Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb left Sunday’s game in the first half after taking a shot to the knee from Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam. Cobb had to reach up to secure the pass, and Elam simply followed the NFL protocol by hitting the receiver low and not aiming for the head. Aaron Rodgers still didn’t appreciate it.
After the play, Rodgers went up to Elam and confronted him on the field. When asked about the exchange after the game, Rodgers told reporters he felt that Elam could have done a better job of hitting Cobb in the “target area.”
“I just felt like he had enough time to make a hit in the legal hitting zone,” Rodgers said. “The other safety came over and made a very knowledgable point, which I appreciated, and we had some banter back and forth about some of the issues defensive players have to deal with with the target area. I totally understand that and get that. I just felt like from my vantage point he had plenty of time to not take out a guy’s legs in that situation.”
Defenders have to tread a fine line. With the exception of a ball carrier, there is basically no such thing as a legal head shot anymore. A defensive back has a much better chance of avoiding a penalty if he hits an opponent below the waist, which is exactly what Elam did. Now that such an emphasis has been placed on not hitting above the shoulders, players are worried about their knees.
Earlier this year, Tony Gonzalez said he would rather be hit in the head than the knee because serious knee injuries are more likely to end careers. On the flip side, Steelers safety Ryan Clark said he is disgusted that the NFL is looking into the possibility of banning low hits in addition to high hits.
In all likelihood, Rodgers simply got emotional because one of his best weapons was taken out. Elam’s hit was perfectly legal. If he went for the head and Cobb suffered a concussion, there would have been far more outrage. And for what it’s worth, there is reason to believe Cobb avoided a major knee injury.
GIF via Bleacher Report