Clay Matthews blasts ‘soft’ NFL after another controversial penalty
LANDOVER Clay Matthews doesn’t know what more he can do.
For the second straight week, the Green Bay Packers linebacker was called for a controversial roughing the passer penalty. This year, NFL officials have put an emphasis on prohibiting defenders from putting all, or most, of their body weight on quarterbacks.
And after the Redskins’ 31-17 win over the Green Bay Packers, referee Craig Wrolstad defended his call, which happened in the third quarter.
But others came to Matthews’ defense including the guy who was drilled on the hit.
“I felt like he’s playing football,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “He’s played a long time. He hit me right in the strike zone.”
This is a foul for roughing the passer - the defender lands with all or most of the defenders weight on the passer. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9(b): https://t.co/s9YKN8NLuT #GBvsWAS pic.twitter.com/ei2QZkvvzx NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) September 23, 2018
The Packers were, perhaps understandably, irate after the call. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy screamed and chased down an official as the referee backpedaled away.
Mike McCarthy did not hold back after the referees call another roughing the passer on Clay Matthews #Packers pic.twitter.com/OtaNzh8oo2 Stephen Watson (@WISN_Watson) September 23, 2018
Last week, Matthews was dinged for the same penalty during a tie against the Minnesota Vikings. On the surface, the linebacker’s hit on Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins looked like a textbook play and the NFL chose not to include it in its weekly officiating videos (which in itself turned out to spark another controversy).
The NFL put an emphasis on the rule after Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone last season on a similartype of play. Matthews was not fined for his hit on Cousins.
Speaking to a pool reporter, Wrolstad said he ruled Matthews had put “most or all” of his body weight onto Smith.
Matthews, though, wasn’t satisfied with the answer. He blasted the NFL for “getting soft,” adding nothing in his game will change.
“Unfortunately, the league is going in a direction that a lot of people don’t like and I think they’re getting soft,” Matthews said. “The only thing hard about this league is the fines that they levy down on guys like me who play the game hard.”