Defensive players are beginning to revolt against the NFL’s protection of the knees of quarterbacks, at the expense of the knees of other players.
Vikings defensive end Jared Allen thinks it shouldn’t be that way. And he made his point in reference to the block from Jets guard Matt Slauson that took out the knee of Texans linebacker Brian Cushing.
“In a league that talks about taking care of defenseless players – players in defenseless positions — that is a situation [where there is] nothing he can do to defend himself,” Allen told NFL Network on Friday. “There is no place [for] that. If you take a guy’s knee, he may never be the same player after that. If we are going to talk about player safety, it needs to be equality [for] all players. My knee is just as valuable as Tom Brady’s in my eyes. There are hits on the [defensive players] that could be illegal and probably save some defensive players.”
We agree, completely. And we believe the NFL applied the “peel back” block rule in order to send a message that defensive players will be protected, even if the hit on Slauson seemed to fit within the exception to the “peel back” block prohibition, since Slauson’s near shoulder hits the front, not the side, of Cushing’s leg.
We also believe the NFL will consider changing the rules to apply a quarterback-style strike zone to other players. But if the NFL does that, we don’t want to hear any player complaints that the Commissioner is trying to fundamentally change the game of football into something other than football.
Of course, if defensive players finally got some real protections, maybe they’d quit griping generally about the current rules of the game.