Ed Reed having a suspension overturned was viewed as a win for many defensive players, and now the league admits it’s going to look closely at the rules for illegal or low blocks that many defensive players have complained about.
NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson told Albert Breer of the NFL Network that the split of fines between offense and defense is “much more balanced than you might think,” denying a bias.
But he also said the issue demands a closer look.
“We have constantly made sure to protect all players, and we’ve expanded some of the rules in response to what defensive coaches and players have told us,” Anderson said. “We added protection on illegal crackback blocks, the plays when the H-backs and receivers come back to the interior of the line; those defensive guys are protected as defenseless players. . . .
“There’s no question the competition committee is gonna take a look at all the low blocks we’ve seen, including chop blocks, in the offseason. So our response would be that we’ve taken recent action, responded to some concerns, and hope to continue to take significant steps to protect all players.”
It’s easy for players to see a double standard, such as Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins being fined $30,000 for hitting Bears quarterback, while Jets guard Matt Slauson was fined $10,000 for the low block that ended Texans linebacker Brian Cushing’s season.
Anderson’s claims aside, defensive players are always going to believe they’re being slighted.
“We do take offense to it,”49ers safety Donte Whitner told Breer. “But that’s the nature of the business. We always get the short end of the stick. The rules they put in are always designed to help out the offense.”
He may be right. But if the competition committee is going to look at dangerous blocks more closely, it might be another move toward leveling the playing field, at least in terms of making charitable donations.