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Pete Carroll wants more protection for quarterbacks after handoffs

Quarterbacks aren't given the typical protections of a passer after read-option handoffs. (AP)

RENTON – Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll took his turn on Monday weighing in on what in the last few days has become a debate about the appropriateness of certain hits on quarterbacks following handoffs.

Considering how much Seattle’s offense employs the read-option with Russell Wilson, it’s no surprise where Carroll stands on the issue.

“I have seen a couple of them and really thought that they were worthy of being noted as penalty plays,” Carroll said. “Obviously, we’re really tuned into that. We’re counting on the league to do a really good job of doing that well so we take care of the QBs.”

Carroll was responding to a question about those hits in general and not any one of them in particular. The issue has been brought into focus following a preseason game Saturday between Philadelphia and Baltimore, during which Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs dove at the knees of Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford after he had handed the ball off.

Suggs was penalized for roughing the passer on the play. But on Monday, the league’s head of officiating, Dean Blandino, said in an interview with the NFL Network that officials erred in flagging Suggs. Blandino considered the play a read-option (though the Eagles contend it wasn’t ) and explained that because quarterbacks have the option to run on such plays, they’re treated as runners and not given the typical protections of a passer.

Carroll doesn’t think that should be the case.

“You can force this thing about they are a runner, (but) when they don’t have the ball in their hands, and the ball is already handed off and gone, guys need to make good decisions hopefully,” he said. “So we’ll be very much a part of that discussion if things continue like it’s going because it’s not right.”

One such play involving Wilson comes to mind. Seattle was hosting San Francisco early in the 2013 season when 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks leveled Wilson after he handed off to Marshawn Lynch on a read-option. Brooks wasn’t flagged. Cameras showed a heated Carroll protesting the non-call.

Carroll said Monday that he’s been in the NFL’s ear about those types of hits since Seattle drafted Wilson in 2012. He even planned on calling a league official about the issue after his press conference was over.

“We’re really tuned into that so I’m anxious to see what comes up,” Carroll said, “because it certainly is not the way to want it to go.”