In yesterday's loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Giants' rookie RB Saquon Barkley made an amazing athletic leap from about the four-yard line to the endzone to score a touchdown. You'll see it on highlight reels all week, and deservedly so. But while impressive, the play also revealed a pretty glaring hypocrisy in the NFL's rulebook.
While still in midair, Barkley loses control of the football. Cowboys LB Joe Thomas goes up to stop Saquon, like a center protecting the rim in basketball, and hits the RB's arm as he's diving forward. The ball is dislodged before Barkley hits the ground.
However, because the ball broke the plane of the goal line before Barkley lost control, the play is ruled as a touchdown.
That's fine; that's the rule. And I'm sure that Ezekiel Elliott has benefited from that rule at some point in his career, and likely will again.
But now take that rule and compare it to what the NFL considers as "completing the catch" on a receiving play. Why is it so complicated and exacting for a catch to be a catch, but then Barkley's play is so easily called as a touchdown?
The issue is the concept of having possession of the football. It's a lot easier to say that running back, who got the ball handed to him and then dives toward the endzone, had clear possession of the ball.
But let's say the quarterback lobs the ball up in the endzone and a receiver catches it in midair. He has the ball securely in his hands and is hovering above the endzone. He's a good five yards past the goal line.
That receiver still has to land, while controlling the ball, to be awarded the catch and touchdown. If a defender comes up and knocks the ball out of his hands before that, it's ruled incomplete.
Even if the receiver lands briefly, but a defender comes through and immediately dislodges the ball in some way, it's not a catch.
See the disparity?
Of course, I'm bringing this conversation back to Dez Bryant and the 2014 playoffs. What good Cowboys fan wouldn't?
Dez catches the ball, takes two steps, dives forward, and maintains possession all the way to the ground. The ball only becomes dislodged upon hitting the turf.
Had he been a running back diving forward on a carry, it's no problem. The ground can't cause a fumble.
But according to the NFL rules, it CAN cause an incompletion.
Now let's go back to Barkley's play; his feet weren't even on the ground when the ball crosses the goal line. He loses control of the ball while still in midair.
And again, rules are rules. The officials made the right call yesterday on Saquon's touchdown. I'm not disputing that one bit.
But my point here is that the NFL expects a whole heck of a lot from these receivers, but gives tremendous leeway to running backs in similar situations. "Possession" is a much higher standard for one type of play than another.
An even better example is this play from last season:
Patriots-Steelers 2017 NFL Week 15 12-17-2017 Ben Roesthlisberger pass to Jesse James incomplete after touchdown is overturned by Referee Tony Corrente. Good call, Ref.
Jesse James is on the ground, ball in his hands, and breaks the plane. The football doesn't move until it hits the ground, and because he's a receiver that's an incompletion.
Simply put, it isn't fair.
If Barkley can get a touchdown the way he did, then James certainly deserved one on that play. Dez deserved his catch. So did Megatron. So have a lot of other receivers.
It just puts on display what the NFL can't seem to figure out; consistency in legislation. Whether it's plays on the field or in their enforcement of their domestic violence policy, the league's logic rarely aligns.
I know this seems like small potatoes given that Barkley's touchdown ultimately didn't cost Dallas the game. Even if it had, the Cowboys wouldn't have been hurt by the loss in any way.
But it's still stuck in my craw since yesterday, and reminded me of Dez's catch and other infuriating moments in recent years. Even these calls now on defensive players who can't seem to hit a QB cleanly, no matter how hard they try.
I just wish football still made sense.
Cowboys en Español: La Afortunada Llegada de Randall Cobb
Tras la partida del veterano Cole Beasley, los Dallas Cowboys tenían un hueco preocupante en la posición de receptor abierto. Incluso después de obtener a Amari Cooper la temporada pasada y el tener a un jugador joven y talentoso en Michael Gallup, el equipo tenía que hacer algo para reemplazar a Beasley como el receptor de slot en la ofensiva. Beasley fue increíble en su trabajo durante su carrera en Dallas, pero la administración nunca estuvo cerca de igualar las ofertas que recibió de los Buffalo Bills. Afortunadamente, ya encontraron el hombre para el trabajo.
A pesar de estar muy callados en la primera semana de agencia libre, los Cowboys empiezan a verse involucrados con varios jugadores disponibles. Su contratación más importante hasta el momento es sin duda la del ex WR de los Green Bay Packers, Randall Cobb.
Hace unos años, Cobb atrapó el balón que terminó el partido de playoffs entre los Packers y los Cowboys minutos después de que la recepción de Dez Bryant fuera revocada. En 2019, vestirá la estrella.
Si bien es difícil argumentar que en este momento Cobb es mejor jugador que Cole Beasley, el contrato que la administración le dio al nuevo integrante del equipo es muy razonable. El ex-Packer jugará bajo un contrato por un año y cinco millones de dólares. Lo que preocupa a muchos sobre Cobb es su salud, ya que en 2018 sólo jugó nueve partidos. Sin embargo, su carrera no ha estado plagada de lesiones como muchos lo asumen.
Cobb será un titular en esta ofensiva que utilizará su habilidad para ganar en rutas rápidas. Sus manos son muy confiables y le dará a Dak Prescott otra arma en el juego aéreo. Simple y sencillamente una muy buena contratación de los Dallas Cowboys.
¿Robert Quinn, Por Favor?
Esta semana se reportó que el defensive end Robert Quinn estaba de visita en The Star, las instalaciones de los Dallas Cowboys. El DE no es un agente libre, siendo que aún está bajo contrato con los Miami Dolphins. Sin embargo, ambos equipos están en discusiones para llevar a cabo un trade por el caza cabezas de 28 años.
Después de que Randy Gregory volviera a recibir una suspensión, DE apareció entra las necesidades más urgentes del equipo y si no logran atender dicha necesidad previo al NFL Draft, tendrán que utilizar uno de sus primeros picks para conseguir un jugador que juegue opuesto a DeMarcus Lawrence.
Quinn, quien había jugado la mayoría de su carrera con los Rams, aún es joven y productivo. En las últimas dos temporadas ha logrado conseguir 15 sacks. De conseguirlo, los Cowboys tendrían que trabajar en una extensión para él.
Con un año en su contrato actual, no debe de ser muy caro conseguir un trade por él. Me atrevería a decir que la compensación que los Dolphins buscan por Quinn debe de estar en el rango de una selección cuarta y quinta ronda.
Parece un movimiento probable, pero no es difícil imaginar a otro equipo estando interesado en el jugador. Por lo pronto, sabemos que Quinn disfrutó su tiempo con Rod Marinelli y con el equipo de los Cowboys esta semana. Habrá que esperar para saber su destino.
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
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