Garrett spent the day going up against Blake Hance, who is Jacksonville’s fourth option at left tackle. And while Hance was a nice story when he was pressed into service with the Browns during their 2020 playoff season, the idea of him holding Garrett without a sack for an entire game is a stretch.
It may end up costing Garrett some money as the league office does not like it when players say the quiet parts out loud, but Garrett pulled no punches about what took place on the field: (quotes via a team-provided transcript):
“The officiating was a travesty today. It was honestly awful. And the fact that they’re letting them get away with hands to the face, holding false starting. I know they called a couple, but damn, they could have called it all game. And the one that cost us down on the two-yard line. I mean, respect to those guys, it’s a hard job, but hell, we have a hard job as well. You can’t make it harder by throwing, holding, and hands to the face out of the rulebook.
“And like I said, I got a lot of respect for those guys, but we get scrutinized for the plays that we don’t make. So someone has to hold them accountable for the plays or the calls they don’t make. And they need to be under the same kind of microscope as we are every single play.”
Sunday’s game was just the breaking point for Garrett, who pointed out that he is treated differently on a weekly basis by the game officials, similar to what occurred in the NBA with Shaquille O’Neal:
“This Hack-a-Shack crap got to stop. Y’all are dominant, as we’ve seen, and we are going to let him get away with pretty much anything. It’s ridiculous. You can’t just let a guy put his fingers in your face mask and push your head up or grab you around the back of your collar, or he’s out of position, so he’s going to snatch you from the front. All that stuff we see, but we try to promote the offensive game. It’s got to be called fair both ways. I don’t care about any of that offense, defense has to be held to the same standard in more ways than one.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not going to be pleased about Garrett shining a light on the issue, but it is a topic that needs to be addressed and Garrett is not the only defender to speak up this season.
Hopefully, the officials will listen to Garrett’s comments and change their behavior, even if that turns out to be to the detriment of opposing quarterbacks.