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Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Slauson: Block on Cushing clean

By Matt Ehalt

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jets left guard Matt Slauson believes he delivered a legal cut block on Houston linebacker Brian Cushing during Monday night's loss to the Texans. Cushing, Houston's leading tackler, suffered a torn ACL on the play and will miss the remainder of the season.

The legality of the hit has been debated as there's been discussion about whether Slauson clipped or used a clean cut block on Cushing. No flag was thrown on the play.

Brian Cushing
Brian Cushing tore his ACL on the play.
"Every coach I've ever had has taught to cut on the backside of an outside zone play," Slauson said Wednesday. "I don't know why this is a big deal. I feel bad that Cushing got hurt, that wasn't my intent at all, but I got to do my job."

In the second quarter of Monday's 23-17 loss, the Jets used their wildcat package and ran with Bilal Powell. Slauson attempts to block Cushing but runs by him, and later takes him off his feet with a cut block as Cushing tries to pursue the ball.

Slauson said he has been told by his coaches that it was a clean block and said he would be surprised if the league decided to fine him for it. The league can still penalize Slauson although no flag was thrown.

"I wasn't trying to hurt him obviously," Slauson said. "I must have just caught him by surprise. Unfortunately things like that happen."

Jets Head coach Rex Ryan also said it was a legal block and added that his team doesn't cut very often. He explained that some teams, like Houston, use cut blocks on lots of their runs and it's a technique that is taught. He expressed sympathy for Cushing, as well as the NFL.

"With us, clearly, it was a thing that was unintentional and I feel terrible for Brian and for the league," Ryan said. "The league loses when you lose a player like that."

After Cushing's injury, discussion arose about the block as well as measures put in place to defend defensive players. Ryan commended the league for improvements it has made in that regard, such as eliminating high-low blocks on defensive linemen.

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews tweeted about the NFL having a double standard when it comes to protecting defensive lineman on below the waist blocks, and said the league needs to do a better job protecting players on both sides of the ball. Cushing's father, Brian, echoed similar sentiments to USA Today.

Slauson said he hadn't heard about the backlash with regards to his play, but didn't speak on it.

He said: "I have no reaction to it."