NFL ‘not going to back off of protecting the quarterback’ amid roughing the passer controversies

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As expected, the NFL is embracing a “don’t fix what isn’t broken” mentality regarding roughing the passer penalties — despite infuriated fans, players and even media members believing the current enforcement is, in fact, broken.

Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper reports that NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent confirmed there was “healthy conversation” about roughing calls during Tuesday’s league meetings held in New York. Vincent also left little doubt the NFL isn’t interested in altering guidelines for such fouls during the ongoing campaign. 

“Everyone knows if your quarterback is not healthy, you don’t have a chance to win. . . . We’re not changing the philosophy around that call. . . . We’re not going to back off of protecting the quarterback,” Vincent explained. 

Roughing the passer penalties called on Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett and Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5 placed a massive spotlight on such decisions. Noteworthy members of the NFL community, such as New York Giants legend Eli Manning, have suggested a rule change that would allow coaches to request video replay reviews for roughing penalties, but it’s been reported the league is “unlikely” to go down that road anytime soon. 

“When you decide to review subjective fouls, then you’re going to have subjective eyes on something that’s already been viewed once,” NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay said about possibly making roughing penalties reviewable. 

While the topic could be discussed in the offseason, McKay repeated that roughing penalties have decreased overall compared to previous seasons. 

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