It has been widely reported that San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is concerned with teams targeting quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the 49ers read-option look on offense.
“You’re hearing a lot of tough talk right now. You’re hearing some intimidating type of talk, the same thing we were hearing a couple years ago,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “It sounds a lot like targeting a specific player. You definitely start to wonder.
“A man will usually tell you his bad intentions if you just listen. You know what’s being said publicly, not what’s being said privately. You hope that their intent isn’t going to be anything that’s not within the rules.”
In a weekly video that is sent out discussing the NFL’s rules, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino clarified when it is and isn’t alright to hit the quarterback, “The quarterback can be hit like a runner until he’s clearly out of the play.”
It sounds like there is a lot of grey area with the relatively new craze of the mobile quarterback sweeping the league, as far as the rules are concerned. Green Bay outside linebacker Clay Matthews is ready to hit the quarterback, and in a recent interview told ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” that he plans to do so.
“One of the things that the referees have told us is that when these quarterbacks carry out the fakes, they lose their right as a quarterback, a pocket-passing quarterback, the protection of a quarterback,” Matthews said. “So with that, you do have to take your shots on the quarterback, and obviously they’re too important to their offense.
“If that means they pull them out of that type of offense and make them run a traditional, drop-back, pocket-style offense, I think that’s exactly what we’re going for. So you want to put hits as early and often on the quarterback and make them uncomfortable.”
With all of the confusion seemingly plaguing the league about the rules and these “new look” offenses, fully expect that grey area to pop up in the form of questionable calls and continued debate over what is and isn’t ok in terms of hitting the QB.