Attacking the kneel-down

Posted by Darren Urban on October 1, 2013 – 9:10 am

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was asked at the end of his Monday presser about the Buccaneers going hard at the Cards’ two kneel-downs at the end of the game as they tried to run out the clock. Arians turned very serious. “That’s their style,” Arians said. “I have no comment on it.”

It wasn’t hard to see how Arians felt about it when watching a video of the end of the game. The Cards had two kneel-downs and QB Carson Palmer was knocked on his backside on the first (screenshot below) as the Bucs crashed in. The second was also a jumble of bodies, and Arians delivered a noticeably quick handshake to Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano — if it was a handshake — and just as the camera was about to leave him, and what looked like a Tampa assistant Arians knew tried to say good game, Arians looked like he was going to give that coach a piece of his mind too.

This, of course, isn’t the first time this has been an issue. Flash back to Schiano’s first season last year and the same thing happened with the Giants. Reaction was mixed. Schiano said Monday afternoon on his radio show (via, after a Tampa fan said he had a problem with such a play, that his players are ultimately the ones who decide to do it.

“I can say it’s misunderstood. Maybe I’m misunderstood. Who knows? But there’s a couple of things that I can tell you. No. 1, it’s an organized play. It isn’t just a mayhem of diving,” Schiano said. “Has it worked here yet in the NFL? No. Has it worked before? Sure. It’s worked or I wouldn’t do it. You know, we’ve caused several balls to be put on the ground in the past in doing this. And there’s a technique, a series of techniques that are involved.

“But most importantly, you know, I want everybody to know, our players, I ask our players, ‘if we don’t want to do this, we don’t do it.’ I mean, that’s where I am. I’m not going to force guys. Because is there’s always a risk involved? Sure. I mean there’s always a risk involved when you’re hitting other people. And I’m talking about a risk for our players.”

Schiano went on to say in a one-score game and the Bucs need just a field goal, it’s part of his team’s belief system to go after the ball. He also said defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was warning the Cardinals the rush was coming.

“I’d like people to quit complaining, and that’s what we’re going to do, and get ready for it,” Schiano added.

I’m not sure I buy that Schiano’s players have the latitude to say they won’t do it, especially if Schiano is saying it’s part of the team’s belief system. The question is, what will come first: The Bucs actually creating a turnover out of it, or some player getting hurt?


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21 Responses to “Attacking the kneel-down”

  1. By Aaron on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    Here’s what you do. You take your biggest backup DLinemen and put him in the backfield instead of a running back. Let him get a clean shot on someone charging in like an idiot. Maybe after a hurt neck or a few concussions to TB players, Schiano will rethink his strategy.

  2. By Gilbert on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    It’s just simply non pro, it would hav been fun for BA to let his mind out he always makes sense.

  3. By Dynosoar on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    So why not snap the ball shotgun and then kneel? The kneeling team is not worried about the loss of yards, they’re running out the clock and know they can do it in three downs or they wouldn’t kneel.

    Snap shotgun and kneel safely.

  4. By Tanner on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    Going out of the shotgun increases the chance for a fumble. That’s probably what schiano wants. The cardinals have already had one or two bad shotgun hikes this year.

  5. By georgiebird on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    In a blowout game, Sciano’s antics are ridiculous. But in a close 13-10 game, I don’t blame Sciano one bit. These guys play a 16 game schedule and each game is precious. If Tampa did something illegal then that’s another matter. Even in the Giant game last year, it was a one TD game.
    And shame on the Cardinals because Schiano has been doing this on a regular basis. Time for the Cardinals’ coaches to wake up- in a lot of ways!

  6. By NjAzCardsFan on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    This type of play by the Bucs… is a “Bush League” play, by a “Bush League” Coach and a “Bush League” organization….. Next time I hope the Cards line knocks them all back on their butts….

  7. By Dynosoar on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    How about look like it’s the victory formation and the kneel down is coming, then throw the ball to Fitzgerald for a touchdown.

  8. By EDijkstra on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    Schiano is right. There’s time left on the clock, you have a chance to win if you can get the ball, so you try to get the ball. People should quit bitching and play the game until it’s over. Talk about bush league.

  9. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    Amateurish, bush league move.

  10. By Eric G on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply


    Why not snap it in shotgun? Really? That is ten times more likely to result in a fumble than a snap under center. Point is, no other team in the league does it. Schiano is a punk and poor sport for doing it. Once someone gets hurt, the league will ban it.

  11. By joe67 on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    This time I agree with Georgie Bird. Close game is different than a blowout.
    Dyno, I was also thinking about a pass, or even a quick pitch and run. Someone will do it, you watch.

  12. By Phil Lewis on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    I tried to squeeze this comment into the Birds of a Feather chat but just missed the cut off.

    I am a fan from the UK and perhaps it is because i’m not embroiled in NFL culture, but I can’t stand the Kneel Down. I am used to sports that are played full tilt until the final whistle. To the extent where I actually applaud the culture that Schiano is instilling.

    A 1 score game should not be treated as a given. So much can happen in such a short time in the NFL that it seems almost criminal to rob the fans of potentially the most exciting part of the game.

    I have witnessed so many magical moments where games have been snatched with the final play or with a last second goal that I simply have massive difficulty comprehending that in such a competitive sport, that a defence simply allow an offense to run down up to 2 minutes of a game – essentially giving up.

    I appreciate the ‘dislikes’ will be heading my way – its just a big shame to me and such an anti climax.

    i would be overjoyed if the deliberate kneel down was removed from the game.

  13. By clssylssy on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    Schiano is probably on his way out so the whole point may be mute. I don’t know of anybody else that does this currently in the NFL. While I like a good ole smashmouth game, it seems this flies in the face of the current player safety campaign. His entire attitude about this is arrogant and his players don’t even support this play, it’s embarrassing to them as it looks like poor sportsmanship. When you lose the game, the best thing is to man up and accept the defeat with some class and dignity. What a loser!

  14. By johnnybluenose on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    I don’t want to see anyone get hurt for no reason but I cannot fault the Bucs for trying to force a turnover in a three point game. And you cannot penalize the defense for playing until the game is over any more than you can remove the kneeldown from the game. It is what it is, a strategy and part of the game. All players are taught from an early age to play until the whistle sounds and to protect themselves at all times. And I agree with Phil Lewis. I feel a bit cheated when the offense is running out the last couple of minutes rather than trying to score. In basketball, even in blowouts, the teams still try to get baskets. In baseball, you still have to record 27 outs to get a win. In hockey, they play for 60 minutes. The clock does not keep running when the goalie falls on the puck. Football is a great game but no one can deny that there is a lot of “lost time” in between plays as players are sustituted and huddled together, usually for longer than is necessary and often for no good reason except to allow a team to take time off the clock. I would like to see the 40 second clock reduced to 30 seconds so that we could actually see more plays. Not that I expect that to happen.

  15. By erik on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    You nailed it with your last line, Darren. Until they create a turnover with it, people will despise them. If they do ever get a turnover, you can bet every other team will be working on it, too!

    Kind of like icing the kicker, it worked once in primetime and now everyone does it even though it makes no sense.

  16. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    This is about as bad as Les Miles at LSU allowing the players to vote on whether or not another player who has violated team rules should be allowed to play. If you’re the head coach, you’re getting paid to make those difficult decisions, not pass them onto your subordinates. If you don’t have the “balls” to make these decisions and be responsible for them, then find another job as a follower, not a leader.

  17. By Kevin S on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    The only reason basketball teams still are putting up shots is the shot clock. Once it gets below 24 seconds and the team with the lead has the ball and an insurmountable lead, they just dribble out and the defense just stands there.

    The kneeldown is anticlimactic but you can’t really ban it… what are you going to do, try to force the offense to gain yards when there is no reason to do so? And surely no one here thinks teams should actually run a play when there is no possible way to lose otherwise, right. We couldn’t run the clock out completely but anyone who remembers Ryan Williams fumbling on our own 30 yard line when all we had to do was run a play with 1:10 (NE was out of time outs), and we’d have been punting the Patriots deep into their own territory with less than 30 seconds, knows how painful that was… until Gostkowski missed the winning FG and we won anyway. I’d have been fine with us taking a knee in that situation.

  18. By ored on Oct 1, 2013 | Reply

    agree that even 1 game in a 16 game season can be huge,but the odds seem overwhelming that injuries will happen much more frequently than a turnover,if ever at this level.btw any play that involves any type of handoff or pass just plays into increasing the chance for a turnover,safest play is hike and knee to the ground,don’t want this scenario,make it a 2 score game.

  19. By Corgon on Oct 2, 2013 | Reply

    Ok, it’s a one drive game. The game lasts 60 minutes. Do whatever it takes. Don’t give up mentality. All true.
    There is just one teeny-tiny problem: It never going to work in the nfl. The only thing what it can cause is an injoury. Pointless.
    You lost. Be a man!

  20. By Marcelof on Oct 2, 2013 | Reply

    Everyone who’s on Schiano’s side saying there was still time on the clock rethink it… there was also time when they had the ball, so play it better, do not turn the ball over and win the game fairly…. if you’re not able to do that, take it you were defeated this time, play tougher next 60 minutes you have the chance maybe you won’t look like a jerk loser.

  21. By nighthawk2005 on Oct 3, 2013 | Reply

    The game is 60 minutes, not 59. If there’s time on the clock, the Bucs still have a chance to win the game. Bruce Arians owes Greg Schiano an apology for his behavior. I’m very embarrassed by our coach’s actions.

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