Quarterback Cam Newton made several statements about the league’s perceived lack of interest in his safety after the Carolina Panthers’ victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. A blocker for another signal-caller who is hit often cannot find much sympathy for him, however.
“Ben [Roethlisberger] gets hit more than anybody in the league, and he never complains,” Steelers’ right tackle Marcus Gilbert said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “C’mon, man. This is the game of football. If you’re out there and you’re scared to take a shot, then don’t be out there, especially if you’re a running quarterback. [Defenses] are going to take shots at you. Just the way, his style of playing football, how he celebrates, I guess he gives the guys a chip, like let’s go hit the reigning NFL MVP.”
Newton, who said he didn’t feel safe on the field, absorbed multiple hits on Sunday that could have conceivably been flagged with one from veteran pass rusher Calais Campbell being low and was lobbying for another flag when he was hit while out of the pocket behind the line of scrimmage. The 2015 MVP, of course, was at the center of the NFL’s biggest concussion-related controversy earlier this season, when an investigation regarding whether or not Newton should have been evaluated for a head injury against the Broncos in Week 1.
Newton has received one roughing-the-passer call this season, but per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Carolina passer has received nine since 2013 – more than Roethlisberger, Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers or New England Patriots’ signal caller Tom Brady in that span.
“When he’s running over people, he’s going to stand right up and he’s going to celebrate,” Gilbert added. “I’m sure there are cornerbacks or linebackers, whoever he’s running over, the safeties, they aren’t complaining about getting run over or getting crowned, facemask to facemask with the quarterback from a guy his size.
“… If you don’t like it, then tell the coach or the coordinator to change the whole game plan. Try to do something to protect you, because back a couple of years ago, when Ben was getting hit a lot, we had to change our offense a little bit, put in a little extra protection to help him stay upright because he is the franchise player.”