Yesterday, Chip Kelly went at NFL’s head of officiating, who said the Terrell Suggs hit on Sam Bradford during Saturday night’s game was legal. Chip said it wasn’t a read option play and that Bradford should not have been deemed a runner in that situation.
According to some Eagles players that aren’t quarterbacks, the play was a read option and Suggs’ hit was fine. One of those players was safety Malcolm Jenkins, who said he would do the same thing to an opposing quarterback that Suggs did. [CSN Philly]
Jenkins on Monday specifically explained he didn’t mean that he’d go low at a QB like Suggs did. After all, there were two parts to the Suggs-Bradford hit: the hit itself on a QB not possessing the ball, and the area in which Suggs tackled Bradford. Jenkins wasn’t referring to the shot at Bradford’s knees, but rather the idea of using force to discourage a team from running the read-option.
“If somebody’s running a zone-read and I want to scare them out of it,” Jenkins said, “I’m gonna hit the quarterback.”
Jenkins was referring to Part A of the hit and not Part B. He wasn’t saying he’d deliver a borderline cheap shot like Suggs, he was saying he’d be aggressive going after the QB because a defender has a split second to determine who has the ball in the read-option. It’s easy to watch from afar and criticize a defender or referee for misunderstanding the play, but the speed on the field in which it occurs is so much faster than any fan or analyst can comprehend.
Now, bear in mind that Jenkins said he wouldn’t go low to hit a quarterback – just that he would go after the quarterback. There’s a difference in tackling a player up high and bringing him to the ground than lunging at his knees – which Suggs clearly did. So why is Jenkins getting upset at Pro Football Talk? Because their headline reads this: “Eagles safety says he’ll target opposing QB on zone-read plays.”
That’s not good for Jenkins’ play on the field. Even if Jenkins isn’t out there “hunting zone read QBs” the referees will be paying a little bit more attention to him now due to his quotes, regardless of whether they were taken out of context. In fact, the Pro Football Talk story didn’t change any quotes around or misconstrue anything – its the headline that’s damning. Now when Jenkins gets any personal foul penalties during the season, we can thank Mike Florio for that.