happens that there are three big names who are good candidates for that type of a move. All three have posted monster seasons in the past, and all of them will be 30 years old or younger in 2019. Let’s take a look at these players, all of whom could provide the Packers with some intriguing abilities if they indeed are released and would sign for the right price.Justin Houston, ChiefsScheduled cap hit in 2019: $21.1MSavings if released: $14MThinking back to 2011, Justin Houston was a common pick for the Packers at #32 in some mock drafts. The former Georgia edge rusher fell to Kansas City in round three, largely due to failing a drug test for marijuana at that year’s Combine. However, Houston made an immediate impact opposite Tamba Hali, recording 5.5 sacks as a rookie before a truly magnificent three-year stretch that saw him total 43 sacks.Despite some lingering durability questions, Houston is still effective. He’s still averaging 11 sacks per 16 games played over the past four seasons, though he has missed at least one game each year and missed a total of 11 contests in 2016. That stands in contrast to Nick Perry, who has dealt with injury issues of his own but who managed just 1.5 sacks in nine games this year. Houston isn’t worth a $21 million cap hit any more, and so he’s a good bet to be released for cap reasons, but he could be a great pickup for the Packers, who will need veteran help on the edge. Another connection here is that the Packers hired Mike Smith, the Chiefs’ outside linebackers coach in 2018, to the same job for 2019.Robert Quinn Womens Lane Taylor Jersey , DolphinsScheduled cap hit in 2019: $12.9MSavings if released: $12.9MAnother member of the 2011 draft class, Quinn went 14th overall to the Rams. Like Houston, he had a five-sack season as a rookie before an explosive three-year stretch from 2012 to 2014 — he had 40 sacks in those three years, compared to Houston’s 43. Since then, he has dropped off a bit, and thanks to some unconventional accounting, the Rams were able to trade him to Miami before the 2018 season without much of a salary cap penalty. And since the Dolphins traded for him, they can release him without any dead money on their capFor most of his career, Quinn has been a 4-3 defensive end. However, in 2017 he did have 8.5 sacks in 15 games as the Rams moved to more of a 3-4 defense under Wade Phillips. This season in Miami, he had 6.5 sacks in 16 games. Like Houston, Quinn could be a nice second-tier pass-rush option if he ends up on the open market.Vic Beasley, FalconsScheduled cap hit in 2019: $12.81MSavings if released: $12.81MWith the Falcons releasing kicker Matt Bryant today, writers at The Falcoholic were discussing Beasley as a candidate for a restructure or release as a cap casualty. He is currently under contract on his fifth-year option as a first-round draft pick in 2015, which for now is guaranteed for injury only. However, the Falcons could release him prior to the first day of the league year on March 13th and get off scot-free. Beasley’s Combine performance in 2015 was one to behold, as he tested above the 90th percentile of edge rushers in literally every athletic drill. He translated that into a league-leading 15.5 sacks in 2016. However, Beasley has hardly played up to that impressive season over the past two years. I asked The Falcoholic’s Kevin Knight about what happened, and he responded with the following:Yikes. That’s not a good sign, and the stats bear that out: his sack total dropped from 15.5 in 2016 to just five each of the past two years. Still, the Chiefs’ Dee Ford was a speed rush specialist and Mike Smith helped coach him to a career year with 13 sacks in 2018. Maybe he could do something similar with Beasley?
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