New York Jets left guard Matt Slauson has been fined $10,000 for his low block on star linebacker Brian Cushing of the Houston Texans. The play tore Brian Cushing's ACL, ending his 2012 season prematurely. Matt Slauson will appeal, maintaining that the block was legal. Jets head coach Rex Ryan has supported him by saying that he doesn't believe it was a dirty play.
New York Jets left guard Matt Slauson peeled back towards the line of scrimmage and cut Houston Texans linebackers Brian Cushing, tearing Cushing's ACL and ending his season. Matt Slauson has defended the play and will appeal the fine of $10,000 the NFL has levied on him.
Most of the debate about the play seems to be centered around whether Matt Slauson came at Brian Cushing at an acceptable angle, not from behind or to the side of Cushing, making him defenseless. There should be more attention given to the point of contact made on the attempted cut, if injury prevention really is the main concern here. Brian Cushing tore his ACL because contact was made at the knee. A proper cut block should be targeting the quadriceps, making contact well above the knee. It's still not fun for the defender, but it doesn't carry any more risk of injury than any other type of contact throughout the game and is actually tougher for the defender to defeat. Since so many target the knees, they are close to the ground and defenders can play over the top of the cut.
Cut blocks are a necessary part of the game that can help an offensive lineman at an athletic disadvantage make a block and help his team. It helps to level the playing field against defenders in sprinters stances, allowed to use their hands more freely to defeat blocks and make plays. When executed correctly, cut blocks are safe and effective. It's tough to see a talented player like Brian Cushing lose his season to a possible dirty play.
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