|NFL VP of officiating: Wes Welker hit on Aqib Talib ‘a legal hit’||01.22.14 at 11:04 pm ET|
NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino appeared on the NFL Network on Wednesday night and discussed Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker‘s hit on Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib in the AFC title game (click here for video of the appearance).
On if Welker’s hit on Talib was legal:
“It was a legal hit … Here’s Welker in the slot. The first potential foul would be for offensive pass interference; a receiver can’t block downfield before the ball is touched, so the timing is important. You’ll see Welker run the route and he does appear to angle back towards Talib and come into his path creating that contact. Now we have to look to see when was the ball touched in relation to the contact; you’ll see here the contact occurs, the ball is touched almost simultaneously. We don’t have a foul for pass interference. The other thing, is it unnecessary roughness? Under the current rules it isn’t. It’s not late, Talib wasn’t out of the play. Unfortunately there was an injury so just like in other situations when an injury does occur, the competition committee will take a look at this and determine if there needs to be a change. But under the current rules, this is a legal play.”
On if he has spoken with Patriots coach Bill Belichick regarding the play:
“Yeah, there was communication with Bill. We talked about the situation and the play, and obviously there is a difference of opinion there and something that we’ll continue to look at during the offseason.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
Speaking with WEEI’s Salk & Holley on Wednesday afternoon, the coach said that Talib — who went down after colliding with Denver receiver Wes Welker in the first half — will not have to go under the knife. For audio of the interview, visit the Salk & Holley audio on demand page.
“I don’t think we’re talking about an injury that would be of that kind of significance,” Belichick said.
Meanwhile, NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino told NFL Network Wednesday afternoon that there was no penalty called on Welker because, “under the current rules, this is a legal play.” On Monday, Belichick was highly critical of what happened in the contest, saying Welker’s maneuver was “one of the worst plays I’ve ever seen.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
Speaking on the Salk & Holley Show (via phone from the Senior Bowl in Alabama), Patriots coach Bill Belichick chose not to address anything related to the controversial pick play by Denver receiver Wes Welker on Aqib Talib during the Pats‘ AFC championship game loss Sunday. To hear the interview, visit the Salk & Holley audio on demand page.
“We’re done with that,” he said. “Again, I congratulate Denver. I don’t want to take anything away from them. … I don’t have anything else to say about that.”
Belichick said to the best of his knowledge, Talib wouldn’t need surgery for the injury sustained to his knee on the Welker play.
Belichick did start the interview by once again relaying a frustration regarding his coaching performance in the loss, singling out the decision to go for it on fourth-and-3 instead of attempting a 46-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
“I don’t know if that was the right decision,” he said.
Check back for more from the Belichick interview.
|Donte’ Stallworth on D&C: ‘Bill [Belichick] was wrong to call out [Wes] Welker’||01.21.14 at 9:43 am ET|
Former Patriots wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss the controversies coming out of Sunday’s AFC and NFC championship games. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“What Talib was trying to do, and I guarantee if you ask him this, this is what he’ll tell you, he’s been coached to — every coach in the NFL has coached their defensive players to do this — he was coached to not let separation between his defender and Wes Welker. So his job is to come underneath Wes. Wes’ job is to make him go over the top, and that is why they collided with each other.
“It’s not a sense of Wes running into him and trying to take him out.”
“Bill, he knows what the offensive job is to do and he knows what the defensive job is to do,” Stallworth said. “He’s coached both sides. He understands that Wes’ job is to make a team go over the top and Aqib’s job is to not allow that to happen.
“So I can’t get into the mind of Bill and say why he said that, but the reason why I tweeted that is because I know that Bill understands the position that Wes was in and the position that Aqib was in and it was one of those unfortunate plays that Aqib did not come back in the game. I guess it was a turning point in the game, but at no point would I say that it was deliberate, and I just thought Bill was wrong for that.”
|Knee injury will force Aqib Talib to skip Pro Bowl||01.20.14 at 9:43 pm ET|
Talib suffered a knee injury in the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Broncos, and as a result, won’t get to make the trip to Hawaii. It was the first Pro Bowl invite for the 27-year-old, who finished the season with four picks.
The play on which the injury occurred has become a flashpoint, as New England coach Bill Belichick argued that Denver wide receiver Wes Welker made one of the “worst plays” he had ever seen when he deliberately crashed into Talib.
“It was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open,” Belichick said. “I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play, whatever they decide. It’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen. That’s all I’ll say about that.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
Former NFL referee Jim Daopoulos spoke with Mut & Merloni on Monday to discuss the Wes Welker-Aqib Talib collision during Sunday’s AFC championship game. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“Clearly in my opinion the contact was prior to the ball being touched by Demaryius Thomas,” Daopoulos said. “It should have been a foul.”
“The way I looked at it was when Welker went across the middle he made contact with Talib prior to the ball going to the receiver.”
According to Daopoulos, Welker initiated contact with Talib and restricted him from playing defense.
“He just basically committed an illegal act where he picked Talib off and actually committed a foul by restricting Talib’s opportunity to play defense,” Daopoulos said.
“You have to have contact. You can pick all you want in the NFL. Picks are not illegal. What makes them illegal is the contact. If you pick the guy, it’s OK, but you cannot initiate the contact.”
Daopoulos, who spent 12 years as an NFL supervisor of officials after 11 years on the field. noted that the referees called the Patriots for a pick later in the half.
“Clearly, Welker’s contact gave Denver an advantage, and that’s what you’ve got to rule,” Daopoulos said. “The timing is so tremendous with these athletes, and it’s all timing out there.
“The only issue I have, we saw one earlier right at the end of the first half with New England, No. 47, with [Michael Hoomanawanui]. Same exact situation. All I think the people want, whether it’s coach [Bill] Belichick or players, coaches, anyone, is they want consistency out there. If you’re going to call it one minute against one team, then be consistent and call it against the other team and do it consistently throughout the game. You can’t call it against one team and let it go against the other.”
Despite what Belichick expressed on Monday, Daopoulos does not think it was a dirty hit, nor should it warrant a fine from the NFL.
“I can almost assure you that it wasn’t a deliberate attempt to injure Talib,” Daopoulos said. “I think Welker was just running his pattern, he was doing exactly what he was trying to do, he was trying to get that hesitancy in Talib’s coverage so if he hesitates that just instance that let’s his man gets open.”
“I’ve looked at the play many many times and there’s nothing that will draw a fine. All it was was an illegal pick and it should have been a foul for offensive pass interference.”
Daopolous concedes that the game was a hard one to call.
“You can stop-frame this game, this game was so difficult to officiate,” Daopoulos said. “As an official, what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to determine is someone getting an advantage by doing something illegal. There’s a lot of illegal activities that go in a football game, but as officials what you’re looking for is someone gaining an advantage by committing a foul.”
Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Monday, following Sunday’s loss to the Broncos in the AFC championship game. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“They’re a great offense,” Ninkovich said of the Broncos. “You’ve got to give them credit for the things that they’re able to do. They’ve got a lot of weapons that they’re able to spread around the field, run their pick routes, run the things they do best, get the ball out of their hands fast. They just played better and they deserve to move on. You’ve got to give them credit. You can’t take away anything from the fact that they were a better team on that day.”
Added Ninkovich: “We just didn’t do the things that we needed to do to win the game. I’m not one to make any excuses. Their team played better on that particular day.”
The Patriots weren’t able to mount any pressure on Peyton Manning, but Ninkovich said it has more to do with the quarterback’s quick release than anything else.
“When the ball comes out in a second, you could be unblocked and you’re still not going to get to him,” Ninkovich said. “There’s probably, I could count on my hand the number of times he threw the ball farther than 15 yards. Everything was to the flat, crossing routes, pick routes over the middle. So again, you’re not going to get pressure on him if he’s throwing the ball that quickly.”
“I really don’t want to get into whatever happened on that play. I think Bill already spoke about it and said how he saw it,” Ninkovich said. “Obviously, you don’t want to see a guy get hurt, especially a key defender.
“It’s a big football field out there. It’s a big enough field where you can avoid somebody. It was a pick play. Obviously it was man coverage and they ran a cross very tightly, and Welker happened to just hit Aqib in the knee, which wasn’t good for him finishing the game, and obviously he got hurt. Anytime that happens it’s never a good thing.”
Ninkovich was hesitant to go as far as Belichick, who called it “one of the worst plays I’ve seen.”
Said Ninkovich: “Bill talked about it, and I don’t really want to weigh [in] on that. It just wasn’t a good play.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- How Big of an Impact Will Easley Make for Pats?
- Patriots' Top Offseason Moves
- Assessing Every Patriots UDFA's Chances of Making the Roster
- Projecting Patriots' Roster Battles This Offseason
- Ranking Pats' Remaining Offseason Priorities
- Early Projections for Patriots' Final 53-Man Roster
- In-Depth Look at Each Pats Draft Pick