By now, we've all seen the news that Jets offensive lineman Matt Slauson was fined $10,000 for "an illegal peel-back block" on Brian Cushing in the Jets most recent game against the Houston Texans on Monday night. PFT has the dirty on the rule as one in which the player initiating the block goes into his opponent's back or side. The thing is, there's an exception allowed based on where the shoulder of the blocker connects with the player and Slauson might have been well within his rights.
Here's the play in question.
It's a shame that the Texans are losing such a key piece of their defense, any injury is unfortunate, but it's part of the game as we Jets fans know all too well this season. As far as the ruling if anything it's got to be a peel-back block since it can't be considered a cut-block as Cushing wasn't engaged with another blocker. It's an interesting citing of the rules and this is the unfortunate side of zone blocking ... something the Texans themselves incorporate since Kubiak is a Shanahan disciple.
When asked about the matter before the fine came down, Slauson told reporters that he thought it was clean. "I've heard [from the team] that it was a clean block, that's all I know," Slauson said to ESPN NY. "If the league wants to tell me differently ... I hope I don't get fined. If I happen to get something, I'll deal with it then."
Since news about his fine was announced, Slauson will appeal the fine.
Slauson is right to appeal, but it's a kangaroo court. The League has determined that there is a fine and there is no way they are going to go back on it. The NFL takes injuries and penalties seriously, but let's be perfectly clear about the League's approach on this. Would the league have done anything had poster boy Clay Matthews not called the league out on Twitter?
Player safety is important on both sides of the football, but that kind of a block happens multiple times a game for any unit that implements even concepts of a zone blocking scheme. It's unfortunate that Cushing will miss the rest of the season, but it also begs the question whether or not the league did it in a knee-jerk fashion because Matthews made them look bad.