Saturday, November 8, 2008
Black and Blue all over: Question of intent
By Kevin Seifert
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
One more thought on the Jared Allen-Matt Schaub storyline that ultimately led to some hard feelings and a $50,000 fine for Allen.
Intent is not a part of most NFL rules. So it makes no difference that Allen steadfastly maintained he wasn't trying to hurt Schaub by hitting him below the knees last Sunday. (And given the state of the Texans' quarterback situation, the Vikings might have been better off with Schaub in the game rather than backup Sage Rosenfels, anyway.)
But Allen's intent doesn't matter. The reason the league put that rule into place is that a quarterback's eyes are never supposed to be on the pass rush. He's not always going to see a defensive lineman lurking near his feet, and certainly not if the lineman comes from behind. A shot below the knee is the easiest way to get the quarterback to the ground, but it puts him in a high-risk injury situation -- especially if his feet are planted to throw -- that the league isn't willing to perpetuate.
Allen seemed pretty upset earlier this week when he thought Houston coach Gary Kubiak accused him of intentionally trying to hurt Schaub. Kubiak clarified those comments Friday and said: "By no means do we think this young man was trying to hurt anybody."
We'll leave conspiracy theories for another day. But even if you give Allen the benefit of the doubt, and that he was merely playing out his instinct to bring down the quarterback, it should now be clear the NFL isn't interested in explanations.
Continuing around the NFC North on a wintry Saturday morning in the Upper Midwest:
- Minnesota receiver Robert Ferguson cleaned out his locker Friday and has asked for his release, according to Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune. Ferguson has three receptions this season. The Vikings worked out former Miami receiver Derek Hagan on Friday.
- Second-year Vikings defensive end Brian Robison has a chance to establish himself assuming he starts in place of Allen on Sunday against Green Bay, writes Rick Alonzo of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- The contract of Green Bay right tackle Mark Tauscher expires after this season, Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette points out. Asked if he thinks he'll be back with the Packers next season, Tauscher said: "I have no idea. I really don't know."
- Packers tight end Donald Lee is averaging 7.4 yards on 22 receptions this season, points out Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Lee attributed his quiet numbers to a downturn in passes thrown his way.
- Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth on Chicago tailback Matt Forte: "He's going to be one of the toughest running backs we have to face.'' Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times has the story.
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune calls on five Bears to step up their play Sunday against the Titans: quarterback Rex Grossman, punter Brad Maynard, defensive tackle Tommie Harris, cornerback Nate Vasher and receiver/kick returner Devin Hester.
- Former Lion Alex Karras had this to say about the current team during a conversation with Detroit News writer John Niyo: "They need a big change in the coaching situation. Obviously, it's not getting it done. And they need a change in how they draft players. When you lose, there's a reason. There's always a reason you lose."