The Green Bay Packers are intent on not allowing San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to run roughshod over them again – once was enough and Packers all-world OLB Clay Matthews had said so. Here’s what he said in a recent interview:
“It looks as if as long as that quarterback is carrying out that fake, he loses his right as a pocket passer and rules that govern that.We’ll see the hits that are legal and what’s not legal, but we think our game plan fits within the scheme of the officials and what we want to do.”
Forty-Niners Head Coach Jim Harbaugh took exception to Matthews’ comment and asked the league yesterday to clarify the rule about when a pocket quarterback can be hit. That’s understandable.
He’s simply protecting his quarterback – you can’t blame him for that.
However, Matthews has made it clear that the Packers defensive plan is to contain Kaepernick and not let him run amok like he did in the playoff game last year. If he’s going to beat them, he’s going to have to do it within the confines of the pocket.
If he plans to make his living in the read-option, Matthews is simply making it known that he’s going to be a target and the quarterback is going to get hit. My hope is that first of all, the Packers defensive plan plays within the rules – but I have no doubt it will. Secondly, my hope is that the officiating also calls the game fairly.
When Kaepernick runs the read-option and pulls the ball out of the running back’s belly and looks to run himself, then let them play football. Ticky-tack calls, especially when it comes to the quarterback, are going to be made. But with this new offensive scheme, the officials also have to use their judgment in providing for a level playing field.
Let them play and let them hit. The fans will thank you for it. I hope the league clarifies the rule fairly – a way that allows the Packers to defend and for the 49ers to give it their best shot. Interesting is how I describe this added new twist to the Packers vs. 49ers rivalry.
Without a doubt, this should be one of the more intriguing matchups between the two teams in a long time. Is it time to kick it off yet?