The new NFL is all about safety, but what about Defensive players?

October 11, 2012

Features, Football, NFL

In today’s NFL, all we hear about is safety. Rules about the safety of players have been put in and anything that threatens the safety of players is enough to garner a fine and/or a suspension. Call it the “No Fun League” or say that they’re making the league soft, but either way that’s today’s league.

But that’s only for half of the league.

The other half of the league plays defense. These are the players who are getting fined and suspended, but there aren’t many rules in place to protect them. This became most evident on Monday night, when Brian Cushing suffered a torn ACL after an illegal chop block to his knee. Sure there are rules against chop blocking, but they are very fuzzy and in this case did nothing to protect Cushing. No flag and most likely no fine on Jets guard Matt Slauson.

While defensive players are supposed to be tough and warriors, they simply aren’t protected like the players on offense. After Tom Brady suffered a season ending knee injury in 2008, the league put in a rule that says the QB can’t be hit in the knees. It is however, legal to dive at the knees of a defensive player as long as it’s in the pocket or on the offensive line. While Cushing’s injury was not legal, it’s really easy under the current rules to mistake what happened to Cushing as a legal hit even though it wasn’t. After all, the refs aren’t used to protecting the defenders like they do with the offensive players.

Outside of holding and false start, one of the most common penalties we’ve seen in the past couple of years is illegal hits to the head. It’s obvious that with all of the brain research that’s been done on former players that these rules are definitely a neccessity. It’s caused the opposing defenders to change their game, but that’s just the nature of today’s game. Hits to the helmet haven’t outlawed completely though as the NFL would make you think. When a player with the ball is running and puts his head down, it’s 100% okay for him to hit heads with the defender. No penalties, play on.

On any particular play,  a defensive player could draw a holding play or pass interference. Besides the rarely called chop block though, there isn’t anything to protect the players on defense. The NFL is all about safety, and there’s just as many former defensive players who have suffered brain damage as there is on the offensive side of the ball. Roger Goodell has stood by his player safety during his tenure as commissoner, but what about the safety of the defender?

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  1. NFL Inferno: If the NFL Really Cares about Player’s Safety, Then they Should Ban Cut Blocks « - October 12, 2012

    […] The new NFL is all about safety, but what about Defensive players? ( […]

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