San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh talked with NFL to get clarity on hits to the quarterback in the read-option offense, according to NFL.com. On Wednesday, Harbaugh talked about his concern over comments made by Clay Matthews, stating that the Packers strategy was to ‘hit’ the QB during read-option. Dean Blandino, NFL vice president of officiating, talked to the NFL Network about Harbaugh’s concern.
“When the quarterback puts the ball in the running back’s belly, the referee doesn’t know who has the football, the defender doesn’t know who has the football, so if it’s a bang-bang split second, then yes, he can hit the quarterback, but if the quarterback has clearly handed off the football, and he’s standing still, or fading backwards, he cannot be unnecessarily contacted, and that doesn’t matter if it’s a read-option quarterback or a classic drop-back quarterback. If they’re standing still or fading backward after the ball has left their hand, they cannot be unnecessarily contacted.”
It seems that the rules are pretty clear of the allowed contact on read-option plays. Looks like Harbaugh was just trying to work the refs ahead of Sunday’s game vs. the Packers.