CBS Sports NFL writer Will Brinson dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday to discuss numerous hot-button topics from around the league, including Roger Goodell’s vow to meet with Cam Newton and review his claims of referee bias when it comes to flagging – or, in this case, not flagging – opponents for dangerous hits.
“I think it’s probably lip service,” Brinson said on Tiki and Tierney. “There’s a lot of lips service in the league. There’s a lot of lip service in life. I think it is good if he’d be willing to meet with Cam, but as soon as Cam said what he said, this report from the NFL comes out that night that 11 other quarterbacks have had more missed roughing-the-passer penalties than Cam Newton. Congratulations, guys, you’re missing all of the calls then. That’s really good. Glad you leaked that out there. I’m not sure I would have done that. . . . I get (what the NFL was trying to do). I just think it’s hilarious. The irony is hilarious. The thing with Cam, I don’t think this is a matter of nobody caring about Cam’s safety. I think it’s really, really difficult for referees in live-game action to treat Cam the same way they would Tom Brady or even Russell Wilson – any quarterback who is not the physical freak that Cam Newton is.”
This treatment isn’t limited to quarterbacks, either.
“We’ve seen Julio Jones – who is the biggest, fastest, strongest, highest-jumping freak out of all the wide receivers in the NFL – he’s having trouble getting these pass-interference calls late in games,” Brinson said. “We saw it against the Seahawks and then the week after as well. I think what it is it’s sort of like a Shaquille O’Neal treatment. They’re just not giving these guys the benefit of the doubt because they’re bigger, stronger, faster, and if I’m Cam Newton, I want that benefit of the doubt if I’m in the pocket because when he’s in the pocket, it doesn’t matter how tall he is, how strong he is, how fast he is; he’s the same as any other quarterback, and you can’t be diving at his knees.”
In other news, the NFL is still investigating Ezekiel Elliott, who was accused of domestic violence in July. Police are not pursuing criminal charges against Elliott due to conflicting and inconsistent information, but the NFL isn’t letting it go just yet.
“It is odd,” Brinson said. “This is just a harebrained idea, but what might be happening is the NFL got some mud on its face for the Josh Brown incident and is saying, ‘All right, maybe we should be a little more patient with these things moving forward because clearly we haven’t learned our lesson two times; maybe the third time we’ll learn our lesson.’ I just think maybe they’re trying to tap the breaks and not jump to any conclusions because jumping to conclusions has gotten them in hot water with the public in the last few incidents when it comes to how they’re handling these investigations. I guess give them credit for that, but it is a little mysterious that it is taking this much longer when Zeke Elliott has been cleared.”
Brinson also weighed in on the Patriots’ decision to send linebacker Jamie Collins – a second-team All-Pro in 2015 – to Cleveland for a third-round pick.
“It’s fascinating to see this play out,” Brinson said. “Any other coach and any other organization, we’re roasting them for it. If this is going the other way and the Browns send Jamie Collins to the patriots for a conditional third-round pick, we’re like, ‘What’s wrong with you idiots?’ But when you look at the factors here, you have all this talk about Collins sort of freelancing. . . . (He was once asked) whether he likes to watch college football or pro football, and he was like, ‘I don’t really like watching football. I’d rather just kind of hang out and play video games.’ So you wonder if that kind of factors into the tape study and the willingness to freelance on the defense, which goes against the do-your-job credo. You also have the monetary factor. They’re going to have to pay Dont’a Hightower, and they’re going to have to pay Malcolm Butler. They weren’t going to be able to pay everyone. You wonder if Belichick isn’t sending a message to his locker room saying, ‘Look, I don’t care when you get picked. I don’t care how much you think you’re going to get paid. This is a defense that’s underperforming. Here in New England, we don’t care what your name is or what you’re worth. We care about you doing your job.’ It’ll be interesting to see how the defense responds.”