Unsportsmanlike conduct rule & more @ NFLRT 1/20


Rule? What rule???

Getting down to the nitty gritty… Conference championships coming up next but first a look back at some of the action and the players from the playoffs just completed…

Biggest news arguably is the unportsmanlike conduct rule application in the exciting Cowboy/Packers game. The call left many fans scratching their heads when it was called but yessiree it is a rule…it is right there in the rule book…  “Rule 5, Section 2, Article 5 says. “Violations of this rule may be penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.” But, now some medis people are asking did the refs apply it correctly? You be the judge. We got our roundtable crew offering up their opinions and we got the video. Did the huddle ever really get formed? Did the Cowbotys ever do anythign to confuse the defense? Or, were the Cowboys the more confused team on the field?

All this and more in this week’s roundtable…

1) Who do you want as your showcase running back… Ezekiel Elliot or Le’Veon Bell? Why?

Chad: Right now, Ezekiel Elliot because he is younger, behind the best O-Line in Football; and half his games will be played in Jerry World and outside of the elements.

Ezekiel Elliott Vs Le'Veon Bell... Who's Better?
Ezekiel Elliott Vs Le’Veon Bell… Who’s Better?

Dan: I want Le’Veon Bell. In a couple years, it might be different. But right now, despite the marijuana problems of Bell, I’m taking Bell. What he’s able to do in Pittsburgh consistently is unbelievable. I watch him run and there’s nobody like him at all. He can literally bounce around the backfield taking half-steps then burst at full speed and end up gaining 10 yards on a run that looked like it would’ve been stopped at the line. He has insane talent. He carried the Steelers to a victory against Kansas City (with the help of Boswell not missing). Give me Bell, who is also more experienced.

Elliot has a lot of pluses and another year like this season and he might be placed above Bell.

David: Elliot. He’s younger and loves to work. I am a serious believer that a running back can only take so many hits before the pounding gets to him unless he learns to catch or dives out of bounds.  

Earl: Ezekiel is the more explosive runner, but I would take Le’Veon Bell because of his patience.

Le’Veon waits for holes to open up and then he attacks each level of the defense. When he is on his game, he is almost unstoppable. He racks up yards with ease, and he’s just the more consistent threat right now.

2) Ben Roethlisberger didn’t exactly showcase his Bad Eli impression as the Steelers beat the Chiefs 18-16 on Sunday but he didn’t exactly look like Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Matt Ryan or Tom Brady either. The Steelers never penetrated the end zone yet still won the game as they relied on eating up the clock with Le’Veon Bell running the ball (170 yards) and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals.

Can the Steelers keep winning in the playoffs relying on the feet (and feats) of Bell and Boswell and a not too shabby Steeler defense? Or, does Big Ben need to step up his passing game big time, especially when the Steelers are in the red zone?

Chad: The way Tom Brady puts points up? Big Ben needs to step it up in the red-zone and get touchdowns.

Dan: No. Pittsburgh cannot beat New England without scoring a touchdown. It won’t work. While I think Pittsburgh has a great running game and a great defense, they’re going to need to stop Tom Brady from scoring and the New England offense is a lot better than Kansas City’s.

Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger

If, Big Ben can’t get it done in the red zone and convert on touchdown opportunities, Pittsburgh will be in for a long day and won’t be making it to the Super Bowl. They need Big Ben to do something at QB instead of relying on Bell and Boswell. They aren’t going to cut it.

David: Depends on who they are playing. If, I’m scoring 3, and you are scoring 0. Then I can win. If, I am scoring 3, and you are getting 7s then I’m done.

Big Ben had a terrible game and the Steelers still won. That’s why there are 10 other guys on offense, and defense and special teams. Big Ben at his worst is better than Trent Dilfer and Eli Manning.

Earl: Big Ben is not going to beat New England this week if he does not come up big as a passer. Yes, the Steelers strengths is running the ball, their kicking game and their defense, but, New England will game plan for Bell and will force Big Ben to beat them throwing the ball. If, he can’t come up big, then the Pats will win this weekend.

Big Ben must step up where it counts in the red zone, absolutely.

3) The San Diego Chargers are now about to be the Los Angeles Chargers after a hotel tax referendum that would have aided in funding a new stadium was voted down by San Diego voters.

Did San Diego’s ownership make a good business, as well as sports, decision or did they just make a decision that they will eventually regret big time?

Chad: Terrible decision by ownership.

LA is passive about Football at best and the San Diego fans won’t follow you up. I can’t believe San Diego did this after their long history in San Diego.

Dan: Yes, they did.chargers

While the fans and the city of San Diego were upset to see the Chargers leave, they gave them no options. They didn’t even support the team all that much by selling out every game right away. They basically pushed the Chargers out of San Diego. And, now they’ll be in a market with the Rams and a market with a large football backing. They’re still rather close to San Diego so a travel up to LA won’t be long for those in SD. And with a bigger market and a new stadium, they definitely made the right move.

David: You cannot be stupid enough to lose money in the NFL. For the next 5-10 years you could have a NFL franchise in Boise and still roll in cash. In any sport with a salary cap, other than hockey, you can’t outspend your media contract.

I do think the LA market is just stupid to throw in an NFL team. You lose and no one cares, you win and everyone wants to buddy up to your stars and every wideout wants to be paid like Mayweather. I’d rather be in San Diego or even Vegas. You can drop a billion on a stadium, and in 10 years it’s going to be treated like Veterans Stadium. Plus, he’s not even the A tenant! Just a dumb move by a Silver Spoon who didn’t get his way.

Earl: The City of San Diego will be just fine. It’s a beautiful City, with great weather. They still have the Padres, and it is a big Navy town, they won’t hurt for tourists or outside income. While it’s sad the Chargers are leaving town, the City of San Diego won’t hurt too much.

As far as Chargers ownership goes, they have made a horrible decision. Los Angeles does not want the Chargers. You can argue that Los Angeles doesn’t want football at all, but they certainly don’t want the Chargers. To pay the Rams to play in their new stadium and play the next two years in a small soccer venue, are certain losses for the Chargers ownership. Greed and pride led them to make this mistake.

4) The Packers had just scored a TD the score was now 7-3, 1st quarter… the Cowboys were driving and a Dak Prescott to Terrance Williams pass that went for 22 yards and put Dallas inside the Packers’ red zone.

They were now 1st and 10 on the Packers’ 15-yard line and threatening to score a TD that would have answered the Packers just competed TD drive. Instead they were penalized 15 yards and the Cowboys had to run their next play from their own 48.

The reason for the penalty was because Brice Butler was flagged for being in the Cowboys huddle and then not participating in the next play.  Butler ran to the huddle, Cole Beasley went back toward the sideline and then was apparently told to go back and replace Butler, who jogged off the field before the play. That’s a non-no per NFL rules. You can’t try to confuse the defense… Once a player has communicated with another player in the huddle he must participate in at least one play. Else it “may” be penalized by a 15-yard penalty. (Editor’s note: The word “may” is actually used in the rule.)

What is your opinion regarding the rule and why?

Chad: I think it’s a rule that can stand some looking at and clearer defining but I think the spirit is to keep a guy in one huddle so the other huddle can have their personnel which is a good idea. Just needs to be more clearly defined.

Dan: I have no problems with the rule. The defense has enough struggling to do to figure out the plays of the offense. Switching them up and trying to confuse them with switch-outs is unfair, in my opinion. The rule is fine.

The wording of “may” be penalized needs to be changed to “it will be a penalty.” But other than that, I’m in agreement with the rule.

David: Again, you can’t confuse the defense. A NFL coach should KNOW THIS.

I would have a problem with the word “may” but still… If, you are going to have 1500 packages, then you should know the substitution rules.

Earl: I’m indifferent. I never heard of this rule before, and, I can see why since it’s something that does not happen that often. I am in favor of it being a rule just to keep all sides as honest as possible.

5) You’re a GM with a team top 6 pick in the NFL draft who needs a QB (arguably San Francisco, Cleveland, NY Jets & Chicago), and North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson are all available.

Do you opt to take a QB with the pick or choose to strengthen another area of need and hope another QB option is available in the next round or later?  If, you do take a QB which QB do you draft? Why?

(Editors’ note: obviously if you opt out regarding taking a QB then the 2nd part of the question becomes moot but if you want to offer up an opinion on which QB should go first in the draft and why, then have at it.) 

Chad:  I’m taking Deshaun Watson and not looking back I think he has the highest ceiling in the QB class this year.

Dan: I’m taking a QB.

North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky (from left to right), Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer and Clemson's Deshaun Watson
Mitch Trubisky (from left to right), DeShone Kizer & Deshaun Watson

As mentioned, these are three top quarterback prospects and you won’t go wrong selecting either of these three. Besides defensive front, this draft is weak on OL and you gotta take a top QB if that’s a major need. You see these teams struggling without a QB regardless of their great D (Houston, for example).

While I like Trubisky and think he’s an excellent quarterback prospect, my top pick for QB and who I would select if I was a GM with a top six pick is DeShaun Watson. Based off personal viewership and all the scouting reports I’ve read on him so far, he’s the most NFL-ready quarterback prospect in this year’s draft. He had an excellent game in the National Championship win vs Alabama and I think he’s going to do a lot of great things in the NFL. He could be the next Cam Newton. He could be better! I’m taking my pick and selecting Watson

David: Depends on what team I am. Cleveland and SF are fairly simple. Pick someone else. The Bears or Jets? I have more building blocks and I need a solid QB. Personally, I would rather have Deshaun Watson over the rest. I would pick a solid day 1 building block at the top of the draft, then look in the mid-teens to trade back up for a QB.

Say, I’m Cleveland. I take the Texas A&M brusier to be my leader on D. I ALSO have the 12th pick. I snag a QB there, sign him and send him to a desert Island for a year with Norv Turner and the ghost of Bill Walsh and tell them not to call me until Thanksgiving. Then at 33, I can take the best offensive lineman there. Do the same at 51.

Say I’m the Jets. Ouch. I got to roll the dice at 6, but I’d rather trade back to 10 (Bills) or 11 (Saints), and grab a QB before the Browns do. I take Watson and HIRE DABO and fire my coach and use my extra 3s and 4s from the Saints to get some defensive line depth.

Earl: The four teams highlighted in this question all could use a quarterback. The Browns, Jets, and Niners all need one and the Bears will likely pivot away from Jay Cutler.

If, I were the GM of the Browns I would take the best player available with the #1 overall pick, and identify a QB to take with their second pick in the first round. If, Myles Garrett or one of the Alabama defensive lineman grade out as the best player in the draft they have to take that player at #1 and figure out the QB pick later in the round.

The 49ers should take best QB available. The Niners aren’t that bad of a team, and with a new head coach they likely can bounce back quickly if they pick the right one. They really can’t do wrong with either Trubisky, Kizer, or Watson.

The Chicago Bears should pass on taking a QB in the first round. It’s a need, granted, but not a huge one. If Cutler leaves, I would give Matt Barkley or Brian Hoyer a chance. Both played well enough in place of Cutler. However, I would draft one later in the draft. Someone like Pat Mahomes or Davis Webb in the 3rd or 4th round would make sense.

The New York Jets should also wait to take a QB. As a Jets fan I don’t think any of the QB’s on the roster is the answer. I would expect Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith to be on new teams next season and with a new offensive coordinator in town (Chan Gailey has retired and the team has yet to sign his replacement) I would think that brings Bryce Petty’s time with the team to an end. Maybe Hackenburg is the answer but he’s very raw. So, I would draft another QB in the 3rd or 4th round. Personally, I would like them to take Brad Kaaya from the University of Miami. Not the biggest arm but he has the poise to succeed in New York.




















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