The NFL has received scathing criticism for their rash of rough the passer penalties thus far. Aaron Donald admits it has made sacking quarterbacks much more difficult.
Pass-rushers have had a difficult time getting accustomed to the new rule. Donald said during an appearance on the Adam Schefter podcast that he has to be more careful in his approach:
“It’s tough. I would be lying to you if I said it wasn’t. You gotta definitely be careful being a defensive player getting those sacks. You fall on top of a quarterback now and you get a flag and it could hurt your team,” Donald said. “You just gotta try to, I guess, make plays. It’s hard when you’re going 100 miles per hour trying to roll sideways instead of falling on top of the quarterback. I feel like they’re trying to slow us down but we just gotta try to find a way to keep going.”
Needless to say, there is certainly plenty of truth to Donald’s comments. Players and fans alike have not been shy about expressing their disdain for the new rule. Even quarterbacks have criticized it for its unrealistic criteria.
There have already been a few notable games this year that were decided on a questionable roughing call. Not only has the rule resulted in games being unfairly decided, but it has also opened the gate to more severe injuries.
The NFL suffered their first casualty of the new rule when William Hayes suffered a torn ACL while trying to avoid landing on Derek Carr. Hayes’ injury has raised further speculation regarding the league’s alleged lack of interest in protecting defensive players.
Donald has already experienced his first brush with the rule when he was penalized for sacking Carr too low in the season opener. Fortunately, he has managed to find a way to get his sacks without a flag after a stellar outing versus the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4. Regardless, it will still be interesting to see if NFL officials continue to throw the flags as willingly as they have.