TAMPA — Tom Brady says the NFL is doing a “disservice to the sport” by making defensive players responsible for protecting their counterparts on offense.
The Bucs quarterback may seem like an unlikely source to advocate for fewer penalties on the other side of the ball. But he believes the quality of play has been lowered because the fundamentals are not being emphasized.
“If you’re a quarterback, you’ve got to protect yourself and your players,” Brady said during a players chat on the Bucs website. “It shouldn’t be the responsibility of your opponent to protect you. It creates really bad habits. You feel like I can basically do anything. I can run and not slide. I can throw my receiver into coverage and not have any repercussion for it.
“What they’re going to do is, they’re going to blame the defensive player for making a good, solid hit and now the defensive player is going to say, ‘I can’t do that,’ and I think it’s an offensive mistake. So in the end, it’s really a disservice to the sport. Because the sport isn’t being played at a high level that I believe it once was. It actually deteriorates, because you’re not teaching the players the reasons for the fundamentals of what the sport should be.”
Brady said he believes it’s the quarterback’s responsibility to throw receivers out of harm’s way, but that is no longer the case because the rules restrict defensive players.
“A quarterback should only throw the ball to certain places, because your receiver is in danger of getting hit,” Brady said. “For example, when I used to play against Ray Lewis, I wouldn’t throw the ball to the middle of the field because he would . . . hit them and knock them out of the game. And now, every hard hit is a penalty on the defense. So I feel like they penalize defensive players for offensive mistakes.”
Brady referenced a recent hit by Bills linebacker Andre Smith on Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields.
“The quarterback messes up, doesn’t see the blitzer, or the line screws up,” Brady said. “I don’t know what happened, the quarterback or the lineman on offense. The defensive player comes in and hits him hard and they throw a flag on the defense.”
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