The NFL has been beating players over the head (figuratively) with instructions not to hit their opponents in the head (literally). The league’s head of officiating thinks players are getting the message.
In a video distributed to teams and the media, NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino lauded several players who showed during Week One that it’s still possible to play contact football without making contact with the head.
“We want to share with you some examples of tough, physical and legal hits,” Blandino said at the outset of the video, which then praised the following hits:
— San Francisco safety Eric Reid hitting Packers receiver Randall Cobb. “Lead with the shoulder and drive through with the legs,” Blandino said as Reid’s hit is shown. “He makes legal contact with his shoulder to the body of the receiver for a good, clean tackle.”
— Texans safety Shiloh Keo hitting Chargers receiver Eddie Royal. “A great pass breakup — again, the defender is going to lead with his shoulder, get his head to the side and make a good, clean, effective play,” Blandino said.
— Broncos safety Mike Adams hitting Ravens tight end Ed Dickson. “The defender is going to lower his target, staying away from the head, aiming at the midsection of the receiver, and knocking the ball away,” Blandino said.
— Ravens safety James Ihedigbo hitting Broncos tight end Julius Thomas. “The defender turns his head to the side and makes contact with the shoulder to the body of the receiver, breaking up the pass,” Blandino said.
— Broncos safety Rahim Moore hitting Ravens tight end Dallas Clark. “A picture perfect hit,” Blandino said. “The defender’s head to the side, lead with the shoulders, drive through with his legs and knock the ball loose.”
Those are the kinds of hits the league office likes to see.
“NFL players continue to play tough, physical football,” Blandino said, “within the confines of the NFL’s safety rules and guidelines.”