Sometimes an offensive lineman lunges toward a defender’s legs, appearing to fall, and the defender walks freely toward the quarterback. If the quarterback hasn’t thrown the ball yet, he’s probably getting hit or pressured. That’s called a cut block and that’s what it’s supposed to look like technically, but not with that ending.
There’s something about a cut block that makes it look like a give-away, but the idea is for the offensive lineman to deter the defender long enough and remove the O-lineman from the quarterback’s passing lane, making it easier to fire a quick pass. That last part is important: The quarterback needs to get rid of the ball quickly.
But when a cut block fails, In fact failure.
That’s what happened on Aaron Rodgers’ first pass attempt against the Buffalo Bills on Monday night. New York Jets right tackle Mekhi Becton lunged for the legs of defensive end Gregory Rousseau, it didn’t work, Rodgers was hit and threw the pass toward the sideline.
Two plays later, it happened again. Duane Brown lunged at defensive end Leonard Floyd’s legs, it didn’t work and Rodgers was sacked. When he got up, he was limping. He looked toward the band, shook his head, and returned to the ground. That was the moment Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon, ending his season, and any hope the Jets had of winning the Super Bowl likely evaporated.
Rodgers was supposed to be the Jets’ savior, the one who would end their 12-year playoff drought and give them a chance to win a championship for the first time since 1969. Instead, his season ended, just after it began. .
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In the days and weeks leading up to the season, Rodgers had expressed distaste for plays that involved offensive linemen blocking at the line of scrimmage, several team sources said, because it forces Rodgers to get rid of the ball quickly rather than improvise. . which he likes to do. The sources were granted anonymity because they are not authorized to publicly discuss team matters.
“There’s no chance to extend the play because the defensive lineman will get up quickly after the cut block,” said an NFL assistant coach from another team, who was granted anonymity to speak freely about the Jets’ play. “If you cut, you have to throw it quickly or get rid of the ball.”
And that’s why Rodgers doesn’t like those plays. Some Jets players and coaches wonder if the turf at MetLife Stadium had more to do with Rodgers’ injury than the play, although coach Robert Saleh said Tuesday that he didn’t believe the turf was a factor. Still, it’s worth noting that Rodgers also didn’t like getting cut blocks called when he played for the Green Bay Packers.
“I blocked Aaron for a decade,” Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari said Wednesday, speaking with The AthleticIt’s Matt Schneiderman. “I’ve gotten a lot of shit from him about cutting and pretty much the rule of thumb, at least working with him, is that you don’t cut unless Aaron says so in the huddle or at the line of scrimmage. And that’s not a criticism of Aaron. … When people defended themselves and said that’s what they’re supposed to do, I was like, Well, clearly there’s a lack of communication. Because if your coach tells you to do that, then he doesn’t know Aaron. And I know for a fact that Aaron has definitely probably mentioned it. So I say: you are not all on the same page. Again, that’s not why (the firing) happened. “There are many other factors.”
The Jets hired offensive line coach Keith Carter this offseason to replace John Benton, who departed along with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. Carter, who also holds the title of running game coordinator, has different preferences than Benton when it comes to coaching his offensive linemen and came to the Jets with a reputation for using cut blocks more often than most coaches. NFL offensive lineman.
Jets run a lot of “fast play” in their offense, team source said, so he’s integrated into offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s system. Those two plays, with Brown and Becton pass blocking, occurred early in the game, meaning they were in the Jets’ scheduled plays for Monday night. Scripted plays are usually the first 15 to 20 plays of a game that are predetermined and agreed upon. Rodgers had a say in which plays would be part of that scripted portion of the game, so he had to be aware that cut blocks were coming.
“I’m sure you understand the reasoning,” another Jets team source said.
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In the end, Rodgers likely held the ball too long in both cases. Saleh said after the game that on the play where Rodgers was injured, “the play extended beyond the moment of the play.”
Saleh said it wasn’t Brown’s fault.
“You fight until the end,” Saleh said, “but when it spreads like it did, it’s just a very, very unfortunate play.”
Brown, 38, however, was emotional in the locker room after the game, knowing that it was his block that led to Rodgers’ season-ending sack.
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“It was a cut block. He went to cut the defensive end, played well, came home and Aaron got hurt,” Brown said. “I have to execute the cut better.”
Internally, the Jets coaching staff defends the use of cut blocks, even if they didn’t work as planned on those first few plays. Jets coaches view the cut block as an effective technique to stop the edge pass rush. They only use it sparingly, on plays that are expected to include a quick pass, to help with offensive tackles.
Even if Rodgers’ injury didn’t occur because of the cut block, that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.
“I got all the respect and love for Aaron,” Brown said. “I just hate not seeing him out there. … We got the win, but (losing it on) the first trip of the debut season is not ideal.”
(Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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