Running backs are complaining about a proposed rule that would penalize an offensive player for leading with his helmet while contacting defensive players, but that rule would have an impact on receivers and tight ends, too. Jason Witten understands the league’s crusade to make the game more safe, but he wants to see more consistency in the way illegal hits are called in general.
Jason Witten joined Glenn Clark on WNST in Baltimore to discuss the pressure that comes with playing in Dallas, Tony Romo’s situation and the rule proposals increasing the emphasis on player safety.
On the pressure that comes with playing in Dallas:
“It’s tough. I think it comes with the territory. Winning can be great, and then the last two years not making the playoffs, it’s just tough. And it’s a tough market to play in, but all in all, you wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s where you want to be and I’ve been fortunate to have been there the last 10 years. It’s a great organization and a lot of ways you feel like you’re close. We’ve had a chance to play for a division championship two years in a row and we came up short. So we gotta fix that, but I think we’ve got a good chance with a great quarterback, Tony, leading the way. A lot of talented players, we’ve just gotta come together just like we saw Baltimore and the way it came together for them.”
On the criticism Tony Romo has faced:
“I think, first and foremost, his expectations for himself are so much higher than anybody else. And when you don’t compete for a championship, especially in Dallas, you have one playoff win, the criticism’s gonna come. But he embraces that. He doesn’t run from it. … I think Tony understands that he’s an elite quarterback that can do the same things. Not every quarterback can compete and lead their team to a championship; I think Tony can. He understands that. … I think he’s our leader and the guy that can do it for us, it’s just putting in the body of work. And you gotta have some breaks along the way, just like we saw Baltimore get some of those as well.”
On the importance of a quarterback and a tight end having a good relationship on and off the field:
“I think it’s critical. For one, it allows you to grow. You could have a lot of conversations with out hurting each other’s feelings. To have a close relationship off the field is great because he can tell you he wanted it at 12 and you can tell him 15 and get through it because you know you’re close.”
On the NFL continuing to consider new rules regarding the way players can hit each other:
“As you go, you do mess with the integrity of the game that we all love. But at the same time, there are measures that have to be taken to protect the game and protect the players. So I think that’s part of the territory we kind of learn as we go here. But I think the consistency that we can have within those hits, both offensively and defensively moving forward, are critical because they can determine the outcome of the game. So I really think, personally, that has to get streamlined into what’s legal and what’s not legal.”