NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino agrees with Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs: there was nothing illegal about Suggs' low hit on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford in the first quarter of Saturday night's preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field.
"It's not a foul," Blandino said during an interview on the NFL Network.
Blandino said that Suggs should not have been called for a roughing-the-passer penalty when he tackled Bradford on the quarterback's read-option handoff to running back Darren Sproles. Suggs made that case to referee Jerome Boger after the play.
"The referee felt it was late," Blandino said. "We clarified this really in 2012 with the proliferation of these read-option schemes. Basically, because the quarterback has an option, he's considered a runner until he either clearly doesn't have the football or he re-establishes himself as a passer. It's not a foul by rule.
"It's something that we'll make sure we cover with our game officials because the defensive end coming off the edge, he doesn't know if the quarterback is going to keep it, he doesn't know if he is going to take off and run or drop back. We treat the quarterback in that instance as a runner until he clearly re-establishes as a passer or he clearly doesn't have the football. The referee felt it was late. We'll clarify that and make sure everybody is on the same page."
Following the game, Suggs defended his hit, saying that those who are criticizing it need to "learn the rules."
"If you want to run the read option with your starting quarterback that's had two knee surgeries, that's on you," Suggs said. "That's not my responsibility to update you on the rule. I could've hit him harder on that. I didn't. I eased up. I asked Jerome, the referee, does he know the rules in preseason? He's like, 'yeah, I know.' I was like, 'All right, I'm just making sure.' He's all right and he said he's going to look at it. Like I said, it's the preseason."
The Eagles were more angry about the location of the hit, right around the knees of a quarterback who has had two knee surgeries in the past couple of years. Philadelphia offensive tackle Jason Peters called Suggs a dirty player and accused the Ravens' all-time sack leader of planning the hit.