Cardinals not shifting philosophy on hitting QBs amid latest roughing calls

Oct 12, 2022, 7:00 PM
Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams is sacked by defensive end J.J. Watt #99 of...
Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams is sacked by defensive end J.J. Watt #99 of the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 20-12. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Avoiding roughing the passer penalties has been a topic discussed within the Arizona Cardinals defense all year, but the team is not lost on the discourse and confoundment surrounding calls that affected games in Week 5.

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett wrapped up Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady for a sack on third down in the fourth quarter of a six-point game. Jarrett was flagged for roughing since he threw Brady to the turf which cost Atlanta a chance to get the ball back.

A day later, Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones stripped Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on third down but landed on him. That led to a flag, and the Raiders kicked a field goal on the drive.

Cardinals safeties Jalen Thompson and Budda Baker addressed the recent calls and admitted they were confused by them. The two defenders, though, keyed in on aiming for a quarterback’s elbow and attempting to strip the ball as a strategy to evade such situations.

“There were a lot of different calls that could have gone either way, so for us, we’re talking on tapping that elbow,” Baker said Wednesday. “Definitely that situation with those guys in the past where that guy got a strip and he had the ball, he fell on top of the QB, but he still had the ball. So it was definitely questionable. But, at the end of the day, we got to play the game.”

Thompson added: “Get the ball out, that’s the biggest thing. I’m approaching the quarterback, I’m thinking get the ball out.”

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury had the same message but noted that could not explain the strip sack call.

He acknowledged that Brady, as a future hall of famer, will get the benefit of the doubt by officials, but the other made coaching the subject difficult.

“There’s no coaching points …  you gotta tell them to go after the ball, sack them, get them, I mean, we haven’t adjusted anything on our end,” Kingsbury said.

The Cardinals have been flagged for one roughing the passer penalty this season which was called on defensive end Zach Allen in the first quarter of Week 1.

Since then, Arizona has steered clear of falling into the trap.

Quarterbacks around the league have been asked about roughing calls this week, Kyler Murray included.

Murray said he didn’t want to complain about the league protecting quarterbacks and even feels that he’s taken some hits that could have warranted a flag.

But he had thoughts on the defense’s perspective and called the flag on Jones’ hit “egregious.”

“I understand the defenses’ frustration and everybody watching because it’s a physical game,” Murray said. “We know what we signed up for. You got to try to protect yourself as best as possible. Hopefully they can get it right.”


Within the conversation about calls, Kingsbury was asked what the biggest hit he took was as a player.

The head coach joked he was not hit much in the NFL since he did not play often. But in college, Kingsbury took a wallop from Nebraska’s Kyle Vanden Bosch, whom the Cardinals drafted in 2001.

“He was an animal, and he got me good,” Kingsbury said.

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