New York Jets offensive lineman Matt Slauson has come under fire from NFL players and fans alike after his hit on Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing resulted in a torn ACL for Cushing that will sideline him for the rest of the season.
While Slauson’s hit was technically legal, it is viewed by many as a dirty hit that shows the double standard from the NFL.
The NFL will go out of their way to protect offensive players but the members of defense are fair game.
While Slauson is being criticized for the tactic, his head coach has stood up for him. Rex Ryan spoke on ESPN Radio and came to Slauson’s defense.
“I would never question our guys as far as trying to injure someone or try and do something not in the confinement of the rules,” Ryan said via The Star-Ledger. “I would have to say I would definitely question (the flack Slauson is getting), I never saw anything specifically (when) I was just watching our game tape. I’ll say this — we got rolled up a few times in our game, and sometimes in this game you gotta be fortunate to avoid some injury.”
Another coach who was involved in the game, Texans Gary Kubiak,passed up the chance to call Slauson’s block a dirty play and instead said it was up to the NFL.
“That’s in the league’s hands,” Kubiak said. “It doesn’t change the fact that weâre sitting here today having to deal with losing a heck of a player.”
It will be interesting to see whether or not the NFL decides to fine Slauson for the play. Earlier in the season, the league fined Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate for a block that decleated Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee. In both cases, the defender was what you consider “defenseless.”
Here is a GIF of the hit by Slauson, courtesy of Big Lead Sports. You decide for yourself whether it was clean or dirty:
The only good that we hope can come out of this is a firmer stance by the NFL to protect the defensive players. The league is all about safety these days so why don’t we cut the double-standard and protect those players on both sides of the ball.