A block on a routine running play during a preseason game between the New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals caused heated arguments on social media. The block was executed by Thaddeus Moss, a Bengals practice squad tight end and son of NFL legend Randy Moss.
On a first down play in the second quarter, Moss came across the formation to make a “cut” block on recent top-five draft pick Kayvon Thibodeaux.
The play resulted in a two-yard gain for Bengals RB Chris Evans, but more importantly, ended with Thibodeaux limping off the field due to an apparent knee injury. The rookie edge rusher was later diagnosed with a sprained MCL and is expected to be out 3-4 weeks.
Following the play, there was vivid and passionate debate by analysts and former players on social media on whether the block was a dirty play. Former NFL offensive lineman and current ESPN analyst Damien Woody had no issue with the low block.
“I saw a little bit of a buzz going on about the play and I looked at it, and I go, ‘OK, I see this play multiple times in a game all across the National Football League,’” said Woody, an ESPN analyst who played on the offensive line in the NFL for 12 seasons. “There’s nothing dirty about it. It’s a legal play. I see it all the time on film. What’s the fuss about? The fact that Kayvon Thibodeaux didn’t play it right and got hit awkwardly? I didn’t understand the fascination with it.”
On Twitter he declared, “Just so everyone knows, this is not dirty. Perfectly legal block.”
Just so everyone knows, this is not dirty. Perfectly legal block https://t.co/OAXjR3z07B
— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) August 22, 2022
Marcus Spears a former NFL lineman and current ESPN analyst himself disagreed.
“I am two meniscus surgeries in from low hits,” Spears said. “I will never relent on it being a dirty play. That doesn’t mean the player is a dirty player. Yeah, it’s legal, but it doesn’t make it not dirty when you have the potential to blow a guy’s knee out, and there are other ways to block.”
He would add on Twitter, “I’m on record about this years ago bro!! Always have believed it shouldn’t be legal and it’s dirty! Not saying every player that has ever done a cut block is a dirty player the actual act is dirty.”
Despite the uproar on social media none of the Giants players or coaches seem upset by the block, just the result of their top draft pick being injured. “That’s the rules. They allow it. We do it as well,” first-year head coach Brian Daboll said.
Bengals beat writer Jay Morrison also pointed out that Moss is a player fighting for a roster spot and notably negated two big plays in the Bengals previous preseason game by being penalized for holding. “There were conversations last week about using specific techniques in executing blocks,” said Morrison “so to think Moss was out there going rogue and jeopardizing his already long shot of making the 53-man roster with a cheap shot doesn’t make any sense.”
Watching players get hurt in meaningless preseason games is always one of the worst parts of the NFL season. Especially young exciting players like Thibodeaux.
NFL star Micah Parsons called for a rule change to address the type of “cut” block that led to the injury.
“I don’t why cutting is still allowed in the NFL!!” tweeted Parsons. “We grown a– f—— men! Let’s play ball bro! I hate to see that s— man!”
Physicality is a part of the game though, no matter how much the NFL might want to legislate that away. As the rules stand now players will have to get used to continued low blocks like the one Moss delivered to Thibodeaux.
“Got to do a good job of playing it,” Daboll said. “It’s a tough block. But whatever the rules are, those are the rules.”
What do you make of the block?