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NFL: Clay Matthews skeptical after league issues statement to clarify emphasis on QB hits

An NFL statement intended to clarify to officials the emphasis on quarterback hits may have raised questions with Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.

NFL football operations chief Troy Vincent said Thursday that the powerful competition committee had clarified to game officials the techniques used in such hits. A lack of consistency on such calls also has been a source of contention throughout the league.

Matthews has been called for a roughing-the-passer call in each of the Packers’ first three games. Two of the hits appeared to be normal tackles.

“I don’t know if that statement really expresses how they’re going to call it moving forward,” Matthews said after practice on Thursday.

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“Furthermore after seeing the video, too, all hits on the quarterback that came from straight on, which is what they teach you since Pee Wee football with running backs, receivers or whatever is to approach them head-on if you can — those were all illegal hits, much like the two hits I had on [Vikings quarterback Kirk] Cousins and [Redskins quarterback Alex] Smith last week, which were conveniently left out of the video.”

Rodgers practicing

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ injured left knee has apparently improved to the point where he can take part in a midweek practice.

He was limited in practice Thursday as the Packers prepare to face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. It is the first time Rodgers took part in a midweek practice since getting hurt during the season-opening win over Chicago.

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Cleveland Browns backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor was cleared from concussion protocol and returned to practice Thursday but was limited by a back injury that could prevent him from being the No. 2 quarterback on Sunday in Oakland. Coach Hue Jackson said there’s a chance Drew Stanton will be the backup when Baker Mayfield makes his first NFL start against the Raiders. ...

Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt tore his left ACL during a walkthrough practice Thursday afternoon and is headed for injured reserve for the second straight season. Butt spent his rookie season last year on injured reserve while recovering from the same injury to his other knee.


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