Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs should not have been penalized for tackling Philadelphia quarterback Sam Bradford by the knees during the Eagles' 40-17 preseason victory over the Ravens on Saturday, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told the NFL Network on Monday morning.
"We clarified this really in 2012 with the proliferation of these read-option schemes and basically because the quarterback has an option, he's considered a runner until he either clearly doesn't have the football or he reestablishes himself as a passer," Blandino said.
"So, it's not a foul by rule. It's something that we will make sure we cover with our game officials because the defensive end coming off the edge, he doesn't know if the quarterback is going to keep it, he doesn't know if he's going to take off and run or drop back, and so we treat the quarterback in that instance as a runner until he clearly reestablishes as a passer or he clearly doesn't have the football."
Philadelphia Coach Chip Kelly voiced his disagreement on Monday morning.
“That's not a zone-read play. On a zone-read play, a quarterback can get hit,” Kelly said. “Not every shotgun run is a zone-read play. ... Are they going to hit every quarterback in the league when they handoff in a shotgun?
“That's up to the league. Sam wasn't going anywhere. If you watched him, he was handing the ball off. If our quarterback hands the ball off and isn't going anywhere, you shouldn't be able to hit him. That's the way the rule has been explained to us.”
Suggs was flagged for roughing the passer on the play.
"When you run the read option, you have to know the rules," Suggs said after the game. "If you want to run the read option with your starting quarterback that's had two knee surgeries, that's on you. That's not my responsibility to update you on the rule."
The incident occurred in the first quarter of the first game action Bradford has seen in a year. He spent all of last season recovering from the second torn ACL he has endured in his career.
“I was a little upset,” Bradford said of his reaction to Suggs' hit. “I'm not sure I could probably repeat what I said to him. But it’s part of the game and I’m sure it’s not the last time that something like that’s going to happen this year. But hopefully it doesn’t.”
When asked if he thought Suggs was targeting his surgically repaired knee, Bradford said: ""You would have to ask him, but I think that’s what he was trying to do. But it’s part of the game and you just have to move on.”
11:10 a.m.: This post has been updated with quotes from Chip Kelly.
This post was originally published at 9:12 a.m.