Clay Matthews, perpetual victim of inept officiating, says league is getting soft

-- There's no reason why players like Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews should construct new, unimpaired routes to doing their respective jobs.

But the NFL and its officials continued to crack down on players who do as much as breathe in a quarterback's general direction.

Late in the third quarter against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, Matthews shot out of a cannon for Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, sacking him and briefly landing on top of him as the two hit the slick grass of FedEx Field.

Matthews turned his head to avoid helmet-to-helmet contact, led in with his shoulder and immediately lifted himself off of Smith in an effort to help soften the impact of the collision with the ground. Still, Matthews was issued his third roughing the passer call in three weeks.

"Well obviously, I don’t agree with it again," Matthews said after the 31-17 loss, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. "Whereas last week I thought I did hit the quarterback correctly, head was to the side again, wrapped him up. And as soon as I hit the ground you see me put my hands out.

"Obviously when you’re tackling a guy from the front, you’re going to land on him. I understand the spirit of the rule; I said that in weeks prior. But when you have a hit like that, that's a football play."

Landing with your body weight on top of the quarterback was one of the points of emphasis the NFL introduced over the offseason as a result of the hit last season from Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr that ultimately ended Aaron Rodgers' season.

In Matthews' situation, it's the second week in a row where he's been flagged with a questionable, game-changing tackle on the quarterback. In week one, his late hit on Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky certainly was hard to dispute. However, there was almost no possible way for him to properly do his job without being penalized, whether it's Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins last week or Smith this week.

Matthews said he approached Smith after the game to ask what else he could've done, to which the 2005 first overall pick said that Matthews may need to start going for the ball instead.

"Unfortunately this league's going in a direction that I think a lot of people don’t like," Matthews said. "I think they’re getting soft. The only thing hard about this league is the fines they levy down on guys like me who play the game hard. I’m just going to keep playing hard."

The league's definition of roughing the passer is ever evolving and evidently changing on a week-to-week basis to the point where the officials on the field can't even call it consistently.

Earlier in the game, Redskins rookie nose tackle Da'Ron Payne sacked Rodgers and suplexed him to the ground, landing on top of him with his body weight in similar fashion. The only difference was the field wasn't littered with a yellow flag immediately following the hit.

"Something’s gotta change because the league’s not. These are big plays. Disappointed. I tried to change from last week and still get the flag. So, it is unfortunate."

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (52)

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 23, 2018 at 06:37 pm

How is Daron Payne's hit OK and Matthews isn't? what an awful product the NFL has festered.

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CHEESEHEADDALLAS's picture

September 23, 2018 at 06:57 pm

This call was total bullshit I do not understand Rodgers gets slammed in the ground no flag o I know pay off

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The TKstinator's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:06 pm

I was thinking the exact same thing.

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jyros's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:39 pm

Obvious double standards. If Payne isn’t fined for the body slam of AR
the NFL will look even more ridiculous.
I stopped watching the NBA when they let referees decide or turn the games.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 23, 2018 at 08:24 pm

I watched no non-GB games, and I may not watch the Packers depending on how pissed I am at the officiating and how busy I am on any given Sunday. And that will be the way it is until the NFL fixes its ref problem.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 23, 2018 at 08:31 pm

Me too. I might watch on replay if I find out it's worth it, but I am planning to just watch baseball and college football until the NFL refs get this shit straight.

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TarynsEyes's picture

September 23, 2018 at 09:22 pm

I call BS on you and everyone else here who claims they won't watch anymore. What will you do...walk away crying with your ball under your arms.
Every week the same crying bag full of tears and then if someone criticizes them, you all scream in harmony that person isn't a fan.
I may be hard with my critique of the Packers and be sour on them more often than not, but I NEVER CRY I won't watch no more...boo-hoo....pathetic....A Real Fan is always there no matter what....good or bad.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 23, 2018 at 10:39 pm

Your an idiot.

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badaxed's picture

September 23, 2018 at 10:46 pm

X2

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Rak47's picture

September 24, 2018 at 12:47 am

Taryn is just a truly troll desperate for any attention because their family and no one in the real world will give them any. Maybe if everyone ignores it, it will just go away. Her desperate cry for attention is most annoying.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 24, 2018 at 02:26 am

Long time ago I posted - DO NOT FEED TROLL!

Taryn is true troll, the best example of it!

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Charvid's picture

September 23, 2018 at 11:26 pm

Seriously, you really are an idiot. I cancelled my NFL Gamepass subscription and I will not buy anymore NFL gear. I will do nothing to financially support this travesty of an organization. The NCAA may not be much better, but I will continue to enjoy college football and find domething more productive to do with my Sundays.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

September 23, 2018 at 11:36 pm

Fake football!! Not real anymore. Outcomes are not honest or genuine. These calls almost resemble the fake WWF. Almost getting to the unwatchable point. The NFL better watch it.

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Coldworld's picture

September 24, 2018 at 05:46 am

None of us want to skip football. I love the game, but I don’t love the current direction. It will be hard to let go. I am not sure I want to really. Yet I have stopped watching neutral games over the last year or so and now I no longer miss the sense of the league/division that comes with that. The process of disengagement is gradual for me. I never expected to get to the point where I would contemplate just not following the pack live. Not ready to jump yet, but the NFL is now only relevant because of the Packers.

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4thand10's picture

September 24, 2018 at 11:01 am

Fans should just boo and haggle Goodell and the officials, might change faster.

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sardog's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:33 pm

What is missing from these conversations of tackling the QB rule is one word that has been left out "unnecessarily " that is part of the rule. If you read the whole rule the refs are only enforcing the second part without the first part "unnecessarily". That is due to the director of officiating Alberto Riveron. He wants to soften the game so it appeals to the soccer crowd - which most of us know are wooses.
BTW not only does Blandino and the Fox Studio team agree with Clay last week and today but Troy Aikman during the Seahawks Cowboys game went ballistic on a similar call. And of all people, Tony Dungy just stated the rule and the refs are unrealistic. This all goes back to Alberto Riveron's instructions to the refs and his kiss azz attitude which got Blandino pushed out.

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jyros's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:43 pm

Perhaps the league should hang flags off of the hips of the quarterbacks
for the defender to strip off instead of making any contact.

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Lphill's picture

September 23, 2018 at 06:57 pm

When a running back or receiver are tackled they are usually moving as well as the defender so there is more leg tackles or grabs to pull the player down but a QB in the pocket is usually stationary and the defender is charging in , so explain to us how the defender is not going to land on the QB ?

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EdsLaces's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:10 pm

Off topic . 4th and 2 ...we are only averaging 7 yards a run with Jones ...better pass lol.

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Coldworld's picture

September 24, 2018 at 05:48 am

Should have been caught. Percentage wise not sure there was much difference.

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zoellner25's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:14 pm

Boycott the ex-NFL as much as you can. Don’t buy gear. Don’t watch any other games. Hurt their ratings and the bottom line or they’ll never change

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Lare's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:17 pm

The bottom line here is that the NFL has decided they're going to determine the outcomes of games. They are purposely penalizing certain players while ignoring more obviously worse plays by others.

Everyone has to decide for themselves how long they want to continue to watch this farce. The NFL is starting to make All Star Wrestling look more legitimate.

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NickPerry's picture

September 24, 2018 at 05:02 am

While I agree with this can they really go backwards. Can they really make these ridiculous rules and calls and then go back on them?

The WWE is in the NFL to stay.

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Fire_Gute's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:17 pm

As upset as I was with last years bullshit, both the team and the other garbage that completely engulfed ever fiber or the NFL, I still watched a lot of football. A lot less, and saved myself a few hundred dollars not going to games, but still watched a bunch. This might push me away further. Its getting hard to cheer for big plays when the first thing I do is look for flags every time. This defense has been hard enough to root for in recent years. Now i dont dare get excited on the rare occasion that the d does make a play or a stop. This is the first time in many years of playing and watching football that i feel like i dont understand the rules of the game, and the first time ive ever left like football is unfair or worse.

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TheBigCheeze's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:34 pm

....apparently, the refs don't understand the rules, either.....

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Rossonero's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:52 pm

Well put. I feel the same way. It's the first time ever that I feel like I'm losing interest because of so many flags and confusing rules.

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Bure9620's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:36 pm

Well maybe having zero pass rush is a blessing in disguise as when we get there its a RTP penalty anyway!! The Packers had 1 sack today and that was wiped by a penalty

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:44 pm

Clay needs to watch Perry more. He keeps himself from roughing the passer by staying as far away from the QB as is possible while still picking up a paycheck.

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Rossonero's picture

September 23, 2018 at 07:53 pm

Haha

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Bure9620's picture

September 23, 2018 at 09:26 pm

Funny

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PAPackerbacker's picture

September 23, 2018 at 10:05 pm

Now that made me chuckle.

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badaxed's picture

September 23, 2018 at 10:51 pm

Lollipop

Perry is overrated and overpaid.

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Rossonero's picture

September 23, 2018 at 08:19 pm

Per ESPN Stats and information:

Roughing the passer penalties called on Clay Matthews in his career:

2009-17: 4
2018: 3

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TarynsEyes's picture

September 23, 2018 at 09:26 pm

It's called rules change and everyone knew they were and are still coming until little flags are taped to there asses to pull on.

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NickPerry's picture

September 24, 2018 at 05:08 am

Your a Fu***** moron if you really believe or feel those last 2 were roughing the passer then you have even less of a clue than I thought. People who know me know I don't like the whole name calling thing but Jezzz Taryn common! Rule changes are one thing, rule changes and BAD INCONSISTENT calls are quite another.

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TarynsEyes's picture

September 24, 2018 at 06:24 pm

You must be a f****** moron because I have said neither deserved to be flagged along with the Kendricks on Rodgers sack. I only said the rules have been changed whether right or wrong. But this bs about no coaches,players,refs not understanding the rule is ridiculous.
HC's should have been changing the tackling of a QB on the side of caution and don't say it can't be done. They are pros and are paid perform to the rules adjudicated. Matthews even admitted he placed his hand down to offset his weight. He still got a flag,wrongly, but it showed by his own words, re-learning can be done. Do it and shut up or get some people to write layman style rules and leave the fu*** lawyers lingo out of it.
But above all... play some damn pro football and not look like HS nerds.

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SpudRapids's picture

September 24, 2018 at 09:07 am

Taryn come one... the NFL hasn't done anything to help explain how to sack the quarterback. Simply telling someone something is wrong and not demonstrating our showing the proper way to do something is not going to enact change.

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TarynsEyes's picture

September 24, 2018 at 06:26 pm

Read my reply to NP just above....fu*** moron jump to an assumption...read the other articles here in regard to my thoughts on the flags.

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mrtundra's picture

September 24, 2018 at 10:13 am

Maybe Clay should show the refs what roughing the passer really looks like. He's going to draw a flag, anyway.

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Cwilly's picture

September 23, 2018 at 08:24 pm

The league needs to figure out what a tackle is period. I’m not boycotting because I love watching Green Bay play. If clay is gonna be picked on just hit the qb or take the ball. But this game was lost on the crucial drops that would have kept key drives going. House and Brice have no right playing in the nfl. Brice our the blame on his coach today when he has not a clue where the ball was on the long touchdown. Packers need help at safety now and a pass rusher that doesn’t get hurt every game (aka nick perry). Highest paid player to do nothing since he got a contract. Teds drafts and lack of free agency has drained the talent in Green Bay and made them average.

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JGPACK's picture

September 23, 2018 at 09:20 pm

I may have missed something but Clay's first sack looked nearly identical to the tackle that got flagged against the Vikes. Even clay himself does not get consistent treatment

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Chuck Farley's picture

September 23, 2018 at 09:22 pm

First he took on the refs. They ate unionized and will back each other so it's him against them and they will stick together on this.
He can't win

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PAPackerbacker's picture

September 23, 2018 at 10:00 pm

Maybe us fans should quit watching football games, a boycott if you will, until the damn NFL wises up and changes the rules on roughing the passer. I know I'm right on the edge now of just turning the damn TV off and jumping on my bike and going for a nice long ride on Sunday afternoons. Soon it will be, to hell with the NFL, I saw roughing the passer calls all over the league that should never have been called. Even Troy Aikman is voicing his opinions on air about the stupid roughing calls that should not be called. Isn't that ironic, a former quarterback turned broadcaster getting disgusted with the idiotic roughing the passer calls that are clearly destroying the integrity of the sport and the fan base that supports it.

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stockholder's picture

September 23, 2018 at 10:36 pm

Out of commission! He tried to do it fair. Now it should be down and dirty. Devil be damned. Make it hurt! I Support CMIII. Time to pour gas on the fire. Ignore the whistle. Ignore the flag. Play for Blood!

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croatpackfan's picture

September 24, 2018 at 02:30 am

There was another sack on Aaron Rodgers where this "rule" should be applied. " defenders laid on Aaron with full body weight, but referee did not see clearly...

Is there any fines to referees for wrong calls? If I'm in Matthews place I will sue them for wrong calls and losing on fines and paychecks, also for decreasing his value in future contract negotiations...

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juenzo's picture

September 24, 2018 at 08:25 am

Spinning the QB to the ground is more dangerous than landing on top of him after a tackle. The NFL needs to figure it out soon!

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Bearmeat's picture

September 24, 2018 at 09:25 am

Dear CHTV Admins:

Please do us all a favor. No one wants to deal with Taryn anymore. CHTV is less because of her - just like Cow and Trumps before her. She adds nothing to the discussion other than emotional trolling.

Please do us all a favor and give her the boot.

Hugs,
Bearmeat.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

September 24, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Two of the three roughing calls on Mathews were not warranted in my opinion, but in all three cases, the quarterback had already thrown the pass.

Mathews is not getting to the quarterback in time like top tier pass rushers while he is getting paid like he is an elite one.

All we have gotten for the big pay check is 15 yard penalties, one of which cost us a victory; another which almost cost us a victory; and a third which may have cost us a victory.

Father time has robbed our highest paid pass rusher of his God given talent.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

September 24, 2018 at 01:50 pm

What are you talking about? Smith had the ball and it was a total sack! Sure not a hit after he released.

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Oppy's picture

September 24, 2018 at 09:00 pm

The Cousins shot, Kirk most definitely had the ball in his hand when Clay initiated the hit, yes, he got rid of the ball before hitting the dirt, but it was in his hands as clay hit him.

Smith was sacked with the ball in his hands as he hit the turf.

What account of the games are you going off of?

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Jamie Freier's picture

September 24, 2018 at 05:22 pm

He’s right, you know. NFL is soft as baby poop.

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Cartwright's picture

September 24, 2018 at 08:54 pm

This is two times now, if we get another one it's strike three, then watch the avalanche as people get fed up and walk away. Who wants to go through a ringer all the time, that just ain't no fun.

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