Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has been around the NFL for a long time. From his playing days until now, Del Rio has seen a lot.
During Washington’s Week 9 win over the New England Patriots, rookie defensive end K.J. Henry had his first career NFL sack taken away due to a roughing the passer penalty. It was a horrendous call. Even the NFL’s former director of officiating agreed that it should not have been flagged.
Fortunately, it didn’t cost the Commanders the game. Head coach Ron Rivera has chosen to stay quiet on the penalty due to possible fines. Del Rio met with the media Thursday and politely disagreed with the call while praising his rookie.
“I tell him, ‘I hope the league doesn’t double down and send you a fine on top of it, Del Rio said.'”
“That’s what I told him. I said it wouldn’t surprise me because they might. They sometimes will do that, but the reality is that was not; it should not have been a flag in the first place. He should not receive a fine. You do exactly what he did because it was exactly how you should do it.”
For his part, Henry told reporters Thursday he had yet to be fined.
KJ Henry said he has not been fined by the league for his roughing penalty.
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 9, 2023
Del Rio was asked if there was some frustration on the roughing the passer penalties, which are up this year.
“No, I think it’s clear,” Del Rio said. “I think the rule is clear. I think anytime the league tries to make an emphasis, then guys tend to come up with calls that are like close to it and wrong. And to me, I would love to just see an emphasis on doing your job, officiating the game so that it’s a fair contest. That’s what it should be. We don’t need to come up with calls to fit a certain window or to fill up a certain window. To me, that’s not what it should be about. It should just be a fair contest. Make sure it’s fair.”
It’s safe to say the NFL’s competition committee will likely be discussing the roughing the passer penalty next offseason.