Many players have had ways of gaming the system to their advantage, and that rings true with the Chiefs’ rookie edge rusher, George Karlaftis.
The quote “If you ain’t cheatin’, then you ain’t tryin'” by retired SMU coach Sonny Dykes, perfectly exemplifies modern-day NFL strategy. In a dog-eat-dog world, where nothing is guaranteed and every Sunday might be your last, any and every potential competitive advantage must be explored.
Holding, pass interference, and unnecessary roughness are implemented on EVERY SINGLE PLAY in order to conquer and destroy the opposing team, however, only the most cunning, elite hyper predators of the NFL ecosystem can get away with it nearly 100% of the time. George Karlaftis is one such predator.
Karlaftis uses his dip-and-rip move effectively by grabbing his opponent’s outside arm and throwing it down violently to pull them off balance (shown in the tweet below). This is not allowed according to the official NFL rules, but because Karlaftis has turned his body nearly 90% away from the nearest line judge (positioned to his left), it is impossible for the official to see what is happening.
Here at Arrowhead Live, we would never encourage the manipulation of the NFL official rules, but seeing as though almost every other successful DE/OLB does so to rush the QB, we can turn a blind eye to “Furious George’s” actions here.
Roughing the Passer
A DE consistently hitting the opposing QB can completely change the strategy of your rival teams. This was put in full display on Sunday (9/11) when the Chiefs’ defensive line pressured Kyler Murray on nearly 30% of his dropbacks! Karlaftis was responsible for 6 of these pressures, which was double the amount any other rookie had in their NFL debut (see tweet below). Most of these pressures, however, ended in Kyler Murray getting hit.
Again, a huge no-no by the NFL QB protection rules put in place a few years ago. Karlaftis gets away with these “late hits” because he is getting close enough to the QB before the ball is thrown, that it puts pressure on the officials to throw the flag. Top-tier NFL edge rushers know that this is the case and ensure that their presence is felt throughout the game, even when they don’t get to the QB before the ball is thrown. Establishing your presence as a pass rusher is incredibly important, and Furious George has this skill down pat.
Karl is Coming
Subtle nods to my most recently binged show Game of Thrones aside, George Karlaftis is quickly establishing himself as a DOMINANT pass rusher in the NFL. He has the moves, he has the talent, and he has the drive to become THE apex predator of the AFC West AS A ROOKIE. Everyone in the NFL cheats, but only the elite get away with it.
Finally, buckle up because Karlaftis will be all gas and no brakes for the rest of his career, and maybe let a few of his somewhat obvious penalties slide from time to time.
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