Oct 5, 2014; Denver, CO, USA Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas (80) pulls in a touchdown reception past Arizona Cardinals strong safety Tony Jefferson (22) in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Broncos crushed the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon 41-20, but it was a hit by Julius Thomas on defensive end Calais Campbell that has everyone up in arms not even 24 hours later.
Thomas went for a cut block in what turned out to be a miscommunication with Ryan Clady, who made a pass blocking gesture. The Broncos were called for a chop block, and Campbell was injured on the play. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians dubbed it the dirtiest play he’s ever seen, and Larry Fitzgerald called it ‘bulls**t’.
The Cardinals are whining about a play that happens all the time, and are attacking Julius Thomas for a block that would have been completely legal if not for Clady making a pass blocking gesture. When you watch the play back, Clady notices Thomas going low and actually tries to retreat his arms so he’s not called for an illegal block. He couldn’t get them back, and the Broncos were called for what the NFL maintains was a correctly called chop block.
That block cost the Broncos a touchdown and Demaryius Thomas a 300 yard, 3 TD receiving game, but worse off it cost the Cardinals their best defensive player. That’s certainly something you never want to say, but Thomas’ block standing alone would be a legal play, and it happens on a weekly basis in the NFL. Teams only whine about it when their players get hurt, and sometimes not even then.
For example, you may have noticed that linebacker Lerentee McCray didn’t play on Sunday, and it’s because a Seahawks player injured him on a cut block that was completely legal. The Broncos didn’t whine about it, but went about business usual and realized that things happen in this league on a weekly basis.
Dirty plays come from dirty players with dirty intentions. Julius Thomas is not a dirty player, nor did he have the intent of injuring Calais Campbell. The fact of the matter is, it happened, and it sucks, but the Cardinals shouldn’t keep whipping this into the ground just so Thomas gets a fine from the league.