During the past few seasons, we’ve seen the emergence of duel threat quarterbacks. From Cam Newton to Colin Kaepernick to Robert Griffin III the Russell Wilson, a position that had morphed back into the more traditional pocket passing has been breaking free of that stigma.
The top read-option quarterback’s around the league have each had a varying degree of success, though, all have individually performed relatively well despite team struggles.
However, according to a handful of NFL insiders along with respected NFL minds, teams are focused on hitting the quarterback even more this year, suggesting there will be some massive hits to any quarterback who decides to scramble down field or even pitch the ball:
Per John Madden (via the LA Times):
“Every guy I’ve talked to is going to go after the quarterback,” said Hall of Fame coach John Madden, co-chairman of the NFL’s safety committee. “That’s going to be their answer. If you watch what they did last year, a lot of guys played the quarterback. If he pitches, get off him. If he keeps it, tackle him. Now, they’re just going to go after him whether he pitches or not.”
Per Dean Blandino, VP of NFL officiating:
“The key is the posture of the quarterback,” said Dean Blandino, the league’s vice president of officiating. “You can’t take a free shot at him. But what we’re seeing in some instances is the quarterback hands off and then carries out the fake like he has the ball, and he’s presenting a running posture.
“In that instance, he’s trying to deceive the defense, trying to draw the defense to him, and he doesn’t have special protection in that situation. He can be hit until enough time has passed where he’s clearly out of the play.”