Axing cut block a no-brainer

The NFL's inconsistency in allowing the cut block borders on the absurd.

Originally Published: October 29, 2004
By Joe Theismann | ESPN Insider
The cut block is back in the news this week after an incident on Monday Night Football. Cincinnati Bengals DT Tony Williams suffered a broken ankle on a cut block from Denver Broncos RT George Foster.

The cut block, which is a block at the knees, is legal and within NFL rules, so we can't really blame the Broncos or Foster. The group responsible for making a change is the NFL's Competition Committee. And a change has to be made. The NFL and the NFL Players Association must insist on a change. Williams isn't the first guy the Broncos have taken out with this block.

The inconsistency in allowing the cut block borders on the absurd.

Think about all the rules that promote offense and protect offensive players: A defensive player can barely breathe on a quarterback without getting a 15-yard penalty ... a wide receiver can't be hit when he goes across the middle (until he has the ball) ... a defensive back can't bump a receiver after five yards ... and then there's all the offensive pass interference that isn't called.

But it's OK to block a defensive lineman at the knees, one of the most vulnerable places for a professional football player.

Joe Theismann

Football analyst
Former college and pro football star Joe Theismann has served as an analyst for ESPN's Sunday Night Football since 1988. He also is frequently heard on ESPN Radio, regularly contributes to and has contributed to the NFL Draft.