Hours before the 49ers officially lost their game on Sunday night at Seattle, they lost defensive lineman Ian Williams.
Williams, as we reported during a lengthy lightning delay, suffered a broken ankle when he was hit with a legal cut block in the opening quarter.
After the game, some of his teammates spoke out about the play.
“I feel like as a linebacker or a D-lineman, any cut, it’s a man sport — be a man, hit me up high,” linebacker Patrick Willis said, via CSNBayArea.com. “Hit like rams. You don’t see a ram going and cutting another ram’s legs. They hit head to head, pad to pad.
“I feel like that’s something the league should look into more. You see some of that stuff, and it’s uncalled for. You have a guy who’s 300 pounds cutting a guy who’s 250 pounds. Do physics to that. Hit the man up high. It should be a good collision.”
Willis makes a great point. The concept of cut blocking recognizes that small guys need to have a way to put big guys on the ground. When big guys are hitting big guys, there’s no need for the tactic.
Willis added that he avoided at the last minute a cut block of his own while defending a screen pass.
“You’re not talking about a concussion and being out for two weeks,” Willis said. “You’re taking about being down for the rest of the season if you get hit good like that.”
It’s unclear how long Williams will be out, but it is clear Williams has a broken ankle. And it’s becoming more clear that the NFL, which cares strongly about heads, needs to care about knees and shins and ankles a little bit more.