Davante Adams might play on Sunday and that’s a good thing. Danny Trevathan won’t be playing on Sunday and that’s a good thing, too.
The helmet-to-helmet hit that Trevathan put on Adams on Thursday was illegal. It was blatant. He should have been penalized. He should have been ejected from the game. He should have been suspended by the league and he did get two games, which was reduced on appeal. But two out of three there isn’t enough.
There’s no doubt, it’s really hard when you talk about where you can hit an offensive player because a guy will duck at the last moment or he’ll be catching the ball as he’s falling down and even if you’re aiming low your helmet might inadvertently strike him in the upper chest or the head area. There’s not a lot you can do about that. I’ve spoken with a lot of defensive guys about that and they say the same thing.
But they’re trying to make an effort to do it correctly and I’ve been really impressed with defensive players these past couple of years because they’ve cleaned up the game. That’s very difficult, just given the speed of the game.
Hit with a shoulder pad or an elbow that gets up in there, I'm fine with it. He would have been penalized, but no one would have said he needs to be ejected, no one would have said suspend the guy.
With Trevathan, there was no effort to do it correctly.
Adams was already wrapped up. He wasn’t going anywhere. He couldn’t move and Trevathan just lowered his head. Not only was it dangerous for Adams, but that’s the last way any coach would tell you to tackle someone if you valued your neck at all. The way that Trevathan hit Adams, I instantly thought, “ejection” and I was surprised that they didn’t eject Trevathan.
If he would have thrown his shoulder in there with his head up and made a good strike like a lot of defenders do, the blow to Adams wouldn’t have been nearly as bad. It wouldn’t have come with as much force as it did, right at the face mask with the crown of the helmet. Trevathan would have been penalized, but no one would have said he needs to be ejected and no one would have said suspend the guy.
But when you go in there in full spear mode with the top of your head and you’re trying to hit a player right in the face, there’s no room for it.
A lot of times the replay people in New York from the NFL side, they can stop the game and they can take a look at something if they want to, and I think that needs to happen. I’m disappointed that didn’t happen with the Trevathan play and that the officials weren’t alerted to it.
A play happens so fast and sometimes the officials are looking at other things, especially on the inside. In that area they’re looking for holding, for hands to the face, for a lot of things, and there are 10 guys battling there in the trenches. So I can understand an official missing Trevathan putting his head down and hitting Adams in the face. But what I can’t understand is now that we have the technology and the ability to call in, stop the game, and look at a play, why that play wasn’t looked at and it immediately ruled that Trevathan should be out of the game.
I would like to see that definitely be part of the process from here on out.
Not only was it dangerous for Davante, but that's the last way they would tell you to tackle someone from a defensive standpoint if you valued your neck at all.
And, like I said, defensive guys have gotten a lot better. They’ve made huge strides in that area. Go back 10 years when I was playing and if you look at my highlight reel when I was getting sacked, they could call a personal foul on every snap. These guys have done a lot better in trying to narrow their target area, and it’s hard. But the hit on Adams was clearly beyond OK. Someone who had a good view in HD, sitting in an office somewhere could have buzzed down and said, “Hey, we need to take a look at this.”
Something similar to the college rule for hitting a defenseless player makes a lot of sense – just don’t take it too far. In college, you see ejections far too often that shouldn’t happen.
But I know the NFL would do a much better job at understanding the intent of the strike. The NFL with its resources could have guys, maybe ex-players, who are in there watching who could say, “Yeah, he definitely did that on purpose. There was intent there. This wasn’t a missed target, he was going in there to hurt somebody.”
That’s what I would hope would happen.
I’ve watched a lot of football games, watch them all on Sundays, and I don’t think that I’ve seen another hit this season that I would put in the same category as Trevathan’s. There would be very few instances that rule would come into play. But I think it would make the game much safer and much cleaner.
Question of the week
From Jake Vartanian: Who was your first teammate to introduce themselves to you in Houston, and what was that conversation like?
I got there early before the draft even started so I worked out with the trainers and there weren’t any players around at all – they had barely put their team together. But Tony Boselli was the first player I met and Tony and I started hanging out. We’d go to dinner together. I went over to his house, brought my family over and we were excited to start what we thought would be a cool football team, a team that could maybe do some things. In my opinion, with Tony we had a Hall of Fame left tackle out there, we just had to make sure his shoulder was right. When I first met him, he was very optimistic, and little did I know that he would only get one practice on the field and that was the only time I’d ever see him in a Texans uniform.
But Tony was the first guy I ever met and he was super cool to me and my family, made us feel like we were best friends. He really wanted to go out there and play with us, but he could never even get his shoulder to function, so it was a bummer. That kind of started the whole cycle of trying to find a left tackle, but that’s all history.
David Carr is a former Fresno State quarterback, NFL No. 1 draft pick and Super Bowl champion. Now he’s an analyst for the NFL Network and writing a weekly column in collaboration with The Bee’s Robert Kuwada. The column is sponsored by Valley Children’s Hospital.
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