Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports

Bill Belichick hasn't changed anything because of NFL's roughing the passer emphasis

Ryan Hannable
October 09, 2018 - 11:33 am

Across the league over the first five weeks of the season, many have expressed a displeasure with the way roughing the passer has been called. This was a point of emphasis for referees this year and it has resulted in a number of questionable calls where it has seemed no flag for roughing the passer should have been thrown. 

On a conference call Tuesday, Bill Belichick was asked about the changes.

“I don’t really know what you’re talking about,” he said. “There’s not any new rules that I’m aware of.” 

Belichick added there are no new rules, and he hasn't changed anything with the way he teaches things because of the added emphasis on roughing the passer.

"They’re not new rules," he said. "I mean, you’re not allowed to lead with your head, you’re not allowed to body slam the quarterback, you’re not allowed to hit him below the knees, you’re not allowed to hit him above the shoulders. And, if he’s out of the pocket, then some of those rules change, and if he’s in the pocket, you’re allowed to horse collar him. I mean, the rules are the rules. So, I mean, I hope you’re not implying that we’ve been coaching something that was illegal and now we’re changing the way we’re coaching it, because that’s simply not the case.

"So, I’m not really sure what new rule it is you’re talking about here. We’ve coached the rules as they’ve been written and as we’ve received them. So, whatever the emphasis is the emphasis is, but that doesn’t change the fundamental of the rule. I’ve never taught anybody to hit a quarterback above the shoulders or hit him below the knees or body slam him or lead with our helmet and spear him – like we’ve never taught that. So, I’m not really sure what you’re referring to."

New England is one of eight teams that have yet to be called for a roughing the passer penalty.

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